NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 4/24/17

Scott Adsit, Tami Sagher, Neil Casey, and Brian StackGenius improvisors Scott Adsit, Tami Sagher, Neil Casey, Brian Stack, and Michael Delaney spontaneously react to being thrust into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen or read; while steadfastly keeping to the script are Broadway, TV, and/or film stars Krysta Rodriguez (NBC’s Trial & Error and Smash; Broadway’s First Date), Cristin Milioti (FX’s Fargo, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, Broadway’s Once (Tony nominated), Amy Rutberg (CBS’ Bull, Netflix’s Daredevil, HBO’s Recount), Alvin Crawford (Broadway’s The Lion King, Candide, Buddy), and Carla Briscoe (Blue Caprice, Providence), all mixing it up for actor/director Stephen Ruddy‘s Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $7 (always rapidly sells out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing), UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th 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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm group Poor Melissa, which features superb comics Dana Shulman & Adrian Sexton—at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): A dozen PIT comics—who in the past have included such talents as Katie Hartman, Keisha Zollar, and Sarah Nowak—each have 5 minutes to perform a solo character piece at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The PIT Character Showcase Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nore Davis (Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Boardwalk Empire, Comedy Central’s Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, MTV) tries out new stand-up material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Nore Davis

7:00 pm ($7): Trio improv group Unicorn Women (Mary Bridget Welch, Virginia Hamilton, and Christine Lawless) host a show about accepting everyone at The PIT Mainstage: We Accept You: A Uni Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stellar storytellers Elna Baker (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), Katharine Heller (host of podcasts Tell The Bartender and The Struggle Bus; seminal improv group Naked in a Fishbowl), and Gaster Almonte (Comedy Central) share tales of courage and/or cowardice at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mara Wilson (former iconic child star of Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire; author of Where Am I Now?; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale): What Are You Afraid Of?

[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 Monday

7:30 pm ($7): A dozen improvisors impersonate a wide range of celebrities doing a fundraising show hosted by “Randy Newman” at The Magnet theatre: Randy Newman’s Very Good Telethon

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United) performs a solo stand-up show at the Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Judah Friedlander Live at Village Underground

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Jermaine Fowler (star of CBS sitcom Superior Donuts; star of Showtime special Give ‘Em Hell, Kid; MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), James Adomian (hilarious, super-charged character comic/impressionist; Trump Vs. Bernie, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central’s @midnight, The Meltdown, and Drunk History; IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang), Byron Bowers (Adam Levine’s House Party, The Eric Andre Show), Nour Hadidi, Ryan Beck, and Ester Steinberg perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) guest-hosted by 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): Night Train

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts an all-star lineup of Ryan Hamilton, Dan Soder, Paul Mecurio, Liza Treyger, Nick Griffin, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB East theatre, an improv show somehow performed in both English and Spanish by bilingual comics—including Charlie Todd and Morgan Miller—that springboards off an interview with an audience member about an experience in a Spanish-speaking country or with a Spanish-speaking person: Fifty/Cincuenta

…and in the second other of this double bill, singing & dancing improvisors make up a musical on the spot based on an audience member’s home town: Fancy Man

8:00 pm ($7): Musical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) from group Good Catch

8:00 pm ($10): A group of actors and improvisors attempt to duplicate the success of UCBT’s Gravid Water by putting improvisors in the middle of classic theatre scenes at The PIT Mainstage. UCBT uses top Broadway and improv talent for its show, making it extraordinary. The participants of this show aren’t quite at that level, but the format is so strong that this might work anyway, despite the awful title: The Actor’s Worst Nightmare

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Two scripted solo productions featuring multiple characters, with the first a one-man show by Woody Fu and the second a one-woman show by Chet Siegel, all at The Magnet theatre: Chinese Characters and Chewed Up

9:00 pm ($7): Improv teams make up scenes springboarding off 30-second videos they’ve never seen before at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by improv group Ice Cold Milk: Curated Chaos

9:30 pm ($7): Four indie improv groups—My First Tattoo, Just Gravy, The Wrasslers, and Rivals—each make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Rivals and Friends

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at this free weekly stand-up show at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 Fifth Avenue) hosted by Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love): Ed Sullivan on Acid

9:30 ($7): House sketch groups The Classic and Bundt try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($7): Seven sharp female UCB performers create comedy as a fundraiser for Callisto, a nonprofit that creates technology to combat sexual assault and support survivors, at the UCB East theatre: Enthusiastic Consent: A Comedy Show To Stop Perverts

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Improvisors & stand-ups perform a show based entirely around the oddball Twitter comments of superstar musician Kanye West at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brian Mitchell & Jose Acevedo: Kanye Confidential: Improvised Kanye Tweets

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 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), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’S Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Emily Galati (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing), Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Nick Youssef (NBC’s Animal Practice, host of Occasionally Awesome podcast), Jay Light, and Luz Pazos performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:00 pm ($7): Comedy groups are invited to perform any improv form (except montage) hosted by improv group My Brother’s Girlfriend at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Do Something Weird with My Brother’s Girlfriend

10:30 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray & Christina Dabney at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very best 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): Whiplash

11:00 pm ($7): Short stories are used as springboards for improvised scenes in this improv form created by Louis Kornfeld at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Fact or Fiction

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

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: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

11:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT Mainstage hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT Underground for this weekly open access show hosted by such improv talents as Gary DeNoia and Langston Belton at The PIT Underground: Base 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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