NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 3/31/17

Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg: "Blogologues"A top-notch theatrical troupe that’s equally fine at compelling acting and split-second comedy uses actual material on the Web, performed verbatim, to craft laugh-out-loud scenes—with tonight’s new material including “an ‘article’ (a.k.a. fake news) by Kirk Cameron titled ‘Homosexuality Exploding Among Youth,'” and “Questions to Determine if You’re a Real Vampire”—spearheaded by superb creators/performers Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg: Blogologues (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th 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 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 this may be your last chance to see it 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

7:00 pm ($7): Sketch group OK Meatplace performs dark comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): OK Meatplace: A Brief Respite From Our Ruined Hellscape

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Dynamite musical improvisors including Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Lauren Adams, Josh Sharp, Jeff Hiller, and/or more have been destroying all other improv groups at Thursday’s Cage Match (to date, eight massive wins in a row…). Come see why audiences can’t resist how these superb comics make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A veteran stand-up who’s performed on Jimmy Fallon, Louie, Comedy Central Presents, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, and IFC, co-hosts the podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR, and stars in the stellar Comedy Central special and album Live at Webster Hall headlines tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Big Jay Oakerson

[TOP PICK] 7:30 ($10): Gary DeNoia plays movie icon Nic Cage delivering a lecture about physical intimacy at The PIT Underground: Nic Cage Teaches Sex to Adults

7:30 pm ($10): Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Carole Montgomery (Comedy Central, Nick@Night), Rhonda Hansome, and Michele Carlo celebrate the birthday of Leighann Lord at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Eric Vetter: No Name Comedy Celebrates Leighann Lord’s Birthday

[$] 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!

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($16.82 online, $20 at the door—includes free beer and wine): At this best sexy NYC storytelling show, performers Katie Hartman (brilliant, fearless dark comedy writer/performer; sketch groups Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting and Hartman & Carl, PIT Saturday night improv group Gypsy Danger), Marie Faustin (UnofficialExpert), Rasheda S. Crockett (HINT), and Reyes M Suni (HBO’s Girls) tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at The Pleasure Chest (1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets) hosted by the wonderful Natalie Wall: Awkward Sex…and the City

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Krystyna Hutchinson (co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast, Carson Daly), Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV), Clark Jones (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), Greg Stone (America’s Got Talent, TruTV’s Friends of the People), Adam Mamawala (MTV’s Girl Code), and Gabriel Pacheco performing stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Casey Balsham: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($10): This inexpensive variety show features improv by groups #Hashtag, KnB, Lazy Fair, and Just Gravy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Really, Really Cheap Date Show

[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 Phoebe Tyers and Sebastian Conelli: The Friday Night Sh*w

8:30 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Amelia Bienstock in which she attempts to perform all of the musical Rent by herself in 30 minutes at the intimate PIT Attic (behind and above the Mainstage): Mealzy’s Manic Musicals: Rent

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): 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) at The PIT Mainstage: Star Wars: The Farce Awakens

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): Drunken actors perform a reading of William Wycherley’s play The Country Wife, with an interactive element that allows the audience to choose its own adventure, and decide which performers get totally sloshed and which get offstage. It all happens at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Gregorek: Drunk Restoration Comedy: The Country Wife

9:30 pm ($7): A one-man stand-up show by Shawn Wickens at the intimate PIT Attic (behind and above the Mainstage): Shawn Wickens: Insomniact (Redux)

9:30 pm ($7): A one-man stand-up show by Shawn Wickens at The PIT Underground: New Team Honeybear: The Friendship Test

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12):10:30 pm ($10): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Tami Sagher (co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; superb TV writer for HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer, NBC’s 30 Rock, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006), Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety), Michael Cruz Kayne (Funny or Die), and Mary Beth Barone performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[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): Two sitcom pilots are performed in a staged reading at The PIT Underground: Co-Pilots

10:30 pm ($7): Improv duo The Browns (Zac Brown & Mike Brown) make up scenes to the improvised music of viola players Lost Shoe, and also host fellow improv groups Rivals and People of Earth, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Browns Present

11:00 pm ($7): Comics perform “cold” in sketches they’ve never seen until they’re handed the pages moments before the show begins at The PIT Mainstage: Flying Blind

11:00 pm ($7): Levi Penley & Robert Price perform duo stand-up, improv, freestyle rap, and banjo, and tonight also host stand-up & improvisor Katie Barbaro, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Cheep Show

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): Pop-punk cabaret band My Dark Little Corner channels the sound & spirit of such bands as Green Day, Blink-182, and My Chemical Romance while performing sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: The My Dark Little Corner Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): Improv group Fuck That Shit, which won this year’s Cage Match Championship, performs two 25-minute sets in the style of Cage Match—but tonight competing with no one but itself—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Fuck That Shit: Fake Cage Match

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): Comics (not announced) perform stories and songs at this cabaret-style show backed by pianist Henry Koperski and friends at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones: A Lil’ Night Music: Comedians Singing

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] 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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