Astonishingly terrible 1990 movie Troll 2 is about a family pursued by vegetarian goblins who seek to transform them into plants so that they can eat them. Originally titled Goblins, US distributors doubted anyone would buy it as is, and so aimed to trick audiences who enjoyed 1986 movie Troll into thinking this was its sequel…but it’s not, at all. Watch it screened and commented upon by lightning-quick top comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on MST3K), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers), Jake Vevera (co-host of Idiots on Parade podcast), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck: Troll 2 Screening & Mocking by Frank Conniff, Aparna Nancherla, and More (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…
…Natalie Wall (above left) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, this month with comics Charla Lauriston (above right; former writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release), Dava Krause (above middle; co-host of The Fantasy Suite podcast), and Athalie Paynting (two-time Moth StorySlam winner) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm $20—which includes free beer and wine—at The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets)…
…and speaking of storytelling, David Lawson tells fascinating tales about the three years he made his living handing out flyers in Times Square…while competing with a wide variety of unusual characters for the attention of tourists. This one-man show—which David is about to perform at festivals around the country—is funny, real, and recommended: Flyer Guy (7:30 pm, Free!, Offside Tavern at 137 West 14th Street)
NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/22/17
Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody— An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…
…or see Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Emmy Blotnick (rising star; staff writer for Comedy Central’s 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), Ashley Nicole Black (writer & correspondent for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee), Alexandra Song (writer for Jimmy Fallon), Ana Fabrega (Portlandia, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show, host of Sundays with Ana), Sebastian Conelli (ace improvisor; UCB’s Friday night The Law Firm and The Magnet’s The Friday Night Show; member of 2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy), Alex English, and Kevin Seamon perform in Brooklyn hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/23/17
It’s week #3 of a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks. This afternoon’s lineup features Josh Gondelman (above right; 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), Roy Wood Jr. (above left; correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Kevin Bartini (above middle; warm-up comic for The President Show, and previously for Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show, and The Nightly Show), :Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), and Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, @midnight, Sirius XM): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park by the 7th Street entrance)…
…and this stand-up benefit show for Planned Parenthood features a breathtaking collection of female comedy talent, including Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, Liza Treyger, Lane Moore, Sasheer Zamata, Emmy Blotnick, Giulia Rozzi, Christi Chiello, Ana Fabrega, and many more, for a total of 50—all telling jokes about their genitalia! Hosted by Sachi Ezura & Halle Kiefer, it’s 50 Lady Bits: An Evening of Junk Jokes (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/24/17
Stars Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor—who play sisters in the Broadway revival of Marvin’s Room, running through August 27th at the American Airlines Theatre—are the guests 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)…
…or marvel at world-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interviewing an audience couple about their love life and then turning it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). Plus tonight offers the extra treat of music from a hot dog DJ. I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (8:00 pm; $10, which is super cheap—;this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th 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
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
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
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
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)
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 email@example.com.