NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 2/12/17

February 12, 2017

Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman: "Your Love, Our Musical"To prepare you for Valentine’s Day, world-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman (hosts of Best New York Comedy) interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here)—in their phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (8:00 pm; $15, Brooklyn’s Bell House at 149 7th Street in Brooklyn; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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:

5:00 pm ($5): In this character-driven sketch show, “Chris Aurilio & Karen Summerton don’t have Valentines. For the past year they have undergone an extensive process of hand-picking potential perfect matches. Now, it all comes down to this one Sunday afternoon,” with their would-be soulmates played by Meghan O’Malley, Austin Rye, Sarah Smallwood Parsons, Katie Hutch, and more at The PIT Mainstage: Chris and Karen Need Valentines

[$] 5:00 pm ($15): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Show Up

5:00 pm-8:00 pm (no cover charge, but 1-drink min.): For two back-to-back live podcast recordings, comics share tales of their “first time” (e.g., first job, first time on stage, first time getting drunk, first kiss) at Brooklyn’s Salzy (506 Fifth Avenue) hosted by Evan Morgenstern & Darin Patterson: The Virgin Chronicles

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

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

7:00 pm ($7): Love lives are expressed through poetry, R&B, and hip-hop at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ray Morency & Chris Lylez: Love Story: The Sessions

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Long-form improv group Distance performs and hosts other groups making up extended scenes via the improv form called “Harold” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Harold Night at The Creek

[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 five shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[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

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

8:00 pm ($7): Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Adam Lowitt (correspondent for The Daily Show), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Half Hour), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, co-host of Battlicious), Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV), and David Nguyen performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and guest-hosted by Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out and Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York): If You Build It

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Sean Patton closed my Best New York Comedy show Tuesday night, and did a bit about the overlap between surgery and the metal band Korn with a Jack Black energy that almost exploded the audience with laughter. Sean is one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; please check out his killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien. Sean’s also starred in a Comedy Central Half Hour, and performed on VH1, the feature film Wifed Out; and as a co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America. But none of Sean’s credits to date really do justice to this rising comedy superstar. Come and see what makes Sean extraordinary even in the highly competitive comedy community one last night at The PIT Underground as he hones a storytelling show about growing up in New Orleans that he’ll be performing for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Sean Patton: Number One

[$] 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

[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: Walk-in storytelling lottery style open mic that provides 6-8 minutes per yarn-spinner at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted monthly by Julie Polk: Story Social: Open Mic Storytelling

[FREE] 3:30 pm: An improv jam celebrating Black History Month that lets audience members—whose names are drawn from a bucket—perform with experienced improvisors from group Astronomy Club at the UCB East theatre: Black History Month 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

5:30 pm ($3): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT Underground hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($5): 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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