NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/16/17

Jacqueline NovakJacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public)…

Sean DonnellySean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Maeve Higgins (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Cool Kids), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), and Haywood Turnipseed performing stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw 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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

7:00 pm ($7): “Improvisers take to the stage to compare two pizzas in a blind taste test and perform based off of which pizza is tastier” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): PIzza Deathmatch

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 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): Comedy Cellar Monday

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Student Council and Dinosaur Jones perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors who include Ronny Pascale (PIT Associate Artistic Director, co-producer of the superb Unauthorized! series and Solocom) make up plays on the spot based on audience suggestions at The PIT Mainstage: Scene Work: Improvised One Act Plays

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Mark Normand, Joe Machi, Seaton Smith, Dan Soder, Lenny Marcus, Joe List, and Chris Distefano trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a mini-play “exploring everything you love about karaoke: mediocre singing, friendship, Tsing-Tao, accidental meet cutes, homicidal Korean women, and of course your favorite 90’s jams!”: Let’s Check Out That Karaoke Spot!

…and in the second other of this double bill, sketch comedy that aims to have you “laughing until blood pours out of your throat and eyes and you die and you go to hell and you’re like ‘god damn that was worth it!’ to Satan and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, I know, I was there, it was dope’:” O.S.F.U.G. The Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

8:00 pm ($5): Character comics performing bits at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler: Characters Welcome

8:00 pm ($5): Musical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) from group Good Catch

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Justin Herman, and Irene Bremis at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

8:30 pm ($5): Comics play a variety of short improv games at The PIT Mainstage: Short Form Improv Make Em Up Hour

9:00 pm ($7): A play written by A.J. Ditty and inspired by events in the life of Willy Appelman, who co-stars at The Magnet theatre: Rubiella: A Ghost Story

9:30 ($7): House sketch groups The Foundation and Choir try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($7): Improv group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—gets race-related stories from the audience and a guest monologist, and then makes up scenes based on those tales at the UCB East theatre: Astronomy Club: Let’s Talk About Race, Baby!

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes with the lights turned off, using everyday objects to add layers of sound—like a radio play created on the spot—at The PIT Mainstage: Improv in the Dark

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Nikki Glaser (host of Comedy Central’s Not Safe; former co-host of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, HBO’S Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son, Comedy Central), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked), Vladimir Caamano (CW), and more performing for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:30 pm ($7): Improv from underrepresented voices at The Magnet theatre: Mixtape: Diversity Improv

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): A gay-themed variety show at the UCB East theatre hosted by Timothy Dunn: Queerball

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

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: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base 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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