NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/3/17

Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane: "Aunty Donna"After a run in Brooklyn, award-winning Australian sketch trio Aunty DonnaMark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane—is in the East Village one last night performing “surreal fast-paced little plays, clever dances, and goofy characters” (click for video samples) before leaving NYC for the next stop on its world tour: Aunty Donna: Big Boys (9:00 pm, $30.50, Theatre 80 St. Marks at 80 St. Marks Place, off First 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:

[$] 2:00 pm ($20): A kid-friendly musical that “promotes positive messages of creativity, niceness, acceptance, and frivolity” by Lard Dog and his 6-piece Band of Shy at The PIT Mainstage: Life’s a Real Dream

[TOP PICK] 4:00 pm ($15): Mass media journalists Camila Kerwin, Stacey Vanek Smith, and host Sally Herships tell stories “too silly, too dark, or too personal to make their way out to audiences of millions,” plus songs by Carrie Ashley Hill, Golda Arthur, and The Chapin Sisters, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Stories You Can’t Tell on the Radio

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Jim O’Grady (The New York Times, This American Life, WNYC Radio, Moth GrandSlam Champion), Ed Gavagan (TED Talks, Moth Grandslam champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour), Richard Greene (author of The Man Behind the Magic: The Walt Disney Story), and Robin Gelfenbien (host of storytelling show Yum’s the Word; VH1, Sirius, FringeNYC). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let these storytellers and host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

6:00 pm ($5): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

6:30 pm ($5): International improvisors use their native languages & diverse backgrounds to make up scenes in unique ways at The PIT Underground: Passport

[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 ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group BBC2 (which includes Patrick McCartney, Raquel Powell, Jennifer Bareilles, and Kevin Scott) make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: BBC2

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($57.25 & 2-drink min.): Hilarious, 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 and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald

[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 Sopan Deb—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 ($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): 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) and other comics TBA tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members the audience! It all happens at The PIT Underground hosted by Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert): You Get A Spoon

[$] 7:30 pm ($15): This monthly gay-themed show celebrates four years of hosting stand-up, with Jessica Kirson (The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code,), Tim Dillon, Joel Kim Booster, Mehran Khaghani, Robb Coles, Michele Durante, and Exiene Lofgren at The Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street) hosted by Chrissie Mayr & Oscar Aydin: Comedy at Stonewall: Four Year Anniversary

7:30 pm ($8): Marc Maietta (Showtime), Anthony O’Connell (MTV), Carrie Gravenson, and Kevin Sean perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee (MTV, VH1): Nerd is the New Black

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25): Stand-up Greg Fitzsimmons (Emmy Award winning writer; Louie, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, @midnight, The Howard Stern Show, Chelsea Lately, VH1’s Best Week Ever, IFC, TruTV; host of The Greg Fitzsimmons Show and podcast FitzDog Radio) headlines for one night only at at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street), with openers Jacqueline Novak (exceptionally smart, fresh stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; Inside Amy Schumer; comedy album Quality Notions; book How to Weep in Public) and Ian Edwards (Conan O’Brien, @midnight, Another Period; written for ABC’s Blackish, Comedy Central’s Chocolate News): Greg Fitzsimmons, plus Jacqueline Novak and Ian Edwards

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv group Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and improv group And Friends make stuff up at The PIT Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and And Friends

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A one-woman show by Maria DeCotis in which she plays a variety of characters: “A lonely flight attendant seeks a worldly explanation for happiness aboard an empty airborne plane, exploring how thoughts and actions from childhood reveal present sense of purpose” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) directed by Ban Stanton: Unfaced

8:00 pm ($5): 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

[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 & guest Elena Skopetos make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($10): One storyteller tells the unvarnished truth, while three others tell carefully-crafted little white lies. You and the audience then get to question the yarn-spinners—who tonight are Robin Bady, Danny Artese, Joey Novick, and Melissa Aquiles—and determine who the one honest person is at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jude Treder-Wolff: (mostly) True Things Storytelling Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Sketch and improv comics “create a brand new show in only one week, and then perform improvised sketches based off of your suggestions, just like The Second City used to do”—with tonight’s cast including the spectacular Dana Shulman (rising star; host of Student Driver, improv group Poor Melissa)—at The PIT Mainstage produced & directed by Jane Kehoe: Old School Sketch Show

9:30 pm ($10): Eli Olsberg, Chanel Ali, Christina Galston, and Bengt Washburn perform stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show) & Ben Conrad: The Dirty Show

10:00 pm ($7): Beautiful Dreamers (Maggie Lalley & Jillian Vitko), Josh Krebs, Jamie Lerner, Kim Galan-Kaiser, Michelle Drozdick, and Nataly Mor perform a wide range of comedy forms at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Abeles: Just A Good Ol’ Fashioned Variety Show

[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] 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 each week at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

[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 Gary Richardson and characters by Eric Feuer, all at The PIT Underground: Physically Bold Comedy

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups who are single each perform a set and then participate in a dating game show, choosing among three mystery contestants based on their online dating profiles at The PIT Mainstage: Tinderella

[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

11:00 pm ($7): Comedy group Dave’s Friends performs sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Abeles: Dave’s Friends: Midnight Cereal

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($7): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): In this acclaimed monthly show, six NYC stand-ups (not announced) each perform an 8-minute set while they “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: See You in Hell

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Pot stand-up from “highly talented comics who have been highly recommended from people who are thought highly of in the business. Oh, and they’ll be high” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: High Five

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

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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