NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2017: Last Updated Tuesday 11/21/17

November 21, 2017

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for what’s left of November (with more to come) include:

Dark SpotsTuesday 11/21: Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine—with tonight’s guests TV & movie star Janeane GarofaloJo 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), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic who’s the newest correspondent of The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Chris LakerMehran Khaghani, and Jess Salomon— hosted by Shane TorresNate Fridson, and Alison ZeidmanDark Spots (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ashley Brooke RobertsTuesday 11/21: Two superb comics, Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable—as you can see above—stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely) and Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), each perform a 30-minute stand-up set hosted by Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code): Ashley Brooke Roberts and Matt Koff (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar at 406 Third Avenue)

Adam Pally and Ben SchwartzWednesday 11/22: Two-thirds of legendary improv trio Hot Sauce (Gil Ozeri is in LA) make up scenes for your amusement: Pally & Schwartz (8:00 pm, $7 [sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing], UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Sasheer Zamata and Keisha ZollarWednesday 11/22: Two-thirds of legendary improv trio Doppelganger (Nicole Byer is in LA), plus guest improvisor Tim Meadows, make up scenes to dazzle you: Doppelganger: Sasheer Zamata & Keisha Zollar (9:30 pm, $7 [sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing], UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Cool Shit / Weird Shit: "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars"Friday 11/24: While David Bowie’s classic album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars plays from beginning to end, comics perform acts based on the songs, with participants including Matt Dennie, Joel Kim Booster, Michael Wolf, Mo Fry Pasic, and Marcia Belsky hosted by Josh SharpCool Shit / Weird Shit: David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust (Midnight, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Fuckville High's Annual ReunionFriday 11/24: Brilliant improvisors Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, and Brandon Scott Jones spearhead this character-based improv show driven by the following premise: “Six months ago Principal Ratliff accidentally shot himself in the head and lost all of his memories, so the alumni of Fuckville High are making this year’s reunion special. All classes are invited in order to help Principal Ratliff get his memory back! Class of 2014, maybe you can vape in his face? Class of 2000, do you want to lie about how your life is still okay? Class of 1994, wanna talk about how fat/skinny/dead you are? Class of 1985, can you remind Principal Ratliff about that pneumonia epidemic? We are asking for all Classes to attend. Hope to see you there!”: Fuckville High’s Annual Reunion (Midnight, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Pet ProvSunday 11/26: There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this endearing monthly show, improvisors perform along with their real-life pet dogs, plus other improvisors TBA, and wonderfully humane host Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups The Community Players, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings), all making up scenes for Pet Prov (6:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Gravid WaterMonday 11/27: Top improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is way fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $7 [sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing],UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Ronny ChiengMonday 11/27: Ronny Chieng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Lauren Adams (Gretchen in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Travon Free (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) chug a couple of beers on stage and talk politics at the UCB East theatre hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody LindquistTwo Beers In (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 11/27: Two of America’s very finest comics, Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None) and Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), host this weekly stand-up show with Irish comic Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk). Tonight’s guests include Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Joyelle Nicole, and Gary RichardsonButterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean and JohnTuesday 11/28: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Feelings: A Talk Show with Giulia RozziTuesday 11/28: Host Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show,Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, comedy album True Love) explores the feeling of Sadness via interviews with Jacqueline Novak (top row right; exceptionally smart, fresh stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; Inside Amy Schumer; comedy album Quality Notions; book How to Weep in Public) and Matt Johnson & Kim Schifino (top row left), plus stand-up by Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig FergusonLast Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard ShowSteve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Kenny DeForest (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), and Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and music by Jessica Rowboat (bottom row left) and DJ Therap-EFeelings (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Tamara and Adrian's Tarot Variety ShowThursday 11/30: Brilliant comic Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups The Community Players, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov) and Tamara Young host a variety show that incorporates tarot cards—show up an hour early for a free reading!: Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show (9:30 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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!

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.

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 Sunday 6/26/16

June 26, 2016

Del Close Improv Marathon 2016It’s the final day of the joyous 18th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon, which is running continuously until 9:30 pm. Improv groups from all around the US and Canada—and a few places further away—will finish up performing more than 650 shows, typically in 15- or 30-minute blocks, for over 50 hours. As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street), which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by nine additional venues: UCB East, The Magnet, Theater of the New City (3 theatres), SVA (2 theatres), FIT Haft Auditorium, and the UCB Comedy Podcast Lounge; for details, please click here. For the complete schedule, please click here. To view shows organized by performer, please click here. For information on buying a festival pass, please click here. To buy premium tickets online, please click here. (Please note that if any premium show doesn’t sell out and you have a marathon pass, you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.) Quite simply, this is the greatest improv festival in the world: Del Close Marathon 2016 (4:00 pm Friday-9:30 pm Sunday, $35 for festival pass plus $10-$20 each for premium shows, 10 venues around Chelsea and the East Village)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 5:30 pm-10:00 pm ($40 for an all-you-can-see weekend pass or $5-$20 per show): It’s the final day pf a 3-day LGBTQ-themed comedy festival at The PIT upstairs theatre and downstairs lounge (123 East 24th Street). For a complete list of tonight’s shows, please click here; and for information about the festival, please click Queercom 2016

[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 seven shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-night-only team at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from a six-person troupe at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Sunday School Dropouts

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Kate Berlant (Netflix’s The Characters, MTV, IFC, CNN), Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Dan Licata, Madonna Refugia, Matt Schimkowitz, ad Shalewa Sharpe, all at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

8:30 pm ($5): Two improv groups perform, on a rotating basis, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Annoyance Presents Improv: Waiting for Jah + Hal Doll

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Sketch comedy accompanied by live music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): With a Little Feeling

[TOP PICK] [FREE—plus FREE FOOD!] 9:30 pm to grab a seat and eat, 10:00 pm for screening: Come watch a new episode of The Jim Gaffigan Show with an audience—and have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards of Ashley Williams, who plays Jim’s wife and will be a special guest tonight! Plus, free food! (“Yes. Free. Food. It’s what Jim would want.”) It all happens at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Jim Gaffigan Show Official Watch Party

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($15; no min.): Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, host of Comedy Knockout, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue off 20th Street): Mark Normand, Ari Shaffir, and More

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket, drawings every half hour), providing 4 minutes per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Intestinal Fortitude

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

5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday 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

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; 99-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!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 12/23/15

December 23, 2015

Mike Lawrence describes his winding career path, from seven years of working a drive-through window at McDonald’s to currently being a staff writer at Emmy Award-winning series Inside Amy Schumer, for my new podcast here.

Gil Ozeri, Adam Pally, and Ben SchwartzOne of the best improv trios ever—Gil Ozeri, Ben Schwartz, and Adam Pally—reunite for one night only (sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you’re okay with standing): Hot Sauce (9:30 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Gypsy Danger, which includes Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman at 8:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Three hours of improv from six groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 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) and an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

7:30 pm ($5): Members of UCBT house improv groups get scrambled together into new one-night-only teams at UCB East, with tonight’s performers including Will & Kevin Hines, Sebastian Conelli, John Purcell, Mike Kelton, Alan Starzinski, and Liz Noth: The Blender

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm &10:00 pm  ($15; no min.): Typically terrific stand-ups performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Wednesday

8:00 pm ($5): An improvised holiday extravaganza revolving around this premise: “Nippity Cringlefrost, the Christmas Elf, has totally screwed up and lost all of the famous Christmas stories. Now he needs your help! Come on down and sing a bunch of carols to summon magical Christmas improvisers who’ll create new Christmas tales and characters on the spot. If you don’t, Christmas will be ruined for everyone— forever; your call” at UCB Chelsea hosted by Eric Gersen: Nippity Cringlefrost’s Holiday Celebration

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jacknife Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Corinne Fisher (co-host of #1 iTunes comedy podcast Guys We Fucked), and more performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): Superb improvisors—and actual brothers—Will Hines and Kevin Hines make use of their intimate knowledge of each other to gracefully invent scenes (hopefully without any squabbling) at UCB East performing as duo The Brothers Hines

9:30 pm ($5): NYC comics performing stand-up or sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge produced by Tovah Silbermann and hosted by Griffin Newman & Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

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

[FREE] 8:00 pm Open mic for stand-up, poetry, music, and pretty much anything else at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jennifer Hobo & Chris Gersbeck: Hobo Gerz Holiday Party and Show

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): First Crush’s Holiday Jam

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

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

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Higgins: The Improv Jam

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

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

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

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

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-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!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:
Click Any Image That Interests You to See the Discount Offer

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 4/13/10

April 13, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Comedy giants Anthony Jeselnik (Punch Up Your Life), Ben Rodgers (Outlook of the Poet), and Ben Schwartz (Sweet)

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

7:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Hilary Schwartz and Rachael Parenta hosting an intriguing show atOchi’s Lounge described as “emotionally inappropriate comedy:” Please, Someone Kill Me

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Industry guests join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Comic Book Club

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Wil Sylvince, Erik Bergstrom, Ash Louis, Kara Klenk, Calvin Cato, and JC Coccoli performing at Cellar 58 (58 Second Avenue) alongside delightful host Abbi Crutchfield and comedic rapster Andrew Singer: Positively Awesome

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm to midnight ($5): Four full hours of improv for only five bucks—tonight featuring UCBT house troupes Monstro, The Opera, Sandino, Bastian, and DeCoster; and at 11:00 pm a show with superb troupes Outlook of the Poet (improv geniuses Gavin Speiller of Death By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers of Reuben Williams, and Jonathan Gabrus of The Law Firm) plus The Law Firm: The People’s Court—all at Harold Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Kumail Nanjiani (David LettermanSaturday Night Live, The Colbert ReportJimmy Kimmel, writer/performer for Comedy Central’s Michael & Michael Have Issues; winner of the 2009 ECNY Awards for Best Male Stand-Up), Kevin Allison (legendary sketch troupeThe State, host of award-winning storytelling show Risk!), Ben Schwartz (writer for SNL and David Letterman, member of brilliant sketch/improv troupe Hot Sauce), and “a special guest” performing at The Slipper Room for the LES weekly show hosted by the wonderful Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Delightful stand-ups Leah Dubie and Amy Beckerman hosting a sneak peek of the first episode of the upcoming new season of The Big Gay Sketch Showin Ochi’s Lounge at Dykes on Mics

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm ($5): Wonderful stand-ups Anthony Jeselnik (writer for Jimmy Fallon;Conan O’Brien, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night Live;Comedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, upcoming HBO series Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Emily Flake (cartoonist for The New Yorker), Nick Offerman (NBC’s Parks and Recreation), and Nick Stevens (host Of AMC’s Action Pack) performing at the Housingworks Bookstore Cafe for a free weekly show hosted by brilliant stand-up Pete Holmes (Comedy Central PresentsThe Daily ShowJohn Oliver and Friends, VH1’s Best Week EverThe New Yorker) and razor-sharp Joe DeRosa (Comedy Central, Carson DalyInsomniac Tour; for stand-up video about why Joe hates weddings, please click here): Punch Up Your Life

9:30 pm ($5): Superb stand-ups Rachel Feinstein (Comedy Central Presents), Claudia Cogan (Time Out New York’s Best Joke winner), and more with host Shawn Hollenbach at Minty Fresh Comedy

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

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.