Today kicks off the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival, running every night through August 27th. Among the vibrant choices is this world premiere screening of a unified cut of The Onion’s entire 2012 webseries Sex House satirizing America’s reality show culture (for a trailer, please click here), followed by a Q&A with the director and writers of the series hosted by Sean Joseph Patrick Carney (host of Humor and the Abject podcast) and Darcie Wilder (author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person): Sex House (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…
..and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival is this stand-up show starring Bob the Drag Queen (winner of Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), plus performances by Alotta McGriddles, Lady Bearica Andrews, Papusa Smear, and host Sandy Devastation, with music by DJ Ten Yards: Bob the Drag Queen: Queen for the People (7:30 pm & 10:30 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…
…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival show starring extreme character comic Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) with guests Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Lorelei Ramirez (host of Do Something), Bardia Salimi (host of Hell House), Andrew Tisher, Steve Whalen, and Sebastian Dinatale: The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…
…or if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, check out this free weekly show in which comics Christian Finnegan, Michael Lewis, Samantha Bednarz, and Jeremy Kaplowitz 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)
Other notable shows this Monday include:
[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): UCB comics perform solo character bits at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBT Character Showcase
[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
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Improv trio Doppelganger—consisting of Sasheer Zamata, Keisha Zollar, and Nicole Byer—created fresh, brilliant improv before each of its rising stars went off to be famous. Nicole is probably in LA right now, but Sasheer and Keisha are reuniting to make up scenes based on audience suggestions at the UCB East theatre: Doppelganger
[TOP PICK] [$] 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): Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train), Tim Dillon (Last Comic Standing), Katie Hannigan (MTV’s Inside Joke), Noah Garfinkel, and Calvin Evans perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) 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
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Terrific character comics perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted & directed by Michael Hartney plus a co-host (last month it was Timothy Dunn, who was a perfect partner for Michael). This is one of my favorite shows, and I especially recommend checking it out if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand (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), Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), and other 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
[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 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
NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/22/17
Day #2 of the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival (running through August 26th) includes this screening of a performance film starring the Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani—who will also perform live on stage!), with cameos by Reggie Watts, Kate Berlant, and more directed by Rachel Wolther & Alex H. Fischer: Cocoon Central Dance Team: Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…
…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival stand-up show with T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Roy Wood Jr. (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), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Michael Joyce, Simmons McDavid, and Lane Pieschel hosted by Rob Haze (Adam Devine’s House Party, Viceland’s Flophouse): The Fancy Show (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Other notable shows this Tuesday include:
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt
[TOP PICK] [$] 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 Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Tuesday
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime), and Sydnee Washington (host of The Warm Up) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Sharron Paul (College Humor) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just for Laughs): Cheap Date Comedy Show
[FREE] 8:00 pm (no charge, but you must RSVP): Comics who create material for Above Average perform, including Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and host Matt Star, all at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street): Above Average Live
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers), Ronny Cheng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Joey Dundale perform stand-up hosted by Dan Licata, Joe Pera, and Charles Gould at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Two long headlining sets on this stand-up double-bill starring Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Netflix’s Master of None) and Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show) at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Monroe Martin and Derek Gaines: No Need for Apologies
[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup
[FREE] 10:30 pm (Free! using online code COMP; no min.): Stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness by veteran comics such as Big Jay Oakerson and Rich Vos at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters
NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/23/17
As part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, superb stand-ups Nimesh Patel (exceptionally sharp & funny; Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), and more hosted by Mike Lebowitz: Comedians You Should Know (9:00 pm, $5, Brooklyn’s The Gutter Bowling and Fine Brews at 200 North 14th Street)…
…and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, an interactive comedy game show in which contestants compete on spelling ability and the audience is invited to sabotage them, featuring Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special), and Tom Cowell (Comedy Central), plus music from band Andy Frasco & The UN, all hosted by Alex Greer: We Bee Spelling (8:30 pm, $12.21 online or $15 at the door, Brooklyn’s Union Pool (484 Union Avenue)…
…and also as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, three of the finest comics in the country—Jo Firestone, Mark Normand, and Michelle Wolf—perform stand-up hosted by Becca Beberaggi: Paste Magazine Presents Jo Firestone, Mark Normand, and Michelle Wolf (9:00 pm, Brooklyn’s William Vale at 111 North 12th Street; PLEASE NOTE this is SOLD OUT)…
…Ilana Glazer (co-star of Comedy Central red-hot hit Broad City) delivered superb stand-up shows last Wednesday, in which she did a great long set and also had two sharp comedy friends do great long sets; and since those went so well, Ilana’s doing it again tonight and next Wednesday, with both an early and late show: Ilana Glazer and Friends (7:30 pm and 9:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street;—take R subway to Union Street; PLEASE NOTE: All performances have SOLD OUT. However, you might be able to nab tickets via the Fan Exchange)…
…and Chris Gethard Show icon Riley Soloner is a sweet, silly comic almost impossible to not like; and so is his over-the-top character Vacation Jason, whose sole missions in life are to party and create chaos. Come join this character so infectious that one executive was more interested in Vacation Jason than Chris Gethard years ago when Geth was pitching his show to Comedy Central: Night Late: Vacation Jason Edition (11:00 pm, $5, 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
7:00 pm ($7): A dozen comics create an on-stage episode of Game of Thrones in which “women rise up and take back Westeros; it’s All Men Must Die (with jokes)” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Dames of Thrones
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 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): Comedy Cellar Wednesday
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): “A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” with guests Tim Platt, Steven DeSiena, Tessa Skara, and Jaboukie Young-White, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) as part of the the Brooklyn Comedy Festival: Cartoon Monsoon
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.