NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 9/15/17

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017A beloved annual comedy festival that began as a one-time joke kicks off its 10th Anniversary, running today through Tuesday at Brooklyn’s The Bell House and Union Hall. Tonight’s shows are:

• 7:00 pm ($15): Hosts Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, & Madelyn Freed (The Annoyance) give a comedic lecture on a scientific topic, aided by tonight’s guests Harris Mayersohn, Jaboukie Young-White, and Bennett Ferris, and then bring on stage an actual scientist who will point out all the things they got wrong at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): The Scientists

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($20): Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children, with tonight’s cruel jokesters H. Jon Benjamin (hilarious star comic; FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, FX’s Archer, Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Dr. Katz, Home Movies), Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves), Ben Schwartz (written for David Letterman, The Oscars, The New Yorker), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV), and Eugene Mirman (if you don’t know, you’re at the wrong festival) performing at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (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!): Sh!tshow

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($15): A showcase for superb stand-ups with unique approaches to comedy, featuring Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Julio Torres (marvelously nuanced, outside-the-box stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Tanael Joachim performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) with stellar host Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out): These Comics Will Be The Stars Of Some Weird, Helmet-Based VR Platform

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($25): An all-star lineup of top comics, including Reggie Watts, Gary Gulman, Jo Firestone, Josie Long, Charlie Pickering, Janelle James, and Eugene Mirman performing at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by comedy genius Chris Gethard: These Comedians Would Rather Buy a New Air Conditioner Than Repair Their Old One

For explore the complete list of festival shows, and/or to buy tickets for subsequent nights, please click Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"…or come see a superb solo show by Jamie Aderski that provides exceptionally honest and funny tales of what it was like for Jamie to become a mom (for a trailer, place click here): Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (7:00 pm; $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg: "How to Break Up By Text"…and while you’re at The PIT, enjoy dynamite comedy duo Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg (just back in NYC after conquering LA; producers & stars of Blogologues) share audience break-up texts, plus screen shots of their favorite relationship dumps found on the Net, in this fast-paced and hilarious interactive show: How to Break Up By Text (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): A play co-written & performed by Elana Fishbein & Elena Skopetosunique, and co-written & directed by Peter McNerney, about a family’s reluctant reunion received a rave from The New York Times’ Elise Czajkowski, and is being briefly revived for three Saturdays this month at The Magnet theatre: Sisters Three

[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 ($12): One of the very best shows at UCB Chelsea is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (on a double-bill with Obama Daughters)

7:30 pm ($7): Lend your laughter to Will Abeles recording 30 minutes of stand-up for an upcoming comedy album, with an opening set by Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), at The PIT Underground hosted by Caitlin Peluffo: Will Abeles Album Recording

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A historical period or major event is explored comedically via stand-up, sketch, trivia contests, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Auslaender & Lindsay Boling: Annal Revue

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Phoebe Tyers and Sebastian Conelli: The Friday Night Sh*w

[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 ($12): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “When a very famous New York Times theatre critic writes a scathing review of New Team Honeybear’s latest play, calling it, “Not a play at all,” Jeff and Anthony are forced to question everything. Is it a play? Can they work together to prove the critic wrong? Will their friendship survive?” by sketch duo Jeff Mondoro & Anthony Jackson directed by Kevin Laibson at The PIT Underground: That’s Not a Play: A Play by New Team Honeybear

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A comedic play written and starring Ian Lockwood & Sophie Zucker, and directed by Philip Markle, in which “Baby Jessica was the first child to fall down a well, thereby capturing the nation’s attention and becoming America’s sweetheart overnight. Baby Ian will be the second” at The PIT Mainstage: Baby Ian Falls Down a Well

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): In this unique spin on musical improv, comedy duo Maggie Lalley & Jillian Vitko ask the audience to suggest a location, a victim, and a crime, and then make up a musical that tells the story of that felony at The PIT Mainstage: True Crime: The Musical

11:00 pm ($10): 1995 video game movie Mortal Kombat is screened and mercilessly savaged by comics Brian McGuinness, Derek Humphrey, Peter Bandyk, and FreddyG at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersback: Movies R Dumb: Mortal Kombat

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): A unique show based on the premise “Let’s be honest, love doesn’t exist, couples suck, and Valentine’s Day is bullshit. We test real life couples to see if they are meant to be together (they aren’t). The couple with the least amount of points at the end of the night will have to break up, because we all die alone anyway and what’s the point of anything really? It’ll be fun!” at UCB East hosted by Carly Ann Filbin: Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: If you’re looking for something different: Former porn star Alia Janine hosts this show featuring sex workers ranging from dancers to strip club bouncers performing stand-up, plus more conventional comics, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Hardcore Comedy Show

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

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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