NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/23/16

Gilbert GottfriedA one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club…

Gilbert Gottfried….Gilbert Gottfried (7:30 pm tonight & tomorrow, $38.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($15 cover for FBPL shows, $24 cover for CC & VU shows, 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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 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 Friday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): In this musical comedy double-bill at The Magnet theatre, first bona fide rock band Oil in the Alley sings improvised lyrics to its original music; and then pop-punk cabaret band My Dark Little Corner channels the sound & spirit of such bands as Green Day, Blink-182, and My Chemical Romance: Oil in the Alley and My Dark Little Corner

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Reunited for the holidays, now-LA residing Will HInes joins his real-life brother Kevin Hines to perform duo improv fueled by decades-old shared experiences and sibling rivalries at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Brothers Hines

7:30 ($10): UCB improvisors who normally don’t perform together join on stage to make up scenes for one night only at the UCB East theatre: Mashed

7:30 pm ($10): A series of comics connect their stand-up sets “into one giant mutant set,” with tonight’s segments Jamie Lerner, David Perezat, and more at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Molly Horan and guest-hosted by Kyle Lewis: Human Centipede Comedy Show

8:00 pm ($5): A one-man show from Wes Haney (host of Singles Motel) that’s “named after a gross candy bar” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Bit-O-Haney

8:00 pm ($5): A 90-minute variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($8): “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with Alexandra Song, Joanna Simmons, Madonna Refugia, Ian Stroud, and Brian Faas at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Don Fanelli, Alexandra Dickson, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

9:00 pm ($10): Members of UCBT house improv groups get scrambled together into new one-night-only teams at the UCB East theatre: The Blender

9:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups Liz Magee, Angela Cobb, Josh Carter, and Adam Sokol performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Jessica Watkins and guest-hosted by Jim Search: Homespun Comedy

9:00 pm ($5): A group of improvisors who’ve all felt the pain of breakups via text ghosting aim to be stronger for the experience by making up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Ghosting Hour

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Crescent Inverness (host Ryan Douglass), a vampire who hates the idea of being a vampire, screens highlights of the very bad 1989 horror movie Elves, and accompanies it with songs and characters “all inspired by this shit show disaster” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Masters of Mumblecore

9:30 pm ($5): At this weekly variety show, stand-up from Bill Cannon, Jul Ie, and Paul Rodriguez; sketch from Isaiah Mueller, Manny Regalado, and Rocco George; and improv from group Donnie in the Park (Will Cheng, Alex Novac, Paul Ton), all performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Cheng: Wildcard Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($32.25 & 2-drink min.)  Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View) headlines tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Merry Hanukkah with Judy Gold

10:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Rojo Perez (MTV), Noah Findling (Funny or Die), and Kerry O’Neill performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($5): A mix of stand-up, sketch, music, and/or improv at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

10:30 pm ($5): Indie improv groups Rebel 5 and Known Associates make up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Indie Improv: Rebel 5 and Known Associates

[FREE] Midnight: Comics present “sure-fire, can’t miss, get-in-on-the-ground-floor, knock your socks off ideas that will not only make a lot of money but will make lives better across the board” and then request your money (whether you give is entirely up to you), with tonight’s entrepreneurs Christina Galston and group Young Business (Ronnie Fleming & Justin Hartough)—plus stand-up from Mike Denny—all at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Ben Conrad: Snake Oil

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Davey Melch & Sydney Beveridge: Queens Free Mic Fridays

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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

[ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight Improv Jam

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

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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