NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 1/11/17

Colin QuinnBroadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a new one-man show: Colin Quinn: Pushed Around! (7:00 pm, $5 plus two-item min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 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): Ashley Brooke Roberts (Nat Geo, co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), Mindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as alter ego Leibya Rogers), Shalewa Sharpe (comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Mo Fry Pasic (Reductress), 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 Chris Duffy (staff Writer for NatGeo’s Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), : The Sensible Show

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[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 Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

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

7:30 pm ($7): 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

7:30 pm ($7): Stand-ups try to prepare dishes and chefs try to be funny at this show mixing comedy and cooking at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Adrienne Cooper: The Food Funny

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): An eclectic group of comics & writers—who tonight are Rachel Dry (Editor of the Sunday Review section of The New York Times), Dylan Thuras (founder of Atlas Obscura and Obscura Society), Alex Goldman (co-host of Reply All), and stand-ups Tanael Joachim and Tyler Richardson—performing and/or being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for this show hosted by UK transplants Jon Ronson (New York Times bestselling author of The Men Who Stare At Goats and more; screenwriter; This American Life) and Maeve Higgins (Irish TV & radio star): Cool Kids

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Silly PowerPoint presentations fueled by alcohol, with this month’s topic Can You Put the Past Away?, at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Drunk TED Talks

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, “six strangers meet at a mysterious dinner party where they find a surprising connection between them: they’re all idiots:” HINT: A Murder Mystery

…and in the other half of this double-bill, dynamite comics Aaron Jackson, Jeff Hiller, Brandon Scott Jones, Josh Sharp, and Brian Faas promise “You are going to turn Gay, and you are going to love it:” We Will Turn You Gay

8:00 pm ($5): Comedic storytellers tell tales accompanied by videos, with tonight’s guests David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; Solocom; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) and Jeff Kornberg (Vanity Fair), plus improv group The Baldwins making up scenes springboarding off the stories, all at The PIT Underground hosted by Harmon Leon: Videotale

8:00 pm ($7): “King Zebra has a full black cast (including Ray Morency from Off Top, David Bell, and Raquel Palmas), and we want to do an improv show based around the theme ‘black lives laughter'” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): King Zebra Safari

[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

8:30 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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: David Angelo (The Daily Show), Ryan Reiss (Seth Meyers), Gary Vider (America’s Got Talent), Kyle Ayers (FUSE’s Uproarious), Blair Socci (MTV’s Guy Code Vs. Girl Code), Justin Williams (FOX’s Laughs), and Cate Weinberg (Someecards) performing for this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): David Feldman (Comedy Central Half Hour, co-creator of The Jack and Triumph Show), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Andrea Ilene Shapiro (Orange Is The New Black), Sharron Paul (co-host of Cheap Date), and Argon Fritz performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Everythign Is Dumbn: A Comedy & Music Showcase

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($7): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Two of the sharpest improvisors in NYC, Shannon O’Neill (The Chris Gethard Show, Broad City, The Stepfathers, UCB-NY Artistic Director) and Tami Sagher (superb TV writer for Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Girls, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother; co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006) invite their brilliant improvisor pals to make up scenes with them at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Tami and Shannon Have Friends

9:30 pm ($5): A double-bill of one-woman shows by Leah Spigelman and Eliza Kingsbury (sketch group Bridge & Tunnel) performing at The PIT Underground: You are Home and Carson Daly’s Last Request

9:30 pm ($5): Independent (not affiliated with any theatre) improv group Lumbercon makes up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Super Indie Takeover

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors swap personal stories about how they grew up as first-generation Americans and then use them as springboards for improv scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Living Room: The First Generation

10:30 pm ($7): Booked comics try out stand-up, characters, songs, etc. at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Liz Noth, Jessica Morgan, Erin Bartley, and/or Casey McCormick: First Looks

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) hosts this “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight “Watch as Grover Cleveland High School’s Mock Trial team takes on the toughest trial of all: The People vs. Charles Manson” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow

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] 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

[FREE] 10:15 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

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 Underground: 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 at UCB East hosted by members of musical improv group Rumpleteaser: Rotisserie Jam

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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