NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 8/24/17

Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues LiveDave 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 that’s part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival: Witch Taint Live (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Michelle Buteau, Janelle James, and Liza Treyger…and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival is this stand-up show featuring Liza Treyger (above right; fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Michelle Buteau (above left; 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), Janelle James (above middle; @midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Corinne Fisher (co-host of popular podcast Guys We Fucked), and Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, @midnight, Sirius XM) hosted by Rosebud Baker: Generation Why? (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

udy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Jay Malsky as Elaine Stritch…or go to Manhattan to experience superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman (musical improv group Vern, musical parody series Unauthorized!) host a sketch & cabaret show as Judy Garland, joined by ace singer/impersonators Matt Giroveanu (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, Vern) as Frank Sinatra and Jay Malsky (above right; see directly below for UCB Chelsea shows Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend and The Kellyanne Show happening at 9:30 pm) as Elaine Stritch, with Jody Shelton (co-writer of hit parody 50 Shades: The Musical; renowned musical improv group Baby Wants Candy) on piano: The Judy Garland Show (7:00, $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!…and then come see Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who sings beautifully. This (mostly) one-man musical he’s created shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. Enjoy this polished version—with musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and extra vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega—that’s now a part of the UCB schedule (I saw it raw when it debuted last year at Solocom…and it was the best show of the festival): Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (8:00 pm; $7—which includes a second show that co-stars Jay and is also likely to be terrific, The Kellyanne Show: UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

Desi Domo…and while you’re at UCB, stick around for NYC’s premium improv competition. Last week indie group Miles From Pete (Desi Domo, Waylen Roche, Josh Tobin, and Scott Vicari) performed a brilliant 25-minute monoscene, with Desi Domo (above) especially proving herself an outstanding comedic talent who merits keeping an eye on. This group that’s not affiliated with any school essentially crushed three of the guys from UCB Saturday night improv team What I Did For Love (which had been on a 6-week winning streak), attracting 67 votes to 27. New champion MFP tonight faces UCB Lloyd Night group Zaddy, competing for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match (11:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

[FREE] 7:00 pm-10:00 pm: An improv jam open to all at 7:00 pm, Annoyance Theatre veteran improvisor show Michael Jordan Steakhouse at 8:00 pm, and a stand-up show at 9:00 pm featuring Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), and more, all at Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Avenue, in the cellar) hosted by Danny Groh as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival: DogSlam Comedy

[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

8:00 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals begins a 10-show run tonight through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

8:00 pm ($7): A two-man comedic play about star Redd Foxx, who had a legendary stand-up career and hit TV series; “yet toward the end of his infamous life the IRS took everything he had…so he decided to give a fuck” written by Laurence Maslon, and starring Kareem M. Lucas as Redd Foxx and Adam McNulty as an IRS agent at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Redd, Black, and Blue

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Michelle Wolf, Melissa Villaseñor, Liza Treyger, Nimesh Patel, Seaton Smith, Keith Alberstadt, Alingon Mitra, and more try out new stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

9:00 pm ($7): A rotating cast of professional clowns perform a silly show in hopes of changing your life at The PIT Underground hosted by Joe Galan & Kim Kaiser: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 8/25/17

Krystyna Hutchinson, Angela Perrone, and Natalie WallJoin the lovely Natalie Wall (above right) in celebrating the Fourth Year Anniversary of her best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Krystyna Hutchinson (above left; co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast, Carson Daly), Angela Perrone (above middle; sketch group Dark Times, improv group Former Children), and Care Stigs (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Care (formerly Carolyn Castiglia) as white rapper, please click here) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $15 online or $20 at the door—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets)…

Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman: "Your Love, Our Musical"…or come 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). Part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:30 pm; $10, which is super cheap—;this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Bowen Yang and Shantira Jackson…or join host Sonia Denis as she “invites an eclectic group of influential party guests” including Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas) and Shantira Jackson (writer for BET’s 50 Central; member of improv/sketch group 3Peat) “to celebrate, satirize and ‘real talk’ the news; from current events to social issues to pop culture pettiness, if it’s filling up your social feed, it’s hitting up this show” as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival: The Refinery29’s After After Party Live (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street;—take R subway to Union 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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Patrick McCartney, Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott make up scenes at The PIT Underground: Centralia

8:00 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

8:00 pm ($7): A two-man comedic play about star Redd Foxx, who had a legendary stand-up career and hit TV series; “yet toward the end of his infamous life the IRS took everything he had…so he decided to give a fuck” written by Laurence Maslon, and starring Kareem M. Lucas as Redd Foxx and Adam McNulty as an IRS agent at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Redd, Black, and Blue

[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] 9:30 pm ($10): Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central Half Hour, Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), Wanjiko Eke (MTV), and Sarah Lazarus perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Mamoudou N’Diaye & Yedoye Travis as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival: The Resistance Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

Midnight ($7): “You have been cordially invited to the Mad Queen’s birthday spectacular, and no mad birthday would be complete without an appearance by The Fiend. The Fiend must be fed, so The Queen has decided to kill two birds with one stone: Any performance that does not meet the Queen’s Standard will be fed to The Fiend!” with potential victims Corin Wells, Patrick Keene, Melanie Owens, and Arti Gollapudi performing at the UCB East theatre: Cool Shit / Weird Shit: The Mad Queen’s Birthday Monstrosity

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/26/17

Diversity in Late NightAs part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, a free panel discussion about diversity in writing for late night TV sponsored by NBC and NBCUniversal TIPS (Talent Infusion Programs), with Kate Sidley (staff writer for Stephen Colbert), Nedaa Sweiss (staff writer for James Corden), and more TBA: Writers Panel: Diversity in Late Night (3:00 pm-4:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

Brooklyn Comedy Festival Closing Night Surprise Party…and the closing night live show of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival (the fest officially ends Sunday, but the only show tomorrow is a series of short film screenings) is like a box of chocolates—the performers will be a surprise, but the chances you’ll like at least a few of them: Brooklyn Comedy Fest Closing Night Surprise Party (8:00 pm-Midnight, $15, Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar at 150 Greenpoint Avenue)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[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

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[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

10:00 pm ($10): Kenny Warren invites comedians to his “barbershop” to get their hair cut and talk comedy at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) co-hosted by Barry Ribs & Larry Beyah: Comics Cutting Comics

[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

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/27/17

Birthday SaxTim Girrbach (half of comedic musical duo Squirm & Germ) and friends perform “your favorite 1980s soundtrack songs, re-imagined by a German überfan and a saxophone quartet at his birthday party. Come rock out with Manheim Tuttlingen, his Frauleins, and The Garden State Saxophone Quartet as they crank out his all-time favorite hits from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Sixteen Candles, The NeverEnding Story, and more. Filled with lederhosen-dropping surprises, it’s a comedic character concert created as a homage to Tim’s German dad, directed/choreographed by Wendy Seyb (HBO’s & Broadway’s The Pee Wee Herman Show, The Toxic Avenger Musical).” For one night only: Birthday Sax (9:30 pm, $15, Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)…

Pet Prov…and there’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this endearing monthly show, improvisors perform along with their real-life pets—tonight featuring Katie Hammond & her dog Vern and Angela Perrone & her dog Francis, plus other improvisors including Dana Shulman (rising star; host of Student Driver, improv group Poor Melissa), Rory Scholl, TJ Del Reno, and wonderfully humane host Kerstin Porter (sketch show BoogieManja, sketch/improv group The Pin-Up Squirrels), all making up scenes for Pet Prov (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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): Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), Josh Rabinowitz (writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City; TruTV’s Friends of the People), Kelsey Caine (Miss New York State finalist; for a video sample, please click here), Liz Magee, Hoodo Hersi, and Brandon Ash Mohammed 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 Alison Leiby (sharp, fresh, likeable stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): 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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Typically terrific comics (for an update, please click here) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and/or Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more compressive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

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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