NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 12/22/16

Aparna NancherlaAparna Nancherla (one of the very finest 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; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Jeff Maurer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Last Comic Standing), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), and Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, co-host of Backfat Variety) performing stand-up hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle (7:30 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd 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:

7:00 pm ($5): Beth Slack & Brian Hansbury create musical improv about relationships at The PIT upstairs theatre: Hansbury & Slack

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, 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) and 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.25 & 2-drink min.)  Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View) headlines tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Merry Hanukkah with Judy Gold

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Storytellers Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1, comedy album He Has Friends), Jenn Welch (co-host of Stand-Up Showdown and The Guilt Trip), and Calvin Cato (SF Sketchfest) share tales of courage and/or cowardice at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mara Wilson (former iconic child star of Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire; author of Where Am I Now?; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale): What Are You Afraid Of?

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] [$] 8:00 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] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch gals Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece play 13-year-old boys who are “the Internet’s most viral, most teenage, and most white hip hop duo:” Famous Male Duo

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a sketch show based on the experiences of comedy couple John Murray & Silvija Ozols as Silvija tried to get pregnant: Infertile

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Space Station Delta (a Star Trek-like TV episode made up on the spot), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($10; includes free snacks): Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Jon Laster, KC Arora, and Marie Faustin performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for the Xmas edition of this show hosted by Calvin Cole & Sharron Paul: Cheap Date Annual Holiday Spectacular

[FREE] 8:00 pm show: Tami Sagher (superb TV writer for Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Girls, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006), 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), Sydnee Washington, Hannah Cowger, Luke Sovern, and Conley Skylar Fox performing stand-up at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Yotam Tubul & Lisa Franklin: Runnin’ on Empty

8:00 pm ($9 at the door or $10.31 online; no min.): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Sydnee Washington, Dan Perlman, Robert Dean, Marie Faustin, and Kenny Williams performing at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Brian Enck: Dean Street Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): “Join Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Jesus, some Orphans, Tim Allen, and more as they honor Santa with jokes, songs, and embarrassing personal anecdotes. It’s a roast hundreds of years in the making” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The North Pole Presents: The 2016 Roast of Santa Claus

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Gun Club

9:00 pm ($5): Emmy Blotnick (writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Marlena Rodriguez (writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ramy Youssef, and Doogie Horner performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): A comedic yet somehow faithful reworking of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): A Christmas Carol

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Boris Khaykin, Courtney Fearrington, and Jack Comstock compete for the affections of an audience member at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Joe Welkie: Dating is Hard in NYC

9:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Will Abeles building a 30-minute stand-up set at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Hey Guys!

9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): NYC stand-ups Jonas Barnes, Jason Rouse, Ray Gootz, Von Decarlo, JC Best, Alex Kayhart, and Ace Reyes performing at Greenwich Village’s The Lantern (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Ryan Broems: Satan Claus

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A half-dozen musical comedy acts, including Camille Harris (highly appealing singer/sketch comic/cutie; SXSW; music album Silly Jazz), Girls With Brown Hair (Becky Chicoine & Samantha Schecter), AzN PoP, Erica Hernandez, and Curtis Retherford performing at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by The Trumpet Boys (Dan Fox, Ian Stroud, and Mark Vigeant): The UCBT Holiday Concert

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Dan King: Swamp Thing

10:00 pm ($5): Latino comics perform storytelling, improv, and/or more at The PIT downstairs lounge: Latinx

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced & hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): In celebration of the holidays, improvised Jews battle improvised Christians for supremacy—via audience laughs and votes—at UCB Chelsea. Overall, history favors the Christians (who tonight include Ben Rameaka, Alan Starzinski, and Joel Weidl). But this is New York, where Jewish comics (who tonight include Riley Soloner, David Bluvband, and Dan Glaser) may well have the edge. There’s no telling what will happen…which is one of the great pleasures of the extravaganza that from the dawn of time has been called Cage Match: Jews Vs. Christians

11:00 pm ($5): Over two dozens improvisors try to create a coherent show for the holidays at the UCB East theatre: The Gift of the Improv

11:00 pm ($5): Improv with feedback at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

Thursday 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen (writer for Saturday Night Live) & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam open to the audience in which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A recorded-for-podcast walk-in open mic providing 5 minutes on stage for whatever you want to perform—stand-up, sketch, song—with names drawn from a bucket at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Mercadal & Will Watkins: Unsung Heroes

[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): Thursdays After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

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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