NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 5/1/17

Judy Greer and Judah FriedlanderJudah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United)…

Jena Friedman and Sarah SilvermanJena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Jordan Temple (writer for MTV’s Decoded), and Kerry Coddett (The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off, TruTV) perform stand-up guest-hosted by Alex English: Night Train (8:00 pm; $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street, take R subway to Union 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

7:00 pm ($7): Musical improv group Mom’s in Town promises “ridiculous dance moves, mad melodies, and in-your-face comedy…loud, emotional, and made up on the spot” at The PIT Mainstage: Mom’s in Town

7:00 pm ($7): Improv groups Coffee N Cream, Mommie Dearest, and Ragdoll play a challenging Groundhog Day game: Perform a monoscene, then repeat it over and over with less time on the clock—specifically, first 5 minutes, then 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, and finally 15 seconds. Team members switch roles and try to hit all the same beats and moments in each rendition of the same scene. It all happens at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Improv Groundhog Day

[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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: 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), Jen Kwok (MTV, Date an Asian), Vicky Kuperman (comedy album All Good), and Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party, This American Life) perform stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) hosted by Mindy Raf (stellar one-woman show Saving My Kidneys; MTV’s Girl Code, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as singing alter ego Leibya Rogers) & Katie Compa: Golden Spiral Comedy

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Stockton and Kinfolk perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($7): Rejected New Yorker cartoons presented by New Yorker cartoonists Jeremy Nguyen and Ellis Rosen; plus stand-up by Rae Sanni (writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show), musician Daniel Koren, an interview with Phil Hartman (owner of Two Boots Pizza), and an NYC trivia contest (with prizes) conducted by Jamela Zarha Williams, all at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen: Downtown Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Mark Normand, Michelle Wolf, Ryan Hamilton, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a faux TV episode by sketch group Nipsey in which “As a father/daughter duo, Albert and Corinne work great. As co-owners of a cigar store-turned-vape shop, they’ve got a lot to learn! And when the big Vape Expo comes to town Darcy, Gayle, and Heath have kooky ideas about how to make waves!:” Nipsey: Vape Lyfe

…and in the second other of this double bill, an ever-changing group of eight improvisors—who tonight include Brian Faas and Morgan Philips—make up scenes to delight you: An Improv Show

8:00 pm ($5): Producers, writers, and other staff members of TruTV show Impractical Jokers improvise scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Impractical Jokers Staff Infection

[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] 8:30 pm ($6): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Justin Herman, Brian McGuinness, and Liam McEneaney at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

9:00 pm ($7): Talented comics do solo characters—this month each exclusively performing material created by a writer friend he or she has chosen—at The Magnet theatre hosted by Ari Miller & Elena Skopeto: Character Bash

[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) & Richard James: Ed Sullivan on Acid

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Stand-ups Missy Baker, Brad Austin, Dan Perlman, Matt Bachus, and Jim Search perform for this biweekly show at Astoria Queens’ Passage Irish Bar and Kitchen (40-11 30th Avenue) produced & hosted by Adam Sokol, Tim Unkenholz, Lindsay Boling, and/or Bryan Yang: Ares-toria Comedy

9:30 ($7): House sketch groups Cha-Cha and Pretty Boys try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Chelsea Clarke, Anthony Apruzzese, and/or Steve Theiss host and perform this show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

9:30 pm ($7): Two indie improv groups (not announced) perform the classic long form called The Harold at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Bluetooth Night

[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), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Samantha Ruddy, Mike Lebovitz, Kelsey Cook, Amy Shanker, and Dave Merheje perform stand-up at one of best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no cost to you (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to) for 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): Sixteen comics are given 3½ minutes each to perform whatever they want—comedy, drama, interpretive art—at The PIT Mainstage: Bit Purge

10:30 pm ($7): Improv trios Boyz Club, Not Safe for Work, AVA, and host Eaves (Molly Kiernan, Sam Johnson, and Michael Stevens) make up three-person scenes at The Magnet theatre: Three’s Company

10:30 pm ($7): An improvisor from the Philippines and another from Poland make up scenes as a duo at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Unexpected Duo

[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

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 & Situ Mel ton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm ($3): A walk-in stand-up open mic hosted by Katherine Dudas and a walk-in improv jam hosted by Collin Gossel somehow happen at the same time at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Improv Open Mic Stand-Up Jam

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to make up scenes in a 7-minute set with veteran improvisors who are supporting diverse voices at The Magnet theatre: Diversity Jam

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for telling stories or jokes about sex, desire, and romance, with each performer getting 7 minutes at The Delancey (168 Delancey Street) produced by Ames Beckerman: Safe Word: The Sexiest Open Mic in NYC

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Chelsea Clarke, Anthony Apruzzese, and/or Steve Theiss host and perform in this show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

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: 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

[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

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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