NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/17/17

T.J. Miller: HBO's "Meticulously Ridiculous"Go out tonight, but set your recording device to 10:00 pm for the debut of T.J. Miller’s first HBO stand-up special. TJ’s greatest strengths are as a comedic actor, improvisor, and agent of chaos, and he blends those special skills with joke-telling to create a stand-up act that’s unique, joyous, and hilarious: Meticulously Ridiculous

Andrea Alton as Molly “Equality” Dykeman…and it’s Day 2 of The PIT’s annual hosting of LGBTQIA-themed comedy shows—which tonight include Andrea Alton’s delightful character Molly “Equality” Dykeman, “the loveable but barely lucid security guard at PS 339 who dabbles in a bit of poetry, a bit of Percocet, and a lot of drink” in a brand new 30-minute solo production at 7:00 pm at the Mainstage: Power to the Mullet! Plus over a dozen other shows at the 2017 QueerCom Festival (tonight & Sunday, $5-$15 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-see pass, The PIT Mainstage & Underground theatres 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:

2:30 pm ($7): A show written by Carol Lee Sirugo, and starring her and Jonathan Kaplan, about the terrors of being a park ranger at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Fear Forest

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show often sells out): It’s the 1970’s. The cocktail parties are glamorous, the brandy snifters abound, the clothes are colorfully polyester—and when foul play occurs, homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo is on the case. But behind every man’s untimely death remains a shattered housewife who wants answers. Join Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) as she and guests Rory Scholl, Esther Crow, and Heather Jewels Booth present this all-new comedic musical-mystery show where day-drinking is glamorous and chain-smoking the norm. Play detective and receive clues from live musical performances, overly dramatic pauses, and more at the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street). And just when you think you have the case solved, there’s “one more thing”…there always is when you’re dealing with The Real Housewives of Columbo, Episode 2

6:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement in The New York Times at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements

6:00 pm ($5): Four indie improv troupes perform at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A QueerCom triple bill at The PIT Mainstage consisting of shows by Erik J. Lundstrom & Spencer Meade, T. Leclaire, and Andrea Alton (above): It’s A Good Thing You’re Pretty, T. LeClaire, and Power To The Mullet

[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

[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’

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

[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): “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 Caitlin Kunkel—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 ($10): Storyteller Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes) and stand-up Allison Castillo (Comedy Central) perform at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($43.75 & 2-drink min.) An Iranian-American stand-up (for a sample set, please click here) who starred in three Showtime specials, co-stars in CBS’ Superior Donuts, and as an actor has also performed on ABC, FOX, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, NBC’s The West Wing and ER, and many other shows & feature films, headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Maz Jobrani

7:30 pm ($10): Improvisors make up scenes springboarding off the lyrics of gal 90s songs at The PIT Underground: Qweenz of 90’s Rap: Improvisational Miss-Interpretations

[TOP PICK] [FREE; plus FREE PIZZA!] 8:00 pm: 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), Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), 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), Krystyna Hutchinson (co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast, Carson Daly), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), and Kerry Coddett (The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off, TruTV) perform stand-up in a Brooklyn yard at 243 Irving Avenue (take L subway to Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of Ambush Comedy and The Secret Loft Show): Starlight: A Backyard Comedy Experience

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Comics write & perform screenplays for famous movies that they’ve never actually seen, with tonight’s revisionists Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Jean Grae (famed rapper and comic), and Bowen Yang (member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas) at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Never Seen It

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

8:00 pm ($10): Non-comics (booked in advance, this isn’t an open mic) try performing stand-up for the very first time at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Chris Luther: Cherry Poppin’ Standies

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Storytellers share their true “coming out” tales, and then improvisors make up either a play or a musical based on each story at The PIT Mainstage: Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQIA QueerCom Event

[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

8:30 pm ($10): A QueerCom event at The PIT Underground: Beyond The Surface: A Trans Gender Bender Non Binary Mixer

[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 & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:30 pm ($10): A QueerCom double-bill consisting of a one-man show by Matt S. McCormick and all-gal sketch group Buzz Off, Lucille at The PIT Mainstage: Bette Davis Smize and Reach-Around the Aisle: A BI-Partisan Sketch Show

9:30 pm ($8): NYC stand-ups Sydnee Washington, Ali Clayton, Ashley Gavin, and Cres Hernandez perform at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Cathy Humes: Tina Fey Will (Not) Be Here

[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

10:00 ($5): Comics compete in freestyle rap games and battles, with the prize being stage time, at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage with DJ Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

10:00 pm ($10): A QueerCom double-bill: First “Sylvia Feldman is the Jewish grandma who will critique your outfit, but smoke pot with you to make up for it,” and then a special party at The PIT Underground: Sylvia Feldman in Love and Other Desserts and Stag Party

[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 ($5): Comics pretend to be infants at The PIT Underground: Babies Night

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups who are single and LGBTQIA 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: QueerCom Edition

11:00 pm ($10): A QueerCom triple bill consisting of shows by Michelle Drozdick, Kelli Dunham, and more at The PIT Underground: Brussel Sprouts & Childcraft Encyclopedia and Try It, You’ll Like It and One Of Us Is Gay

11:00 pm ($7): Improv group That’s Dinner! performs and hosts other indie groups at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

[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

11:30 pm ($7): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: A monthly lip synch contest judged by you and your audience, taking into account costume, choreography, and lip syching perfection, with this month’s theme 90s hip-hop and R&B, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Christina Galston: What That Mouth Do

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)

(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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