NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/12/17

Judah Friedlander

Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United) performs an eclectic mix of New Shit & Old Shit (8:00 pm $7, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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 ($7.34 online using code SCIENCE, $10 at door) : A “longform storytelling” show, providing a whopping 30 minutes per storyteller, with tonight’s yarn-spinners Mark Oppenheimer (host of podcast Unorthodox; columnist for The Los Angeles Times), Elana Lancaster (host of Take Two Storytelling), and Adam Richlin (filmmaker) performing at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Eli Reiter: Long Story Long

7:00 pm ($10): A celebration of the release of Andrew Heaton‘s novel about werewolves via readings from the book, plus performances by improv groups Skycopter, Lumbercon, and I Swear to God, Carol! at The PIT Mainstage: Werewolf Lit: An Improv Show

7:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy Improv from a six-person group performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Sunday School Dropouts

[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

7:30 pm ($7): Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, HBO’S Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son, Comedy Central), Hadiyah Robinson (The Nightly Show), Rae Sanni, Madonna Refugia, and Jessica Salomon performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[FREE] 7:30ish pm: Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Dave Rosinsky, Elsa Waithe, Justin Herman, Kaitlyn Holland, and Brandon Lott performing stand-up, plus music by Megan Sass and Benny & Grifff, all at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Deepak Ananthapadmanabha & Hiram Becker: AbeMixture

7:30ish pm ($5; if you show up early, includes host Brian Parise’s stuffed pasta shells): Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Khalid Rahmaan, Tyler Richardson, Eman El-Husseini, and Ryan Schutt performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Frank’s Cocktail Lounge (660 Fulton Street; take G to Fulton Street or A/C to Lafayette Avenue) hosted by Brian Parise & Courtney Fearrington: It’s All Happening: Homemade Stuffed Pasta Shells

7:30 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): NYC stand-ups Neko White, Perry Strong, Bronston Jones, Christina Galston, Jax Dell’Osso, Safa Ansarifar, Craig Fox, and Petey Rancel performing at Greenwich Village’s The Lantern (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Ryan Broems: MLK Had a Dream, Trump is a Nightmare

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) are shared by their original authors before total strangers at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Mortified

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show In Absenria (a monoscene improvised wake, with a twist), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($7): Comics (not announced) performing at this show sponsored by satirical women’s magazine Reductress at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Nicole Silverberg: Haha, Wow! by Reductress

[FREE; plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Comics Tom Cowell (Comedy Central), Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), and Joseph Roberts share their shit stories—needing to go at the worst moments, major accidents in pants, and so on—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Natalie Wall (also host of Awkward Sex and the City): Awkward Poop and the City

8:00 pm ($7): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT Mainstage—with an improvised musical opening act from Austin Sanders (Story Pirates, Title of Team), improv keyboard from Dan Reitz (Baby Wants Candy, Your Love Our Musical), and sound design & foley effects from Frank Todaro: X Plus One

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 + Selfish Green Men

8:30 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT Underground capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

[FREE] 9:00 pm: A show hosted by the lovely Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Katy Frame & Marie Cecile Anderson), with guests Corinne Fisher (co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast), Rob Haze (Adam Devine’s House Party, VICELAND’s Flophouse), Ashley Brooke Roberts (Nat Geo, co-host of Fresh Out, MTV’s Guy Code blog), and Joe Miles performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue : Up N’ Coming

9:00 pm ($5): A musical about a 35-year-old kindergarten teacher who runs for President of the United States at The PIT Mainstage: Martha Cipolla for President! The Musical

9:00 pm ($7): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Comics perform solo characters at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Chris Burns: Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me: A Character Show

9:00 pm ($8): Stand-up & storytelling springboarding off topics tackled by The Ricki Lake Show—fat friends, two-timing traitorous tramps, and so on. Tonight’s theme is “You’re Not the Life of the Party, and it’s Time You Knew that You’re an Embarrassing Drunk” with Alex Broome, Ben Rosenfeld, Sydnee Washington, Jenn Wehrung, and Dave Keystone performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Matt Smith McCormick: Go Ricki!

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires

9:30 pm ($7): A sampling of the comics at the Diverse As Fuck Festival performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Diverse As Fuck Festival Kickoff

9:30 pm ($5): Sharp duo improvisors Kelly Buttermore & Justin Peters make up one-act plays based on audience suggestions at The PIT Underground: From Justin to Kelly

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

[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

10:30 pm ($5): This inexpensive variety show features improv by groups Blindhead, Noice!, and Brown/Ronny (Mike Brown & Ronny Pascale), plus stand-up from Will Purpura, all at The PIT Underground: The Really, Really Cheap Date Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Sharp improv groups Fuck That Shit and Area 52 compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): I have no idea what this show is about, but it’s hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, Carmen Christopher, and Joey Dundale at the UCB East theatre: $$$

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: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night 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 for 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 Underground: 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

7:30 pm ($6): A storytelling open mic, with those whose names are pulled from a hat getting 6 minutes on stage on this month’s topic So Long 2016, at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lori Baird: Talk Therapy Stories

[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

[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

[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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursday After Class Jam

11:30 pm ($5): A last chance for you to get on stage and improvise with group Judith at The PIT Mainstage: Goodbye, Good Scene! Show & 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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