NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/2/17

June 2, 2017

Norm MacdonaldIt’s NYC night #2 of hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald, who 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 through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm tonight & Saturday, 7:30 pm at Sunday; $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

Chuck Nice, Clara de Soto, and Ryan Polgar…and Chuck Nice (above left; co-host of Playing with Science and of Star Talk Radio with Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson; frequent guest on The Today Show; TED Talks; VH1’s Best Week Ever, TruTV), Clara de Soto (above middle; co-founder of Reply.ai, editor at ChatbotsWeekly), TJ Allard (NBC Emmy Award winning producer), and Rebecca B. Carton (writer/producer/actor for Living Thru The Lens) discuss the latest technology trends with hosts David Ryan Polgar (above right; tech ethicist) & Joe Leonardo (ESPN, NPR): Funny As Tech (10:30 pm, $7, 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:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A sketch comedy double-bill from Dinosaur Jones, a group that’s “part adventure, part absurdity, and all comedy” and The Executives, a tie-wearing group that leverages physical comedy, all at The Magnet theatre: Dinosaur Jones and The Executives: CoasterVille, USA

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm. 10:30 pm, 11:30 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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 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 Friday

7:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a documentary based on an audience member’s suggestion at The PIT Mainstage: Observer Effect: An Improvised Documentary

7:00 pm ($7): Improvisors Irene Carroll, Stephen Thornton, and Scotty Watson aim to create a story via “organic discovery and character work” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 3.14 (pi)

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): 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

7:30 pm ($10): Married couple Jordan & Amanda Hirsch perform a comedic play about their everyday lives at The PIT Underground: Til Death

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($10): Eight New York comics—tonight including Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants)—tell stories of where they came from (San Francisco, Baltimore, Nebraska, etc.) and the journey that led them to NYC performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Katie Boyle (who’s from Ireland): Transplants

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott perform with guest Chris Griggs (Big Black Car) at at The PIT Mainstage: Centralia

8:00 pm ($7): Improv duo Matt Vita & Megan Miles open during the encore of a music concert, obtain a song title suggestion from the audience, and then make up the song to kick off an evening that mixes musical improv and theatrical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): One More Song

8:00 pm ($5): “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Late Night Snack

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Phoebe Tyers and Sebastian Conelli: The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Alexandra Dickson, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

9:00 pm ($10): NYC sketch comedy groups High Noon and Candy Ass perform at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

9:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups and improvisors performing at The PIT Underground hosted by Matt Catanzano & Richie Moriarty: Simply Unemployable Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure at The PIT Mainstage: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

10:00 pm ($10): Kenny Warren invites comedians Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World), Ayanna Dookie (co-host of King Hippo Comedy), Jatty Robinson, Reg Thomas, and KC Arora and to his “barbershop” to get their hair cut and talk comedy at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) co-hosted by Barry Ribs & Larry Beyah: Comics Cutting Comics

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[$] 10:30 pm ($12): Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Jason Kanter (Travel Channel), and Rohan Padhye perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($7): Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party), Anthony Moore (Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), Tanael Joachim, and Justin Flanagan perform stand-up at The PIT Underground hosted by Derek Humphrey & Anne Victoria Clark: Up and Coming: Stand-Up Comics to Know

11:00 pm ($7): Improv groups who are independent (not affiliated with a particular theatre or school) Mashed Taters, Batteries Not Included, Destiny’s Chili, and Gregory Hall make up scenes at The PIT Underground: Super Indie Takeover

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): Brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) invites you to “join filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick sidekick (Griffin Newman) as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with guests TBA (they’re usually terrific) at the UCB East theatre: The George Lucas Talk Show

Midnight ($7): Improv groups who are independent (not affiliated with a particular theatre or school) make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by improv troupe The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sydney Beveridge & Davey Melch: Queens Open Mic Fridays

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

6:00 pm ($5): A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Friday Night Mics

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic (drop your name in the bucket by 6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Hamilton: Scatterbrain

6:30 pm ($3): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at The PIT Underground for Happy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

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)

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.

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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