Wow. My absolute favorite on-the-road journalist covering the 2016 Presidential campaign (buy her book about it, Unbelievable), and who is now an ace daily anchor for MSNBC, is Katy Tur; and she’ll be on the same stage with one of my favorite comics, the brilliant star of The President Show Anthony Atamanuik, as well as writer & correspondent for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Ashley Nicole Black, each chugging a couple of beers while talking politics hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street; P.S. Watch The Rachel Maddow Show every weeknight—genius, joyful, and indispensable)…
…or enjoy a Broadway, TV, and/or film star perform a classic theatre scene as scripted—except the other half of the scene must be carried by an improvisor who’s never experienced the play and must spontaneously react to whatever happens. Attracting some of the finest improvisors and actors in NYC—who tonight include Scott Adsit, Brian Stack, Becky Drysdale, Cristin Milioti, Amy Rutberg, and Todd Buonopane—this is one of the best improv shows in the country. It always quickly sells out of seats, but you can probably still get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing for actor/director Stephen Ruddy‘s Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…
…or 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 Kathleen Armenti as daughter Liza Minnelli and Jay Malsky as fellow diva 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, $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)
Other notable shows this Monday include:
[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($25): Ophira Eisenberg tapes her comedy trivia radio show live, with tonight’s guests Melissa Joan Hart (star of Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Melissa & Joey) and Amy Seimetz (co-wrote, co-directed, and executive produced Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience) at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8) Great lineup of Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (star of TBS’ Friends of Earth; former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter): Night Train
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Carmen Lynch, Joe List, Sam Morril, Adrienne Iapalucci, and more trying out new stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night
[FREE] 10:00 pm: Typically terrific stand-ups (unusually, not announced this week) 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
[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—push boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Andy Sandford: Permission to Fail
10:30 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray & Christina Dabney at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss
[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 typically 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 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 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
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
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.