NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 8/9/17

Battle of the Divas: Whitney Houston vs. Mariah CareyA pop culture debate on one of the weightiest issues of our time—Whitney Houston vs Mariah Carey—featuring comics Marie Faustin (arguing for Whitney) and Alex English (arguing for Mariah), plus drag performances of both divas by Elizabeth James.and music from DJ Molly Austin hosted by Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV) & Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Whitney Houston vs. Mariah Carey (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Drunk Education:: Reality TVKerensa Cadenas (Deputy Editor of Complex Pop Culture), Kate Dries (Deputy Editor of Jezebel), Matt Ringler (reality show journalist & Senior Editor of Scholastic’s Observer.com), and Tessa Stuart (staff writer for Rolling Stone magazine) are “highly intelligent people talking about weird stuff they care deeply about while extremely drunk—with PowerPoint” on this month’s topic Reality TV at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Drunk Education: Reality TV (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Scott Adsit…and master improvisor Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock; voice of robot Baymax in Disney’s Big Hero 6; co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel; HBO’s Veep; half of genius improv duo John & Scott) performs with volunteers from the audience—maybe including you—to create compelling & hilarious scenes at Adsit & You (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including dynamite comics Adrian Sexton and Jay Malsky in The Community Players at 7:00 pm, musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:30 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:30 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm (price varies by seat location): One of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street). Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): 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, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight Jo does a no frills interview show, chatting with friends Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow: Two Chairs

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 8/10/17

Amy Marcs: "Nice T!ts"Comedic actress Amy Marcs performs a one-woman show about her experiences with breast cancer (for a trailer, place click here): Nice T!ts (8:00 pm; $25, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Mortified…or enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

George/Martha: An Improvised "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"…or experience brilliant improvisors Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv group The Community Players, host of Pet Prov) and Jason Specland (public access TV show The Enchanged Wardrobe, improv group Regina) make up a guilt & stress-filled evening as Edward Albee’s characters George & Martha (famously played by Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor)—and If you’re not careful, you might find yourself participating in their “fun and games:” George/Martha: An Improvised Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (9:00 pm; $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 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 albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), Ruby Karp (host of We Hope You Have Fun), Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of Ambush Comedy and The Secret Loft Show), and Chris Lamberth (AXS TV) perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE; plus FREE BEER!] 9:30 pm: Sandi Marx, Angela Perrone, Andrew Mcgill, and Brian Six share their shit stories—needing to go at the worst moments, major accidents in pants, and so on—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced & hosted by the lovely Natalie Wall (also host of Awkward Sex and the City): Awkward Poop and the City

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): 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), Wes Haney (Netflix’s The Characters), Sandy Honig (Three Busy Debras), Max Wittert (Nickelodeon), and Eric Dadourian (Viceland) perform stand-up for this show that mixes Brooklyn & Manhattan comics at UCB East hosted by Alyssa Stonoha: Taste Flavor

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love and UCB Harold Night group Some Kid compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 8/11/17

Las Culturistas Live: I Don't Think So, HoneyFifty comics gather to each share a minute’s worth of observations about a bit of pop culture with which he or she can’t be bothered. The participants include Michelle Collins, Michelle Buteau, Josh Sharp, Amanda Duarte, Timothy Dunn, Eleanore Pienta, Keisha Zollar, Brandon Scott Jones, Molly Austin, Lauren Adams, Shalewa Sharpe, and many more, hosted by Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang (above; hosts of the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast): Las Culturistas Live: I Don’t Think So, Honey (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

TromaDance 2017 Film Festival…or see the first night of a two-day (mostly) free film festival hosted by Lloyd Kaufman, owner of famed genre exploitation film company Troma, who screens eight short films (e.g., Attack of the Killer Chickers) at 6:00 pm, nine short films (e.g., Speed Fucking) at 7:00 pm, and the feature film Dreaming Purple Neon at 8:15 pm; and then stars in a live panel discussion & comedy show set in Hell with Troma staffers and “Vicent Welles, Master of the Accult” (played by BJ Thorne) at 10:30 pm: The 18th Annual TromaDance Film Festival (6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and 8:15 pm screenings all Free!; 10:30 pm live show is $10; The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Chance for a Spinster…or check out Jeena Bloom‘s & Anna Grace Carter‘s Wild West version of The Bachelor, an improvised dating game show set in America’s Civil War era and based on actual singles ads from old-timey newspapers, with Trevor Daniel as the suitor (from a genuine 1860s personal ad, he’s a young enthusiast of oats, hoop skirts, and waterfalls), and superb improvisors Adrian Sexton, Chloe Marsh, and Anna Grace Carter as the spinsters—clad in period costumes and terrible hardships—aiming to win the chap with “a good set of teeth:” Chance for a Spinster (10:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($15 cover for FBPL shows, $24 cover for CC & VU shows, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:30 pm ($10): A house sketch group that includes the wonderful Sarah Nowak and is directed by Holden McNeely (Murderfist) performs at The PIT Underground:: National Scandal

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Michael Delaney, and/or Silvija Ozols forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott are joined by guest improvisor Chris Griggs performing at The PIT Underground: Centralia

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT Underground with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically include Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), and/or many more, all declaring ChicaGoGo

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/12/17

Book Club—A Comedy Show: "The Handmaiden's Tale"Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, TheNewYorker.com) & Colin Stokes (Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) read a book every month so you don’t have to, with tonight’s classic tome The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Learn culture while being entertained by comics Monica Heisey (above left; The New Yorker, Playboy, The Guardian; author of book I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better), Fran Hoepfner (above middle; Associate Video Director for The Onion; really hard to spell last name), Harris Mayersohn (recurring character Stoney Von Dankington on Stephen Colbert; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Bang Bang), and Jaboukie Young-White (movie Rough Night): Book Club—A Comedy Show: The Handmaiden’s Tale (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

TromaDance 2017 Film Festival…or indulge in the second and final day of a free film festival sponsored by Lloyd Kaufman and his famed genre exploitation company Troma. Kaufman will screen six short films (e.g., Requiem for a Puppet) at Noon; five short films (e.g., Hero From Outer Space) at 1:00 pm; the feature film Hellitosis: The Legend of Stankmouth at 1:45 pm; and 15 short animated films (e.g., Fat Action Hero) at 3:30 pm. He’ll then host a live panel discussion at 5:00 pm; and resume screening with the short film Optimistic Yes at 6:15 pm; feature film Cut Shoot Kill at 6:30 pm; and feature film Assholes at 8:30 pm. The festival then concludes at 10:30 pm with a stand-up show hosted by Troma’s Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD and Zac Amico: The 18th Annual TromaDance Film Festival (Noon, 1:00 pm, 1:45 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 10:30 pm; screenings all Free!; 10:30 pm show is $10, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comics share clips from fake shows that never actually happened (you can watch previous clips here) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Clip Show: A Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($7): A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Join gay-ass hosts Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni as they gay up the straights through games and trivia. Life lines include one woke woman and a wise queer. Come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck!” at the UCB East theatre: GAYme Show

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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