NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/21/17

Kevin Geeks Out About Stephen King, Vol. 2A spectacular collection of hilarious film & TV clips and guest pop culture experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends focusing, for a second round, on one of the greatest horror writers of all time (for a video teaser, please click here): Kevin Geeks Out About Stephen King, Vol. 2 (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas often sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Battle of the Divas: Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff…or join a pop culture debate on one of the weightiest issues of the 2000s—Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff—featuring comics Brian McIntyre (arguing for Lindsay) and Marcia Belsky (arguing for Hilary), plus diva drag performances by Elizabeth James and music from DJ Molly Austin, with fabulous hosts Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV) & Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff (7:30 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors James Dwyer & Jackie Jennings perform their vision of a Church of Scientology “audit” (“‘The Church of Scientology provides free Audits at our NYC location for anyone interested in going clear.’ Once you are clear you will never see the ones you love again.”), with James as L. Ron Hubbard and Jackie as new potential member David Miscavige at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Audit

[$] 7:00 pm ($20): Peter Michael Marino plays around with the audience in a mix of improv and scripted comedy (with staging by stellar director Michole Biancosino), and then attempts to pull off the very difficult feat of creating an entertaining one-man improv show inspired by what he’s learned about the audience at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue), running Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through 9/30: Show Up

7:00 pm ($7): Magicians do improv and improvisors perform magic in this collision of mildly popular art forms starring Rich Kameda, Scott Benjamin, Lee Barrett, and David Frasure at The PIT Mainstage: The League of Magical Improvisers

[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): Superb improvisors Adrian Sexton (Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov), Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend), and other members of PIT Wednesday improv group The Community Players make up a play on the spot at The PIT Underground: The Community Players Present Theatre/Theater/Theatah

7:30 pm ($7): Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Sagar Bhatt (Last Comic Standing), Jules Posner, Rebecca Shortall, and more perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). Playing at The PIT Mainstage for a mere 10 bucks (this show has sold out at other venues for twice the price), I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($30): Stand-up, TV writer, and bestselling author Jen Kirkman headlines at the Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street), with an opening set by Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central, MTV, comedy album True Love): Jen Kirkman: The All New Material Girl Tour

8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups starting at 8:00 pm, themed improv show The Setup at 10:00 pm, and improv competition Inspirado at 11:00 pm, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Brendan Fitzgibbons (MTV’s Guy Code, The Onion, co-host of Gandhi, Is That You?), Jules Posner (SF Sketchfest), Billy Prinsell, and Loyiso Gola 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

9:00 pm ($8): Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Jen Kwok (ABC’s Quantico. HBO’s High Maintenance, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, MTV, PBS), Lawrence DeLoach, Jodi Coyote, Jill Weiner, and Taffy Jaffe perform stand-up or storytelling at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC magicians (and maybe some visiting wizards) try out new material, with some stand-up thrown in, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen): Amazeballs

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Improv duo 2 Puerto Ricans (Taylor Gonzalez & Will Martinez) won its third victory in a row last week, beating former Lloyd Night team Slingshot by 56 votes to 37. Tonight 2PR faces UCB East Friday night improv group Take It Personal, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Michael Kayne (The Chris Gethard Show), Scott Sharp, Rosebud Baker, and Tron Alan perform stand-up at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

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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