NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 4/9/17

April 9, 2017

Dick GregoryA pioneering and legendary political comic who broke racial barriers for stand-ups and sparked numerous conversations around the country about race probably has some things to say about our current administration while he headlines tonight and Monday at Carolines: Dick Gregory (7:30 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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] Noon-2:00 pm: The NYC comedy and other performing arts communities gather to discuss surviving, thriving, and taking action over the next four years of a clown residing in the White House. Plus there’s usually free coffee and/or donuts. Join in at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by comedic storytellers Brad Lawrence & Cyndi Freeman: The Underground Service

[TOP PICK] 1:00 pm-10:00 pm ($15-$25 per show): Top NYC-based podcasts with a sense of humor are spotlighted live on stage one last day at this annual festival at Brooklyn’s Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue). Shows that haven’t yet sold out are The Bowery Boys (NYC history), Broadwaystead (NYC theatre), Risk! (comedic storytelling), and Snap Impression Live (celebrity impersonations). To learn more and/or buy tickets, please click NYC Podfest.

[TOP PICK] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm (no cover charge, but 1-drink min.): For two back-to-back live podcast recordings, comics Jenni Ruiza (Fusion’s Come Here and Say That) and David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; Solocom; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) 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

[$] 5:00 pm ($20): This musical with puppets is a family-friendly and interactive reinvention of the fairy tale The Three Billy Goats that urges the audience to work at improving the environment. Today’s performance at The PIT Mainstage is the NYC premiere of Gruff!

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Magnet instructors and other top improvisors—including Ed Herbstman, Louis Kornfeld, and Sebastian Conelli—perform “the most grounded, organic, and simplified scenes ever” at The Magnet theatre: Whizbang

6:00 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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Storyteller Lyssa Mandel invites comics to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws,” with tonight’s guests Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor, character comic, and singer; FringeNYC), Jenn Dodd (extreme character comic), and Peter Michael Marino (Edinburgh Fringe; comedy producer & coach), all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Bitch Seat

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A sketch comedy double-bill from Dinosaur Jones, a group that’s “part adventure, part absurdity, and all comedy” and The Executives, a tie-wearing group that leverages physical comedy, all at The Magnet theatre: Dinosaur Jones and The Executives

7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, and 9:00 pm ($5 per show): The wonderful Ronny Pascale has quickly thrown together three back-to-back shows tonight at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) that he’s calling a “Pop-Up Comedy Fest,” but really are curated collections of smorgasbord comedy. Featured at 7:00 pm are stand-ups Will Carey and Gianmarco Soresi, sketch group Backdoor Barbecue, and improv group And Friends. Performing at 8:00 pm are stand-up Shawn Wickens, storytellers Chloe Canahauti and Jewel Elizabeth, and improv groups The Doug Funnies and Just Gravy. And at 9:00 pm are stand-ups Dipti Goel, Natty Bumpercar, Charlotte Otremba, and Justin Perez, character comic Chris Mann, and improv groups Personal Policy and Thank You For Your Cervix.

7:00 pm ($7): A team of over a dozen improvisors create a complete feature film on the spot springboarding off an audience suggestion at The PIT Mainstage: Picture Show

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Matt Wayne (Adam Devine’s House Party, co-host of See You in Hell), Megan Gailey (Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party), Joe Kwaczala (Funny or Die), Peet Guercio (MTV), and Cherith Fuller (Reductress) performing stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Robert Dean (Comedy Central): If You Build It

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): SNL’s Sasheer Zamata hosts comics Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien), Nore Davis (Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Boardwalk Empire, Comedy Central’s Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, MTV), and Ana Fabrega (Comedy Central, IFC, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show, host of Over the Eight), plus Brooklyn-based musical trio Invisible Familiars (Jared Samuel, Rachel Housle, and Adam Brisbin), all performing at at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Sasheer Zamata Party Time

8:00 pm ($7): A play about a 12-year-old girl named Beatrice “B.B.” Baxter battling through the nine circles of Hell to find and rescue her older brother, who was abruptly killed in a car accident, at The PIT Mainstage: B.B.’s Inferno: The Finale

8:30 pm ($7): The screening of a film created by gathering a massive number of Middle School history projects and then using them to tell a history of the United States, plus a pre-screening Q&A session with the movie’s director/producer Daniel Ahrens, all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The History Project Q&A and Screening

8:30 pm ($5): How can you resist a show that describes itself as “long form improvisation…with God”? The nine comics performing include the stellar Adrian Sexton—and, of course, the Almighty (whose sense of humor is undeniable)—at The PIT Underground: GodProv

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Melissa Villaseñor (talented force-of-nature new cast member of Saturday Night Live), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, MTV), Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live), Megan Gailey (Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party), Giulio Gallarotti, and Joe Kwaczala perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Rick Andrews & guest Jess Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Andrews & Andrews

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Group Medusa turns a calamity selected by the an audience member into an improvised documentary live on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Medusa Presents Improv Against Humanity

9:30 pm ($7): Improv group Higgins looks at the Instagram photos of audience members and then uses them as springboards for comedy scenes at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: The Instagram Show

[$] 9:30 pm ($20-$30): MTV’s Wild ‘N Out comics Chico Bean, Karious Miller, and Darren Brand perform stand-up for one night only at The PIT Mainstage: We Got Jokes

Sunday Open Mics, Open Stages, and Jams

[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

5:30 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] 11:00 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…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.

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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