NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 6/8/17

James ComeyJim Comey is just a letter away from “Comedy.” Watch him testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning on MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CSPAN, etc; and then experience jokes about the potential impeachment aftermath tonight on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show at 11:00 pm and The President Show at 11:30 pm, late night talk shows….and on stage.

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] 6:30 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Essays on the theme Resist written & performed by Rachel Hamilton, Melanie Hoops, and Sheila O’Malley at 6:30 pm; four veteran house improv groups starting at 8:00 pm, themed improv show Junk Food (embracing pure absurdity and silliness, making you laugh without thinking) at 10:00 pm, and improv competition Inspirado at 11:00 pm, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

7:00 pm food, 7:30ish pm show ($5; if you show up around 7:00 pm, includes host Brian Parise‘s homemade penne with meatballs): Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central Half Hour), Hadiyah Robinson (The Nightly Show, MTV, Oxygen), Kerry Coddett (The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off, TruTV), Chrissie Mayr (co-host of Comedy at Stonewall), and Alexis Guerreros perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Frank’s Cocktail Lounge (660 Fulton Street; take G to Fulton Street or A/C to Lafayette Avenue) hosted by Brian Parise & Courtney Fearrington: It’s All Happening: Penne with Meatballs

7:00 pm ($7): A one-man sermon about improv by “Rev. Deuce Hansbury” that treats improv like a religion and invites all audience members to join it at The PIT Mainstage: Mega-Team of Improv

7:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy Improv from a six-person group performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Sunday School Dropouts

[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

7:30 pm ($7): Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Harry Terjanian, Liz Magee, and Max & Nicky 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): After each stand-up performs, you and the rest of the audience get to ask them questions about their jokes, with tonight’s comics Kaytlin Bailey, Rachel Lenihan, Sagar Bhatt, Brian Bahe, and Albert Kirchner performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kevin Froleiks & Sam Bourne: Press Conference

7:30 pm ($7): The writers of Passport Control, a comedic political talk show with a Middle East slant, come out from behind the scenes to perform stand-up, sketch, and/or characters at The PIT Underground hosted by Mehdi Barakchian (co-host of Brunch Night, improv group Kibbles and Bits): Passport Control Writer’s Showcase

[FREE] 7:30ish pm: Christian Polanco, Lizzie Martinez, Fariaz Rabbani, Jeff Seal, Alex Fossella, Erik Lazenski, and Jenny Young perform stand-up, plus music by Adam Finchler, all at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Deepak Ananthapadmanabha & Hiram Becker: AbeMixture

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Joe Pera (hilarious deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Noah Levine (acclaimed magician), and Jo Livingstone (staff writer on culture for The New Republic) perform on this month’s theme of Sin for a show sponsored by website Atlas Obscura at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Eric Grundhauser (writer/editor for Atlas Obscura): Atlas Obscura Live: Sin

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) are shared by their original authors before total strangers at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Mortified

[TOP PICK] [FREE; plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Katie Hannigan (MTV’s Inside Joke), Anna Suzuki, Karolena Theresa, and Rasheda S. Crockett share their shit stories—needing to go at the worst moments, major accidents in pants, and so on—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced & hosted by the lovely Natalie Wall (also host of Awkward Sex and the City): Awkward Poop and the City

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A burlesque comedic play paying homage to the tropes of Adult Swm’s animated series The Venture Bros.: “Doctor Jonas Venture has used Grover Cleveland’s Presidential Time Machine to go forward in time to check out how his son, Doctor Rusty Venture, has progressed with the family legacy, only to discover that Rusty has shot it all to hell! Rusty has rented out the lab to The Hotsy Totsy burlesque show for extra cash, and both friends and foe alike are begging for stage time. Can good and evil co-exist in the world of burlesque?” Find out at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) spearheaded by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman; The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer) and Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion): Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Tribute to The Venture Bros.

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

8:00 pm ($7): Sudi Green (SNL, Pop Roulette), Girls with Brown Hair (Funny or Die), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Someecards), and Joanna Hausmann (Flama, Bill Nye Saves the World) perform stand-up at this show sponsored by satirical women’s magazine Reductress at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Taryn Englehart & Jasmine Pierce: Haha, Wow! by Reductress

8:00 pm ($7): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT Mainstage co-starring the spectacular Rachel Scherer, with sound design & foley effects from Frank Todaro, and an opening musical set from improv singer Robin Rothman Taylor & improv pianist Rachel Kaufman: X Plus One

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Judah Friedlander, Nick Griffin, Mo Amer, Adrienne Lapalucci, 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): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; winner of first Comedy Central Roast Battle; staff writer for Emmy-winning Inside Amy Schumer; frequently invited lightning wit on @midnight; star of Comedy Central Snapchat series You’re Wrong with Mike Lawrence; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Matt Braunger (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien,hour-long Comedy Central special Shovel Fighter, over 50 appearances on Chelsea Lately, two years as cast member of Mad TV, wacky neighbor on NBC’s Up All Night), Scott Dooley (Melbourne International Comedy Festival), and Dash Kwiatkowski (SF Sketchfest) perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: A show hosted by the lovely Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Katy Frame & Marie Cecile Anderson), with guests Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), Mike Brown (co-host of Comedy Outliers), Melissa Stokoski (Bravo, TruTV’s Late Night Snack), and Travis Irvine (VICE), all performing at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue: Up N’ Coming

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: In this monthly show, each stand-up is asked to open with a nerdy joke, around the middle of his or her set include a dirty joke, and end with a dark joke. Following this quirky formula tonight are 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), Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central Half Hour), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), all performing at Brooklyn’s Catina Royale (58 North 3rd Street, between Wythe & Kent) hosted by David Piccolomini: Nerdy Dirty Dark

9:00 pm ($8): Stand-up & storytelling springboarding off topics tackled by The Ricki Lake Show—fat friends, two-timing traitorous tramps, and so on—with tonight’s guests Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), Angela Cobb (host of My First Time), Chrissie Mayr (co-host of Comedy at Stonewall), Patrick Holbert (producer of End of the Line Comedy), and Cathy Humes performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Matt Smith McCormick: Go Ricki!

9:00 pm ($7): Stand-up about dating & relationships from Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, MTV), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Charles McBee (Comedy Central, MTV, host of Nerd is the New Black), Victor Burt, and David Johnson performing at The PIT Underground hosted by Essence Stewart & John Ross: Two Heads, One Brain: A Night of Mansplaining

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, musical comic Eric Gersen attempts to move himself up to the first page of search results for his name on Google: Gersenality: One Man’s Search for Google Greatness

…and in the second other of this double bill, Lindsay Brill & Janet Silverman perform a two-woman play about being trapped in our health system: Urgent Care

9:30 pm ($10): Comics who all met at Brown University perform scripted comedy at The PIT Mainstage: Rad Motel Sketch Comedy

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($12.34 online using code HKFT): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) directed by and co-starring Philip Markle (former Executive Director of The Annoyance Theatre-NY)—and tonight with UCB Lloyd team seventeen performing an opening improv set: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

10:30 pm ($7): Improv duo Matthew Starr & Andy Bustillos perform and host other improv troupes at The PIT Underground: Crab Hands

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Last week UCB Harold Night team Women & Men managed a gender-neutral victory over Funky Hard Beats of 89-68. Tonight the new champion faces improv troupe Judy Big Mouth, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers; Louie, Broad City), Ike Ufomadu (host of Ike at Night), Annie Donley, Patti Harrison, and Ruby McCollister perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by Alyssa Stonoha: Taste Flavor

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 Kristin Seltman, Angela Cobb, and Mariana Gacres: The Happy Hour Open 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 open to the audience in 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


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