NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 8/12/17

Michelle WolfA star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show, and was previously a staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers, performs an early and late solo stand-up show in the West VIllage at NYU’s 828-seat theatre: Michelle Wolf Live (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $25, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at 566 LaGuardia Place)…

Book Club—A Comedy Show: "The Handmaid's Tale"..Blythe Roberson (bottom left; The Onion, McSweeney’s, & 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 (top left; The New Yorker, Playboy, The Guardian; author of book I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better), Fran Hoepfner (top right; 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 Handmaid’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

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/13/17

Jim NortonJim Norton (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Inside Amy Schumer; hosted HBO stand-up showcase Down and Dirty; former cast member of HBO sitcom Lucky Louie; HBO half-hour One Night Stand; feature film Spider-Man; regular on The Opie & Anthony Show; author of book Happy Endings, comedy album Contexually Inadequate) hones material for a one-man show in Jim Norton: Work In Progress (7:00 pm, $5 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Aasif Mandvi…or help Aasif Mandvi (former correspondent for The Daily Show; appearances in numerous movies & TV shows) as he tries out a new one-man show: Come See How the Sausage is Made (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Hasan Minhaj…and Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show; breakthrough star performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; Netflix special Homecoming King) also tries out jokes for a one-man stand-up show: Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time (11:00 pm, $5 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Other notable shows this Sunday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 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 five shows, with four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, MTV, IFC’s How Shit Works, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Phil Hanley (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Craig Ferguson, former host of Chemistry), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Carmen Lagala, and Ryan Schutt perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/14/17

Ophira EisenbergVirtually each of us endures a lot more, and is far tougher, than is apparent from surface appearances. And I don’t mean only emotional and spiritual hardships, but permanent bodily mementos. In this show, Ophira Eisenberg (one of the very finest storytellers in the country; NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here) reveals “I have a lot of scars. And I don’t mean metaphorical ones, I’m talking actual physical scars. I’m actually covered in them. This show is about my scars, filled with both comedic and tragic stories, and how to accept these patterns etched in my skin day after day after day.” Opening for Ophira are storyteller Ed Gavagan (TED Talks, Moth Grandslam champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour) and magician Matthew Holtzclaw, with direction by Maggie Cino: Ophira Eisenberg: Scars (8:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Joe Mande…or come see Joe Mande (former writer for Parks & Recreation, Kroll Show, The Good Place, Master of None; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Ben on Modern Family; author of book Look at This F*cking Hipster, comedy album Bitchface; Netflix’s Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special) perform solo stand-up in the East Village at an early or late show tonight, or a late show tomorrow night: Joe Mande at Joe’s Pub (7:30 pm & 9:30 pm tonight, 9:30 pm Tuesday; $16; Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)…

Nicki Wright: "Panel of Thrones"…and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, check out this free weekly show in which comics Sam Halt, Sally Ann Hall, Patrick J. Reilly, and David Piccolomini discuss the final episodes of this spectacular season of GoT hosted by Nicki Wright: Panel of Thrones (7:30 pm, Free!, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Gastor Almonte: "Raised by the East"…or come hear tales of East Brooklyn by sharp storyteller Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages): Gastor Almonte: Raised by the East (9:30 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[FREE] 6:30 pm (reserve tickets here): Female comics Inot announced) “use humor and pop culture to expose the haters fighting against reproductive rights” at this free show that’s part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival at The Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A & B); Lady Parts Justice League

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 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): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Erik Bergstrom (Comedy Central Half Hour, cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Joyelle Nicole, Raghav Mehta, and Mookie Thompson perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) guest-hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5 in advance online, $10 at the door): Host Kevin Bartini (The Daily Show, Colbert Report) and friends Jay Schmidt, Jessica Bailey, and Adam Lash review movies merely by watching their previews for this recorded live podcast at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Movie Preview Review Podcast

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Ari Shaffir, Pete Lee, and other terrific stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7): A gay-themed variety show featuring “special guests from the Gay Illuminati, Broadway, television, and the Drag-O-Sphere” at the UCB East theatre hosted by Timothy Dunn: Queerball

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea typically hosted by 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; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

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

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…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at


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