NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 6/1/17

June 1, 2017

Catch a fresh episode of one of the best shows on TV, Anthony Atamanuik’s brilliant The President Show, at 11:30 pm on Comedy Central

Norm MacdonaldHilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. (Norm is also famous for telling this Moth joke on Conan.) Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. In addition, Norm has written for Roseanne, acted on such prime-time sitcoms as ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and NBC’s NewsRadio, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. But what Norm may be proudest of is his stand-up, and this razor-sharp comic is well worth catching. Headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald (7:30 pm & 9:30 pm, $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

The Judy Garland Show…and superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman (musical improv group Vern, musical parody series Unauthorized!) hosts a sketch & cabaret show as Judy Garland, joined by ace singer/impersonators Matt Giroveanu (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, Vern) as Frank Sinatra and Jay Malsky (above right; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) as Elaine Stritch, with Jody Shelton (co-writer of hit parody 50 Shades: The Musical; renowned musical improv group Baby Wants Candy) on piano: The Judy Garland Show (9:00, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th 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:

7:00 pm ($7): Suburban New Jersey sketch group Kiss on the Lips performs in this monthly show at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Kiss on the Lips

7:00 pm ($7): Improv group Rebel 5 performs and hosts other indie improv groups at The PIT Mainstage : Rebel 5 Indie Rally

[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 three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Billy on the Street), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, VICE’s Flophouse, comedy album Glass Gutter), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), Gordon Baker-Bone, and Hannah Boone perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($7): Improv groups Coffee N Cream and Rebel 5 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 Underground, plus an opening set from stand-up Gregory W. Hall: Improv Groundhog Day

7:30 pm ($7): Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), Wendi Starling (Fuse.TV, Playboy Radio, co-produces GlamourPuss), Alia Janine, and this show’s producer Kaytlin Bailey perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ceyenne Doroshow, with ticket sales benefiting the Sex Worker Project at the Urban Justice Center: Sex Workers Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($30): Award-winning Australian sketch trio Aunty DonnaMark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane—perform “surreal fast-paced little plays, clever dances, and goofy characters” (click for video samples) one last night in Brooklyn as part of its world tour:at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Aunty Donna: New Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch gals Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece are hilarious playing 13-year-old boys who are “the Internet’s most viral, most teenage, and most white hip hop duo:” Famous Male Duo

…and in the second other of this double bill, gal duo Amanda Giobbi & Kelley Quinn perform a Top 40 music-driven sketch show: Power Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A classic play by Pulitzer & Tony Award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley is performed by Alexis Di Gregorio, Nicholas Thomas, and George Walsh with direction by Patrick McCartney at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Dreamer Examines His Pillow

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Junk Food (embracing pure absurdity and silliness, making you laugh without thinking), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages 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), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), plus regulars Josiah Madigan & Brock Mahan, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Kevin McCaffrey: Serious Matters

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jackknife Comedy

8:00 pm ($7): Trio improv group Unicorn Women (Mary Bridget Welch, Virginia Hamilton, and Christine Lawless) host a show about embracing diversity at The PIT Mainstage: We Accept You: A Uni Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts a great lineup of Gary Gulman, Joe Machi, Liza Treyger, Nimesh Patel, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live), Ramy Youssef (Stephen Colbert), and Scott Dooley (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out and Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) & Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code): Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($8): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Lauren Maul, Chewy May, and Suzanne Lea Shepherd perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Liz Simons & Jenn Wehrung: Laugh It Up, Astoria

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Dynamite musical improvisors including Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Lauren Adams, Josh Sharp, Jeff Hiller, and/or more destroyed 10 improv groups in a row this year at Cage Match. Come see why audiences can’t resist how these superb comics make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[$] 9:30 pm ($15): Comics who are immigrants, naturalized citizens, or first generation Americans share their stories, and improvisors then use the tales as springboards to make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Undocumented: Immigrant Stories

10:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Malú Huacuja del Toro described as “a politically incorrect monologue on how to be a Mexican feminist in 15 minutes” at The PIT Underground: Quixota in the Time of Trump

[FREE] 10:00 pm: In between the sets of NYC stand-ups (not announced), host Abby Feldman (Netflix, Redacted Tonight) provides advice to audience members…while lounging in a bathtub! It all happens at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Moist

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Improv group Funky Hard Beats has indeed been hard to beat, having won five times in a row, including last week’s 92-69 triumph against team Snapshirt. Tonight FHB defends against UCB Harold improv group Women & Men, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Adult Swim, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show;), Sudi Green (writer for Saturday Night Live), Rhonda Hansome (Louie), Carmen Christopher (Comedy Central), and William Martinez do stand-up or something else comedic for this show that encourages them to perform whatever they’re most passionate about at the UCB East theatre hosted by Nicole Pasquale: WOKE AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show

11:00 pm ($7): Improv with feedback at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

11:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up scenes revolving around the fact there’s a dead body in the story at The PIT Underground: Dead Body

Thursday 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: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

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

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($5): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT Underground: Ladies Night Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A recorded-for-podcast walk-in open mic providing 5 minutes on stage for whatever you want to perform—stand-up, sketch, song—with names drawn from a bucket at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Mercadal & Will Watkins: Unsung Heroes

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in open mic that’s mostly stand-up—but any act is welcome—with signup at 10:00 pm at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: Jake & Amy’s Golden Monkey Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

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 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)

(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…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.

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