NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 12/20/16

Tariq Trotter / Black Thought of The RootsTariq Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought; co-founder & rapper/MC for legendary band The Roots; regular sketch performer on Jimmy Fallon, and exceptionally quick, witty guy), Justin Long (NBC’s Ed, Galaxy Quest, Going the Distance, Live Free or Die Hard, the Mac in Apple Computer commercials), Patrick Dunn (Broadway musical theater star, currently in opera at Lincoln Center), Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV hit Impractical Jokers), Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, co-host of Battlicious), Jes Hudak (singer/songwriter), Nick Stevens (CBS Sports comedy host; Comedy Central, AMC, KROQ Radio), Dion Flynn (Jimmy Fallon), and more hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet (9:00 pm, $7, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard 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:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, six singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions, followed at 10:15 pm by an improv jam open to the audience hosted by group Warm Blooded: Magnet Musical Megawatt

7:00 pm ($5): Improv group Honey performs and hosts other groups at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Honey and Friends

[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 Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): On the week before Christmas, every UCB Chelsea Tuesday improv house group performs on The Longest Harold Night of the Year

7:30 pm ($5): A Satanic but endearing improv group makes up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Darling Satan

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together. Tonight’s “couples” are Myq Kaplan & Micah Sherman (long-time improv friends, and actually not behind the scenes—they’re professional singing duo Myq & Micah), Christi Chiello & Molly Austin (fellow stand-up show hosts and self-proclaimed “soul sisters”), Nick Turner & TBA, and Alex English & TBA, all performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A, between 10th & 11th Streets) hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): Couples Therapy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Storytellers Jody Avirgan (Producer for ESPN and FiveThirtyEight), Mike Joseph (music journalist; host of Radio Show Brooklyn’s Jheri Curl Chronicles), Gabrielle Shea (Marketing Manager for HBO), Bess Stillman (emergency physician), and Nisse Greenberg (matheist; host of Drawn Out Storytelling) tell tales on this month’s theme Science and the City at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Ben Lillie & Erin Barker: The Story Collider

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A musical Christmas special featuring over a dozen comics—including Julio Torres (inventive experimental stand-up/sketch comic; Saturday Night Live, Billy on the Street) and Eleanore Pienta (award-winning actress, member of Cocoon Central Dance Team—at the UCB East theatre hosted by Carmen Christopher: Carmen’s Yas Kween, Bye Felicia Christmas Musical

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

8:00 pm ($10): Sketch and improv comics “create a brand new show in only one week, and then perform improvised sketches based off of your suggestions, just like The Second City used to do” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Old School Sketch Show

[FREE; plus FREE DRAFT BEER 8:00-8:30!] 8:00 pm: Nathan Macintosh, Samantha Ruddy, Robert Dean, and Lorelei Ramirez performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Two Boots Pizza Williamsburg (558 Driggs Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly, David Piccolomini, and Jake Fromm: Ambush Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock; co-host of Broken Comedy), 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), Charla Lauriston (former writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release), Jared Freid, Noah Findling, and Ben Briggst performing stand-up at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, between Rivington & Stanton) hosted by Liza Treyger (Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately): Cakeshop Comedy

8:30 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from group Kiss on the Lips (Alex Guaglianone, Jonathan van Halem, and Garrett Verdone) at The PIT downstairs lounge: Kiss on the Lips

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20): The creators of the amazing live-on-stage movie reenactment Hold On To Your Butts (Jurassic Park) and Fly, You Fools! (Lord of the Rings)—performers Kyle Schaefer & Nick Abeel, music & sound wizard Kelsey Didion, and stellar director Kristin McCarthy Parker—explore new techniques by this time using puppetry to recreate the classic Christmas movie Home Alone. Added to the mix are two new performers (Natalie Rich & Sonia Mena), a four-person choir (Sarah Godwin, Evan Maltby, Richard Sears, and Michelle Vo), and producer Lanie Zipoy, all making magic at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Kevin!!!!!

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Character comics perform a sketch show parodying a Centerville, Ohio Christmas show at the UCB East theatre hosted by Becky Chicoine & Sudi Green: Theme Party

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Each of six comics performs a 6-minute stand-up set…and then has to endure an old video of him or her telling bad jokes poorly, so the audience can see how much the comic has grown, at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Patrick Hastie: Old Bits, New Bits

10:00 pm ($7): In this unique show, improvisors make up a complete family & friends intervention based on an audience suggestion at The PIT downstairs lounge: Impro-vention

10:30 pm ($5): Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon), Lucie Steiner (writer for HBO’s upcoming Jon Stewart show), and Craig Friedman performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Will Abeles: Hey Guys!

11:00 pm ($5): Michelle Collins (co-host of The View) is interviewed on this new talk show hosted by Lauren Adams & Caitlin Bitzegaio at the UCB East theatre: Womaning

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

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

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show 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: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 7:30) at Brooklyn’s Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Goodbye Blue Monday

[FREE] 10:15 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members can join in with musical improv group Warm Blooded to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tuesday After Class Jam

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

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 BBOX20 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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