NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 4/19/17

April 19, 2017

Jordan KlepperJordan Klepper (star correspondent for The Daily Show, and star of upcoming 11:30 pm Comedy Central series) performs a stage show where he’s presumably trying stuff out before a friendly UCB audience: Jordan Klepper TBD (11:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:15 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:00 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jim Norton (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing; hosted HBO stand-up showcase Down and Dirty; former cast member of HBO sitcom Lucky Louie; HBO half-hour One Night Stand; feature film Spider-Man; regular on The Opie & Anthony Show; author of book Happy Endings) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Jim Norton: Work In Progress

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

7:00 pm ($7): Sketches about recent political events at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Swamp: This Week in Politics

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Mindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) has been a respected and beloved member of the comedy community for over a decade. In this one-woman show at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), however, Raf achieves a whole new level of comedy greatness.

Raf’s script weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Raf delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously.

Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Raf is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it.

With this show, Raf has developed into a star talent who demands attention.

I highly recommend this wonderful production, which after its April 2017 PIT run will play July 19th, 22nd, and 23rd at the prestigious 59E54 Theater; and then in August play for 28 performances at the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

By the way, don’t get put off by the oddball title. This show has nothing to do with illness; and the only body organs it focuses on are the vagina and the human heart: Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, 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 Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($10 to watch): Star John Hodgman runs a heavy-duty trivia contest designed to raise funds for creative writing programs at NYC public schools. The contestants have already been selected, but you can come to watch and vicariously participate at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Trivia Night for Cheaters

7:30 pm ($10): The first half of this show is traditional improv, and is then followed by stand-ups performing sets based on suggestions from the audience, all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Caroline Mazzei & Gregory Hall: Comedy Mayhem

7:30 pm ($5): Extending the improv showcased at UCB Chelsea’s Tuesday Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features house groups Zaddy, seventeen, and Hotel Hotel also making up scenes via the long improv form called The Harold: Lloyd Night

[FREE; plus Free Homemade Beef Jerky!] 8:00 pm: Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show), Jake Hart (host of storytelling shows The Dump and A.S.S.), Ginny Leise (co-host of The Shame Game), and Chris Ryan “tell their funniest true stories” at Brooklyn’s Excelsior Bar (563 Fifth Avenue, between 15th & 16th Streets) hosted by Sean O’Brien: Dummies & Company

8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a mostly fun sketch comedy gathering of “the world’s foremost cryptozoologists, monster hunters, and friends of freaky fauna, will convene at our top-secret headquarters under a grocery store to unveil the year’s most fascinating and grotesque new beastly discoveries:” Monsters Exist

…and in the second other of this double bill, a mild parody of girl bands via “the world’s first Asian-American pop group from the USA. Join Baby Rice, Quirky Rice, Edgy Rice, Competitive Rice, and Brown Rice as they kick off their tour by dancing, singing, and rapping about boys, friendship, and systemic racism/oppression:” AzN PoP!: Live in Concert

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Stand-ups tell deliciously long tales, with tonight’s yarn-spinners Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), and DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), all performing at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Storytelling

8:30 pm ($7): Musical improv duo Jordan Hirsch & Kathleen Armenti interview an audience member—possibly you—”about your routine, your habits, their whys and wherefores, all of that gives us a window into your soul. And then we’ll make up funny songs about it. If Alexander Hamilton gets a show all about him, why not you? You’re just as interesting and twice as alive as that guy” at The PIT Underground: You: The Musical

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Chris Gersbeck, Freddy G, Suzanne Lee Sheppard, Amy Liska, Will Poznan, Jesse Eigner, Andrew Casertano, and Paul Dagliolo (the producer of this show) perform at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Alex Gardes: Alternative Fax

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Ryan Reiss (Seth Meyers, MTV, FOX, Spike, WE, NICK), Phil Hunt, Allie Klein, Mary Beth Barone, and Joe Alfano performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Comedy duo Nick Kocher & Brian McElhaney are now staff writers for Saturday Night Live, but they began as a sketch duo. Tonight they perform an hour of their newest sketches at the UCB Chelsea theatre: BriTANicK

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Lucy Shelby, an attractive performer who excels at physical comedy, plays three very different women in an increasingly hilarious parody of beauty pageants—culminating in an uproarious plea for help to the audience—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Pretty Hurts

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Storytellers share true tales hosted by Jenna Marucci & Aileen Think at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Jenna & Aileen Think You’re Great

10:00 pm ($7): Stand-up, sketch, and panels discussions based around a single topic (unfortunately, not announced) at The PIT Underground: Based On

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors pair up as scene-inventing duos for one night only at the UCB East theatre hosted by stellar comics Leslie Meisel & Brian Faas: Couples Skate

10:30 pm ($5): Improv from groups My First Tattoo, Benjamin ButtonCapps, and the hosts at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Funny Show

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes per comic to do stand-up, characters, storytelling, or anything else funny, with sign-up at 5:30 pm, at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild: Flynn’s Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Anthony Velez: Recess

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

11:00 pm ($5): Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes per comic, with sign-up at 10:00 pm (maximum of 12 comics, so arrive early), at The PIT Underground hosted by Max Halpert: Awkward High Five Open Mic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans: The Improv Jam

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 4/18/17

April 18, 2017

Moshe Kasher: "Problematic"Don’t miss the debut of lightning-quick wit Moshe Kasher’s weekly half hour TV series Problematic, “a talk show that actually talks. Each episode will delve into a single topic of online outrage—impeachment, the dark web, ideological changes of heart, the liberal case for guns—and examine how it shapes our culture. With the help of experts, comedians, and questions from both in-studio and online audiences, Kasher will solve every problem that has ever existed by the end of the episode, bringing peace and harmony to the Internet once and for all while paving the way for a Winfrey/Schwarzenegger co-presidency in 2020.” Set your recording device to 10:00 pm on Comedy Central for Problematic

Mark Normand…and live on stage, enjoy Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer)…

Tariq Trotter / Black ThoughtTariq Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought; co-founder & rapper/MC for legendary band The Roots; regular sketch performer on Jimmy Fallon, and exceptionally quick, witty guy), award-winning Canadian surreal sketch duo The Templeton Philharmonic (Gwynne Phillips (HBO’s Sensitive Skin, PBS’s Odd Squad) & Briana Templeton (SyFy’s The Expanse, CTV’s The Beaverton)), Barry Sobel (Johnny Carson, pioneering Comedy Central star, HBO, numerous films), Melanie Maras (originally from Indonesia; hosts Shoot ‘Em Up storytelling show in LA), singer Julian Velard, and more performing for Seth Herzog’s Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

6:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups Jon Laster, JP McDade, Christina Sirabian, Catherine Cypher, and more perform at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Aakash Kothari & Emily Duke: Bonanza

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jim Norton (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing; hosted HBO stand-up showcase Down and Dirty; former cast member of HBO sitcom Lucky Louie; HBO half-hour One Night Stand; feature film Spider-Man; regular on The Opie & Anthony Show; author of book Happy Endings) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Jim Norton: Work In Progress

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions, preceded at 6:00 pm by an improv jam open to the audience: Magnet Musical Megawatt

7:00 pm ($7): Kerstin Porter performs a sketch show pitting Americans against British customs officers at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Brexit in American

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

7:00 pm ($7): A showcase for brand new scripted shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—this week featuring sketch groups Moshpick and Sketchy at The PIT Underground produced by the wonderful Ronny Pascale and hosted by Shelby Slauer (a golden retriever; Funny or Die, Reductress, co-host of 2 Dumbs at Muchmore’s): Pilot Season

[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 Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo, writer for The Onion, McSweeneys), and Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by the charming Ruby Karp: We Hope You Have Fun

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together. Tonight’s couples are Jo Firestone & Brett Davis (lovers), Emmy Blotnick & Matt Koff (pals), John Murray & Matt Fisher (pals), and Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (pals), all performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A, between 10th & 11th Streets) hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): Couples Therapy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Chloe LaBranche, and Ziwe Fumudoh perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Bar Schimmi (54 North 11th Street) hosted by Ryan Reszelbach: Creative Rezistance Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Melissa Villaseñor (newest star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Tom Thakkar (VICE, NPR), Teresa Lee (Reductress), and George Gordon perform stand-up hosted by Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Charles Gould (Comedy Central), and Dan Licata (The Chris Gethard Show) at Brooklyn’s NY Distilling Company (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club

[FREE; plus FREE DRAFT BEER 8:00-8:30!] 8:00 pm: Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), and Zach Sims performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Two Boots Pizza Williamsburg (558 Driggs Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly, David Piccolomini, and Jake Fromm: Ambush Comedy

8:00 pm ($10): Sketch and improv comics “create a brand new show in only one week, and then perform improvised sketches based off of your suggestions, just like The Second City used to do” at The PIT Mainstage: Old School Sketch Show

8:00 pm ($5): UCB house groups Fluffty and By the Book make up scenes using the long improv form called The Harold at the UCB Chelsea theatre (see also 9:30 pm): Harold Night, Part 1

[FREE, plus FREE BEER] 8:00 pm: Enjoy a comfy seat and a free beer while you watch comedy at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Couch Cave Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ryan Hamilton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with consistently fresh ideas and great crafting of language; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime) performs a rare NYC solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Ryan Hamilton Doing His Hour

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

8:30 pm ($5): “When an office full of big city escalator salesmen is given the news that all but two will be fired at the end of the week, the tough-talking escalator boys have to come up with a way to lift themselves up to a higher floor…or risk falling all the way down” written & co-starring Calvin Cole, Emily Duncan, and Jon Hudson at The PIT Underground: Glengarry Glen Escalator

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): A semi-scripted party celebrating the 100th birthday of “a famous fruit magnate,” with guests Christi Chiello, Sam Taggart, Sam Reece, Allison Spence Brown, Mo Fry Pasic, Tim Platt, Rachel Joravsky, and Rachel Pegram at the UCB East theatre hosted by Becky Chicoine & Sudi Green: Theme Party: 100th Birthday

9:30 pm ($7): Sketch group Mountain Rapids Soda performs a play in which oddball characters trapped together out on the high seas must uncover a killer in their midst at The PIT Mainstage: Boat Show Expo: A Murder Mystery

9:30 pm ($5): UCB house groups Moose and Some Kid make up scenes using the long improv form called The Harold at the UCB Chelsea theatre (see also 8:00 pm): Harold Night, Part 2

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show that books comics from the same original area (i.e., outside of NYC) to perform long sets at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Trey Galyon: I’m Not From Here

10:00 pm ($7): Comics perform scenes from plays they’ve always wanted to act in—plus stand-up by Jordan Temple and storytelling by Karolena Theresa—at The PIT Underground: Funny People

11:00 pm ($5): Going beyond the classic Harold, group Mermaids performs whatever type of long form improv it likes at the UCB East theatre: Harold on the Run

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members can join in with musical improv veterans to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

6:00 pm ($5): Walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Giggles & Bits Open Mic

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 8:30) at Brooklyn’s Little Skips (941 Willoughby Avenue) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Tuesday Night Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by the wonderful Ronny Pascale (PIT Associate Artistic Director): Tuesday After Class: Slow Jam

11:00 pm ($5): Ten stand-ups whose names are drawn from a “golden bowl of destiny” will be given stage time, along with a few invited stand-ups, at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Will Purpura: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 4/17/17

April 17, 2017

Ryan HamiltonRyan Hamilton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with consistently fresh ideas and great crafting of language; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime) performs a rare NYC solo stand-up show: Ryan Hamilton at the Village Underground (8:00 pm, $5 plus 2-item min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Ted Alexandro, Amy Stiller, and Carmen Lynch…or see Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; webseries Teachers Lounge; frequently opens for Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing finalist), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Amy Stiller (movies Zoolander 2, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Cable Guy, The Daytrippers, Tropic Thunder; numerous TV shows including The King of Queens and Inside Amy Schumer), and Jane Condon (Last Comic Standing, NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s The View, FOX, Lifetime) perform stand-up hosted by John Morrison at Morrison Motel (8:30 pm; $20 at the door—which includes one drink—if you mention code HyReviews.com or BestNewYorkComedy.com [otherwise $25]; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show often sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm group Poor Melissa, which features superb comics Dana Shulman & Adrian Sexton—at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Award-winning Canadian sketch duo The Templeton Philharmonic, which consists of Gwynne Phillips (HBO’s Sensitive Skin, PBS’s Odd Squad) & Briana Templeton (SyFy’s The Expanse, CTV’s The Beaverton), perform “darkly surreal sketches, comedic period pieces, and manic dance sequences” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with an opening solo act from Shawna Stoltzfoos (webseries Stoltzfoos, sketch group Barbara Bush): The Templeton Philharmonic plus Shawna Stoltzfoos

7:00 pm ($7): Long form improv from group Bougie, which springboards scenes off audience suggestions to “explore enchanting realms and meet fantastically out-of-touch characters” at The PIT Mainstage: Bougie

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

[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

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Just Karen and The Nitro GIrls perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Eliza Skinner (Conan O’Brien, AMC’s Lifecoach, Showtime, MTV, TBS, musical improv groups Baby Wants Candy and I Eat Pandas), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Character comics—including brilliant writer/performers Filip Jeremic, Phoebe Tyers, and more—do solo bits to show off their impressive talent at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler. This is one of my favorite monthly shows, and I especially recommend it if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Michelle Wolf, Dan Soder, Liza Treyger, Roy Wood Jr., Ronny Chieng, Mike Yard, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a faux TV episode by sketch group Nipsey in which “As a father/daughter duo, Albert and Corinne work great. As co-owners of a cigar store-turned-vape shop, they’ve got a lot to learn! And when the big Vape Expo comes to town Darcy, Gayle, and Heath have kooky ideas about how to make waves!:” Nipsey: Vape Lyfe

…and in the second other of this double bill, sketch comedy that aims to have you “laughing until blood pours out of your throat and eyes and you die and you go to hell and you’re like ‘god damn that was worth it!’ to Satan and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, I know, I was there, it was dope’:” O.S.F.U.G. The Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): In this musical written & directed by Elias Rubin, the 3rd graders of TV series The Magic Schoolbus have grown up and are enjoying their last day of high school…when their former teacher Ms. Frizzle abruptly reappears to take them on an out-of-this-world adventure at The PIT Mainstage: The Edge of the Universe: A Magic School Bus Musical Parody

[$] 8:00 pm ($18): A one-man show by Mike King about his late father, who owned Sid King’s Crazy Horse Bar and had the nickname “The Sultan of Striptease,” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Fifth Dentist in Search of Sid’s Treasure: A Tribute to the Sultan of Striptease

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

8:30 pm ($8): Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Andrea Ilene Shapiro, Cathy Humes, Pedro Salinas, Phil Stamato, and Maurice Licorish perform stand-up that may include uncomfortable observations or revelations at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Erin Lynn O’Connor & Rosa Escandon: Awkward Stage Comedy Show

9:00 pm ($7): An all-gal improv group consisting of Beth Slack, Carly Monardo, Devin O’Neill, and Elena Skopetos make up a radio play on the spot at The Magnet theatre: The Broadcast

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%), Tim Ellis, Ken Schultz, Maria Heinegg, Will Poznan, Stacy Kendro, and Michael Lewis perform at this free weekly stand-up show at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 Fifth Avenue) hosted by Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love) and RIchard James: Ed Sullivan on Acid

9:30 ($5): House sketch groups A Few Sandwich Lovers and Archnemesis try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

10:00 pm ($7): Improv group That’s Dinner makes up an entire movie that never existed based on a suggestion from the audience at The PIT Mainstage: That’s Dinner and a Movie

10:30 pm ($7): Improv from underrepresented voices at The Magnet theatre: Mixtape: Diversity Improv

[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 hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very best stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm ($3): A walk-in stand-up open mic hosted by Katherine Dudas and a walk-in improv jam hosted by Collin Gossel somehow happen at the same time at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Improv Open Mic Stand-Up Jam

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT Underground for this weekly open access show hosted by such improv talents as Gary DeNoia and Langston Belton at The PIT Underground: Base Jam

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 4/16/17

April 16, 2017

Jermaine FowlerJermaine Fowler (star of CBS sitcom Superior Donuts; star of Showtime special Give ‘Em Hell, Kid; MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Clayton English (Seth Meyers), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Yassir Lester, David Drake, and Sam Evans perform stand-up hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit (9:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[$] 2:00 pm ($20): This musical with puppets is a family-friendly and interactive reinvention of the fairy tale The Three Billy Goats that urges the audience to work at improving the environment. Today’s performance at The PIT Mainstage is the NYC premiere of Gruff!

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this show, pet owners perform improv along with their real-life pets at The PIT Mainstage: Pet Prov

6:00 pm ($7): Improvisers who are fans of Ocean’s 11 perform an epic heist based on an audience suggestion at The Magnet theatre: What Are We Stealing?

6:00 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, and Brian Urreta of improv group The Mannequin Room: Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): To celebrate Easter, sketch comedy group City Hall (Chris Booth, Julia Darden, Luis Nunez, Jake Keefe, Josh Wolinsky, and director Kevin Laibson) performs a 45-minute version of rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar using a cast of potatoes…and thoughtfully revised lyrics (e.g., “Crucify him!” has been replaced with “Peel and fry him!”) at The PIT Mainstage (123 East 24th Street): Jesus Chris Tatertot

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups compete for your laughs at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Bucket of Fun

[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 five shows, with 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 Sunday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Shulman and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT Underground: Student Driver: Indie Road

7:30 pm ($7): “Improvisers create scenes inspired by essays written about personal experiences and show that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine” at The Magnet theatre: You Are Not Alone: An Uplifting Show About Depression

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Star Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts Kevin Avery (staff writer for HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Mike Cannon, Brent Gill, Gilbert Lawand, and Khalid Rahmaan performing stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5) (MTA Subway Alert: The L train isn’t running today between Lorimer and Broadway Junction, so plan for extra travel time on a free shuttle bus to the Grand Street stop): Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Kelsey Caine (sly, sharp stand-up; Miss New York State finalist; for a video sample, please click here), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), Murf Meyer & Diana Kolsky (hosts of Menage a Trois; The Chris Gethard Show), Tim Barnes (NPR), and Tessa Skara (Ars Nova) performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis (HBO; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) & Sally Burtnick (The Special Without Brett Davis): The Macaulay Culkin Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): A double-bill of one-woman shows by Deanna Arthur and Laura Oberbeck—for a sneak peek, please click here—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Laura and Deanna

[$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A comic who won nine Emmy Awards for his Executive Producer work on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and was also Executive Producer and correspondent for The Nightly Show, practices for an upcoming comedy special with a long stand-up set at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Rory Albanese: Before I Tape

8:30 pm ($7): Students of Gary Austin, the founder of The Groundlings, performing improv at The PIT Underground: Gary Austin’s The Classroom

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

9:00 pm ($6): In this Easter-inspired edition, stand-ups Dan Perlman, Justin Flanagan, Freddy G, Maddy Smith, Brian Park, and Nasser Khan joke about religion at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Brendan Busee: Graft vs. Host

[FREE] 9:00 pm: “Bringing all the excitement and passion of professional wrestling to stand-up comedy, your clueless announcers Kelsey Caine & Jack Comstock invite you to get up and throw down for comics entering the ring for glory! Who will survive? Who will be there? Who actually cares about wrestling? Come on out and get Ready 2 Crumble” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Ready 2 Crumble

9:30 pm ($5): Improv group Higgins looks at the Instagram photos of audience members and then uses them as springboards for comedy scenes at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: The Instagram Show

9:30 pm ($7): Improv group Rebel 5 performs and hosts other indie improv groups at The PIT Underground: Rebel 5 Indie Rally

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics, Open Stages, and Jams

[FREE] 3:30 pm: Put your name in a bucket for a chance to get on stage with UCB veteran improvisors in this LGBTQIA-friendly jam at the UCB East theatre: LGBTQIA Improv Jam

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

5:30 pm ($3): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT Underground hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($5): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT Underground, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night at the Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 11:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/15/17

April 15, 2017

Jesus Chris TatertotJust two more chances, tonight and Sunday, to celebrate Easter with sketch comedy group City Hall (Chris Booth, Julia Darden, Luis Nunez, Jake Keefe, Josh Wolinsky, and director Kevin Laibson) as it performs a 45-minute version of rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar using a cast of singing potatoes…and thoughtfully revised lyrics (e.g., “Crucify him!” has been replaced with “Peel and fry him!”): Jesus Chris Tatertot (11:30 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE; reserve tickets here] 1:00 pm: A rare lunchtime stand-up show for families, with all kids under 15 allowed on stage to tell a joke, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Guess What?

2:00 pm ($5): A musical about a Godzilla-like monster who invades America, with our only chance for survival two gay scientists. Book is by Sam French & Kyle Wilson, songs are by Kyle Wilson & Joe Mendick, and direction is by Benjamin Viertel at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Kragtar: A Monster Musical Comedy

3:00 pm-4:30 pm ($5): An early stand-up show for parents with babies (no cover charge or drink minimum for the babies) featuring Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Tom Thakkar, and Lindsay Boling performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sally Brooks: Baby & Me Comedy

6:00 pm ($7): Springboarding off an audience suggestion, improvisors provide a close look at some exotic group or subculture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): DocuProv

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

6:00 pm ($7): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($12): Improv group Women and Men interview audience members about a weird and/or wild birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, or other social gathering and then make up scenes based on those anecdotes at the UCB East theatre: Women and Men: Party Jumpin’

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, 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 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 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 Saturday

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2 makes up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2

7:00 pm ($10): Becca Beberaggi (host of Comedy Night at Paste Magazine), Mike Figs, Kody Fraser, Alexander Payne, and Bobbi Elfie perform stand-up at The PIT Underground hosted by Isaura Dos Santos: Stand Up and Chill

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe that includes Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore—with guest Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely, one-woman show United Federation of Teachers)—performs at The PIT Underground: Bridge & Tunnel

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who this week is Micaela Blei—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; CBS, IFC; open for Weird Al Yankovic; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush), Devo Spice (Nerd Core rapper; Dr. Demento Radio Show), and Peggy O’Brien (stand-up) performing at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): A former Saturday Night Live star does stand-up and performs his full range of characters (“on SNL I don’t do white people, but if you break me in half like a coconut, white just spills out”) headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jay Pharoah

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At this unusual sex trivia show, you might be asked, “Where is the cervix located? What is the proper way to clean a dildo? What does LGTBQIA stand for? From female anatomy to orgasms and dental dams, how much do adults really know about sexual education? Test your sexual wits and battle it out on stage for the chance to win prizes, glory, and probably some condoms!” at Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers (641 Classon Avenue) hosted by Natalie Wall & Emily Owens: Sex WIth Your Mom

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

8:00 pm ($10): Non-comics (booked in advance, this isn’t an open mic) try performing stand-up for the very first time at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Chris Luther: Cherry Poppin’ Standies

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Caroline Cotter, Joanna Bradley, David Bluvband, and Zach Cherry at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($5): Sketch, improv, stand-up, music, and more revolving around the legacy of superstar Prince at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Chinisha Scott & Ana Defillo: Prince &…

9:30 pm ($8): Kerry Coddett (The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off, TruTV), Shelly Colman, Melissa Diaz, L Michelle, Sam & Bill, and Khalid A. Rahmaan performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sarah Kennedy: Tina Fey Will (Not) Be Here

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

10:00 ($5): Comics compete in freestyle rap games and battles, with the prize being stage time, at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage with DJ Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme—which this week is Experimental Theatre Edition—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Experimental Theatre Edition

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($7): “A crew of aliens traveled across the cosmos to destroy humankind. Unfortunately, they got trapped in orbit floating around Earth, so now they put on a variety show to pass the time” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Moonfarts: Aliens are Going to Produce Humor

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show by Harmon Leon at The PIT Underground: Harmon Leon’s Big Fat Racist Show

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein: Last Stop Laughs

11:30 pm ($7): Comics impersonate celebrities playing iconic game show Match Game at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Celebrity Guess Match

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: A monthly lip synch contest judged by you and your audience, taking into account costume, choreography, and lip syching perfection, with this month’s theme 90s hip-hop and R&B, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Christina Galston: What That Mouth Do

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

6:00 pm ($3): Experienced hip-hop improvisers perform scenes with “anyone willing to stretch that hip-hop improv muscle; it’s a fun supportive environment where scenes turn into a rap song, beatbox, freestyle, or rap battle” at The PIT Underground hosted by Raymond Morency & Richie Alfson: Off Top!: A Hip Hop Mixer

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:45 pm: In this free Magnet show, female audience members can join in with stellar improv group The Cast to make up scenes on the spot: Grrrl Jam

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/14/17

April 14, 2017

Jesus Chris TatertotTo celebrate Easter weekend, sketch comedy group City Hall (Chris Booth, Julia Darden, Luis Nunez, Jake Keefe, and Josh Wolinsky) performs its version of rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Only this is a puppet version…and the puppets are potatoes: Jesus Chris Tatertot (7:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

WrestleSlamMania…and “For over a decade, you have been able to count on the UCBW to bring you hot comedy wrestling action each and every Thursday night at Cage Match. For an unprecedented 12th consecutive year, UCBW will present its signature show—the grandpappy of ’em all—WrestleSlamMania XII! Rivalries have been brewing, and everything will come to a full boil when the full roster of UCBW MegaStars appears in the squared circle! Hilarious real wrestling matches live! Get your tickets NOW! Only 14,000 seats available!:” WrestleSlamMania XII (Midnight, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[$] 6:30 pm ($20): “The first-ever sketch comedy troupe consisting of openly autistic people,” plus comedy giant Charile Todd (Improv Everywhere) and Jamie Lotus, all at The Magnet theatre: Asperger’s Are Us

[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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show) tries out new stand-up material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Lucas Connolly

7:00 pm ($7): “Chris Barlow is the internet’s foremost self-proclaimed Amateur Wine Expert, and after spending a year in the wilderness of the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop he’s back to teach you how to bullshit with the best of them” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Chris Tries to Review Wine Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Top improvisors Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Brandon Scott Jones, and Shaun Diston “talk to one person for less than 10 minutes and let them know how they die 45 minutes later” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: We Know How You Die

7:30 pm ($10): A house sketch group that includes the wonderful Sarah Nowak and is directed by Holden McNeely (Murderfist) performs at The PIT Underground: National Scandal

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): A former Saturday Night Live star does stand-up and performs his full range of characters (“on SNL I don’t do white people, but if you break me in half like a coconut, white just spills out”) headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jay Pharoah

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups Ryan Brown, Shelly Colman, Alex Fossella, Jeffrey Paul, and Mark Anthony Ramirez perform at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Cindee Weiss & Angela Cobb: Fun Size and Venti

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Subhah Agarwal (Comedy Central, TruTV, Fusion), Amanda Baramki, Ronnie Fleming, and Koshin Egal perform stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Ayanna Dookie: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A play starring Jermaine Fowler, Langston Kerman, Karolena Theresa, Devion MacArthur, and its playwright Jordan Temple that mashes up the movies Hidden Figures and Fences at at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Hidden Fences

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): A musical parody of the Star Wars movies with periodic solid moments, and that includes superb comics Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman (Your Love, Our Musical), and terrific singer Tarik Davis (whose “bromance” duet with Evan as Finn & Poe is the highlight of the show). Unfortunately, most of the time the script doesn’t quite hit the mark; but if you’re a die-hard fan, you might get a kick out of this production playing through May 6th at The PIT Mainstage: Star Wars: The Farce Awakens

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups perform hosted by Molly Austin (TruTV’s Late Night Snack) and Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of White Chocolate Sundaes) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) doing “the best and only show to ever have that name! It’s meowsome!”: Cats!

8:00 pm ($7): A play about a high school student finding a genie who can grant three wishes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Pop Punk High

[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] [FREE; plus FREE PIZZA!] 9:00 pm: This new roaming monthly stand-up show debuts with a great lineup of Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Kevin Avery (staff writer for HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver), Emmy Blotnick (rising star; warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s The President Show; 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), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), and “a secret guest,” all performing at Brooklyn’s Big Irv’s (381 Hooper Street) hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show): Camouflage: A Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Silvija Ozols, and/or Michael Delaney 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

9:00 pm ($10): Eman El Husseini (opens for Patton Oswalt), Chanel Ali (frequent guest on Keith and The Girl podcast), Sarah York (co-host of How to Adult podcast), and more discuss taxes from a feminist point of view at The PIT Underground hosted by Kaitlin Fontana: The Box: Taxed

9:00 pm ($10): NYC sketch comedy groups Horse Club and 17:38 performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

9:30 pm ($10): Storytellers share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and therapy experts, who then give advice, with tonight’s guests Hannah Cowger, Lori Baird, Wilson McDermut, and Marc Gerber at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: Relationshit

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10; includes free beer): Petey DeAbreu creates a version of Family Feud, with comedy shows Fat Baby and Freaknik competing against each other; plus stand-up from Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker), Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), and Greg Stone (America’s Got Talent, TruTV’s Friends of the People), all at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Petey’s World

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which 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] 10:30 pm ($7): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT Underground with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically include Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), and/or many more, all declaring ChicaGoGo

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($12): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Ful Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Andy Beckerman (host of podcast Beginnings, The Pete Holmes Show, co-host of Couples THerapy), Tone Bell (Disjointed), and Matt Bachus perform at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy that targets objects of easy comfort, such as “sexist home applicances…piles them in a heap, and sets them on fire” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Humpty Dumpster Fire

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Seven singing improvisors use an audience suggestion to create on the spot a full-blown opera—i.e., “an improvised melodramedy where the music never stops”—at The Magnet theater: A Night at the Opera

11:00 pm ($7): “President Trump and President Putin team up to help their public image and showcase their true feelings with a variety of original songs” at The PIT Mainstage: The TrumPutins

[FREE] 11:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced & hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

11:30 pm ($7): Brooke Eliot & Christina Friel perform duo improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Madonna and Child

Midnight ($7): This monthly storytelling, stand-up, and carny show brings the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, with storytelling from guest host Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening) and Sydnee Washington, stand-up from Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris) and Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), and burlesque from Tiny D and Fem Appeal, all performing at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

[FREE] Midnight: “A new game show where three contestants get quizzed on random topics; raps, video games, different types of soda. We’ll even have a few comics drop by” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Marvin Lattimore: A Night of Thrill-Via

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Davey Melch & Sydney Beveridge: Queens Free Mic Fridays

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

5:45 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

6:00 pm ($5): A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Friday Night Mics

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

6:30 pm ($3): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

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 shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/13/17

April 13, 2017

Josh GondelmanJosh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker) and Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central) each perform 30-minute stand-up sets hosted by the fabulous Emmy Blotnick (rising star; warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s The President Show; writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1): Big Long Sets (11:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show) tries out new stand-up material tonight and Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Lucas Connolly

7:00 pm food, 7:30ish pm show ($5; if you show up around 7:00 pm, includes host Brian Parise’s homemade vegetarian gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce) (Warning: “If you pronounce gnocchi wrong, you will be removed from the premises.”): Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), Ariel Elias (Someecards), Jono Zalay, and Tim Barnes performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Frank’s Cocktail Lounge (660 Fulton Street; take G to Fulton Street or A/C to Lafayette Avenue) hosted by Brian Parise and guest co-host Ayanna Dookie: It’s All Happening: Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce

7:00 pm ($7): A one-man sermon about improv by “Rev. Deuce Hansbury” that treats improv like a religion and invites all audience members to join it at The PIT Mainstage: Mega-Team of Improv

7:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy Improv from a six-person group performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Sunday School Dropouts

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Kerry Coddett (The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off, TruTV), Emily Epstein White, and Vivian Martinez perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[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 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($7): After each stand-up performs, you and the rest of the audience get to ask them questions about their jokes, with tonight’s comics Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, co-host of Backfat Variety), Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), Mark Reiss, Cathy Humes, and Patrick J. Reilly at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kevin Froleiks & Sam Bourne: Press Conference

7:30 pm ($7): Talented improvisors make up scenes with fast & furious ferocity at improv The PIT Underground: Fury

[FREE] 7:30ish pm: NYC stand-ups Gastor Almonte, Amber Rollo, Tim Dillon, Becky Yamamoto, Guitler Raphael, Kristin Seltman, Sam Evans, and and Lizzie Martinez perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Deepak Ananthapadmanabha & Hiram Becker: AbeMixture

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1) records his first comedy album at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street). Come help Matt out and get your laughs immortalized by attending this satisfyingly long stand-up set: Matt Goldich Album Recording

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A burlesque comedic play paying homage to the tropes of Coen Brothers movies at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) spearheaded by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman; The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer) and Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion): Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Tribute to The Coen Brothers

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($3): Alingon Mitra (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Last Comic Standing), Megan Gailey (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, MTV’s Ladylike), Maysoon Zayid (self-described “Palestinian Muslim with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey;” cast member for two seasons of As the World Turns; former pundit for Keith Olbermann), Charlie Bardey, Alysia Hush, and Noa Osheroff performing stand-up at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Yotam Tubul & Lisa Franklin: Runnin’ on Empty

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Titanic (exploring love stories beyond Jack & Rose that might have taken place during the doomed voyage), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($7): Female comics (unfortunately, not announced) perform stand-up for this show sponsored by satirical women’s magazine Reductress at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Taryn Englehart, Jasmine Pierce, and/or Nicole Silverberg: Haha, Wow! by Reductress

8:00 pm ($7): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT Mainstage co-starring the spectacular Rachel Scherer, with sound design & foley effects from Frank Todaro, and an opening musical set from improv singer Kiki Mikkelsen (Vern) & improv pianist Rachel Kaufman: X Plus One

[FREE; plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Gregory W. Hall, and Kevin TB share their shit stories—needing to go at the worst moments, major accidents in pants, and so on—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by the lovely Natalie Wall (also host of Awkward Sex and the City) and guest-hosted by Eric Silver: Awkward Poop and the City

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Mark Normand, Nick Griffin, Lynne Koplitz, Drew Michael, Sam Morril, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

8:00 pm pm ($5): Sharon Jamilkoswki performs a one-woman show as Diana Ross, the daughter of PBS guru Bob Ross (The Joy of Painting), at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Joy of Arting with Diana Ross

8:30 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT Underground capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Emmy Blotnick (rising star; warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s The President Show; 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), Clayton English (Seth Meyers), Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), George Gordon, Guitler Raphael, and Julia Claire perform 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 rising stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Improv group As You Will (Improvised Shakespeare) makes up scenes in the style of playwright Samuel Beckett and Waiting for Godot at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): As You Will: Beckett-Prov

9:00 pm ($8): Stand-up & storytelling springboarding off topics tackled by The Ricki Lake Show—fat friends, two-timing traitorous tramps, and so on—with tonight’s guests Liz Magee, Sam Grittner, Drew Anderson, Carolyn Bergier, and Dick Satori performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Matt Smith McCormick: Go Ricki!

9:30 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a play about the minutiae of small town politics directed by the wonderful Leslie Meisel and featuring a seven-person cast: All in Favor

…and in the second other of this double bill, a play in which “Blue’s Clues meets Avenue Q in puppet comedy:” Simon’s Street

9:30 pm ($10): Comics who all met at Brown University perform scripted comedy at The PIT Mainstage: Rad Motel Sketch Comedy

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($12.34 online using code HKFT): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) directed by and co-starring Philip Markle (former Executive Director of The Annoyance Theatre-NY)—and tonight with David Frasure performing an opening magic act: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Last week musical improv group Rumpleteaser crushed improv group Fluffty by a vote count of 100-24, giving it 10 wins in a row. The seemingly unstoppable musical juggernaut tonight faces a formidable challenger, UCB weekend improv group Airwolf, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam open to the audience in which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($5): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT Underground: Ladies Night Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A recorded-for-podcast walk-in open mic providing 5 minutes on stage for whatever you want to perform—stand-up, sketch, song—with names drawn from a bucket at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Mercadal & Will Watkins: Unsung Heroes

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:00 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

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-$10

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-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

Union Hall (702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.