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I’m on vacation in August, so posting only occasionally. I’ll resume regular listings in September. Meanwhile, just a few recommendations:
Friday 8/17: On RottenTomatoes.com, the 1986 movie Rad—which is about kids doing bike tricks—has a rating of 0%, the lowest possible score from critics, but an audience rating of 91%! According to The Guardian critic Nick Evershed, this is the largest discrepancy between critical and audience reception in the entire RT database. Come see if you can figure out the reason for the gap when this movie is both screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies and 25 MST3K Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever), Carolina Hidalgo (co-host with MST3K’s Frank Conniff & Trace Beaulieu of Movie Sign with the Mads podcast), and Kat Burdick. Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind producer/host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!, which is essentially a porn version of this show, Casual Sets, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Rad (9:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Saturday 8/18: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above left; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of upcoming book How to be Alone) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Josh Gondelman (above right; one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper), Jamilah Lemieux (commentator on ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, MTV2, Vice, The Daily Show, The Nightly Show, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Nation; VP of News at iOne Digital; previously Senior Editor of Ebony Magazine), and Heben Nigatu (co-host of the Another Round podcast). This show consistently sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets in advance online for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 8/22: UCB showcases some of its finest comics—including Richie Moriarty (top left), Gwynna Forgham-Thrift (top right), LaGina Hill (bottom left), Katina Corrao (bottom middle, hosting), Katie Talay (bottom right), Chris Cafero, Nikki Palumbo, Shelly Mar, Jared Eimicke, and Nick Ramirez—in this second of two shows designed to help industry folks spot cool new talent (the first one was on 8/13): UCBT End of Summer Showcase, Part 2 (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
August: I’m taking most of August off to complete some major book and media projects, including my cross-genre fiction anthology and podcast Ghosts On Drugs. I’ll still post occasionally in August, though, and will be back as usual in September.
Thursday 9/6: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live) hosts comics reading obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had,” with the dying-as-we-speak guests TBA: My Obituary Show (8:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Friday 9/7: Christi Chiello is a delightful stand-up, writer, and actress with infectiousness enthusiasm and a unique voice who’s appeared on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, and PBSKids, and is co-host of superb monthly comedy shows Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate. Tonight Christi performs a solo production that demonstrates she’s one of the funniest and most talented comics in NYC. Kudos also go to director Randy Blair for helping Christi show off what a powerhouse she is at her confident best. If you like fun, I happily recommend you come enjoy Christi Chiello: It’s Christi, B*tch! (8:00 pm, $17, Ars Nova at 511 West 54th Street between Tenth & Eleventh Avenues)
You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases 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 Hell’s Kitchen 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
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.
Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. 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.
From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.