NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/22/17

Leslie Goshko's "The Real Housewives of Columbo"It’s the 1970’s. The cocktail parties are glamorous, the brandy snifters abound, the clothes are colorfully polyester—and when foul play occurs, homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo is on the case. But behind every man’s untimely death remains a shattered housewife who wants answers. Join Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) as she and guests Gary Burton, Tamra Paselk, and Jan TIlley present this comedic musical-mystery show where day-drinking is glamorous and chain-smoking the norm. Play detective and receive clues from live musical performances, overly dramatic pauses, and more. And just when you think you have the case solved, there’s “one more thing”…there always is when you’re dealing with The Real Housewives of Columbo (6:00 pm; $10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show often sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia 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] [$] 3:00 pm ($15): Grammy-nominated family comic Billy Kelly performs a squeaky-clean matinee show for all ages—but especially recommended for kids 8 and up—at The PIT Underground: Billy Kelly’s Family Comedy Show

6:00 pm ($7): Group Daddy’s Ghost hosts improv, sketch, and/or more at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Eulogy: A Variety Show

6:00 pm ($7): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

6:00 pm ($5): Four indie improv troupes perform at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 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 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 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 Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($12): Improv group Women and Men interview audience members about a weird and/or wild birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, or other social gathering and then make up scenes based on those anecdotes at the UCB East theatre: Women and Men: Party Jumpin’

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

7:00 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group BBC2 (which includes Patrick McCartney, Raquel Powell, Jennifer Bareilles, and Kevin Scott) make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: BBC2

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Bryan Berlin—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

7:30 pm ($10): Comics (not announced) share with you things they feel you really ought to know at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Colum Tyrrell & Lev Fer: Sh*t You Should Know: An Educational Comedy Show

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($53 & 2-drink min.) A writer/comic who plays Leon Black on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has performed on Saturday Night Live, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, The Chris Rock Show, and in such feature films as Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds, headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club: JB Smoove

7:30 pm ($10): Married couple Jordan & Amanda Hirsch perform a comedic play about their everyday lives at The PIT Underground: Til Death

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): A mashup of stand-up, sketch, and minor league sports gimmickry—cheap beer, mascots, questionable seat upgrades, kiss cameras, hot dog cannons, and more—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Instantacular

8:00 pm ($7): Skilled improvisors David Rysdahl & Paul Gutkowski make up a play on the spot at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) as improv duo True East

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): A show celebrating a modern dating site, with guests Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert) and Sady Doyle (writer for The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Rookie; author of book Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock and Fear, and Why) and host Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeneys), playing around with Tinder at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Tinder Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long-form improv group makes up scenes with fierce musical energy at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Caroline Cotter, Joanna Bradley, David Bluvband, and Zach Cherry at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A talk & variety show that spotlights character comics Julie A. Feltman, Tessa Claire Hersh, Lauren Ireland, Ren Peir, Adrien Pellerin, and Tom Sanchez, plus stand-up by Natasha Vaynblat and musical guest Adrien Pellerin, all performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC): This Live Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($5, or Free if you show up at 8:00 pm): Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Brian Rabideu, Ashley Hamilton, Neil Constantine, and Ayanna Dookie perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($15): Dynamite comedy duo Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg (producers & stars of Blogologues) share audience break-up texts, plus screen shots of their favorite relationship dumps found on the Net, in this fast-paced and hilarious interactive show at The PIT Mainstage: How to Break Up By Text

9:30 pm ($10): Jay Light (Comedy Central), JC Best (co-host of podcast Trans Talk), and more perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tracey Carnazzo: Hashtag Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each time—which this week is Experimental Theatre—at The Magnet: The Cast: Experiemental Theatre

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show from Matt Mitchell “as he journeys back across his life, reflecting on the girls he fell so hard for and those who broke his heart in a million little pieces” at The PIT Underground: Where the Hell Have You Been

10:30 pm ($7): A variety show that incorporates tarot cards—show up an hour early for a free reading—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups who are single each perform a set and then participate in a dating game show, choosing among three mystery contestants based on their online dating profiles at The PIT Mainstage: Tinderella

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein and hosted by Judith George: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Nathan Macintosh (Conan O’Brien), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Jolenta Greenberg share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby (VICE): It’s a Long Story

11:30 pm ($5): “In a post-apocalyptic world now dominated by rats, a writer comedian wants to fulfill her/his dream of selling a TV pilot to a network television (or Netflix). So with the first draft ready, she/he embarks on a journey across Bushwick and New York City to pitch to the presumably still alive network (rat) executives” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Chumble

11:30 pm ($7): A one-man show by Dekunle during which he might sing, play guitar and piano and drums, and express reservations about living at The PIT Underground: Dekunle Wants to Die

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

Midnight ($7): Sketch groups Austin Rye and Terrorbird compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alden Ford & Justin Tyler: Backyard Brawl

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

6:00 pm ($7): A walk-in open mic for any form of poetry, memorized or improvised, at The PIT Underground: The PIT Poetry Slam

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

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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