NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 2/27/17

This website now has a biweekly live stand-up show at The PIT Mainstage. The next edition will feature Myq Kaplan, Mark Normand, host Kate Willett, and more on Tuesday March 7th.

Sandy RustinA mind-blowing gathering of talent on this show where top improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—with Sandy Rustin (The Cottage, Hotel Suite)…

Mark GagliardiMark Gagliardi (The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Drunk History, voice of Batman on Super Friends), Cady Huffman (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm; Tony Award for Broadway’s The Producers), Cristin Milioti (Fargo, 30 Rock, Tony nominee for Broadway’s Once), Jonathan Kaplan (Tony nominee for Broadway’s Falsettos, The Diary of Anne Frank), Brian Stack (writer for Stephen Colbert, former writer for Conan O’Brien), Becky Drysdale (Orange is the New Black, Key & Peele), Tami Sagher (HBO’s Girls, 30 Rock, Don’t Think Twice),and Michael Delaney (The Stepfathers) all mixing it up for actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $7 (always rapidly sells out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing), UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

Kevin Geeks Out About Character Actors…and a glorious collection of hilarious film clips and guest movie experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on actors whose faces are as familiar as family members even if you don’t happen to know their names (for a sneak peek video, please click here): Kevin Geeks Out About Character Actors (7:00 pm; $15 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas typically sells out; Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt 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—including group Poor Melissa at 8:00 pm, which features Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Emily Mathwich, and more—at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

7:00 pm ($7): Comics perform solo characters at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Sarah Smallwood Parsons & Brittany McDonald: Perfect Strangers: A Character Show

7:00 pm ($7): A play written by Jordan Temple that mashes up the movies Hidden Figures and Fences at The PIT Mainstage: Hidden Fences

[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 Tim Daly (Wings, The Sopranos, Superman: The Animated Series) at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Hallie Haglund (writer for The Daily Show), Rachel Zarrell (MTV News), and Eric Cunningham (writing consultant for Latino comedy studio Más Mejor) chug two beers on stage and talk politics at the UCB East theatre hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Tanael Joachim, Eman El Husseini, Khalid Rahmaan, and Sydnee Washington 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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Sean Patton, Michelle Wolf, Nick Griffin, Jon FIsch, Sherrod Small, and more trying out fresh material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Improv group Crisis makes up a comic book story springboarding off an audience suggestion at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Crisis: The Improvised Comic Book

8:00 pm ($10): A group of actors and improvisors attempt to duplicate the success of UCBT’s Gravid Water by putting improvisors in the middle of classic theatre scenes at The PIT Mainstage. UCBT uses top Broadway and improv talent for its show, making it extraordinary. The participants of this show aren’t quite at that level, but the format is so strong that this might work anyway, despite the awful title: The Actor’s Worst Nightmare

[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 Moody McCarthy, Greg Stone, Greg Barris, James Mattern, Michael Harrison, and Lance Weiss 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): An autobiographical one-man show (for a video sample, please click here) by Gianmarco Soresi (acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Infinite Bris

9:00 pm ($7): Guest monologist Kendra Cunningham takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by 10 female improvisors—including Artistic Director Megan Gray—at the Magnet theatre: That’s What She Said

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

9:30 pm ($7): UCB improv group Astronomy Club makes up scenes while raising money for Make The Road New York at the UCB East theatre: Astronomy Club

[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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) 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 is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[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 with a guest host TBA (while Aparna Nancherla is touring to let the rest of the country know what a phenomenal comedy star she is). 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 ($5 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

11:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT Mainstage 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 veterans from group Astronomy Club hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Astronomy Club Jam

[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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