NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 12/12/16

Seaton Smith and Guy Branum

Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show) guest hosts Guy Branum (razor-sharp stand-up; head writer/performer on G4’s X-Play; regular panelist on Chelsea Lately), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic) Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker), Liza Treyger (Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release), and Chanel Ali performing stand-up, plus James Godwin (famed puppeteer), all performing at Night Train (8:00 pm; $8; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street, take R subway to Union Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($25): Ophira Eisenberg tapes her comedy trivia radio show live, with tonight’s guest Tim Gunn at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Student Council and Dinosaur Jones perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm & 9:00 pm ($10): A Holidays episode of a serialized radio play about the town of Cold Lake, Minnesota celebrating its bicentennial: “From the ice fishing fleets, to local artist Linda Klaver’s open mic night at Debbie’s Bar/Bait Shop, fortunes will rise and fall like the snow—which, actually, only falls. Unless there’s a gust of wind, then it rises. Kinda:” written & directed by Colin Waitt, and produced by Kristin McCarthy Parker & Stephen Stout, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): From Cold Lake: Holidays

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, “six strangers meet at a mysterious dinner party where they find a surprising connection between them: they’re all idiots:” HINT: A Murder Mystery

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group Nipsey explains how things work in Nipsey Presents Science

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Judah Friedlander, Seaton Smith, Rachel Feinstein, and more, all trying out fresh material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke City

8:00 pm ($5): Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Eli Yudin, and Martin Urbano performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre in the name of a popular comedy site hosted by Brian Park: College Humor Live

8:00 pm ($5): Ora Fruchter & Christopher Scheer provide you with improvised psychological healing via a hand puppet at The PIT upstairs theatre: Shrink: Puppet Therapy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts this monthly stand-up show, with tonight’s guests Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety), Samantha Ruddy, Sonia Denis, and Brendan Fitzgibbons performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Myq Kaplan & Friends

9:00 pm ($7): A (mostly) one-woman show by Catherine Montesi playing a character who lectures around the country on the virtues of abstinence at The Magnet theatre: Less is More: A Sexploration of Chastity with Pam

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): “A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans,” with such superb guest comics as Connor Ratliff (brilliant improvisor & sketch comic; The Stepfathers, The George Lucas Talk Show) and Dan Chamberlain (hilarious larger-than-life character actor & sketch performer; sketch writer for Above Average) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: A Cartoon Monsoon Christmas

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, four-woman sketch group Lucille—Abby Holland, Julie Rosing, Molly Gaebe, and Jenn Roman—attempt to delve into the minds of men, directed by the fabulous Leslie Meisel: Balls Deep

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a play directed by the wonderful Langan Kingsley, and written by & co-starring Matt Barats & John Reynolds, about “on the night when the girls ask the boys, it’s finally the teacher’s turn:” Sadie Hawkins Day: Love Knows No Bounds

9:30 pm ($5): Improv group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—gets race-related stories from the audience and a guest monologist, and then makes up scenes based on those tales at the UCB East theatre: Astronomy Club: Let’s Talk About Race, Baby!

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, host of Comedy Knockout, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Subhah Agarwal (TruTV, Fusion), Dina Hashem, Kelsey Cook, and Dean Delray performing stand-up at one of best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no cost to you (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to) for The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:00 pm ($5): A film noir-style detective comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Big

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10, 100% of which goes to Planned Parenthood): Storytellers share their true “coming out” tales, and then improvisors make up either a play or a musical based on each story at The Magnet theatre: Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQ Event

10:30 pm ($5): Sketch group Ok Meatplace explores disturbed dreams at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Holiday Nightmares

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world-who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea typically hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There). Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: Whiplash

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): A gay-themed variety show at the UCB East theatre hosted by Timothy Dunn: Queerball

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Situ Mel ton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An improv jam celebrating diversity in comedy that lets you sign up to play in 7-minute montage sets with improv veterans at The Magnet theatre hosted by Nicole Lee & Art Cai: Diversity Improv Jam

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm, or 4:30 pm on Sundays, through 1/8/17 ($28-$48; use code PBP30 through 12/17 for $33 tickets, or code BBOX20 anytime for discounts based on seat location): Comedy genius Chris Gethard performs a transcendently great one-man show about depression, perseverance, and the healing powers of laughter, love, and medication, seamlessly blending stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience as wonderful as virtually anything currently playing on NYC stages—and that I’m guessing will end up as an HBO special, finally propelling Chris into the top tiers of show biz. Don’t miss this amazing show at The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop): Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm; plus 2:00 pm matinees on Saturdays; or 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm on Sundays, through 1/15/17 ($37-$139; use code OHBOX111 for discounts): I haven’t seen this, so can’t comment on its merits; but you should be aware that two of the sharpest and funniest comics in the biz, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, are performing as their old men characters in this Broadway show at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street): Oh, Hello

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre (123 East 24th Street): 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre (123 East 24th Street): 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 100-seat theatre; shows $5-${20

Bell House (149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.): 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard): 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street): Among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street): Headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street): Convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live (1568 Second Avenue, off 81st): Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY (236 West 78th Street, off Broadway): Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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