NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/29/17

Aparna Nancherla and Jo FirestoneAparna 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), Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Found Footage Festival (hilariously odd amateur videos discovered by Joe Pickett & Nick Prueher), Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani), Gary Richardson, Luther Bangert, Joe Bonacci, and Michael Canfield perform at this benefit for the Brooklyn Free Clinic: This Won’t Hurt (7:00 pm, $15-$20, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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] 2:30 pm: A rare daytime stand-up show, providing comics with different challenges each month at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Late Late Breakfast

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

6:00 pm ($7): Brooke Eliot & Christina Friel perform duo improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Madonna and Child

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

6:30 pm ($10): 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] [$] 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’

[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

7:00 pm ($10): Springboarding off the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, this show pits three improv groups against each other by making them meet multiple challenges while encouraging them to try to sabotage each other at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Harry Marker: Cutthroat Improv

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2 makes up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2

[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 one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Nore Davis

[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 Chris Duffy—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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($8): David Feldman (Comedy Central Half Hour, co-creator of The Jack and Triumph Show) debuts this live-on-stage version of his podcast interviewing comics, with tonight’s guests Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV) and Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!, host of New York City Crime Report podcast) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The David Feldman Show

7:30 pm ($10): Improvisors Katie Hammond & Daniel Tepper create a musical on the spot based on a location invented by an audience member at The PIT Underground: What Town? (The Musical)

[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 comedy, 9:30 pm music ($25): This fundraiser for immigrant assistance programs features comedy from Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Ful Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Tim Ellis (Onion News Network, FringeNYC; comedic music album Casual Pimpin’), Melanie Martinez (VH1, PBS), Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), and Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired); plus music by band Modern Beast at 9:30 pm, and an art show by Sally Erskine, all at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): No Walls Party: Immigration Rights Benefit

8:00 pm ($5): Philadelphia comics Beth Eisenberg & Ralph Andracchio screen oddball porn clips to kick off interviews with a wide range of people at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Beth & Ralph’s Porn Stash

8:00 pm ($10): Emmy Blotnick (rising star; staff writer & warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s spectacular The President Show; writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), J. P. McDade, Ali Kolbert, and Craig Friedman perform stand-up at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Abeles: Hey Guys!

[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): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Casey James Salengo, and Maurice Licorish at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live

9:30 pm ($10): Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement in The New York Times at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements

9:30 pm ($10): A 5-man improv group consisting of Matt Higgins, Rory Scholl, Patrick McCartney, Jay Rhoderick, and Nick Balanan organically makes up weird scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Rutger Hauer Players

[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] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Comics chat about utterly bizarre news stories at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brent Gill: Infauxmation

[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—which this week is Experimental Theatre Edition—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Experimental Theatre Edition

[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): Improv group Physically Bold Comedy performs, and hosts stand-up by Alyssa Limperis, and characters by Nanie Mendez and Eric Feuer, all at The PIT Underground: Physically Bold Comedy

11:00 pm ($7): A six-person group sings songs about plants and conquering evil, and also hosts guests, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Moff Póres Presents The Last Earth Day

[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 ($7): A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Join gay-ass hosts Dave Mizzoni & Matt Rogers as they gay up the straights through games and trivia. Life lines include one woke woman and a wise queer. Come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck!” at the UCB East theatre: GAYme Show

11:30 pm ($5): Comics pretend to be infants at The PIT Underground: Babies Night

[FREE] Midnight: “A psychedelic journey through space-time. The stand-ups on this show have seen the other side. They have surfed the waves of consciousness and mastered their superego to a near shamanic level. They are here to guide you on a quest of understanding and wonder. Also, they’re going to be tripping balls” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by “the spirit animal of Evan Jones:” The Only One Tripping

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

[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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Lady 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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