NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 6/4/17

June 4, 2017

The Book of Mormon, The Play That Goes Wrong, and Groundhog Day: The MusicalHave you taken advantage lately of NYC’s wealth of Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway comedy shows? I’ve just updated my guide to obtaining theatre tickets at huge discounts—if you’re patient and quick, you can periodically nab Broadway show seats costing $100+ for as little as $4 a ticket! To learn all the ways you can enjoy NYC theatre inexpensively, please visit Hy On Theatre Discounts.

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] [$] 1:30 pm, 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 six shows, with four 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

5:00 pm ($7): All-gal musical Improv group Redshirts (Catherine Wing, Jennette Cronk, Julia Lunetta, Sloane Miller, and Susan O’Doherty) creates new episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the spot, and also hosts rock musical improv duo Richard Hollman & Keith Panzarella a.k.a. The Rock Factory, all at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Redshirts: Star Trek: TNG Musical Improv and The Rock Factory

6:00 pm ($7): Improv group Champagne Empire—which includes Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; 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)—reunites after a long hiatus to make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Empire Reigns

6:30 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

7:00 pm ($7): Two guests bring and talk about their personal treasures, and then improv group Trophy Wives springboards off those memories to make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Show & Tell Show

7:00 pm ($5): Carlos Delgado, Sophie Zucker, Alison Klemp, improv group Crown Tiger, and more in this variety show featuring stand-up, improv, and music at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kaity Reagle: The Dream Team Variety Hour

7:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy about an advertising agency that creates increasingly bizarre TV commercials at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Sellout! A Pflaster Com Showcase

[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 ($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 one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

7:30 pm ($7): Tony Deyo (Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, SiriusXM Radio), Greg Fitzsimmons (Chelsea Lately), Eli Olsberg (Chelsea Lately), Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing), Ariel Elias (Somecards), Casey James Salengo, and Geoffrey Asmus 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 Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing): 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

8:00 pm ($7): “A former college liberal is the only one who can stop the evil Hillary Clinton from committing the world’s most heinous crime” in this play at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Flouridians

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm ($14.80 online using discount code BOX12, 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 ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers), : Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Keith Alberstadt (David Letterman, Seth Meyers, VH1, contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), and possibly other comics who have written and/or performed for Seth Meyers do stand-up at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street) hosted by Ryan Reiss (Seth Meyers, MTV, FOX, Spike, WE, NICK): Comedians of Seth Meyers

[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 ($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

9:00 pm ($7): Comics relatively new to stand-up try telling jokes in hopes of avoiding making the name of this show come true at The Magnet theatre hosted by Perri Gross (Reductress): Everyone is Sad

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Suggestions for jokes are gathered from the audience and then pro stand-ups are forced to incorporate them into their sets at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Will Carey: You Can Use That

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 ($5): 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

10:30 pm ($7): Comics allow random music (offered up by the audience and friends before the show starts) to influence their performances at The PIT Mainstage: Mixtape

10:30 pm ($7): Jerry Burgos & Scott Benjamin perform magic, and then Improvisors make up scenes springboarding off the resultant wonder at The PIT Underground: The Magic Circle

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 ($5): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT Underground, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night at the Gemini

[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 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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