NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 12/28/16

Anthony AtamanuikHilarious impersonator Anthony Atamanuik spent the last year 18 months touring the country playing Donald Trump “and warning his mostly millennial liberal audiences about Trump’s ability to win the presidency.” Tonight Anthony tells behind-the-scenes stories, such as getting Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) to moderate his mock debate with top Bernie Sanders impersonator James Adomian; working with the Hillary Clinton campaign; and more. Throughout the show there’ll be a Q&A with the audience “that usually ends in hostility” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: I Told You Show with Anthony Atamanuik (11:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th 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, 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 ($15 cover for FBP, $24 cover for CC & VV, 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 Holiday Wednesday

7:00 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), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Jess Salomon, and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Evan Kaufman (genius musical improvisor of Your Love Our Musical and North Coast; VH1): The Sensible Show

[FREE] 7:00 pm-midnight: Five free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Lovers, which includes the spectacular Dana Shulman and Tracy Mull at 7:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Three hours of holiday-themed improv from six groups formed for tonight only (e.g., I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Jaws)—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): The writing staff of Night Late and a bunch of sharp sketch comics skewer the year just past at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Anna Drezen (writer for Saturday Night Live; superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; author of How May We Hate You): The 2016 It Sucked Awards

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: In this new free show, comics perform on controversial topics which are then discussed by experts and the audience. Tonight’s stand-ups are Courtney Fearrington (Sirius XM Radio; former Marine) and James Myers (over 30 million views on the Web); and tonight’s experts are David Marcus (The Federalist, National Review, New York Post) and Roy Germano (NYU Professor of International Relations; NPR, VICE News, The Economist), all at The Kraine Theatre (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) hosted by Lou Perez (head writer for We the Internet) & Toby Muresianu (writer for HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and Comedy Central roasts).: Unsafe Space: Nationalism vs. Globalism

7:30 pm ($6): Storytellers share experiences so embarrassing you’re likely to cringe, with tonight’s brave confessors Ashley Gavin, James Nichols, Meghan Walsh, Crez Hernandez, Tom McGrath, and Justin Angermeyer performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ron Raganella: Shame!

7:30 pm ($5): Sketches by writer/performers compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Gabe Capone & Joanna Hausmann: Battle Sketch

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features three house groups making up scenes on the spot: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12; proceeds go to ACLU): Hosts Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), John Fugelsang (co-host of Tell Me Everything on Sirius XM; former host of ABC’s American’s Funniest Home Videos), and David Feldman (Emmy winner, co-creator of the The Jack and Triumph Show) perform stand-up with a political edge, and are joined by this month’s guests Aparna 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) and Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), all at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): Swipe Left

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10 plus 2-drink min.; or watch the free Facebook stream): Glen Heroy, a long-time Santa Claus for Macy’s at Herald Square, shares behind-the-scenes stories of playing St. Nick—while dressed as Santa and taking questions from the audience. If you can’t attend at the LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd. at Long Island City), you can watch a live video stream for free via Facebook. Directed by Kevin Maher (host of one of the finest shows in NYC, Kevin Geeks Out): I, Santa: Confessions From Behind the Beard

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

8:00 pm ($5): Comics are paired with artists outside of comedy to create something fresh and vibrant about an assigned topical theme at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Cross-Current

8:30 pm ($5): “One lucky single goes on a date with four perfect suitors….at the same time! Part improv, part experimental theatre, this parody of the gone-but-not-forgotten reality show ElimiDATE will feature five actual New York City singles dating each other live on stage” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Expellabeau

8:30 pm ($5): Matt Barats, Anthony Oberbeck, and Carmen Christopher perform as improv group Postmen at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Postmen

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

9:00 pm ($5): Aparna 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), Joel Kim Booster (Billy on the Street), Lane Pieschel (Jimmy Kimmel), Mike Lebovitz (Last Comic Standing), and May Wilkerson performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Gutter Bar (200 N 14th Street) hosted by David Drake: Comedians You Should Know

9:00 pm ($5): Comics screen their favorite movie clips as part of their sets, with tonight’s stand-ups Sam Stevens, Jesse Eigner, Frank DeRuggiero, V. Lince, and Molly Kornfeld, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Justin Angermeyer & Caitlin Mckee: Roll Credits

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Francisco Ramos (Last Comic Standing finalist), John Conroy, Grant Gordon, Cate Weinberg, Sean Gabbert, and Jamal Harrington performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv troupes perform, plus a final set by host group New Greta, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): New Greta Has Friends: Indie Improv

9:15 pm ($5): An improv show somehow performed in both English and Spanish by bilingual comics—including Charlie Todd and Morgan Miller—that springboards off an interview with an audience member about an experience in a Spanish-speaking country or with a Spanish-speaking person at the UCB East theatre: Fifty/Cincuenta

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and/or more make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Stand-ups perform—until the audience decides they’re done!—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mark Reiss: Slaughter House Live

10:00 pm ($5): Improvisors springboard scenes revolving around a time and place provided by the audience at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Jason Scott Quinn: Meanwhile…

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

Wednesday 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: Walk-in open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Vincent Chang: Flynn’s Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

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: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans: The 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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