NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 9/11/17

September 11, 2017

Aparna Nancherla, Sasheer Zamata, and Chris SullivanAparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human beatbox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Carolyn Busa, and Ray Devito perform stand-up or music hosted by Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 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 albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot): Myq Kaplan & Friends (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

R. Sikoryak's "Carousel"…or see ace alternative comic book creators perform their projected work live on stage hosted by R. Sikoryak (Masterpiece Comics, Terms and Conditions, The Unquotable Trump): Carousel (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($25): Ophira Eisenberg tapes her comedy trivia radio show live, with tonight’s guest Julia Stiles (major roles in numerous TV series & films, including Dexter, the Bourne movies, and Silver Linings Playbook) at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Corinne Fisher (co-host of popular podcast Guys We Fucked), and Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of Ambush Comedy and The Secret Loft Show) perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by the charming Ruby Karp: We Hope You Have Fun

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Joyelle Johnson, George Gordon, and Rebecca Leib perform stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) hosted by Mindy Raf & Katie Compa: Golden Spiral Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Andy Blitz (9-time Emmy nominee and 5-time WGA Award winner; writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien 1999-2006; has also written for Comedy Central’s Review and Important Things with Demetri Martin, Netflix’s Master of None—which Andy also co-exec produced, Adult Swim’s Eagleheart, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Alex English, Laura Sanders, and Wanjiko Eke perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union 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 ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Michelle Wolf, Seaton Smith, Pete Lee, Sam Morril, and more trying out new stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

9:30 ($5): House sketch groups The Classic and Bundt try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Mark Normand (also one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself; Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle), Tim Dillon (Last Comic Standing), and more perform stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($6): Whitmer Thomas (lead in Happy Madison movie Deported, cast member of FX’s Close Enough) hosts a show with guests Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; 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), Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), and Dan Licata (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): The Golden One

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—push boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Andy Sandford: Permission to Fail

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7): A gay-themed variety show featuring “special guests from the Gay Illuminati, Broadway, television, and the Drag-O-Sphere” at the UCB East theatre hosted by Timothy Dunn: Queerball

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Storytellers share their true “coming out” tales, and then improvisors make up either a play or a musical based on each story at The Magnet theatre: Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQIA Event

[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 someone who’s probably terrific (while usual world-class host Aparna Nancherla performs tonight in Queens): Whiplash

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

The PIT 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/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.

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.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 8/19/17

August 19, 2017

Emmy Blotnick, Christine Nangle, and Lane Moore: "Tinder Live"A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (bottom; 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 during the adventure are tonight’s guests, Emmy Blotnick (top left; brilliant rising star stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former 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) and Christine Nangle (top right; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Inside Amy Schumer and Kroll Show). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Cait Elliott: "Good at Cults"…or if you like storytelling shows, take in a bunch on this next-to-last day of the Speak Up, Rise Up Festival. They start at 1:30 pm with Cait Elliott performing an autobiographical one-woman show about “joining a cult in 2014, falling in love with its leader, and life on the other side; a meditation on spirituality, sexuality, abuse of power, and the basic human drive to seek something more:” Good at Cults (1:30 pm; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Leslie Goshko: "Slightly Feral"…and experience stories about being somewhat animalistic by Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of Sideshow Goshko and The Real Housewives of Columbo), Aasif Mandvi (former correspondent for The Daily Show; appearances in numerous movies & TV shows), Andrew Bancroft (ace hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme), and Catie Lazarus (host of Employee of the Month): Slightly Feral (6:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Aparna Nancherla…and enjoy storytelling by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), who “has always been unsure of herself. In fact, she has spent a good deal of her life trying to figure out why exactly other people aren’t. Spend an evening with her, aided by some extraordinary cohorts, as she bumbles her way through a show that offers no answers, but does raise more questions. The only guarantee is no guarantee, no warranty, no problem. Sound intriguing? If so, please lower your expectations and come on down:” A Night of Subjective Comedy with Aparna ‘N Friends (9:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[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): Killy Dwyer (wild singing comic), Ray DeVito (Comedy Central), and Tracy Carnazzo (host of Hashtag Comedy) perform 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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): What may be your last chance to see Maggie Seymour & Olivia Atwood revive their acclaimed FringeNYC 2016 two-woman production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, tackling 15 characters in a wacky condensed version running just an hour that reportedly includes puppets, nerf guns, rap, song & dance, breaking the fourth wall, and lots of energy and comedic timing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 15 Villainous Fools

[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 an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[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 upstairs theatre 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 each week at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

11:00 pm ($7): “A feminist exploration of Tentacle Erotica, this show delves into the world of female sexuality through the lens of one slimy genre of pornography at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tentacles

11:30 pm ($7): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show; breakthrough star performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; Netflix special Homecoming King) tries out a new solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: A monthly lip synch contest judged by you and your audience, taking into account costume, choreography, and lip synching 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

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/20/17

Picture This!In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special), Josh Johnson (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special; Comedy Central’s Hart of the City and @midnight; former writer/performer for Jimmy Fallon), Greg Fitzsimmons (host of The Greg Fitzsimmons Show on Howard 101 radio; former writer for Lucky Louie, Politically Incorrect, Chelsea Handler, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show—for which he won four Daytime Emmy Awards), Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; TruTV, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), and Chloe Hilliard (The Nightly Show, Last Comic Standing, MTV, TruTV), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Robin Bady…and go out earlier to experience the issues of the day addressed by five female storytellers—Robin Bady (host of BADYHouse Storytelling Concerts), Nicole Ferraro (The New York Times), Valentina Ortiz (author/musician), Angel Yau, Megan Hicks, and Michele Carlo—in this final show of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival: “No, We Won’t Shut Up” (3:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door, The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Sunday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 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 four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 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 ($7): Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature rising star cast member on Saturday Night Live), Lisa Curry, Matty Ryan, Alex Kumin, Brian Mitchell, and Eman El-Husseini perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Alison Leiby (sharp, fresh, likeable stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Artie Lange, VH1) and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Stand-ups challenge each other’s and the audience’s dumbest assumptions at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK): Let’s Say You’re Right

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/21/17

Sex HouseToday kicks off the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival, running every night through August 26th. Among the vibrant choices is this world premiere screening of a unified cut of The Onion’s entire 2012 webseries Sex House satirizing America’s reality show culture (for a trailer, please click here), followed by a Q&A with the director and writers of the series hosted by Sean Joseph Patrick Carney (host of Humor and the Abject podcast) and Darcie Wilder (author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person): Sex House (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Bob the Drag Queen: "Queen for the People"…and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival is this stand-up show starring Bob the Drag Queen (winner of Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), plus performances by Alotta McGriddles, Lady Bearica Andrews, Papusa Smear, and host Sandy Devastation, with music by DJ Ten Yards: Bob the Drag Queen: Queen for the People (7:30 pm & 10:30 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival show starring extreme character comic Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) with guests Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Lorelei Ramirez (host of Do Something), Bardia Salimi (host of Hell House), Andrew Tisher, Steve Whalen, and Sebastian Dinatale: The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Nicki Wright: "Panel of Thrones"…and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, check out this free weekly show in which comics Christian Finnegan, Michael Lewis, Samantha Bednarz, and Jeremy Kaplowitz discuss the final episodes of this spectacular season of GoT hosted by Nicki Wright: Panel of Thrones (7:30 pm, Free!, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): UCB comics perform solo character bits at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBT Character Showcase

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Improv trio Doppelganger—consisting of Sasheer Zamata, Keisha Zollar, and Nicole Byer—created fresh, brilliant improv before each of its rising stars went off to be famous. Nicole is probably in LA right now, but Sasheer and Keisha are reuniting to make up scenes based on audience suggestions at the UCB East theatre: Doppelganger

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Janelle James, Jeffrey Joseph, Tim Dillon, Katie Hannigan, Noah Garfinkel, and Calvin Evans perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union 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] 9:00 pm ($5): Terrific character comics perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted & directed by Michael Hartney plus a co-host (last month it was Timothy Dunn, who was a perfect partner for Michael). This is one of my favorite shows, and I especially recommend checking it out if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Joe List, and other stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[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 finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/22/17

Cocoon Central Dance Team: "Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone"Day #2 of the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival (running through August 26th) includes this screening of a performance film starring the Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani—who will also perform live on stage!), with cameos by Reggie Watts, Kate Berlant, and more directed by Rachel Wolther & Alex H. Fischer: Cocoon Central Dance Team: Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

The Fancy Show…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival stand-up show with T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Michael Joyce, Simmons McDavid, and Lane Pieschel hosted by Rob Haze (Adam Devine’s House Party, Viceland’s Flophouse): The Fancy Show (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[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 Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime), and Sydnee Washington (host of The Warm Up) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Sharron Paul (College Humor) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just for Laughs): Cheap Date Comedy Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm (no charge, but you must RSVP): Comics who create material for Above Average perform, including Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and host Matt Star, all at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street): Above Average Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers), Ronny Cheng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Joey Dundale perform stand-up hosted by Dan Licata, Joe Pera, and Charles Gould at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Two long headlining sets on this stand-up double-bill starring Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Netflix’s Master of None) and Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show) at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Monroe Martin and Derek Gaines: No Need for Apologies

[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

[FREE] 10:30 pm (Free! using online code COMP; no min.): Stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness by veteran comics such as Big Jay Oakerson and Rich Vos at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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/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.

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 8/7/17

August 7, 2017

Women of MarvelA special comic book-themed show, with Sana Amanat (Editor at Marvel Comics; co-creator of Ms. Marvel), Judy Stephens (Producer of Women of Marvel podcast), Gabrielle Bell (Best American Comics, Fantagraphics), and more at UCB East hosted by Nat Towsen: Downtown Variety Hour (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Aparna Nancherla and Melissa Stokoski…or if you’re a fan of MSK3K, take a quick subway ride to Queens to enjoy Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) host as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) and Melissa Stokoski (TruTV; co-host of Bitches’ Brew; for a stand-up set about therapy, please click here). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

The Kellyanne Conway Technique: Book Launch Show…or see Jarret Berenstein play Kellyanne Conway (“alternative facts”) celebrating her new book that explains her tips & tricks for success in today’s communications game: The Kellyanne Conway Technique: Book Launch Show (7:30 pm; $10, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street—and consider sticking around afterward for the 9:00 pm show, in which 50 Magnet comics perform for about a minute each at Character Bash: A Night of 50 Characters)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Phil Hanley (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Craig Ferguson, former host of Chemistry), Maria Heinegg, Nonye Brown-West, and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union 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 ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Mark Normand, Chris Gethard, MIchelle Wolf, Adrienne Lapalucci, Sam Morril, and more try out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Jim Florentine, and other terrific stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[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 finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/8/17

Sex With RobotsStand-ups (not announced) present funny lectures on silly topics—which this month include “The History of the Moon: Earth’s Peeping Tom” and “Sex With Robots: Our Future”—produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; producer of If You Build It) and hosted by Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York, comedy album I Was in Band): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series (9:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Punderdome 3000…or check out this monthly wild pun competition hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive and adventurous comics alive; 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 with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[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

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/9/17

Battle of the Divas: Whitney Houston vs. Mariah CareyA pop culture debate on one of the weightiest issues of our time—Whitney Houston vs Mariah Carey—featuring comics Marie Faustin (arguing for Whitney) and Alex English (arguing for Mariah), plus drag performances of both divas by Elizabeth James.and music from DJ Molly Austin hosted by Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV) & Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Whitney Houston vs. Mariah Carey (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Drunk Education:: Reality TVKerensa Cadenas (Deputy Editor of Complex Pop Culture), Kate Dries (Deputy Editor of Jezebel), Matt Ringler (reality show journalist & Senior Editor of Scholastic’s Observer.com), and Tessa Stuart (staff writer for Rolling Stone magazine) are “highly intelligent people talking about weird stuff they care deeply about while extremely drunk—with PowerPoint” on this month’s topic Reality TV at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Drunk Education: Reality TV (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Scott Adsit…and master improvisor Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock; voice of robot Baymax in Disney’s Big Hero 6; co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel; HBO’s Veep; half of genius improv duo John & Scott) performs with volunteers from the audience—maybe including you—to create compelling & hilarious scenes at Adsit & You (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including dynamite comics Adrian Sexton and Jay Malsky in The Community Players at 7:00 pm, musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:30 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 10:30 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 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): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm (price varies by seat location): One of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street). Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight Jo does a no frills interview show, chatting with friends Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow: Two Chairs

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 8/10/17

Amy Marcs: "Nice T!ts"Comedic actress Amy Marcs performs a one-woman show about her experiences with breast cancer (for a trailer, place click here): Nice T!ts (8:00 pm; $25, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Mortified…or 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

George/Martha: An Improvised "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"…or experience brilliant improvisors Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv group The Community Players, host of Pet Prov) and Jason Specland (public access TV show The Enchanged Wardrobe, improv group Regina) make up a guilt & stress-filled evening as Edward Albee’s characters George & Martha (famously played by Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor)—and If you’re not careful, you might find yourself participating in their “fun and games:” George/Martha: An Improvised Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (9:00 pm; $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 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 albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), Ruby Karp (host of We Hope You Have Fun), Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of Ambush Comedy and The Secret Loft Show), and Chris Lamberth (AXS TV) perform stand-up 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] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; 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), Wes Haney (Netflix’s The Characters), Sandy Honig (Three Busy Debras), Max Wittert (Nickelodeon), and Eric Dadourian (Viceland) perform stand-up for this show that mixes Brooklyn & Manhattan comics at UCB East hosted by Alyssa Stonoha: Taste Flavor

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love and UCB Harold Night group Some Kid compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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/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.

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 7/21/17

July 21, 2017

Troll 2Astonishingly terrible 1990 movie Troll 2 is about a family pursued by vegetarian goblins who seek to transform them into plants so that they can eat them. Originally titled Goblins, US distributors doubted anyone would buy it as is, and so aimed to trick audiences who enjoyed 1986 movie Troll into thinking this was its sequel…but it’s not, at all. Watch it screened and commented upon by lightning-quick top comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on MST3K), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers), Jake Vevera (co-host of Idiots on Parade podcast), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck: Troll 2 Screening & Mocking by Frank Conniff, Aparna Nancherla, and More (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Natalie Wall, Dava Krause,, and Charla LauristonNatalie Wall (above left) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, this month with comics Charla Lauriston (above right; former writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release), Dava Krause (above middle; co-host of The Fantasy Suite podcast), and Athalie Paynting (two-time Moth StorySlam winner) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm $20—which includes free beer and wine—at The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets)…

David Lawson: "Flyer Guy"…and speaking of storytelling, David Lawson tells fascinating tales about the three years he made his living handing out flyers in Times Square…while competing with a wide variety of unusual characters for the attention of tourists. This one-man show—which David is about to perform at festivals around the country—is funny, real, and recommended: Flyer Guy (7:30 pm, Free!, Offside Tavern at 137 West 14th Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/22/17

Anybody— An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaHighly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody— An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Oh, Scuh a Good Show, Oh…or see Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Emmy Blotnick (rising star; staff writer 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), Ashley Nicole Black (writer & correspondent for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee), Alexandra Song (writer for Jimmy Fallon), Ana Fabrega (Portlandia, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show, host of Sundays with Ana), Sebastian Conelli (ace improvisor; UCB’s Friday night The Law Firm and The Magnet’s The Friday Night Show; member of 2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy), Alex English, and Kevin Seamon perform in Brooklyn hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/23/17

Roy Wood Jr, Kevin Bartini, and Josh GondelmanIt’s week #3 of a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks. This afternoon’s lineup features Josh Gondelman (above right; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Roy Wood Jr. (above left; correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Kevin Bartini (above middle; warm-up comic for The President Show, and previously for Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show, and The Nightly Show), :Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), and Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, @midnight, Sirius XM): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park by the 7th Street entrance)…

50 Lady Bits: An Evening of Junk Jokes …and this stand-up benefit show for Planned Parenthood features a breathtaking collection of female comedy talent, including Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, Liza Treyger, Lane Moore, Sasheer Zamata, Emmy Blotnick, Giulia Rozzi, Christi Chiello, Ana Fabrega, and many more, for a total of 50—all telling jokes about their genitalia! Hosted by Sachi Ezura & Halle Kiefer, it’s 50 Lady Bits: An Evening of Junk Jokes (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/24/17

Janeane Garofalo and Lili TaylorStars Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor—who play sisters in the Broadway revival of Marvin’s Room, running through August 27th at the American Airlines Theatre—are the guests of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"…or marvel at world-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interviewing an audience couple about their love life and then turning it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). Plus tonight offers the extra treat of music from a hot dog DJ. I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (8:00 pm; $10, which is super cheap—;this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

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; 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/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.

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 Wednesday 7/12/17

July 12, 2017

Sean PattonSean Patton is famed in NYC as one of the very finest stand-ups alive. What’s less known is Sean’s freshness, power, and depth as a storyteller. In this hour-long solo show he’s honing for next month’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sean tells a myriad of tales about growing up in New Orleans, and somehow manages to tie together such themes as farts, balls, bed-wetting, and eternal love. Enjoy this extraordinary writer/performer in Sean Patton: Number One (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Literary Death Match with Aparna Nancherla…or check out this bookish game show in which four writers each read their own work for seven minutes or less. An all-star panel of judges then selects the two best to compete in the finale, a vaguely-literary battle to decide the ultimate winner. Tonight’s stellar judges are Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, host of Comedy Knockout, MTV’s Guy Code), Kashana Cauley (writer for The Daily Show), and Loryn Brantz (award-winning children’s book author of Feminist Baby and Harvey the Child Mime, and two-time Emmy Award-winning illustrator). And the contestants are all award-winning writers: Rakesh Satyal (author of Blue Boy and No One Can Pronounce My Name), Lisa Ko (author of The Leavers; included in Best American Short Stories 2016), Jamie Brickhouse (author of Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother; three-time Moth StorySlam winner), and Lauren Duca (columnist for Teen Vogue), all hosted by Adrian Todd Zuniga: Literary Death Match (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

The Story Collider: Painful Moments in Scienceor listen to scientists, geeks, and comics—including Raj Sivaraman (stand-up; co-host of Universe City podcast), Gail Thomas (Moth StorySlam winner), and Jean Le Bec (Moth StorySlam winner)—tell tales related to science, with this month’s theme Painful Moments, hosted by Ben Lillie & Erin Barker: The Story Collider: Painful Moments in Science (7:00 pm, $10, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 7/13/17

Jena Friedman, Mindy Raf, David Carll, and The Reformed Whores: "Bon Voyage! We're Going to Edinburgh!"Next month is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest annual arts event in the world, and a bunch of NYC comedy luminaries will be performing shows for it. Tonight provides excerpts from the Edinburgh productions of Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Adult Swim, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Mindy Raf (brilliant one-woman show Keeping My Kidneys; MTV’s Girl Code, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as singing alter ego Leibya Rogers), David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), and hosts The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; CBS, IFC; have opened for Weird Al Yankovic, Alice Cooper, and Lynyrd Skynyrd; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush): Bon Voyage! We’re Going to Edinburgh! (8:30 pm, $5, Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club at 6 Wyckoff Avenue)…

Mortified…or 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Tribute: Harry Potter and the Cursed Pastie…or 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Bowen Yang, John Early, and Jo Firestone…and if you can stay out late on a Thursday, come see this debut that tries to bring a Brooklyn alt comedy vibe to a Manhattan stand-up show, with tonight’s guests Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas), Bardia Salimi (Stephen Colbert, CBS’ Madam Secretary, Comedy Central, MTV), and Lena Einbinder (The Chris Gethard Show, The Special Without Brett Davis): Taste Flavor (11:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 7/14/17

StoryFest 2017Tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday, the PIT Loft hosts the Second Annual Story Fest, a series of 14 storytelling shows feauring such NYC talents as Adam Wade, David Lawson, Robert Weinstein, Gastor Almonte, Jake Hart, Robin Gelfenbien, Gianmarco Soresi, and festival organizer Harmon Leon. Notable shows today include Jamie Brickhouse and Joe Charnitski at 7:00 pm (two darkly comic autobiographical solo shows by Moth StorySlam winners), Tale at 8:00 pm (includes the superb David Lawson (Flyer Guy)), and (Mostly) True Stories at 9:30 pm (includes terrific comic Lou Perez (Head Writer for We The Internet TV) and retired talent agent Sandi Marx (7-time Moth StorySlam champion): StoryFest 2017 (7:00 pm-Midnight, $10 per show, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/15/17

Tinder Live with Lane Moore and David CrossA show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above left; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guests, comedy legend David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) and Ashley Nicole Black (staff writer for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee). This show will almost certainly sell out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Jake Hart, Heather Fink, and Adam Wade: StoryFest 2017…and it’s Day #2 of a 3-day storytelling festival at the PIT Loft, with 6 shows running a total of 8 hours. Notable events include MTA Storytelling Show at 5:00 pm (what could be better than NYC subway and bus tales?), The Virgin Chronicles at 7:30 pm (Heather Fink (above), Anthony DeVito, Raquel D’Apice, and Josh Homer reveal how they lost their virginity), Solo Show 3 at 9:00 pm (tales from Adam Wade (above right), Gastor Almonte, and festival producer Harmon Leon), and ASS at 10:30 pm (Jake Hart (above left) hosts comics confessing terrible stuff they once did: “There’s no redemptions, no moments of regret, just stories of people doing bad things”): StoryFest 2017 (4:00 pm-Midnight, $10 per show, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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; 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/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.

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 6/18/17

June 18, 2017

Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest 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; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive and adventurous comics alive; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; 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), Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), and Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic) perform stand-up for this summer-themed show hosted by Tommy McNamara (The Onion): Tommy McNamara’s Summer Beach Bash (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

…and there’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this endearing monthly show, improvisors perform along with their real-life pets—tonight featuring Geoffrey Stevens & his dog Dusty and Angela Perrone & her dog Francis, plus other improvisors Dana Shulman (rising star; host of Student Driver, improv group Poor Melissa), Chris Griggs (improv group Big Black Car), TJ Del Reno, Giancarlo Osaben, Patrick Reidy, and wonderfully humane host Kerstin Porter (sketch show BoogieManja, sketch/improv group The Pin-Up Squirrels), all making up scenes for Pet Prov (6:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 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 four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[FREE] 3:00 pm: Stories about dads from Rich Cardillo, Julie Threlkeld, Christopher Torres, and Julie Smith at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Julie Polk: Story Social Father’s Day Show

5:00 pm ($7): A show written by Carol Lee Sirugo, and starring her and Jonathan Kaplan, about the terrors of being a park ranger at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Fear Forest

6:00 pm ($7): A sketch comedy show created and performed by comics along with their fathers at The Magnet theatre: The Father’s Day Sketch Show for Dads

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

7:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy group Oh My Science performs “a secular Sunday sermon to save your whatever you think a soul is” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Oh My Science Presents Oh My Religion

7:00 pm ($10): “A group of 8-12 queer improvisers will compete individually in a series of short form improv games. These performers will be narrowed down to 4 improvisers who will move onto the final round: a 2-prov team competition filled with tricks, distractions, and interruptions from the host and the audience! The winning team will lip sync with the evening’s drag king host” at The PIT Mainstage: Improv For Your Life: QueerCom Edition

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nine-person improv group The Internet Disagrees makes stuff up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Internet Disagrees

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews, plus guest Veslemøy Mørkrid, form an improv trio for one night only at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews & Veslemøy

7:30 pm ($7): Janine Brito (VH1’s Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party; former staff writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Tim Dillon (Last Comic Standing), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Nina Tarr, Derek Humphrey, and Michael Joyce perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, MTV, TruTV) and hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

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

8:00 pm ($10): This triple-bill features a solo show about cats by Anna Grace, and improv from groups Rebel 5 and the all-gal Punch! at The PIT Mainstage: What It Means to be a CAT: A TGNC Story, Punch!, and Rebel 5: QueerCom Edition

8:00 pm ($7): Improv, sketch, and possibly other comedy forms in this variety show hosted by improv group Empress at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Empress’ New Groove

8:30 pm ($10): One-woman shows by Sara Katherine playing characters who make life difficult and Becca Foresman exploring what’s truly smart at The PIT Underground: Laughing at the World and Dumb Smart: QueerCom Edition

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; TruTV, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central), Eli Sairs, Nick Youssef, Kevin Iso, and Julio Johns performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:00 pm ($6): Two three-person groups of transplanted comics—tonight it’s Pennsylvania vs. Kentucky!—compete to determine “which will be accepted by the city and which will have to move back home” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Brendan Busee: Graft vs. Host

9:00 pm ($7): Eight improvisors strike poses like action figures and interact at The Magnet theatre directed by Nolan Constantino: Figures

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

9:00 pm ($7): 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 The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Caroline Mazzei & Gregory Hall: Comedy Mayhem

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 ($10): Stand-up by Zach Teague, a one-woman stand-up/storytelling show by Michelle Woods titled Southern Evangelical Turned Vegan Pansexual, and improv from all-gal group Unicorn Women at The PIT Underground: Final Show of QueerCom 2017

[ALMOST FREE] 10:00 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: An improv jam celebrating diversity in comedy that lets audience members—whose names are drawn from a bucket—perform with sharp improv/sketch group Astronomy Club (which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock) at the UCB East theatre: Diversity 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

[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 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
(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/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.

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 5/26/17

May 26, 2017

A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by comedy treasures Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash) & 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): Dancify That! (8:00 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:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A sketch comedy double-bill from Dinosaur Jones, a group that’s “part adventure, part absurdity, and all comedy” and The Executives, a tie-wearing group that leverages physical comedy, all at The Magnet theatre: Dinosaur Jones and The Executives

[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 ($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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($7): Anna Grace Carter drinks while describing the plot of an actual musical (could be famous or obscure), and then musical improvisors—who typically include Jay Malsky, Henry Koperski, and members of the groups [title of team] and/or Royals—attempt to recreate it based on her semi-drunken details at The PIT Mainstage: Drunk Musical: The Musical

7:00 pm pm ($7): A one-man show by Amanda Miller attempting to learn how to follow this advice: “We can’t stop ourselves from suffering, but we can learn how to suffer better” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): How to Suffer Better

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Justin Flanagan (MTV) 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: Justin Flanagan

7:30 pm ($10): “Five comics connect their stand-up sets into one giant mutant set” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Molly Horan: Human Centipede Comedy Show

7:30 pm ($10): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The PIT Underground as troupe Lead McEnroe

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Two seven-person one-night-only improv groups make up scenes to try to delight you at the UCB East theatre: The Blender

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Two seven-person one-night-only improv groups make up scenes to try to delight you at the UCB Chelsea theatre,: An Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Comics Robert Kelly (Louie, HBO, CBS’ upcoming The 2-2, two Comedy Central specials), Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and Nariko Ott perform erotic fiction they’ve written based on audience suggestions at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Bryan Cook: Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Kenny DeForest (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), Jessica Rotondi, Dan Perlman, Josh Carter, Beth Maria, and Kevin Berrey perform stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Julie Kottakis: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyway?, @midnight) performs an hour of observations & thoughts for a live taping of his podcast at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Greg Proops is the Smartest Man In the World

8:00 pm ($5): A 90-minute variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

8:00 pm ($7): “King Zebra has a full black cast (including Ray Morency from Off Top, David Bell, and Raquel Palmas), and we want to do an improv show based around the theme ‘black lives laughter'” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): King Zebra Safari

8:00 pm ($7): Michelle Drozdick performs an improvised one-woman show, with these rules: “Michelle interviews an audience member about an experience in her or her life. Then a gimmick is chosen at random from a hat, such as ‘Perform using a children’s show format’ or ‘Narrate from the perspective of the main character’s hopelessly out-of-date grandmother.’ What follows is a a fully structured plot and narrative,” all made up on the spot at the intimate PIT Attic (up the stairs behind the Mainstage): The Gimmick and You

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Phoebe Tyers and Sebastian Conelli: The Friday Night Sh*w

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

9:00 pm ($10): Improvisors Sean Reidy & Sam Jackel first confess “very real things” to each other and the audience, and then use the details to create an entire town of characters on the spot at The PIT Underground: SEAM Presents “The Confession”

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure at The PIT Mainstage: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera

9:30 pm ($7): Stand-ups Alex English, Chanel Ali, Rosebud Baker, and Ben Bergman perform at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jessica Watkins: Homespun Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

10:00 pm ($7): Stand-up Dave Smith performs at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Dave Smith

[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

[$] 10:30 pm ($12): Dan Black (TruTV), Fumi Abe (MTV), and Patrick Hastie (College Humor) perform stand-up, sketch, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($7): Sketch/improv group Gentlemen Party performs at The PIT Underground: Gentlemen Party

10:30 pm ($7): Improv group Rebel 5 performs and hosts other indie improv groups at The PIT Underground: Rebel 5 Indie Rally

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors who love spy movies create on the spot “a highly confidential musical narrative” based on an audience suggestion at The Magnet theatre: The Agency: Musical Improv For Your Eyes Only

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): New episodes of Saved by the Bell and Power Rangers are made up on the spot by improvisors wearing the costumes for these shows at The PIT Mainstage: 90s Night

[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

Midnight ($7): Odd basketball moves from 15 comics at the UCB East theatre: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

[FREE] Midnight: Comics present “sure-fire, can’t miss, get-in-on-the-ground-floor, knock your socks off ideas that will not only make a lot of money but will make lives better across the board” and then request your money (whether you give is entirely up to you) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Ben Conrad & Dan King: Snake Oil

Midnight ($7): Indie improv groups make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by indie group The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

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 Sydney Beveridge & Davey Melch: Queens Open 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

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: A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic (drop your name in the bucket by 6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Hamilton: Scatterbrain

6:30 pm ($3): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at The PIT Underground 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.

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.