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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/29/17

April 29, 2017

Aparna Nancherla and Jo FirestoneAparna 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 (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), Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Found Footage Festival (hilariously odd amateur videos discovered by Joe Pickett & Nick Prueher), Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani), Gary Richardson, Luther Bangert, Joe Bonacci, and Michael Canfield perform at this benefit for the Brooklyn Free Clinic: This Won’t Hurt (7:00 pm, $15-$20, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

[FREE] 2:30 pm: A rare daytime stand-up show, providing comics with different challenges each month at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Late Late Breakfast

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

6:00 pm ($7): Brooke Eliot & Christina Friel perform duo improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Madonna and Child

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

6:30 pm ($10): A one-woman show by Tahlia Robinson playing “a time traveler, a self-indulgent protagonist, a deal closer, and a charming forgetful matriarch” at The PIT Underground: The Real Bubble Lives of Building 104

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($10): Springboarding off the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, this show pits three improv groups against each other by making them meet multiple challenges while encouraging them to try to sabotage each other at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Harry Marker: Cutthroat Improv

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, 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: Nore Davis

[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): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Chris Duffy—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($8): David Feldman (Comedy Central Half Hour, co-creator of The Jack and Triumph Show) debuts this live-on-stage version of his podcast interviewing comics, with tonight’s guests Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV) and Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!, host of New York City Crime Report podcast) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The David Feldman Show

7:30 pm ($10): Improvisors Katie Hammond & Daniel Tepper create a musical on the spot based on a location invented by an audience member at The PIT Underground: What Town? (The Musical)

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

[$] 8:00 pm comedy, 9:30 pm music ($25): This fundraiser for immigrant assistance programs features comedy from Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Ful Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Tim Ellis (Onion News Network, FringeNYC; comedic music album Casual Pimpin’), Melanie Martinez (VH1, PBS), Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), and Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired); plus music by band Modern Beast at 9:30 pm, and an art show by Sally Erskine, all at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): No Walls Party: Immigration Rights Benefit

8:00 pm ($5): Philadelphia comics Beth Eisenberg & Ralph Andracchio screen oddball porn clips to kick off interviews with a wide range of people at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Beth & Ralph’s Porn Stash

8:00 pm ($10): Emmy Blotnick (rising star; staff writer & warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s spectacular 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), J. P. McDade, Ali Kolbert, and Craig Friedman perform stand-up at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Abeles: Hey Guys!

[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 makes up scenes with fierce musical energy at The PIT Underground: North Coast

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

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Casey James Salengo, and Maurice Licorish at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live

9:30 pm ($10): Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement in The New York Times at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements

9:30 pm ($10): A 5-man improv group consisting of Matt Higgins, Rory Scholl, Patrick McCartney, Jay Rhoderick, and Nick Balanan organically makes up weird scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Rutger Hauer Players

[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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Comics chat about utterly bizarre news stories at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brent Gill: Infauxmation

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

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

10:30 pm ($7): Improv group Physically Bold Comedy performs, and hosts stand-up by Alyssa Limperis, and characters by Nanie Mendez and Eric Feuer, all at The PIT Underground: Physically Bold Comedy

11:00 pm ($7): A six-person group sings songs about plants and conquering evil, and also hosts guests, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Moff Póres Presents The Last Earth Day

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

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($7): A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Join gay-ass hosts Dave Mizzoni & Matt Rogers as they gay up the straights through games and trivia. Life lines include one woke woman and a wise queer. Come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck!” at the UCB East theatre: GAYme Show

11:30 pm ($5): Comics pretend to be infants at The PIT Underground: Babies Night

[FREE] Midnight: “A psychedelic journey through space-time. The stand-ups on this show have seen the other side. They have surfed the waves of consciousness and mastered their superego to a near shamanic level. They are here to guide you on a quest of understanding and wonder. Also, they’re going to be tripping balls” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by “the spirit animal of Evan Jones:” The Only One Tripping

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

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

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

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Lady Jam

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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

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

The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

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

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

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

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 100-seat theatre; shows $5-${20

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard): 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street): Among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street): Headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street): Convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live (1568 Second Avenue, off 81st): Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

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

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 4/3/17

April 3, 2017

Aparna NancherlaAparna 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), Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, host of And I Am Not Lying), Al Diaz (NYC graffiti artist and Basquiat collaborator), and The Bowery Boys (authors of Adventures in Old New York) perform and/or are interviewed at Nat Towsen’s Downtown Variety Hour (8:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

…or catch Aparna Nancherla, plus Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), The Gregory Brothers (wonderful musical inventors of “Songify the News”), and Andrew Collin (co-host of Happily Never After podcast) perform in LES for hosts Cory Cavin & Kevin James Doyle: Great Times with Cory & Kevin and Friends (8:00 pm, $20, The Bowery Ballroom at 6 Delancey Street)…

Filip Jeremic…or see extraordinary character comic and rising star Filip Jeremic (above; co-star of UCB’s Characters Welcome) & Brittany Lee McDonald create a myriad of extreme and memorable characters, with guests John Swan & Zoob Fernandez helping out on this month’s theme of Not Human at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Brian Michael: The Wigging Hour

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

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled and co-host of Fresh Out, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York, upcoming comedy album I Was in Band), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Molly Austin (TruTV’s Late Night Snack), and Babe Parker (MTV, Someecards) performing stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) hosted by Mindy Raf & Katie Compa: Golden Spiral Comedy

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Stockton and Kinfolk perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Kevin Avery (staff writer for HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver), and Lawrence DeLoach performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a one-man play by Geoff Garlock about memories of a classic music festival: Rock and Roll Will Never Die

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince hosts Michelle Wolf, Dan Soder, Sam Morril, Phil Hanley, Nimesh Patel, Gary Vider, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

8:00 pm ($5): Producers, writers, and other staff members of TruTV show Impractical Jokers improvise scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Impractical Jokers Staff Infection

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

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Daniel Audritt, Brian McGuinness, and Hannah Cowger at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

9:00 pm ($7): Talented comics perform solo characters at The Magnet theatre hosted by Ari Miller & Elena Skopeto: Character Bash

9:30 ($7): House sketch groups Pretty Boys and Cha-Cha try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

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

9:30 pm ($7): A five-person improv group makes up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Janet

[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), Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of White Chocolate Sundaes), Casey James Salengo, Mo Vida, Matt Rife, and Ali Kolbert at one of best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no cost to you (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to) for 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

10:30 pm ($7): Nick Kanellis & Woody Fu perform duo short-form improv games at The Magnet theatre hosted by the wonderful Megan Gray: Shortform 2Prov

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

Monday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

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

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to make up scenes in a 7-minute set with veteran improvisors who are supporting diverse voices at The Magnet theatre: Diversity Jam

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for telling stories or jokes about sex, desire, and romance, with each performer getting 7 minutes at The Delancey (168 Delancey Street) produced by Ames Beckerman: Safe Word: The Sexiest Open Mic in NYC

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

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

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

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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

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

The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

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

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

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

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 100-seat theatre; shows $5-${20

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard): 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street): Among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street): Headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street): Convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live (1568 Second Avenue, off 81st): Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

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

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 3/14/17

March 14, 2017

T.J. Miller and Tariq TrotterT.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), Tariq Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought; co-founder & rapper/MC for legendary band The Roots; regular sketch performer on Jimmy Fallon, and exceptionally quick, witty guy), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Mary Mack, Aunty Donna, and more perform stand-up or sketch hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)…

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone…and two of the sharpest, funniest, and most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz, Aparna Nancherla (former writer for Seth Meyers; HBO’s Crashing, 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) and 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), perform for one night only at this free show in a Brooklyn church: NYC Treasures: Aparna Nancherla & Jo Firestone (7:00 pm-10:00 pm; FREE, but register for tickets online; Brooklyn’s San Damiano Mission Catholic Church at 85 North 15th Street—take the G subway to Nassau Avenue)

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; webseries Teachers Lounge; frequently opens for Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan) tries out new material for an upcoming hour-long special every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ted Alexandro

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Leah Evans & Matthew Schrader make up a fast-paced duo-dialogue mini-play in the style of an Aaron Sorkin movie or TV series at The PIT Mainstage: The Boozeroom

7:00 pm ($5): A showcase for brand new scripted shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—this week featuring sketch comedy by groups Moshpick and! Sketchy, and solo characters by Becca Beberaggi, all at The PIT Underground produced by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

7:00 pm ($7): Improv group Honey performs and hosts other groups at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Honey and Friends

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

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

7:30 pm ($5): Annalise Domenighini (Noisey) and Project Diem perform and/are interviewed about “that one song you’ll never forget” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) performs a solo stand-up show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Sam Morril at Village Underground

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

8:00 pm ($7): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, tonight features screenings of select films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. The shorts receiving the most audience votes get to continue with additional episodes, while the others are “canceled” at Channel 101

8:00 pm & 9:30 pm ($7 per show): The top level improv-for-industry shows scheduled for tonight were canceled due to the storm. In their place will probably be some sort of more casual improv TBA at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCB Improv

8:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT Mainstage hosted by twins Adam & Todd Stone: The Stone & Stone Show

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

8:30 pm ($5): Latino comics perform storytelling, improv, and/or more at The PIT Underground: Latinx

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Ian Fidance, Lindsay Boling, Django Gold, Momoh Pujeh, and Shelby Taylor performing after being introduced by “gloriously bad metalcore music” at Brooklyn’s Tender Trap (66 Greenpoint Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Justin Hancock: Buttery Riffz

9:00 pm ($7): Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, MTV), Charles McBee (Comedy Central, MTV, host of Nerd is the New Black), Alzo Slade, Victor Burt, and David Johnson performing for a comedy show “about single life, dating, love, and relationships from the male’s point of view” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Essence Stewart: Two Heads, One Brain: A Night of Mansplaining

9:30 pm ($7): In this unique show, improvisors make up a complete family & friends intervention based on an audience suggestion at The PIT Underground: Impro-vention

9:30 pm ($7): The debut of a comedic political talk show with a Middle East slant at The PIT Mainstage hosted by “a real live brown person:” Passport Control with Mehdi Barakchian

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Comics TBA present funny lectures on silly topics—e.g., “Octopuses: Squishy Satans of the Sea”—at the UCB East theatre hosted by Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform for this show that likes to brag about how great it is at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Brian Bahe & Stu Melton: Hyperbole

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show by Steven Hajar that invites you to “Come observe the recently captured Public Enemy No. 1 down in cell block 888, the revolutionary that the nation’s top psychiatrists have been treating. And if you’re lucky, you might meet the other odd prisoners who share the maximum security cell: in the convict’s mind” at The PIT Underground: The Cell

11:00 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

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

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

6:00 pm ($3): A chance for gals to get on stage and improvise with veteran female comics at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Blair Silverman and friends: Lady Jam

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

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

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge (it’s usually upstairs; the location change is for this week only) hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 7:30) at Brooklyn’s Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Goodbye Blue Monday

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

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

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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

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

The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

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

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

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

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 100-seat theatre; shows $5-${20

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard): 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street): Among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street): Headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street): Convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live (1568 Second Avenue, off 81st): Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

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

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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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.