NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Friday 1/3

January 3, 2020

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In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Friday 1/3: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), and Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party; co-host of Vadge podcast) perform stand-up at this comedy show that’s also a voter registration drive for 2020 hosted by Selena CoppockAlison KlempMatt Nedostop, and Jarret BernsteinStandup 2020 (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chris Claremont and Alan SepinwallFriday 1/3: Seminal comic book writer Chris Claremont (revived X-Men and turned them into some of Marvel’s most prized crown jewels, forming the basis of the hit X-Men and Wolverine movie franchises), Alan Sepinwall (chief TV critic for Rolling Stone; co-author of TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time), and Caroline Martin (member of Netflix sketch group Astronomy Club) are the guests of brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselStephen Colbert, John Oliver, Comedy Central, TBS, TruTV), who transforms into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host!” He’s joined by talk show sidekick Griffin Newman (brilliant character/improv comic; Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, Jared Kushner on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, HBO, CBS, MTV, TBS; feature films Draft Day, Fort Tilden, Night Moves) “as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema:” The George Lucas Talk Show (7:30 pm, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

SinbadFriday 1/3-Saturday 1/4: Sinbad—who in addition to being a movie and TV star is an acclaimed stand-up, with two Comedy Central specials and four HBO specials—continues his headlining NYC run, with an opening set by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy) tonight and Saturday: Sinbad Does Carolines (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday-Saturday; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Artie LangeFriday 1/3-Saturday 1/4: “When I encountered rich people for the first time, I discovered that not only do they holiday in places that are hard to find on a map, but that they use the names of seasons as verbs. When they asked me, ‘Where did you summer and winter growing up?’ I would usually say, ‘As a child? The same place I springed and autumned.'” A veteran comic headlines in Chelsea tonight and Saturday, with opening sets by Russ Meneve (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing) and Alli Breen (Sirius XM): Artie Lange at Gotham Comedy (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday-Saturday, $35 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)

50 First Jokes, 2020 EditionFriday 1/3: For the 14th year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. The scheduled lineup includes Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Christi ChielloKevin Iso, Alison LeibyShane Torres, Shalewa Sharpe, Ismael Loutfi, Jake Flores, Kate Willet, Nore Davis, Matt Koff, Tom Thakkar, Alex English, Ariel Elias…and many, many more. This lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community is hosted by John F. O’Donnell50 First Jokes, 2020 Edition (7:00 pm doors, 8:00 pm show, $20The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The Stand 1-3-20Friday 1/3: Powerhouse lineup of Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin QuinnComedy Central PresentsOpie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), and Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Friday Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 1/3: Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Charles Engle (co-host of podcast Please Send Nudes), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform in an intimate club venue: Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Tracy Soren, Angela Palladino, and Julian Edward: Friday 1/3: Stand-up, stories, or characters from Zach Zimmerman (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s; album Clean Comedy), Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition), and Gwynn Ballard perform for hosts Tracy Soren (host of My Nightmare), Julian Edward Williams, and Angela Palladino (Funny Or Die): WALT (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 1/3: Stars Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin QuinnComedy Central PresentsOpie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), and Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast) perform late night stand-up in Union Square: Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 1-3-20 5Friday 1/3: Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX) hosts stand-ups Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas), and Geno Bisconte (frequent guest on The Artie Lange Show, The Howard Stern Show): Late Night Stand-Up and Afterparty at The Stand (11:00 pm; $20 cover and no min.—includes afterparty; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

SinbadSaturday 1/4: Tonight’s the last chance to catch Sinbad—who in addition to being a movie and TV star was designated by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 stand-ups of all time—perform a deliciously long club set at Carolines, with an opener by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy): Sinbad at Carolines (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Artie Lange
Saturday 1/4: 
A veteran comic—who is now hosting the podcast Halfway House—headlines in Chelsea for one last night, with opening sets by Russ Meneve (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing) and Alli Breen (Sirius XM): Artie Lange at Gotham Comedy (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $35 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)

Chrissie Mayr: "Wet Spot" LiveSaturday 1/4: Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Comedy at Stonewall) hosts this live-on-stage recording of her advice podcast about sex, love, and relationships, with tonight’s guests Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Carson Daly; star of HBO special One Night Stand; former writer for SNL; co-host of podcast Misery Loves Company), Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, TruTV; co-hosts Sirius XM’s Paid or Pain), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic), plus the show’s announcer Mike Figs (host of Arthur Avenue’s Bronx Beerhall show Figs in the Hall): Chrissie Mayr: Wet Spot Live (7:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Karleigh Chase: "Memoirs of a Painted Woman"

Saturday 1/4-Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 1/4: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Ladies Who RanchSaturday 1/4: Sketches, characters, riffs, bits, and vids from five-gal comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, consisting of Kelly CooperCaitlin Dullea,Maya SharmaCaroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker; plus an opening stand-up set from Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Ladies Who Ranch (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsSunday 1/5: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President ShowCraig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High MaintenanceSeth MeyersThe New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Fred Firestone: "Punderdome 3000"Tuesday 1/7: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. Be prepared to boo 2020 puns anything less than stellar: Punderdome 3000: New Year! (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

Dan St. GermainTuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Justin SmithAlex Babbitt, and Stephon Bishop perform stand-up hosted by Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the SenateWednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard ChristmasThis Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Ask Me AnotherThursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

MortifiedThursday 1/9: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Tiff Stevenson: Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jennifer Wright, Lane Moore, Laura Benanti, and Daniel Kibblesmith: "Tinder Live"Saturday 1/10: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in HistoryWe Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen ColbertThe New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

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

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W 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.

Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; 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
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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.

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 1/3/14

January 3, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

50 First Jokes 2014

Over 50 stand-ups at an NYC comedy tradition of telling the first funny thing they wrote in the new year: 50 First Jokes

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): A dynamite lineup of top storytellers—Ophira Eisenberg, Jim O’Grady, Ed Gavagan, Peter Aguero, and host Adam Wade—perform at this aptly-named show at The Magnet theatre: Super Stories

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Tom Papa, Kevin Meaney, and Greer Barnes at the 7:00, 8:00, and 8:45 shows, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Lenny Marcus, and James Smith at the 10:30 show, and Dave Attell, Gary Gulman, Ryan Hamilton, James Smith, and Jermaine Fowler at the 12:15 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (probably 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm only), 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; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:30 ($5): Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives, The Tony and Johnny Show), Anna Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks, blog How May We Hate You?), JF Harris, Tim Skinner, and more performing at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen (co-host of The Moon Show): Nat Townsen’s Downtown Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Stepfathers, Diamond Lion) does a show based on nothing but interviews with the audience and sheer guts at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Strangers Wanted with Shannon O’Neill

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($16.48 online, or $12 at the door…if it doesn’t sell out in advance): For the eighth year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. Expect an exuberant gathering of comedic talent…and wild partying afterwards. The scheduled lineup includes Mark Normand, Joe Pera, Dan St. Germain, Mike Lawrence, Aparna Nancherla, Erik Bergstrom, Amber Nelson, Michelle Wolf, Nick Vatterott, Jamie Lee, Jermaine Fowler, Sam Morril, Jon Friedman, Phoebe Robinson, Adam Newman, Calise Hawkins, Selena Coppock, Claudia Cogan, Nimesh Patel…and many, many more. Don’t miss this lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community at Brooklyn’s Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by John F. O’Donnell: 50 First Jokes, 2014 Edition

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code NEWYEAR; no min.): 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; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), Laurie Kilmartin (Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing), Comedy Central, VH1), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Dan St. Germain, Ben Bailey, Laurie Kilmartin, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Tim Dillon, and Miguel Dalmau performing sets and then being interviewed about their personal lives at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Matt Ruby & Mark Normand (who says “all these guys were hand-picked because they’re funny and have some serious problems; when you read this lineup you’re gonna be like ‘oh yeah, that guy is a mess'”): We’re All Friends Here

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): After a year’s absence, sketch duo Chris & Paul (Edinburgh Fringe Festival) perform a new show at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Chris & Paul Show

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who won Last Comic Standing Season 3, has performed on Jay Leno, and starred in his own Showtime one-hour special Who’s Paying Attention?, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Alonzo Bodden

[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 Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Improv troupe Tesla—which includes genius improvisor Ellena Chmielewski—takes the UCB East stage for one night only, probably accompanied by other talents, for a surprising show it calls: Tesla Presents: The Lab

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Josh Gondelman (G4’s Attack of the Show), Gibran Saleem (MTV), Kate Wolff (NickMom), Alex Edelman, John Campanelli, and Brian Jian performing long stand-up sets at Jimmy’s No. 43 back room (43 East 7th Street) hosted by Ben Asher: Nasal Vice Stand-Up

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot, one with sharpness and the other with a friendly greeting: Dagger and Hello

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet—tonight with extra-special guest Tara Copeland, briefly back from LA—using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code NEWYEAR; no min.): 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; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), Laurie Kilmartin (Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing), Comedy Central, VH1), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Pete Davidson (MTV’s Guy Code), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Ben Bailey, Laurie Kilmartin, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Long-form improv from troupe CSO at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Casual Sex Offenders

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): JF Harris, Peggy O’Leary, and Matt Starr performing stand-up or sketch at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): A rotating cast drawing from over a dozen of the talented gal improvisors and sketch comics at The Magnet—including Artistic Director Megan Gray, Lauren Olson, Elena Fishbein, Kimberly Ferguson, and Beth Newell—aim to “give you a dark and twisted late night explosion:” The Clubhouse

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper, author of Tasteful Nudes), The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company), Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, writer for Playboy.com), Aaron Glaser (Jimmy Fallon, host of Midnight Stand-Up), and Nore Davis (MTV) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Charla Lauriston (MTV; host of Free Cable, co-host of School Night): Something Cool Stand-Up

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. 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

[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 with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Attend to perform improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge, with a weekly rotating selection of formats and hosts: Happy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage hosted by members of Maude troupe Moriarty: Liquid Courage

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 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; rare Upper East Side club, with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; rare Upper West Side club, with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club, with MST3K-style movie night on Thursdays; 2-drink min.)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: If you want to know what is happening in NYC comedy on a particular day, you gotta get hip to this dude Hy Bender and his site Best New York Comedy. The site is updated daily and features a super exhaustive look at what is happening in the NYC comedy world that particular day. The site is updated religiously…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 1/4/13

January 4, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Fifty First Jokes 2013

A delightful annual gathering of NYC’s comedy community, each telling the first joke written in the new year…

Fifty First Jokes 2013

…it’s time again for “50 First Jokes”

[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 with hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: TV & Broadway stand-up star Colin Quinn performs a brand new show looking at US history “from the Founding Fathers to the Kardashians” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Unconstitutional with Colin Quinn

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Famed comedic singer Jessica Delfino (albums Dirty Folk Rock, I Wanna Be Famous; YouTube animated hit I Wanna Be Famous) hosts this weekly half-booked and half open mic comedy & music show in which the audience provides written feedback to the performers. “Do you like to offer advice to comedians? Come on down and be the armchair critic you love to be!” Or if you’re a performer, “At your request, guest assholes and designated hecklers will chop you down. Not for the faint of heart!” Tonight’s scheduled guests are stand-ups Ben Kronberg, Annie Lederman, and Tom McCaffrey. Join them & critique them at the Comedy Bar (134 West 29th Street). B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Pen): Timbre Comedy Show & Workshop

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Nate Dern and Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Mic

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, The Stepfathers, ASSSSCAT 3000, Ladies Night, The Lady Jam) hosts this on-the-fly monthly show at UCB Chelsea in which she crafts a unique intimate, organic experience by conducting interviews with members of the audience: Strangers Wanted with Shannon O’Neill

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Aaron Jackson, Don Fanelli, Brandon Gulya, Kate Riley, and more interview an audience member about some puzzle and then act out scenes providing an unexpected answer: Sandino: Unsolved Mysteries

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm doors, 8:00 pm show ($14.75 online, or $12 at the door…if it doesn’t sell out in advance): For the seventh year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. Expect an exuberant gathering of comedic talent…and wild partying afterwards. The scheduled lineup includes Sara Schaefer, Nikki Glaser, Brooke Van Poppelen, Jared Logan, Mark Normand, Dan St. Germain, Arden Myrin, Murderfist, Reformed Whores, Jermaine Fowler, Jon Friedman, Phoebe Robinson, Nick Vatterott, Amber Nelson, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Emily Heller, Erik Bergstrom, Victor Varnado…and many, many more. Don’t miss this lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community at Brooklyn’s Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Sean Donnelly: 50 First Jokes, 2013 Edition

8:00 pm ($5): D&D-style epic fantasy improv, plus nerdy stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Eric Grundhauserled as your Dungeon Master

8:00 pm ($8): A house sketch troupe performs at The PIT upstairs theatre: National Scandal

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who won Last Comic Standing Season 3, has performed on Jay Leno, and starred in his own Showtime one-hour special Who’s Paying Attention?, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Alonzo Bodden

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Magnet improvisors play a fun game in which they all stay on stage at all times, and alternate between speaking roles and playing inanimate objects: Medusa

[FREE] 8:30ish pm: Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon), Erin Lennox (host of DTF), and Anthony Devito performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Red Star (37 Greenpoint Avenue) hosted by Annie Lederman and followed by wild Karaoke: Pirate Party

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from comedy geniuses Chris Gethard and Shannon O’Neill, plus stellar comics Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A gathering of superb comedic musicians, who tonight are Ben Lerman (nuanced raunchy comedic singer/songwriter; Logo TV’s NewNowNext, Sirius Radio’s Frank DeCaro Show), Myq and Micah (top comics Myq Kaplan & Micah Sherman), and Megan Sass performing at UCB East hosted by superb musical group Summer & Eve (for samples, please click here): Earworm Funny Music Party Show

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors —tonight including guest Zhubin Parang  (writer for The Daily Show)—at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

10:00 pm ($5): At this PIT double-bill, Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell “bring more than five years of improv collaboration to stage for an evening of bold, committed characters and probably a fart joke for good measure” as Hodapp & Rothwell, and then all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Long-form improv from troupe CSO at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Casual Sex Offenders

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Matt Fisher, Craig Rowin, Nate Lang, and/or other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): A celebration of D’Arcy Carden’s birthday, with stellar guest improv troupes Sabonis (Chris Gethard, Don Fanelli, Michael Kayne, and Connor Ratliff), Airwolf (UCBT weekend house team), and more performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5; might include cake): Improv from The Puppet Shakespeare Players, stand-up from Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, hit comedy CD Vegan Mind Meld) and Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), and who knows what else at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Jason Saenz: Undefined

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): 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 Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Members of UCBT house improv troupes get scrambled together into new one-night-only teams at UCB East, with tonight’s performers including Shannon O’Neil, Neil Casey, Keisha Zollar, Aaron Jackson, Doug Moe, Betsy Stover, Ashley Ward, and Tim Martin: The Blender

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Plus it’s hosted by members of Maude troupe Fambly, typically including such wonderful talents as Nicole Byer and Veronica Osorio: Liquid Courage

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: If you want to know what is happening in NYC comedy on a particular day, you gotta get hip to this dude Hy Bender and his site Best New York Comedy. The site is updated daily and features a super exhaustive look at what is happening in the NYC comedy world that particular day. The site is updated religiously…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wed. 1/4/12

January 4, 2012

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

50 First Jokes 2012

Over 50 stand-ups gather for a charming NYC comedy tradition of telling the first funny thing they wrote in the new year: "50 First Jokes"...

Todd Bieber's Commercial Interruption

...Todd Bieber screens TV ads he's less than proud of creating at one of the best solo shows of 2011: "Commercial Interruption"...

Adam Newman

...and College Humor stand-up Adam Newman headlines for one night only—with The Reformed Whores—at the Carolines Comedy Club

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (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 at The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Grappler, Leviathan, The Surge, Horses, Brick, Featherweight, The Wrath, and Chet Watkins performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with The Wrath at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Championing chaos for comedy, a team of improvisers perform: “What form? What type of show? Fuck that shit, just come and laugh.” The experiment in anarchy takes place at UCB East starring Don Fanelli, Dru Johnston, Tim Martin, Josh Patten, Kate Riley, and Terry Withers: Fuck That Shit

…and then in the other half of this double-bill, genius improvisors Gavin Speiller of Death By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers of The Curfew, and Jonathan Gabrus of The Law Firm) perform as Outlook of the Poet

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($5 if you call the box office at 212.757.4100 and mention Adam’s name, plus 2-drink min.) A stand-up whose performances range from MTV to College Humor to The Tyra Banks Show, and who recently released his first comedy CD Not for Horses, headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club (with delightful openers The Reformed Whores): Adam Newman

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm doors, 8:00 pm show ($12.75 online, or $12 at the door…if it doesn’t sell out in advance): For the sixth year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. Expect an exuberant gathering of comedic talent…and wild partying afterwards. The scheduled lineup includes Dave Hill, Sean Patton, Myq Kaplan, Sara Schaefer, Brooke Van Poppelen, Jared Logan, Dan St. Germain, Mike Lawrence, Mark Normand, Jena Friedman, Jon Friedman, Jeffrey Joseph, Pat Dixon, Calise Hawkins, Nate Bargatze, Molly & John Knefel, Matt McCarthy, Phoebe Robinson, Mike Recine, Victor Varnado, Giulia Rozzi, Greg Barris, Erik Bergstrom…and many, many more. Don’t miss this lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community at Brooklyn’s Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by John F. O’Donnell: 50 First Jokes, 2012 Edition

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Todd Bieber, the razor-sharp Director of Content & Production for UCBComedy.com, has had his video/film work viewed over 25 million times via such sites asYouTube.comNewYorkTimes.com, and EntertainmentWeekly.com. But before his success, Todd spent a couple of years churning out, as he bluntly puts it, “shitty local commercials in rural Pennsylvania.” If you’re a filmmaker, a fan of ridiculously awful late-night TV ads, or someone who likes to laugh, come enjoy this fascinating and hilarious insider look at microbudget commercials and the creative process. Directed by UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, this debuted in December and was instantly one of the very best solo shows of 2011: Commercial Interruption

…and in the other half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, enormously likable ace improvisor & sketch performer Doug Moe (Conan O’Brien, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, renowned improv troupe Mother) takes a stab at doing a solo show. The writing doesn’t achieve the potential of the subject, but it’s always a pleasure to see Doug on stage, as well as enjoy video clips of his little angel of a 5-year-old daughter: Doug Moe is a Bad Dad

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected writer/performers alive. This is a rare opportunity to spend an intimate 90 minutes with a true genius of comedy. Please note this is a sprawling, detail-packed theatrical show, not stand-up…and not for every taste. But whether you’re ultimately grabbed by the story or not, it’s worth experiencing if only for Daniel’s lightning-quick flashes of humor. For example, at a performance of his previous hit show last year, a woman sitting in the front row had the incredible gall to start reading. Daniel sweetly responded, “Ooh, that’s a subtle yet effective form of criticism. I’m certainly not cross with you, just too nosy about what you’re reading to plow on. Look, you’re still reading. What a lack of faith you have in live entertainment.” Place your faith in Daniel, and catch this NYC premiere of a show that played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, now running every day except Mondays from January 3rd through January 29th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door, $6.84 online with discount code Supermango): Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being an Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Important Things, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales), Michael Somerville (Comedy Central), and “a secret guest” performing at the Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery, off Bleecker Street) with hosts Dan Allen & Ray DeVito: Sacapuntas!

[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA for first 30 people, from Artichoke Pizza!] 8:00 pm: Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Emily Heller (staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Jamie Lee (Last Comic Standing, VH1), Asie Mohtarez, Abigoliah Schamaun, and more performing stand-up at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for Negin Farsad’s & Amy Albert’s free weekly show Comedy School Dropout

8:00 pm ($5—which includes a free beer!): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this weekly show hosted by Nick Turner (soon to leave for LA) & Jason Sáenz: Too Cool for School

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Jesse Jones, David Foster, Gibran Saleem, Amanda Baramki, Andy Kleiman, Carrie Gravenson, and Chris Cal performing at the only notable weekly comedy show I know of taking place in Astoria Queens—specifically, the Astoria Brewhouse (2850 31st Street) hosted by Miguel Dalmau: Brewhouse Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB East as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, first up is a sketch play about the opening of a trendy restaurant that serves nothing but pig (including “bacon-infused martinis”), written with wit and bite by Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox), directed with style by Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN), and performed superbly by comedic actress Lauren Conlin Adams (keep an eye out for her playing Aurora, a hot and hilariously bubble-headed waitress): Pig: A Restaurant 

…and in the second half of this double-bill, the debut of a parody of a popular reality show from dynamite writing duo Caitlin Bitzegaio & Leila Cohan-Miccio that will probably be considerable fun:The Bachelor: Romance, Roses, and Romance

[TOP PICK] 10:00 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, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. (For tonight’s lineup, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 1/5/11

January 5, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Fifty First Jokes 2011

A delightful annual gathering of NYC's comedy community, it's time again for "50 First Jokes"

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (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 at The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm doors, 8:00 pm show ($10 online using discount code FJ10): For the fifth time in a row, 50+ NYC comics come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. Expect an exuberant gathering of comedic talent…and wild partying afterwards. The scheduled lineup includes Amy Schumer, Sean Patton, Adira Amram, Myq Kaplan, Brooke Van Poppelen, Sara Schaefer, Andrea Rosen, Matt McCarthy, Ben Lerman, Ophira Eisenberg, Victor Varnado, Joe DeRosa Jared Logan, Kurt Braunohler, Mike Lawrence, Jon Friedman, Jena Friedman, Carmen Lynch, Roger Hailes, Vince Averill, Giulia Rozzi, Calise Hawkins, Matt Ruby, Mark Normand, Kurt Metzger, Brent Sullivan, Pat Dixon, Nate Bargatze, Sean Donnelly, Nick Turner, Sean O’Connor…and many, many more. There’ll be a packed house at 92Y Tribeca for this lovely coming together of NYC’s comedy community. Hosted by Claudia Cogan and John F. O’Donnell, it’s the 2011 edition of 50 First Jokes

8:00 pm ($5): A highly quirky and dark multimedia sketch show from Peter Blomquist and Jeff Wiens that doesn’t always hit the mark, but has an integrity to it that may end up haunting you; and Nicole Shabtai performing a one-woman show about “an illustrious 13-year-old socialite and notorious Upper East Side private schooler we all love to hate,” in the double-bill Franco & Billy: Diamonds of Fire and Citizen Rothstein

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A double-bill of improv genius troupes: Gavin Speiller (Death By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers (Reuben Williams, Cage Match), and Jonathan Gabrus (The Law Firm, The Nights of Our Lives) make up a single long scene as Outlook of the Poet; and Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik make up an entire feature film as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) providing as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 1/5/10

January 5, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

50+ comics gather to each tell the first joke he or she has written in 2010 at one of NYC's best New Year traditions: 50 First Jokes

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm doors, 8:00 pm show ($6.50 online, $7 at the door): For the fourth year in a row, 50+ NYC comics gather to each tell the first joke he or she has written in 2010. Expect an exuberant gathering of comedic talent…and wild partying afterwards. For the scheduled lineup, please click here. In previous years, this event was free but super-packed with people; come and see if charging tickets for a huge venue this year makes the event better or worse… Hosted by Jiwon Lee, Claudia Cogan and John F. O’Donnell, it’s 50 First Jokes, 2010 Edition

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Delightful hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage —along with a guest who (unusually) hasn’t yet been announced—conduct a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Comic Book Club

8:00 pm to midnight ($5): Four full hours of improv for only five bucks—tonight featuring UCBT house troupes Robber Baron, The Law Firm, Ragnaröck, Badman, and Penthouse Riot,
followed by UCBT advanced students playing an improv game in which scenes flow from one location to another—all at Harold Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Superb stand-ups Dave Hill, Morgan Murphy, and Arden Myrin—and possibly some happy surprises—performing at The Slipper Room for the LES weekly show hosted by the wonderful Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet

9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Shane Webb, Lewis Tierney, David Prince, and Lisa Levy telling tales about their first time doing something (subject is up to them) performing in Ochi’s Lounge at Rachel Axelrod’s & Evan Morgenstern’s SNC: The Virgin Chronicles

9:30 pm ($5): Pat Shepherd thought he was getting married. He was wrong. Learn the details in his one-man show Disengaged

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Free open-mic stand-up show that’s seldom much fun for audience members but is a nice opportunity if you want 4-5 minutes to test out your comedy material on stage: Bring It

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.