NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 4/11/17

April 11, 2017

"David Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night" by Jason ZinomanNational treasure Jason Zinoman, who covers comedy for The New York Times, performed a mind-boggling amount of research and insightful analysis to create the definitive book on one of the most seminal artists of our time. The result is Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night, which is being released today, and which you should buy and devour. For a sharp review of the book from New York Times critic Tom Carson, please click here. I’ll have some things to add after reading the book (pre-ordered, so the copy from Amazon.com is on its way); plus (barring unexpected snags) by the end of this month I’ll be editing & posting an audio interview Jason was generous enough to grant me. To learn more about the book, and/or to order what I’m guessing is one of the all-time great comedy biographies, please click here.

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 ($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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show) tries out new stand-up material every night through Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Lucas Connolly

7:00 pm (no cover charge but 2-drink min.): Musical comedy duo Squirm and Germ premiere their music video “Man Titties,” and put on a show with Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Angel Yau, Christian Polanco, and more at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Squirm and Germ Music VIdeo Debut Party

7:00 pm ($7): A showcase for brand new scripted shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—this week featuring sketch comedy by groups Free Beer and The WTF is Prime Time Players, and stand-up by Mary Martin, all at The PIT Underground produced by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

7:00 pm ($7): Improv group Honey performs and hosts other groups at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Honey and Friends

[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 Tuesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Stand-up stars 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), Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), and Robert Kelly (Louie, HBO, CBS’ upcoming The 2-2, two Comedy Central specials) perform at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street) hosted by Joe List for this fundraiser for a little girl stricken by brain cancer: Comedy for Mackenzie

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club

8:00 pm ($7): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, tonight features screenings of select films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. The shorts receiving the most audience votes get to continue with additional episodes, while the others are “canceled” at Channel 101

8:00 pm ($5): UCB house groups Ice Cold Bev and Fluffty make up scenes using the long improv form called The Harold at the UCB Chelsea theatre (see also 9:30 pm): Harold Night, Part 1

[FREE; plus FREE DRAFT BEER 8:00-8:30!] 8:00 pm: Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Half Hour), Yedoye Travis (Stephen Colbert), Jenn Welch (co-host of Stand-Up Showdown and The Guilt Trip), and Sam & Bill perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Two Boots Pizza Williamsburg (558 Driggs Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly, David Piccolomini, and Jake Fromm: Ambush Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Kerry Coddett (The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off, TruTV), Yedoye Travis (Hulu), and Andrew Collin perform stand-up hosted by Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Charles Gould (Comedy Central), and Dan Licata (The Chris Gethard Show) at Brooklyn’s NY Distilling Company (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

8:30 pm ($5): Latino comics perform storytelling, improv, and/or more at The PIT Underground: Latinx

[TOP PICK] 9:00ish pm ($10): Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), and Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love) perform at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) guest-hosted by Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up): Sweet

9:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups Alison Klemp, Jenn Wehrung, Jordan Temple, Mark Reiss, and Fumi Abe are challenged to make up self-important lectures based on topics provided to them on the spot—e.g., “If McDonalds can serve breakfast all day, then shouldn’t I be able to own a gun?” and “‘Do iPhones fool the elderly into thinking they’re living in the future?”—at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ryan Stanisz: Stand-Ups Improvise TED Talks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Luke Mones, Erica Spera, John Bilancini, Danny Rathbun, and Momoh Pujeh perform after being introduced by “gloriously bad metalcore music” at Brooklyn’s Tender Trap (66 Greenpoint Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Justin Hancock: Buttery Riffz

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Emmy Blotnick (writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Mike Finoia, and Jono Zalay present funny lectures on silly topics—which tonight include “Smoking: A Cool Thing to Do,” “Living to 100 and Other Mistakes,” and “Surrendered to the Phlow: My 22 Years Following Phish”—at the UCB East theatre produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; producer of If You Build It) and hosted by Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York, upcoming comedy album I Was in Band): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series

9:30 pm ($5): UCB house groups Moose and Mermaids make up scenes using the long improv form called The Harold at the UCB Chelsea theatre (see also 8:00 pm): Harold Night, Part 2

9:30 pm ($7): In this unique show, improvisors make up a complete family & friends intervention based on an audience suggestion at The PIT Underground: Impro-vention

9:30 pm ($7): A comedic political talk show with a Middle East slant at The PIT Mainstage hosted by “a real live brown person,” Mehdi Barakchian (co-host of Brunch Night, improv group Kibbles and Bits): Passport Control

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform for this show that likes to brag about how great it is at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Brian Bahe & Stu Melton: Hyperbole

11:00 pm ($5): First-generation Americans swap personal stories and then use them as springboards for improv scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Living Room: The First Generation

11:00 pm ($5): Going beyond the classic Harold, group The Book performs whatever type of long form improv it likes at the UCB East theatre: Harold on the Run

Tuesday 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

6:00 pm ($3): A chance for gals to get on stage and improvise with veteran female comics at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Blair Silverman and friends: Lady Jam

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: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Lukas Kaiser, Jimmy LeChase, and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge (it’s usually upstairs; the location change is for this week only) hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

9:00 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic for solo characters at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Douglas Widick: Fresh! Character Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 8:30) at Brooklyn’s Little Skips (941 Willoughby Avenue) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Tuesday Night Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tuesday After Class: Slow Jam

11:00 pm ($5): Ten stand-ups whose names are drawn from a “golden bowl of destiny” will be given stage time, along with a few invited stand-ups, at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Will Purpura: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

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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