NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/23/17

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Don’t miss the debut of the live-on-stage version of this site on Tuesday 1/24. World-class improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman will make up songs on the spot springboarding off the stand-up sets of Seaton Smith, Dave Hill, Jena Friedman, Erik Bergstrom, Shane Torres, and Brett Davis (as a naughty cupcake): Best New York Comedy (Tuesday at 9:30 pm, $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street). Come at 8:00 pm to also see Rebecca & Evan perform their brilliant relationship improv show Your Love, Our Musical, giving yourself a double-bill of music and laughter.

Jess McIntosh, Erin Gloria Ryan, and Sopan DebJess McIntosh (Director of Communications Outreach of Hillary for America; Emily’s List), Erin Gloria Ryan (Senior Editor of The Daily Beast), and Sopan Deb (covered Donald Trump for CBS News, journalist for The New York Times) chug a couple of beers on stage and talk politics at the UCB East theatre hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In (8:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 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:

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

7:00 pm ($7): A variety show hosted by sketch group Unicorn Women at at The PIT Mainstage: We Accept You

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($25): Ophira Eisenberg tapes her comedy trivia radio show live, with tonight’s guest Zazie Beetz at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another

7:30 pm ($7): House sketch groups Kinfolk and Trouble Town perform at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm & 9:00 pm ($10): Possibly the final episode of a serialized radio play about the town of Cold Lake, Minnesota: “From the ice fishing fleets, to local artist Linda Klaver’s open mic night at Debbie’s Bar/Bait Shop, this is their year and gosh darn if they’re not gonna shine,” written & directed by Colin Waitt, and produced by Kristin McCarthy Parker & Stephen Stout, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): From Cold Lake: Finale

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Judah Friedlander, Liza Treyger, Nick Griffin, Monroe Martin,and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out and Homeschooled, author of Felines of New York), Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine, podcast Sooo Many White Guys, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Yedoye Travis, and Kendall Farrell performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch gals Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece play 13-year-old boys who are “the Internet’s most viral, most teenage, and most white hip hop duo:” Famous Male Duo

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group Nipsey explains how things work in Nipsey Presents Science

8:00 pm ($7): Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal, sketch group Lucille) and friends perform solo characters at The PIT Mainstage: When Heads Collide

[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

8:30 pm ($6): A safe place to try out new material, with tonight’s comics Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party, This American Life), James Goff, Elsaw Waithe, and more performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show): New Release Day with Christian Finnegan

9:00 pm ($7): “Who knew that the nerd you were casual acquaintances with in high school was secretly a famous elf warrior? Or that the quiet girl in math class was a 1,000-year-old witch? In fact, all those weirdoes you never talked to were secretly battling the forces of darkness in their mother’s basement. This show flips back and forth between fantasy and reality, magic spells and homework anxiety, the bravest campaign against evil ever fought and the hopes and dreams of the kids who imagine it all” at The Magnet theatre: Dragons & Dungeons

9:30 ($5): House sketch groups Archnemesis and A Few Sandwich Lovers try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

9:30 pm ($7): Improvisors make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Matt’s Emotions

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Improvisors & stand-ups perform a show based entirely around the oddball Twitter comments of superstar musician Kanye West at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brian Mitchell & Jose Acevedo: Kanye Confidential: Improvised Kanye Tweets

10:30 pm ($7): Six comics perform solo characters to create submission tapes for the Montreal Just for Laughs festival at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Pre-JFL Unofficial JFL Showcase

10:30 pm ($7): Improv about companions at The Magnet theatre: Plus One

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 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 UCB Chelsea guest-hosted by someone excellent TBD while Aparna Nancherla is touring California. Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: 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] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

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: 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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT Underground for this weekly open access show hosted by such improv talents as Gary DeNoia and Langston Belton at The PIT Underground: 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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