NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 5/7/17

David Carl: "Trump Lear" David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live) has a new one-man show, this time “about a fictional solo performer named Carl David who receives critical acclaim playing President Trump doing King Lear by himself. President Trump hears about Carl’s parody and requests Mr. David’s presence.” Considering a series of bizarre events eventually led David to change the title of his award-winning one-man show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet, this show just might be inspired by actual events (albeit that have nothing to do with Trump…). Come judge for yourself at Trump Lear (2:00 pm, $20, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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:

[$] 2:00 pm ($20): This musical with puppets is a family-friendly and interactive reinvention of the fairy tale The Three Billy Goats that urges the audience to work at improving the environment. Today’s performance at The PIT Mainstage is the NYC premiere of Gruff!

[$] 5:00 pm ($15): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Show Up

6:00 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, and Brian Urreta of improv group The Mannequin Room: Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ryan Hamilton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with consistently fresh ideas and great crafting of language; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime) performs a rare NYC solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Ryan Hamilton Doing His Hour

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Solo character bits by Laura Shepard, David Bluvband, James III, Christine Piñeiro, Liz Leimkuhler, and Sarah Smallwood at The PIT Mainstage: Avocado Toast: A Character Show

[$] 7:00 pm ($15): In this musical written & directed by Elias Rubin, the 3rd graders of TV series The Magic Schoolbus have grown up and are enjoying their last day of high school…when their former teacher Ms. Frizzle abruptly reappears to take them on an out-of-this-world adventure at The PIT Mainstage: The Edge of the Universe: A Magic School Bus Musical Parody

7:00 pm ($5): Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Courtenay Fearrington perform stand-up, plus improv from group Snapshirt, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle: The Dream Team Variety Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nine-person improv group The Internet Disagrees makes stuff up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Internet Disagrees

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($25): Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien), 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), David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Caroline Rhea Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Comedy Central; feature films Man in the Moon, Christmas With the Kranks, The Perfect Man), and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): 4th Annual Grist Comedy Extravaganza

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A highly popular NYC stand-up who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel; starred in his own Comedy Central Presents half-hour special; and was a writer and correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Hari Kondabolu

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among five shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($7): Keith Alberstadt (David Letterman, Seth Meyers, VH1, contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Saurin Choksi, Alyssa Wolff, Kristal Adams, and Tamer Kattan perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Shulman and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT Underground: Student Driver: Indie Road

7:30 pm ($7): Improv from two groups at The Magnet theatre: Lack Lobster and Gyre

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm ($14.80 online using discount code BOX!2, otherwise $18): My favorite FringeNYC 2016 show (out of over 60 seen) was a production taking place entirely inside a box, written & performed by breathtakingly talented sketch comic/actress/writer/singer Dominique Salerno (for my review, please click here). This amazing production is now enjoying a revival running Sundays at 8:30 pm at The PIT Mainstage through June 11th. Take advantage of this wonderful chance to experience The Box Show

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a brand new play in the style of William Shakespeare at The PIT Underground: As You Will: Shakespearean Improv

[$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jared Freid (Comedy Central) and Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy) each perform a headlining stand-up set at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Jared Freid and Nimesh Patel

8:30 pm ($5): Musicians and/or comics perform and are interviewed about “that one song you’ll never forget” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): For one night only, duo improv from Magnet co-owner & master improvisor Armando Diaz and Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Diaz & Andrews

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts), Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Maria Heinegg, Brent Gill, and Jono Zalay perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv groups make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ian Herrin: The Ian Herrin Improv Hour

9:30 pm ($7): Improv group Higgins looks at the Instagram photos of audience members and then uses them as springboards for comedy scenes at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: The Instagram Show

[ALMOST FREE] 10:00 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics, Open Stages, and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

5:30 pm ($3): Email Michelle Thomas at improv10000hrs@gmail.com to improvise with experienced PIT performers at The PIT Underground: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($10, or just $1 with student ID): Students from all around the city are invited to come watch and perform improv scenes at The PIT Underground: NYC Student Improv Jam

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 11:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team 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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