NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 4/26/17

Tonight’s @midnight promises to be especially fun, with long-time NYC comics Ophira Eisenberg and Henry Zebrowski (now in LA), plus comedy legend Maria Bamford and genius host Chris Hardwick, at 11:30 pm and 2:10 am on Comedy Central

Julio TorresJulio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) hosts a talk show built around him and his friends for one night only: Night Late: Julio Torres (11:00 pm, $5, 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-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:15 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:00 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Noah Forman & Kristen Acimovic host this new version of game show Jeopardy!, “which already totally rocks. New rules, tweaks, and surprises make it rock even harder, leading three money-grubbing contestants through a gut-busting gauntlet of tough trivia, confounding clues, and emotional soul-searching,” with guest comics Connor Ratliff (brilliant improvisor & sketch comic; The Stepfathers, The George Lucas Talk Show), Michael Kayne (improv groups Baby Wants Candy, What I Did for Love), and Diana Kolsky (film Nerve; co-host of Ménage à Trois) at the UCB Chelsea theatre (307 West 26th Street): Better Jeopardy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Phenom journalist & critic Jason Zinoman (covers comedy for The New York TImes) is interviewed about his bestselling new book Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night by Mike Sachs at the Park Slope, Brooklyn Community Bookstore (143 Seventh Avenue): Jason Zinoman in Conversation with Mike Sachs

[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

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, 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): Improv group On a Friday performs with guests at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): On a Friday + Friends

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Settle back for an evening of Southern-style tall tales from Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Jean Grae (famed rapper and comic), Maeve Higgins (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Cool Kids),Shalewa Sharpe (comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Will Spann as Pop-Pop, an improvisational storyteller who lets questions from the audience shape his adventures as he tells them, all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here): Storytime with Pop-Pop

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): The popular political comedy podcast Applying It Liberally goes live on stage to dissect the first 100 days of the Trump administration with hosts Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central) & Andrew Kimler (NBC) and guests Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Allison Kilkenny (MSNBC, The Nation), and Akilah Huges at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Applying It Liberally Live: 100 Days Down

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, 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) and a 10:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

7:30 pm ($5): Extending the improv showcased at UCB Chelsea’s Tuesday Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features house groups Horse Girl, Top Heavy, and Judy Big Mouth also making up scenes via the long improv form called The Harold: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with stand-ups Dave Hill, Judy Gold, Nick Griffin, Dov Davidoff, Mike Vecchione, and Dave Juskow, plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, all at the Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue) hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Sharp storytellers Ashley Brooke Roberts, Adam Wade, Matt Dennie, and Louis Katz tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Most Passionate at UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street) hosted by David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives: Most Passionate

8:00 pm ($7): “King Zebra has a full black cast (including Ray Morency from Off Top, David Bell, and Raquel Palmas), and we want to do an improv show based around the theme ‘black lives laughter'” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): King Zebra Safari

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

8:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Tahlia Robinson playing “a time traveler, a self-indulgent protagonist, a deal closer, and a charming forgetful matriarch” at The PIT Underground: The Real Bubble Lives of Building 104

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers), Paul Mecurio (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, HBO), Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled and co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band), Phil Hanley (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Craig Ferguson, former host of Chemistry), and Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Bravo, Oxygen) perform stand-up at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street) hosted by Mike Finoia (Producer for TruTV’s Impractical Jokers; host of Jamcast): Hot Seat Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Ben Hague (Craig Ferguson), Karen Summerton (SNL), Rob Ryan, Fumi Abe, Cate Weinberg, and Wanjiko Eke performing stand-up for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($10): This month’s theme is Love, featuring an actual first date on stage, loveable puppets, and more from five-guy improv group No Feelings at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): No Feelings: Love

9:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up scenes with the lights turned off, using everyday objects to add layers of sound—like a radio play created on the spot—at The PIT Underground: Blackout: Improv in the Dark

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv troupes perform, plus a final set by host group New Greta, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): New Greta Has Friends: Indie Improv

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a one-woman show by Hallie Haas celebrating PBS and tits: Masterpiece Classic: Women in Art

…and in the other half of this double-bill, dynamite comics Aaron Jackson, Brandon Scott Jones, Josh Sharp, Jeff Hiller, and Brian Faas promise “You are going to turn Gay, and you are going to love it:” We Will Turn You Gay

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Stand-ups perform—until the audience decides they’re done!—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mark Reiss: Slaughter House Live

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7): This double-bill of one-woman shows begins with Lois Dilivio as “German pianist Olgita von Krakow teaching her last masterclass, as memories of her childhood sexual abuse crack through the surface, revealing both her damage and resilience;” and then Amanda Miller is “15-year-old Kevin sent to Camp Smile Power, an anger management camp, on a plea bargain with the Brooklyn Justice system. His crime? Throwing a rock at Donald Trump’s head” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Olgita von Krakow’s Last Masterclass and Camp Smile Power: Curing Anger One Smile at a Time

10:00 pm ($7): Improv group Pony Danza performs and hosts other indie improv groups at The PIT Underground: A Dog & Pony Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

Wednesday 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

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: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Anthony Velez: Recess

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

11:00 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic that provides 5 minutes per comic, with sign-up at 10:00 pm (maximum of 12 comics, so arrive early), at The PIT Underground hosted by Max Halpert: Awkward High Five Open Mic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans: The Improv 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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