NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 3/8/17

Better Jeopardy!Noah Forman & Kristen Acimovic host this new version of game show Jeopardy!, “which already totally rocks. New rules, tweaks, and surprises make it rock even harder, leading three money-grubbing contestants through a gut-busting gauntlet of tough trivia, confounding clues, and emotional soul-searching,” with guest comics Jo Firestone, Casey Jost, and Nicole Drespel: Better Jeopardy (9:30, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street; and stick around afterwards for Jo Firestone’s own amazing The Unexpectashow:at 11:00 pm)

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-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including musical improv from group Vern at 7:15 pm, and such superb improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals

7:00 pm ($7): Springboarding off an audience suggestion, improvisors provide a close look at some exotic group or subculture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): DocuProv

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups (not announced) make up scenes at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Annoyance Improv

7:00 pm ($7): Graduates of The PIT Improv Program perform at The PIT Underground: Biscuit Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, 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) and an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

7:30 pm ($7): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features three house groups making up scenes on the spot: Lloyd Night

7:30 pm ($7): Comics Timothy Dunn and Tahlia Robinson prepare dishes while professional chefs try to be funny at this show mixing comedy and cooking at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Adrienne Cooper: The Food Funny

[TOP PICK] 8:00ish pm ($15): “Four writers read their own work for seven minutes or less, and are then judged by three all-star judges. Two finalists are chosen to compete in the finale, a vaguely-literary game to decide the ultimate winner,” with tonight’s authors Boris Fishman, Daniel José Older, Bridget Minamore, and Marcy Dermansky performing for judges Michelle Buteau, Simon Winchester, and Joanna Hausmann—and you—at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Adrian Todd Zuniga: Literary Death Match

8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a one-woman show by Hallie Haas celebrating PBS and tits: Masterpiece Classic: Women in Art

…and in the second other of this double bill, “The year is 2036, term limits have been ignored and Trump is still President. There are only two people who can save the United States of America, and their names are Sasha and Malia Obama,” written by and co-starring Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger, sketch group Astronomy Club) and Caroline Martin (sketch group Astronomy Club) and directed by Shannon O’Neill: Obama Daughters: Requiem for America

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

8:00 pm pm ($10): A one-man show by Carol A. Jantsen having fun with motivational speaking at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): How to Help the Self When the Self Needs Help

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock; co-host of Broken Comedy), Phil Hanley (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Craig Ferguson), and more performing stand-up at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): The Hot Seat

8:30 pm ($5): Matt Barats, Anthony Oberbeck, and Carmen Christopher perform as improv group Postmen at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Postmen

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5) David Feldman (Comedy Central Half Hour, co-creator of The Jack and Triumph Show), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Samantha Ruddy (Reductress), Argon Fritz, and Chris Gersbeck (the producer of this show) performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) guest-hosted by Peter Bandyk: Everythign Is Dumbn

9:00 pm ($5): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent) Rachael Burke (Jimmy Fallon), Brian Jian (Last Comic Standing), and Pudge Fernandez (MTV) performing long stand-up sets at Jimmy’s No. 43 back room (43 East 7th Street) hosted by Ben Asher: Double Plus Good Comedy

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Adam Lowitt, Kevin McCaffrey, Justin Williams, Dan Goodman, Walker Hays, and Matt Schwartzer performing for this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($7): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

9:30 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

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes while you optionally munch on free popcorn at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Kelly Cooper: Popcorn Hour

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Nerd-based satire on geek issues of the day at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by John Minus & Dillon Stevenson: The G.E.E.K Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors pair up as scene-inventing duos for one night only at the UCB East theatre hosted by comedy giants Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell: Couples Skate

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight “Highly trained actors perform the slowest and driest possible scenework while comics provide biting commentary from the sidelines. Think Days of Our Lives meets Mystery Science Theater 3000” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow: Slow Theater

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

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: Walk-in open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Vincent Chang: Flynn’s Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Anthony Velez: Recess

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

11:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT Underground: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East hosted by members of improv group Living Room: Rotisserie 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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