NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 1/15/17

Saturday Night LiveSaturday Night Live stars and/or writers Sasheer Zamata, Anna Drezen, and Julio Torres, plus Sam Grittner, Marica Belsky, and Shalewa Sharpe, perform stand-up or sketch on this fundraiser for a good cause hosted by Nicole Silverberg: Fountain of Comedy: A Show to Benefit Fountain House (8:00 pm $15, 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:

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this show, pet owners perform improv along with their real-life pets at The PIT Mainstage: Pet Prov

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, and Brian Urreta of improv group The Mannequin Room: Indie Cage Match

[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 ($14 per show, 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 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 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 Sunday

7:00 pm ($7): An all-gal improv group consisting of Beth Slack, Carly Monardo, Devin O’Neill, and Elena Skopetos make up a radio play on the spot at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Broadcast

7:00 pm ($7): Two guests bring and talk about their personal treasures, and then improv group Trophy Wives springboards off those memories to make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Show & Tell Show

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nine-person improv group The Internet Disagrees makes stuff up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Internet Disagrees

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($41 & 2-drink min.) An iconic star headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club: Louie Anderson

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Shulman and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT Underground: Student Driver: Indie Road

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Paul Mecurio (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, HBO), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Jeff Maurer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Last Comic Standing), Alex Pavone, and James Acaster performing stand-up, plus music from The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; CBS, IFC; open for Weird Al Yankovic; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush), at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and guest-hosted by Anthony Devito: If You Build It

8:00 pm ($10): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Emily Lynne, Maddy Smith, and more perform stand-up and then sit down to chat with host Evan Rocha at Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody (325 Franklin Avenue): The Talking Show

8:00 pm ($7): A dozen PIT comics—who in the past have included Katie Hartman, Keisha Zollar, Sarah Nowak, and many more—each have 5 minutes to perform a solo character piece at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The PIT Character Showcase Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors perform new plays from the Bard, made up on the spot springboarding off an audience suggestion, at The PIT downstairs lounge: As You Will: Shakespearean Improv

8:30 pm ($5): For the past week, one group of comics had to give money to anyone who asked for it, while the other group of comics had to perform on the street for money. Tonight they’ll share their experiences at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Anthony Oberbeck: Bad Habits: Money

[$] 8:30 pm ($18): A well-intentioned but overly conceptual play from enormously likeable writer/actor Augie Praley that aims to both dissect and pay homage to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, with a cast of nearly 20 actors, at The PIT Mainstage: Looking Back, It May Not Have Been Ridgefield High’s Best Production of Our Town

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:00 pm ($6): Three comics originally from Virginia and three comics originally from Arizona compete for your laughs and votes to be the most beloved NYC transplants at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Brendan Busee: Graft vs. Host

[FREE] 9:00 pm: “Bringing all the excitement and passion of professional wrestling to stand-up comedy, your clueless announcers Kelsey Caine & Jack Comstock invite you to get up and throw down for comics entering the ring for glory! Who will survive? Who will be there? Who actually cares about wrestling? Come on out and get Ready 2 Crumble” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Ready 2 Crumble

[ALMOST FREE] 10:00 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics, Open Stages, and Jams

[FREE] 3:30 pm: An improv jam celebrating diversity in comedy that lets audience members—whose names are drawn from a bucket—perform with experienced improvisors at the UCB East theatre: Hispanic and Latino Improv Jam

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:30 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT Underground, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night at the Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team 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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