Go out tonight, but set your recording device to Comedy Central for two new Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour specials. Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel) kicks things off at midnight, and comedy treasure Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) stars starting at 12:30 am.
…and speaking of Jo Firestone, see her live tonight along with Josh Gondelman, Jacqueline Novak, Joe Pera, Clare O’Kane, Kevin Iso, Anthony Devito, and Albert Kirchner performing stand-up, plus music by Tor Hyams & Lisa Rothauser: Wanderfest (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…
…or catch this great double-bill, which begins with a kinetic 25-minute sketch show set to Top 40 pop tunes danced by delightful rising star Amanda Giobbi (above left; skills include “carrying a wide variety of snacks in my purse at any given moment”) and Kelley Quinn (Lloyd Night, webseries Straight Marriage), directed by Becky Chicoine: Power Hour; and then a typically brilliant 25-minute parody of Seinfeld made up on the spot: Improvised Seinfeld (7:30 pm, $12, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)
Other notable shows this Friday include:
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7) Jamie Aderski performs an exceptionally honest and funny solo show about what it was like for her to become a mom (for a trailer, place click here) at The PIT Mainstage (123 East 24th Street): Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood
[TOP PICK] [$] 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
7:00 pm ($7): Nine improvisors—including Louis Kornfeld, Shacottha Fields, Pat May, and Evan Forde Barden—”invent, expand, and round out a series of scenes arranged in order by cast size. The show finally returns to the moment where it began: a single performer, out in the open, looking for closure” at The Magnet theatre: The Peel
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Dennis Mortensen (founder & CEO of x.ai) and Pamela Pavliscak (founder of Change Sciences), and Kate O’Neill (tech humanist) discuss the latest technology trends with hosts David Ryan Polgar (tech ethicist) & Joe Leonardo (ESPN, NPR) at The PIT Underground: Funny As Tech
8:00 pm ($5): A 90-minute variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele
[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 group of six comedic actors, including Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%), performs sketch at The PIT Mainstage: Uncle Function
[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
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 ($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 ($10): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe delivers odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy. This group which won the ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group and was written up by Jason Zinoman in The New York Times performs tonight at The PIT Mainstage: Murderfist
Midnight ($7): Pat Regan and Dave Mizzoni! each perform a 30-minute stand-up set at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Matt Rogers: A Midnight Moment
Midnight ($7): Comics share bad videos they made as teens at the UCB East theatre hosted by Andy Bustillos & Kelsey McLaughlin: Movies You Made in High School
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.