NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 7/31/17

July 31, 2017

@midnight with Chris HardwickDon’t forget to watch this final week of @midnight! Brilliant and lightning-quick Chris Hardwick has developed into a network star, and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of him on NBC (where he currently hosts prime time game show The Wall). Meanwhile, let’s cherish the four seasons that Chris hosted @midnight, which debuted on October 21, 2013, and developed into one of the wittiest and funniest series to ever grace Comedy Central—and became an international showcase for hundreds of superb comics who were either never on TV before or were severely underexposed. There are few series that have served the entire wide-ranging comedy community as thoughtfully and thoroughly as @midnight, and we owe Chris, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, and everyone else involved debts of gratitude. The show airs every night this week at 11:30 pm through Wednesday, and (appropriately) at midnight on Thursday and on Friday—which will be its 600th and final episode.

Judah Friedlander and John EarlyJudah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Erica Spera (host of 20 Minutes of Fire podcast), and Sagar Bhatt perform stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Kerry Bishé…and Kerry Bishé (star of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, star of the last season of ABC’s Scrubs, star of Oscar-winning film Argo) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/1/17

Dave ChappelleStarting tonight, one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, performs in NYC for 14 shows in August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique will be special guests, as follows: 8/1: The Roots and Lil Wayne; 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)…

The Scientists & Friends Who Folk…or enjoy singing duo Friends Who Folk (above; Ned Riseley & Rachel Wenitsky; TheNewYorker.com), Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas) and Bess Lovejoy (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal; author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses) explore a scientific topic with hosts Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, TheNewYorker.com) & Madelyn Freed: The Scientists (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Mrs. Smith…or see a one-woman cabaret show by guitar goddess Mrs. Smith (a.k.a. David Hanbury), whose credits include America’s Got Talent, PBS, and winning the 2016 Shred For Your Life contest at Webster Hall. Why guitar? “In my experience, which has been so very painful, no other instrument gives such a clear voice to the Grief and Rage.” Mrs. Smith also tells stories and provides advice (please find a sample here). For one night only: Mrs. Smith: Shred For Your Life (9:30 pm, $15, Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/2/17

Natasha Leggero and Moshe KasherTwo of the sharpest and most likeable comics in the biz, Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher, celebrate their getting married (back in October 2015) with this “Honeymoon Tour” in which each performs a long solo stand-up set and then the two of them play around on stage as a couple. For one night only in Brooklyn: Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher: The Endless Honeymoon Tour (8:00 pm, $29, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

Adira Amram, Melissa Villaseñor, and Joe Pera…or come see Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens), Melissa Villaseñor (delightful cast member of Saturday Night Live), 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), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness), and Kristy Belich (former scientist) perform stand-up and/or explain how to succeed in show biz hosted by Ree Ree & Carmen: Fake It Till You Make It (8:30 pm, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 8/3/17

The Chris Gethard ShowGo out tonight, but record the debut episode of The Chris Gethard Show on its new cable network, TruTV (a move up from the compelling but almost hidden first two seasons on Fusion). The official description: “Chris Gethard attempts to ring-lead a panel of comedian friends and oddballs, along with a live studio audience, who participate in games, tackle bizarre stunts, and react to the controlled chaos around them. Add to that fans from the around the world calling in to participate in the show, and it’s a totally immersive, interactive experience for all.” The only other thing you need to know is Chris is a comedy genius, and anything he does is special and worth checking out. The mayhem runs from 11:00 pm to midnight, and is repeated from 3:00 am to 4:00 am (presumably in case you need to switch to Comedy Central at 11:30 pm to catch Chris’ decades-long friend and fellow ace improvisor Anthony Atamanuik’s The President’s Show).

Mark Normand and Jimmy FallonStand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages Mark Normand (above; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself; Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Josiah Madigan (Emmy-winning writer/producer; ABC, MTV, NatGeo, NPR’s Ask Me Another), and Brock Mahan (Emmy-winning writer/producer; Comedy Central, Discovery, VH1, NatGeo, NPR; co-publisher of magazine Eel Fancy) hosted by Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV): Serious Matters (8:00 pm, $7, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Artie Lange…or see a comic who’s been a cast member of MAD TV and The Howard Stern Show, was a guest star on HBO’s Crashing, acted in a bunch of feature films, wrote the bestselling books Too Fat to Fish and Crash and Burn, and hosts The Artie Quitter Podcast headline tonight through Saturday at Carolines: Artie Lange (7:30 pm tonight, 7:30 & 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday; $41 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

No Such Thing as Love…or check out comics sharing tales of lost loves, heartbreak, and hopelessness, with tonight’s victims Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1, comedy album He Has Friends), 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), EA Hanks (Vanity Fair, Huffington Post), and hosts Claire Burns & Jessie Jolles: No Such Thing as Love (7:30 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

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-$12

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-$12

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/30/17

July 30, 2017

Charlie Pickering, Saurin Choksi, and Michelle ButeauThis final installment of a a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks features Michelle Buteau (above right; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Charlie Pickering (above left; Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Saurin Choksi (above middle; host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), and Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Central Park by the West 67th Street entrance at Mineral Springs)…

Brandon Scott Wolf and Melissa Villaseñor…plus SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor (above right), Brandon Scott Wolf (above left; contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Noah Findling (Funny or Die), Lucy Randall, and sketch group The Postmen (Carmen Christopher, Anthony Oberbeck, and Matt Barats) perform stand-up or sketch in Brooklyn hosted by Harris Mayersohn & Jessy Morner-Ritt: Just a Show (6:00 pm, $6, Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale at 1031 Grand Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/31/17

@midnight with Chris HardwickDon’t forget to watch this final week of @midnight! Brilliant and lightning-quick Chris Hardwick has developed into a network star, and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of him on NBC (where he currently hosts prime time game show The Wall). Meanwhile, let’s cherish the four seasons that Chris hosted @midnight, which debuted on October 21, 2013, and developed into one of the wittiest and funniest series to ever grace Comedy Central—and became an international showcase for hundreds of superb comics who were either never on TV before or were severely underexposed. There are few series that are have served the entire wide-ranging comedy community as thoughtfully and thoroughly as @midnight, and we owe Chris, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, and everyone else involved debts of gratitude. The show airs every night this week at 11:30 pm through Wednesday, and (appropriately) at midnight on Thursday and on Friday—which will be its 600th and final episode.

Judah Friedlander and John EarlyJudah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Erica Spera (host of 20 Minutes of Fire podcast), and Sagar Bhatt perform stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Kerry Bishé…and Kerry Bishé (star of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, star of the last season of ABC’s Scrubs, star of Oscar-winning film Argo) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/1/17

Dave ChappelleStarting tonight, one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, performs in NYC for 14 shows in August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique will be special guests, as follows: 8/1: The Roots and Lil Wayne; 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)…

The Scientists & Friends Who Folk…or enjoy singing duo Friends Who Folk (above; Ned Riseley & Rachel Wenitsky; TheNewYorker.com), Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas) and Bess Lovejoy (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal; author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses) explore a scientific topic with hosts Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, TheNewYorker.com) & Madelyn Freed: The Scientists (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Mrs. Smith…or see a one-woman cabaret show by guitar goddess Mrs. Smith (a.k.a. David Hanbury), whose credits include America’s Got Talent, PBS, and winning the 2016 Shred For Your Life contest at Webster Hall. Why guitar? “In my experience, which has been so very painful, no other instrument gives such a clear voice to the Grief and Rage.” Mrs. Smith also tells stories and provides advice (please find a sample here). For one night only: Mrs. Smith: Shred For Your Life (9:30 pm, $15, Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/2/17

Natasha Leggero and Moshe KasherTwo of the sharpest and most likeable comics in the biz, Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher, celebrate their getting married (back in October 2015) with this “Honeymoon Tour” in which each performs a long solo stand-up set and then the two of them play around on stage as a couple. For one night only in Brooklyn: Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher: The Endless Honeymoon Tour (8:00 pm, $29, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

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-$12

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-$12

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/29/17

July 29, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear" David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here).

Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. Titled Trump Lear, you might at first think it’s Donald Trump’s One Man King Lear (As Performed by David Carl); but it’s actually more complicated.

In this play, a character named “Carl David” has achieved acclaim performing Lear as Trump—and it’s attracted The Donald’s attention. Trump has Carl David kidnapped to perform the play in front of him…and also his social media audience. If Trump decides he doesn’t like what he sees, or if the show fails to maintain the interest of POTUS’ Internet followers, he’ll have the actor executed.

What follows is a complex blend of Carl’s impersonation of Trump, unusual performances of scenes from King Lear (involving toys, paper puppets, and impersonations of a host of characters ranging from Ronald Reagan to Miss Piggy), and frequent conversations between Carl David as struggling artist and Trump as supremely successful showman.

The key power of this production is actually in the latter. Carl David is played as a poor, bumbling artist who makes most of his living from Trump impersonations, yet has devoted his life to achieving and conveying truth. In contrast, Trump has won the greatest power in the world—President of the United States—by embracing and perpetually dispensing lies. The tension between those two extremes is sometimes electric. Plus there are moments when Carl makes himself so vulnerable that this play achieves a feeling of realness managed by few productions, be they comedy or drama.

And on top of all that, where else are you going to see a Shakespearean actor eat a McDonald’s burger and fries in under 60 seconds? (About halfway through, Carl rolls the fries into a giant greasy white ball he then stuffs whole into his mouth, which is nearly worth the price of admission by itself…)

One extra spin to this meta-show is knowing that, in real life, it’s rumored there was some sort of blowback from Gary Busey’s people about Carl’s first show—because the original brilliant title Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) was changed about a year ago to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. But even if a brush with Busey’s reps was the seed that led to the creation of this second show, Trump is both far more and far less than a stand-in for Busey.

A major difference is that Carl appears to loathe Trump, but I believe he continues to adore Busey. For example, after the production I asked Carl why Busey isn’t among any of the dozens of impersonations he performs in Trump Lear. “Oh, I couldn’t let him in,” Carl replied. “I’d love to, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making his role bigger and bigger until he took over.”

David Carl is a special comic, and this is a show worth experiencing. Trump Lear is currently running 2:00 pm every Saturday through August 12th at Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $20…and typically include free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself.

24 Hour Improv ShowThe PIT’s 24-hour improv marathon began last night at 7:30 pm, and it’s running continuously through tonight at 7:30 pm. A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (today from 12:00 am through 7:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Jack Whitehall…or if you prefer joke-telling, a major UK stand-up & TV star (for his April 2016 set on Jimmy Fallon, please click here) performs for one night only in Brooklyn as part of an international tour: Jack Whitehall (8:00 pm, $15, Music Hall of Williamsburg at 66 North 6th Street; take the L subway to Bedford Avenue)…

…or enjoy beloved NYC comic Morgan Miller (Above Average, UCB improv group Mermaids; sometimes does a duo improv show with her brother T.J. Miller) perform a half hour stand-up set…

Jaqi Furback….followed by a half hour stand-up set by Jaqi Furback (VH1, Funny or Die), both hosted by Ryan Crawford & Lawson Leong: The Double Feature (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/30/17

Charlie Pickering, Saurin Choksi, and Michelle ButeauThis final installment of a a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks features Michelle Buteau (above right; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Charlie Pickering (above left; Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Saurin Choksi (above middle; host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), and Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Central Park by the West 67th Street entrance)…

Brandon Scott Wolf and Melissa Villaseñor…plus SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor (above right), Brandon Scott Wolf (above left; contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Noah Findling (Funny or Die), Lucy Randall, and sketch group The Postmen (Carmen Christopher, Anthony Oberbeck, and Matt Barats) perform stand-up or sketch in Brooklyn hosted by Harris Mayersohn & Jessy Morner-Ritt: Just a Show (6:00 pm, $6, Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale at 1031 Grand Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/31/17

@midnight with Chris HardwickDon’t forget to watch this final week of @midnight! Brilliant and lightning-quick Chris Hardwick has developed into a network star, and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of him on NBC (where he currently hosts prime time game show The Wall). Meanwhile, let’s cherish the four seasons that Chris hosted @midnight, which debuted on October 21, 2013, and developed into one of the wittiest and funniest series to ever grace Comedy Central—and became an international showcase for hundreds of superb comics who were either never on TV before or were severely underexposed. There are few series that are have served the entire wide-ranging comedy community as thoughtfully and thoroughly as @midnight, and we owe Chris, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, and everyone else involved debts of gratitude. The show airs every night this week at 11:30 pm through Thursday—which will be its 600th and final episode.

Judah Friedlander and John EarlyJudah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Erica Spera (host of 20 Minutes of Fire podcast), and Sagar Bhatt perform stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Kerry Bishé…and Kerry Bishé (star of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, star of the last season of ABC’s Scrubs, star of Oscar-winning film Argo) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/1/17

Dave ChappelleStarting tonight, one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, performs in NYC for 14 shows in August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique will be guests, as follows: 8/1: The Roots and Lil Wayne; 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)…

Mrs. Smith…or see a one-woman cabaret show by guitar goddess Mrs. Smith (a.k.a. David Hanbury), whose credits include America’s Got Talent, PBS, and winning the 2016 Shred For Your Life contest at Webster Hall. Why guitar? “In my experience, which has been so very painful, no other instrument gives such a clear voice to the Grief and Rage.” Mrs. Smith also tells stories and provides advice (please find a sample here). For one night only: Mrs. Smith: Shred For Your Life (9:30 pm, $15, Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/28/17

July 28, 2017

"Fly, You Fools!" and "Hold On To Your Butts" double-bill by Recent CutbacksTwo of the finest productions to ever grace The Peoples Improv Theater are from the Recent Cutbacks company, which includes superbly inventive director Kristin McCarthy Parker, amazing shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and Matt Zambrano, and stellar foley artists Blair Busbee & Kelsey Didion—and tonight you can see both magical shows back to back. Kicking off the evening is a live-on-stage ‘shot for shot’ parody of the first chapter in “the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time”—i.e., Lord of the Rings: Fly, You Fools!; and then an unforgettable live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc (7:00 pm, $30 for the entire double-bill (a great deal, as these shows are normally $20 each), The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street; NOTE: If this performance sells out, nab tickets for an upcoming show on Friday 9/1 or 10/13)…

24 Hour Improv Show…and while you’re at The PIT, check out tonight’s 24 uninterrupted hours of improv, featuring some of the best improvisors in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (7:30 pm tonight through 7:30 pm Saturday, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Caroline Schaper, John Reynolds, and Eliza Cossio…or if you’re in Brooklyn, see comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates John Reynolds (above middle; Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Characters, TBS’ Search Party), Jason O. Gilbert (written for The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, McSweeney’s), Ziwe Fumudoh (The Onion, Reductress), Cassidy Routh (visual artist), and hosts Caroline Schaper (above left; writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (above right; Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/29/17

David Carl: "Trump Lear" David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here).

Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. Titled Trump Lear, you might at first think it’s Donald Trump’s One Man King Lear (As Performed by David Carl); but it’s actually more complicated.

In this play, a character named “Carl David” has achieved acclaim performing Lear as Trump—and it’s attracted The Donald’s attention. Trump has Carl David kidnapped to perform the play in front of him…and also his social media audience. If Trump decides he doesn’t like what he sees, or if the show fails to maintain the interest of POTUS’ Internet followers, he’ll have the actor executed.

What follows is a complex blend of Carl’s impersonation of Trump, an unusual performance of scenes from King Lear (involving toys, paper puppets, and impersonations of a host of characters ranging from Ronald Reagan to Miss Piggy), and frequent conversations between Carl David as struggling artist and Trump as supreme showman.

The key power of this production is actually in the latter. Carl David is played as a poor, bumbling artist who makes most of his living from Trump impersonations, yet has devoted his life to achieving and conveying truth. In contrast, Trump has won the greatest power in the world—President of the United States—by embracing and perpetually dispensing lies. The tension between those two extremes is sometimes electric. Plus there are moments when Carl makes himself so vulnerable that this play achieves an unforgettable feeling of realness managed by few productions, be they comedy or drama.

And on top of all that, where else are you going to see a Shakespearean actor eat a McDonald’s burger and fries in under 60 seconds? (About halfway through, Carl rolls the fries into a giant greasy white ball he then stuffs whole into his mouth, which is nearly worth the price of admission by itself…)

One extra spin to this meta-show is knowing that, in real life, it’s rumored there was some sort of blowback from Gary Busey’s people about Carl’s first show—because the original brilliant title Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) was changed about a year ago to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. But even if a brush with Busey’s reps was the seed that led to the creation of this second show, Trump is both far more and far less than a stand-in for Busey.

A major difference is that Carl appears to loathe Trump, but I believe he continues to adore Busey. For example, after the production I asked Carl why Busey isn’t among any of the dozens of impersonations he performs in Trump Lear. “Oh, I couldn’t let him in,” Carl replied. “I’d love to, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making his role bigger and bigger until he took over.”

David Carl is a special comic, and this is a show worth experiencing. Trump Lear is currently running 2:00 pm every Saturday through August 12th at Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $20…and typically include free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself.

24 Hour Improv ShowThe PIT’s 24-hour improv marathon began last night at 7:30 pm, and it’s running continuously through tonight at 7:30 pm, featuring some of the best improvisors in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (today from 12:00 am through 7:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Jack Whitehall…or if you prefer joke-telling, a major UK stand-up & TV star (for his April 2016 set on Jimmy Fallon, please click here) performs for one night only in Brooklyn as part of an international tour: Jack Whitehall (8:00 pm, $15, Music Hall of Williamsburg at 66 North 6th Street; take the L subway to Bedford Avenue)…

…or enjoy beloved NYC comic Morgan Miller (above; sometimes does a duo improv show with her brother T.J. Miller) perform a half hour stand-up set…

Jaqi Furback…followed by a half hour stand-up set by Jaqi Furback (above), both hosted by Ryan Crawford & Lawson Leong: The Double Feature (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/30/17

Charlie Pickering, Saurin Choksi, and Michelle ButeauThis final installment of a a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks features Michelle Buteau (above right; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Charlie Pickering (above left; Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Saurin Choksi (above middle; host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), and Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Central Park by the West 67th Street entrance)

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/31/17

Judah Friedlander and John EarlyJudah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Erica Spera (host of 20 Minutes of Fire podcast), and Sagar Bhatt perform stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Kerry Bishé…and Kerry Bishé (star of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, star of the last season of ABC’s Scrubs, star of Oscar-winning film Argo) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 7/27/17

July 27, 2017

Jiji Lee and Leslie GoshkoOddball and/or terrifying tales from Jiji Lee (above left; Reductress, Above Average), Drew Prochaska (author of Where We Were When We Were Werewolves; two-time Moth StorySlam winner), Thomas Pryor (author of I Hate the Dallas Cowboys; The New York Times), and Mark Pagan (Risk!, The Moth) at this free monthly storytelling show in the East Village featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above right; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)…

Comedy Cellar…and among the best stand-up in the country is delivered every night at Comedy Cellar, whose six events tonight include an 9:30 pm showcase featuring Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, Pete Lee, Adrienne Iapalucci, and host Sean Donnelly (9:30 pm; $14 cover plus 2-item min.; Comedy Cellar at 117 MacDougal Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 7/28/17

"Fly, You Fools!" and "Hold On To Your Butts" double-bill by Recent CutbacksTwo of the finest productions to ever grace The Peoples Improv Theater are from the Recent Cutbacks company, which includes superbly inventive director Kristin McCarthy Parker, amazing shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and Matt Zambrano, and stellar foley artists Blair Busbee & Kelsey Didion—and tonight you can see both magical shows back to back. Kicking off the evening is a live-on-stage ‘shot for shot’ parody of the first chapter in the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time”—i.e., Lord of the Rings: Fly, You Fools!; and then an unforgettable live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc (7:00 pm, $30 for the entire double-bill (a great deal, as these shows are normally $20 each), The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

24 Hour Improv Show…and while you’re at The PIT, check out tonight’s 24 uninterrupted hours of improv, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (7:30 pm tonight through 7:30 pm Saturday, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Caroline Schaper, John Reynolds, and Eliza Cossio…or if you’re in Brooklyn, see comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates John Reynolds (above middle; Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Characters, TBS’ Search Party), Jason O. Gilbert (written for The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, McSweeney’s), Ziwe Fumudoh (The Onion, Reductress), Cassidy Routh (visual artist), and hosts Caroline Schaper (above left; writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (above right; Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (7:30 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/29/17

David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here).

Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. Titled Trump Lear, you might at first think it’s Donald Trump’s One Man King Lear (As Performed by David Carl); but it’s actually more complicated.

In this play, a character named “Carl David” has achieved acclaim performing Lear as Trump—and it’s attracted The Donald’s attention. Trump has Carl David kidnapped to perform the play in front of him…and also his social media audience. If Trump decides he doesn’t like what he sees, or if the show fails to maintain the interest of POTUS’ Internet followers, he’ll have the actor executed.

What follows is a complex blend of Carl’s impersonation of Trump, an unusual performance of scenes from King Lear (involving toys, paper puppets, and impersonations of a host of characters ranging from Ronald Reagan to Miss Piggy), and frequent conversations between Carl David as struggling artist and Trump as supreme showman.

The key power of this production is actually in the latter. Carl David is played as a poor, bumbling artist who makes most of his living from Trump impersonations, yet has devoted his life to achieving and conveying truth. In contrast, Trump has won the greatest power in the world—President of the United States—by embracing and perpetually dispensing lies. The tension between those two extremes is sometimes electric. Plus there are moments when Carl makes himself so vulnerable that this play achieves an unforgettable feeling of realness managed by few productions, be they comedy or drama.

And on top of all that, where else are you going to see a Shakespearean actor eat a McDonald’s burger and fries in under 60 seconds? (About halfway through, Carl rolls the fries into a giant greasy white ball he then stuffs whole into his mouth, which is nearly worth the price of admission by itself…)

One extra spin to this meta-show is knowing that, in real life, it’s rumored there was some sort of blowback from Gary Busey’s people about Carl’s first show—because the original brilliant title Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) was changed about a year ago to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. But even if a brush with Busey’s reps was the seed that led to the creation of this second show, Trump is both far more and far less than a stand-in for Busey.

A major difference is that Carl appears to loathe Trump, but I believe he continues to adore Busey. For example, after the production I asked Carl why Busey isn’t among any of the dozens of impersonations he performs in Trump Lear. “Oh, I couldn’t let him in,” Carl replied. “I’d love to, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making his role bigger and bigger until he took over.”

David Carl is a special comic, and this is a show worth experiencing. Trump Lear is currently running 2:00 pm every Saturday through August 12th at Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $20…and typically include free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself.

24 Hour Improv ShowThe PIT’s 24-hour improv marathon began last night at 7:30 pm, and it’s running continuously through tonight at 7:30 pm, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (today from 12:00 am through 7:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

…or enjoy beloved NYC comic Morgan Miller (above; sometimes does a duo improv show with her brother T.J. Miller) perform a half hour stand-up set…

Jaqi Furback…followed by a half hour stand-up set by Jaqi Furback (above), both hosted by Ryan Crawford & Lawson Leong: The Double Feature (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/30/17

Charlie Pickering, Saurin Choksi, and Michelle ButeauThis final installment of a a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks features Michelle Buteau (above right; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Charlie Pickering (above left; Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Saurin Choksi (above middle; host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), and Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Central Park by the West 67th Street entrance)

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/26/17

July 26, 2017

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake), and Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Confession: Coming Clean…storytellers Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out), Mike Kelton (MTV), and Sean O’Brien (stand-up) tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Coming Clean at David Martin’s The Nights of Our Lives (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

The Red Flag…or see Sophie Julia, Kat Timpf, Chris Manzo, Francis Ellis, and Carolyn Gitomer tell stories and jokes about dating at Carolines: The Red Flag: A Comedy Dating Show (7:30 pm, $11 cover using discount code REDFLAG online (otherwise $22) plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 7/27/17

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), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Wanjiko Eke (co-host of LA show Witch Hunt), and Sue Smith (VH1’s Best Week Ever) perform stand-up perform stand-up in the East Village produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao:: Lasers in the Jungle (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 7/28/17

"Fly, You Fools!" and "Hold On To Your Butts" double-bill by Recent CutbacksTwo of the finest productions to ever grace The Peoples Improv Theater are from the Recent Cutbacks company, which includes superbly inventive director Kristin McCarthy Parker, amazing shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and Matt Zambrano, and stellar foley artists Blair Busbee & Kelsey Didion—and tonight you can see both magical shows back to back. Kicking off the evening is a live-on-stage ‘shot for shot’ parody of the first chapter in the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time”—i.e., Lord of the Rings: Fly, You Fools!; and then an unforgettable live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc (7:00 pm, $30 for the entire double-bill (a great deal, as these shows are normally $20 each), The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

24 Hour Improv Show…and while you’re at The PIT, check out tonight’s 24 uninterrupted hours of improv, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (7:30 pm tonight through 7:30 pm Saturday, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Caroline Schaper, John Reynolds, and Eliza Cossio…or if you’re in Brooklyn, see comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates John Reynolds (above middle; Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Characters, TBS’ Search Party), Jason O. Gilbert (written for The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, McSweeney’s), Ziwe Fumudoh (The Onion, Reductress), Cassidy Routh (visual artist), and hosts Caroline Schaper (above left; writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (above right; Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (7:30 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/29/17

David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here).

Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. Titled Trump Lear, you might at first think it’s Donald Trump’s One Man King Lear (As Performed by David Carl); but it’s actually more complicated.

In this play, a character named “Carl David” has achieved acclaim performing Lear as Trump—and it’s attracted The Donald’s attention. Trump has Carl David kidnapped to perform the play in front of him…and also his social media audience. If Trump decides he doesn’t like what he sees, or if the show fails to maintain the interest of POTUS’ Internet followers, he’ll have the actor executed.

What follows is a complex blend of Carl’s impersonation of Trump, an unusual performance of scenes from King Lear (involving toys, paper puppets, and impersonations of a host of characters ranging from Ronald Reagan to Miss Piggy), and frequent conversations between Carl David as struggling artist and Trump as supreme showman.

The key power of this production is actually in the latter. Carl David is played as a poor, bumbling artist who makes most of his living from Trump impersonations, yet has devoted his life to achieving and conveying truth. In contrast, Trump has won the greatest power in the world—President of the United States—by embracing and perpetually dispensing lies. The tension between those two extremes is sometimes electric. Plus there are moments when Carl makes himself so vulnerable that this play achieves an unforgettable feeling of realness managed by few productions, be they comedy or drama.

And on top of all that, where else are you going to see a Shakespearean actor eat a McDonald’s burger and fries in under 60 seconds? (About halfway through, Carl rolls the fries into a giant greasy white ball he then stuffs whole into his mouth, which is nearly worth the price of admission by itself…)

One extra spin to this meta-show is knowing that, in real life, it’s rumored there was some sort of blowback from Gary Busey’s people about Carl’s first show—because the original brilliant title Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) was changed about a year ago to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. But even if a brush with Busey’s reps was the seed that led to the creation of this second show, Trump is both far more and far less than a stand-in for Busey.

One key difference is that Carl appears to loathe Trump, but I believe he continues to adore Busey. For example, after the production I asked Carl why Busey isn’t among any of the dozens of impersonations he performs in Trump Lear. “Oh, I couldn’t let him in,” Carl replied. “I’d love to, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making his role bigger and bigger until he took over.”

David Carl is a special comic, and this is a show worth experiencing. Trump Lear is currently running 2:00 pm every Saturday through August 12th at Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $20…and typically include free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself.

24 Hour Improv ShowThe PIT’s 24-hour improv marathon began last night at 7:30 pm, and it’s running continuously through tonight at 7:30 pm, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (today from 12:00 am through 7:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

…or enjoy beloved NYC comic Morgan Miller (above; sometimes does a duo improv show with her brother, T.J. Miller) perform a half hour stand-up set…

Jaqi Furback…followed by a half hour stand-up set by Jaqi Furback (above), both hosted by Ryan Crawford & Lawson Leong: The Double Feature (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 7/25/17

July 25, 2017

Sweet-urday NightFormer Saturday Night Live cast members Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, and Jon Rudnitsky, plus Brett Davis (HBO; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award), Patt Dunn (Broadway actor who’ll be playing Elvis), and more perform for Seth Herzog’s Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)…

Chelsea White, Jessie Jolles, and EA HanksChelsea White (above left; writer/producer for MTV’s Girl Code) and Erin Leafe (writer) bring their podcast about ghosting and other scary dating stories to the stage, with tonight’s guests Jessie Jolles (above middle; MTV; half of sketch duo Soren & Jolles) and EA Hanks (above right; Huffington Post): Ghosted Stories Live (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

…and every Tuesday, eight singing & dancing improv groups—who tonight are Captains, Warm Blooded, Kittyhawk, Pyros, Squash, Public Pool, Honeymoon, and Wonderland, all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel (above)—make up musicals on the spot based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt (6:00 pm for free musical jam that gives you the chance to get on stage with veteran performers; 7:00 pm-11:00 pm for paid shows—which are a mere $10 for the entire evening; The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 7/26/17

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake), and Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Confession: Coming Clean…storytellers Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out), Mike Kelton (MTV), and Sean O’Brien (stand-up) tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Coming Clean at David Martin’s The Nights of Our Lives (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

The Red Flag…or see Sophie Julia, Kat Timpf, Chris Manzo, Francis Ellis, and Carolyn Gitomer tell stories and jokes about dating at Carolines: The Red Flag: A Comedy Dating Show (7:30 pm, $11 cover using discount code REDFLAG online (otherwise $22) plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 7/27/17

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), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Wanjiko Eke (co-host of LA show Witch Hunt), and Sue Smith (VH1’s Best Week Ever) perform stand-up perform stand-up in the East Village produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao:: Lasers in the Jungle (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 7/28/17

"Fly, You Fools!" and "Hold On To Your Butts" double-bill by Recent CutbacksTwo of the finest productions to ever grace The Peoples Improv Theater are from the Recent Cutbacks company, which includes superbly inventive director Kristin McCarthy Parker, amazing shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and Matt Zambrano, and stellar foley artists Blair Busbee & Kelsey Didion—and tonight you can see both magical shows back to back. Kicking off the evening is a live-on-stage ‘shot for shot’ parody of the first chapter in the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time”—i.e., Lord of the Rings: Fly, You Fools!; and then an unforgettable live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc (7:00 pm, $30 for the entire double-bill (a great deal, as these shows are normally $20 each), The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

24 Hour Improv Show…and while you’re at The PIT, check out tonight’s 24 uninterrupted hours of improv, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (7:30 pm tonight through 7:30 pm Saturday, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Caroline Schaper, John Reynolds, and Eliza Cossio…or if you’re in Brooklyn, see comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates John Reynolds (above middle; Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Characters, TBS’ Search Party), Jason O. Gilbert (written for The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, McSweeney’s), Ziwe Fumudoh (The Onion, Reductress), Cassidy Routh (visual artist), and hosts Caroline Schaper (above left; writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (above right; Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (7:30 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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 weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett 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.