NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 3/3/17

Star Wars: The Farce AwakensCreate your own Lucasfilm double-bill tonight. First, enjoy a musical parody of the Star Wars movies written by Jody Shelton (50 Shades! The Musical, Baby Wants Candy), Tim Sniffen (The Improvised Shakespeare Company, The Second City), and Chris Grace (50 Shades! The Musical, Thrones! The Musical): Star Wars: The Farce Awakens (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

George Lucas…and then join brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) transforming into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with guests TBD plus sidekick Griffin Newman: The George Lucas Talk Show (Midnight, $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:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): A play about co-written & performed by Elana Fishbein & Elena Skopetosunique, and co-written & directed by Peter McNerney, about a family’s reluctant reunion received a rave from The New York Times’ Elise Czajkowski, and you can see it tonight at the Magnet theatre: Sisters Three

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm. 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 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 Friday

7:00 pm ($7): A solo show by Jamie Aderski about her experiences in becoming a mom at The PIT Mainstage: Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): At the UCB Chelsea theatre,a gathering of “the world’s foremost cryptozoologists, monster hunters, and friends of freaky fauna, will convene at our top-secret headquarters under a grocery store to unveil the year’s most fascinating and grotesque new beastly discoveries:” Monsters Exist

…and in the second other of this double bill, a play in which “Blue’s Clues meets Avenue Q in puppet comedy:” Simon’s Street

7:30 pm ($10): A trip through world history via Commedia dell’Arte, “the great-grand daddy of modern improv and sketch comedy…filled with physical humor, acrobatics, song, and satire” at The PIT Underground by The Department of Fools: A History of Servitude

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($10): Six New York comics telling stories of where they came from (one from Norway, another from Ireland) and the journey that led them to NYC performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Katie Boyle and guest-hosted by Vernon Payne: Transplants

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A comedic play written by Charlie Walden and performed by over a dozen comics about how “on July 12, 1979, an ill-fated radio promotion turned Comiskey Park into the largest anti-Disco rally in the history of mankind. Explosive shock jock Steve Dahl filled the stadium beyond capacity with his ‘anti-disco army,’ comprised mostly of the beer-swilling and grass-smoking teens who listened to his radio show and wanted to see some disco records detonated. Anyway, things got violent…” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Disco Demolition

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Lane Moore, Marcia Belsky, Giulia Rozzi, Arti Gollapudi, Marlena Rodriguez, Janelle James, and more performing stand-up for this fundraiser to recall Judge Persky (who presided over the Emily Doe/Brock Turner case) at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Blair Socci & Farah Brook: Stand Up Against Rape

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Amy Buchwald, Leo Volf, and Richie Tolway performing stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Ayanna Dookie: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($7): A play about a high school student finding a genie who can grant three wishes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Pop Punk High

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups hosted by Molly Austin (TruTV’s Late Night Snack) and Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of White Chocolate Sundaes) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) doing “the best and only show to ever have that name! It’s meowsome!”: Cats!

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Silvija Ozols, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

9:00 pm ($10): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT Underground hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show

9:00 pm ($10): NYC sketch comedy groups 17:38 and Horse Club performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Hip-hop improv group North Coast—which includes Evan Kaufman (genius musical improvisor of Your Love Our Musical; VH1)—attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure at The PIT Mainstage: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): “A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Cartoon Monsoon

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

10:00 pm ($5): “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Late Night Snack

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Marcia Belsky, Ayanna Dookie, Christina Galston, Calvin S. Cato, Sam Zee, and Sarah Kennedy performing at Brooklyn’s Precious Metal (143 Troutman Street) produced by Amber Rollo and guest-hosted by Aimee Rose Ranger: Filthy First Fridays

10:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show from Rich Templeton that’s a somewhat nightmarish and mostly nonverbal parody of one-man shows (it’s been described as “scary, uncomfortable, mind-altering; it is the thing it mocks”) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Piece

[$] 10:30 pm ($12): Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), Michael Cruz Kayne (ASSSSCAT 3000), Julia Solomon, and Tyler Fischer performing stand-up or sketch at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($10): Eight stand-ups compete for laughs by telling jokes on topics handed to them just this morning at The PIT Underground refereed by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Stand-Up Showdown

10:30 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a musical that’s a sequel to a Broadway musical selected by the audience at the Magnet theatre: Sequel: The Musical

11:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Ashley England about working as a comic for four months on a cruise ship at The PIT Mainstage: Code Oscar

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Comics perform stand-up sets and then go on dates with each other as part of the live show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Rob Harper & Rachel Coleman: We’re All Getting Laid

Midnight ($7): Indie improv groups make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by indie group The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sydney Beveridge & Davey Melch: Queens Open Mic Fridays

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

5:45 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. Arrive 30 minutes before the show 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

6:00 pm ($5): A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Friday Night Mics

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

6:30 pm ($3): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at The PIT Underground for Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

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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