Stand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages the irresistible Christi Chiello (above; Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Lance Weiss (CMT, co-host of Gandhi, Is That You?), Josiah Madigan (Emmy-winning writer/producer; ABC, MTV, NatGeo, NPR’s Ask Me Another), and Brock Mahan (Emmy-winning writer/producer; Comedy Central, Discovery, VH1, NatGeo, NPR; co-publisher of magazine Eel Fancy) hosted by Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV): Serious Matters (8:00 pm, $7, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…
…or see eternally luminous star Rosie Perez (Oscar-nominated movie star (Fearless), Broadway star, TV host (The View), Emmy-nominated choreographer (In Living Color), author, activist, and more) and Eric Haze (artists/designer) be interviewed by DJ hosts Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia for this Brooklyn live taping of their weekly NPR podcast: What’s Good with Stretch & Bobbito (8:00 pm, $30, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…
…or check out comics sharing tales of lost loves, heartbreak, and hopelessness—including Justin Perez talking about his ex—plus happy couple Kelley Quinn (ace UCB show Power Hour, webseries Straight Marriage) & Kelsey Bailey (UCB Harold Night, Here & Queer), and a live-on-stage blind date with co-host Jessie Jolles & Chris Metcalfe, all hosted by Claire Burns & Jessie: No Such Thing as Love (7:30 pm, $5—or Free if you’re a single guy!, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Other notable shows this Thursday include:
[TOP PICK] [$] 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] 7:30 pm ($7): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Lauren Adams (cast member of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Adam Mamawala (MTV’s Girl Code), Alex English (The Run Down with Robin Thede), and Ed Galvez perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle
7:00 pm ($7): Comedic storytellers tell tales accompanied by videos, with tonight’s guests Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times) and Chris O’Neil, plus improv group Happy Little Trees makes up scenes springboarding off the stories, all at The PIT Underground hosted by Harmon Leon: Videotale
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Charlie Pickering (Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), Caitlin Durante, and more perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Mark Normand, Michelle Wolf, Seaton Smith, Nick Griffin, Adrienne Iapalucci, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Last week indie improv group Miles From Pete (Desi Domo, Josh Tobin, Scott Vicari, and Waylen Roche), which had impressively not only defeated but decisively crushed two UCB house teams in a row, may have thought it’d have it easy against a fellow indie group consisting of only two people: Taylor Gonzalez & Will Martinez performing as 2 Puerto Ricans. However, Taylor & Will made full use of their chemistry as a duo to invent multiple parallel short scenes, with lots of callbacks, that resulted in a warm, vibrant, and emotionally resonant set.
In contrast, Miles From Pete was far from its best. First, it came out only three-quarters strong, as member Waylen Roche was missing (for reasons never explained). Worse, the remaining trio lacked the teamwork WFM had demonstrated brilliantly in previous weeks, with Josh Tobin & Scott Vicari sometimes going off into long bits that ignored the team’s most powerful weapon, rising star Desi Domo. But even more baffling was that WFM seemed to forget its winning technique, which is its ability to create structured stories that build to a satisfying climax. Instead, it performed a rambling monoscene about an indoor zoo that essentially went nowhere. Yet even with all those errors, MFP demonstrated so much talent that it only barely lost; the final vote count was 73-70.
Tonight new champion 2 Puerto Ricans faces UCB East Friday night house group Bucky. There’s no telling what will happen as these sharp improvisors compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match
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 comprehensive 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
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.