NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/17/16

Never Seen ItHost Kyle Ayers asks each invited comic to rewrite the climactic scene of a famous movie he or she has never seen. Kyle then casts the reinvented scenes and has them acted out on stage, accompanied by new musical scores. Tonight’s revisionist screenwriters are Jo Firestone (rewriting 12 Angry Men; exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Will Miles (rewriting Star Wars; co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), and Jean Grae (rewriting Annie Hall; singer; Night Train), all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Never Seen It (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

Noon ($5): A staged reading of a TV pilot written by Kevin Scott at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tiny Black Box

[FREE; reserve tickets here] 1:00 pm: A rare lunchtime stand-up show for families, with all kids under 15 allowed on stage to tell a joke, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Guess What?

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 2:00 pm-4:00 pm ($15 online using discount code 3DQED, otherwise $20; tickets available online only!): Eric Drysdale (former writer for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report) is a brilliant comic—but in addition he’s a huge fan of 1950s photos taken with the once-popular Stereo Realist 3-D camera system. In this interactive show—limited to just 12 people—Eric provides everyone with his or her own 3-D viewer, allowing you to plunge yourself into over 200 of the most amazing “stereo photos” Eric’s collected. Like looking at images in a dream, this show takes you on a haunting, amusing, and fascinating trip to the past that I highly recommend at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Eric Drysdale’s Midcentury Stereopanorama

6:00 pm ($5): Stand-up Shawn Wickens stays awake for 24 hours before performing this show, with guests Will Cheng and The Boozeroom at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Shawn Wickens: Insomniact

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in February at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

6:00 pm ($3): Sketch, improv, and other comedy forms at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Brian Pisano & Josh Bates: The Golden Hour

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

6:00 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): The Porterspace comedy group performs at Greenwich Village’s The Lantern (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Amber Rollo: Deep Dish Comedy

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and/or more make up stories with songs at the UCB East theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group Ladies of The PIT (Dana Krashin, Tracy Mull, Sarah Nowak, and more) make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and Ladies of The PIT

7:00 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($5): Mary Houlihan & Sam Taggart perform duo improv, and group Monogamous performs one long 30-minute scene, all at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Mary & Sam Do Two-Prov and Monogamous

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

 [TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($40 plus 2-drink minimum): The king of roasts headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club:Club: Jeff Ross

7:30 pm ($10): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT downstairs lounge: Locked Up B*tches

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($8): Musical comics Lauren Maul and Pat Wise, and classical musicians Adam Grannick & Elana Estrinand, performing at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Robin Gelfenbien (host of storytelling show Yum’s the Word; VH1, Sirius Satellite Radio, FringeNYC)—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($10): In this mini-play, “When the four most qualified (and emotionally unstable) astronauts money can buy crash-land on the moon, they find there are worse things in space than being out of fuel, out of radio contact, and out of luck. Much worse. But at least they still have plenty of Tang” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Moon Crew

8:00 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Chad Carter, and Caroline Cotter at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Centralia

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist) and Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code) “sing your favorite Christmas songs while slowly getting drunker throughout the night. Come see if we can still stand by the end” at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Amber & Matteo’s Christmas Songs

9:30 pm ($10): A comedy group that blends sketch, dance, physical comedy, poetry, live music, and metaphysical comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre: His Majesty, the Baby

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan Steakhouse

9:30 pm ($10): A four-guy improv group, plus guests performing improv, stand-up, and/or music, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): No Feelings

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), 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) Mary Houlihan (Comedy Central, Cartoon Monsoon), and Adam Burke (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) perform stand-up, plus music from “serious musician and outrageous comedian Tommy McNamara who performs an intimate, unplugged set” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tommy McNamara Unplugged Christmas Spectaculara

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week—which tonight is The Rockettes—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Rockettes Edition

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($5): A young all-guy comedy group performing improv and/or sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: Gentlemen Party: Secular Christmas Miracle Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Six improvisors—who tonight include the wonderful Tracy Mull, Ron Hill, and Jason Scott Quinn—compete for your laughs and votes at this fun improv game show at The PIT upstairs theatre produced by Tracy Mull and hosted by Jeffrey Mondoro: The Island: Cutthroat Improv Competition Championship Finale

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein and hosted by Judith George: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), 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), Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), Greg Stone (America’s Got Talent, TruTV’s Friends of the People), and Justin Flanagan share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

[FREE] Midnight: “Every month comedian Dan King writes a pilot script for a new sitcom and hosts a live table read of the script. It’s important that you come see these live because these ideas will never, ever make it to television” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Test Pilots

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

[FREE] 11:30 pm: If you’re female, this is your chance to get on stage for an improv jam hosted by Marybess Pritchett & Heather Harrison at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) followed by a dance party: Twat the Night: Gal Improv Jam

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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