NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 12/18/16

December 18, 2016

Bob KulhanA mindblowing mix of sketch and character improv spinning off this premise: “Moments before he’s to take the stage with his band The Bing Faithful 5, holiday crooner Bing Faithful learns all members of his band have died in a horrific bus accident. Bing is a consummate professional and knows ‘the show must go on.’ What follows is one character’s journey through grief and agony as, alone on stage, he attempts to compensate for the band’s absence by singing all five parts and harmonies to all the classic holiday songs requested by the audience.” Bing is played by brilliant musical improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan (founding member of world-famous musical improv group Baby Wants Candy); plus there’s a twist involving several other talented comics—who in the past have included Jordan Klepper (correspondent for The Daily Show), Greg Kotis (co-writer of Urinetown), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Micah Sherman (brilliant improvisor; half of musical duo Myq & Micah), Bill Connelly (Boston’s Improv Asylum), Chris Roberti (PIT star), and Mark Stetson (PIT star)—all at Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special (7:00 pm, $5, The PIT Downstairs Lounge 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] [$] 4:00 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A recording of podcast Julian Loves Music with host Julian McCullough (fiercely funny rising star; Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Fallon, NPR’s This American Life, MTV, VH1) and powerhouse stand-up guests Todd Barry, Dan Soder, and Big Jay Oakerson at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Julian Loves Music Live Podcast Recording

5:30 pm ($5): Improvisors who cut across all regions and schools come together for one evening at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Supernova

6:00 pm ($7): Nearly a dozen improvisors plays Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, etc. in this comedic play that shows you what happens when The Avengers gather to celebrate the holidays Who knew that the nerd you were casual acquaintances with in high school was secretly a famous elf warrior? Or that the quiet girl in math class was a 1,000-year-old witch? In fact, all those weirdoes you never talked to were secretly battling the forces of darkness in their mother’s basement. This show flips back and forth between fantasy and reality, magic spells and homework anxiety, the bravest campaign against evil ever fought and the hopes and dreams of the kids who imagine it all” at The Magnet theatre: The Avengers Christmas Special

6:00 pm ($5): A song-filled holiday musical comedy with “special appearances by Santa, the Christmas diva, and gay Jesus himself” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Roo-ining Christmas: The Spectaculoo

6:30 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 superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($20): The creators of the amazing live-on-stage movie reenactment Hold On To Your Butts (Jurassic Park) and Fly, You Fools! (Lord of the Rings)—performers Kyle Schaefer & Nick Abeel, music & sound wizard Kelsey Didion, and stellar director Kristin McCarthy Parker—explore new techniques by this time using puppetry to recreate the classic Christmas movie Home Alone. Added to the mix are two new performers (Natalie Rich & Sonia Mena), a four-person choir (Sarah Godwin, Evan Maltby, Richard Sears, and Michelle Vo), and producer Lanie Zipoy, all making magic at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Kevin!!!!!

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: 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 ($10) 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, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among five shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): A two-person play about fragile and intimate human relationships during the holidays starring Melanie Hoopes and Jean Villepique at The Magnet theatre: Holiday Date

7:30 pm ($10): An award-winning troupe that typically combines sketch, musical comedy, puppetry, and/or dance performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): City Hall

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Julian McCullough (fiercely funny rising star; Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Fallon, NPR’s This American Life, MTV, VH1), Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1), Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Aaron Jackson (stellar improv groups Rumpleteaser, What I Did For Love, Fuck That Shit), Mike Albanese, and Kath Barbadoro performing stand-up or sketch at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and guest-hosted by Joe Zimmerman (Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Chris Gethard Show, 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), Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker), John Reynolds (Stranger Things), Mary Houlihan (Comedy Central, Cartoon Monsoon), Shalewa Sharpe (comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and J.D. Amato (The Chris Gethard Show) performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: The irresistible Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) and Gary Burton (“English dude”) host this free trivia show that includes a round called “Cats On Synthesizers” (starring Leslie’s own famous and much-exploited cat Tater)—”Bring some friends, form a team, play on your own, come as you are…we don’t care! We’ve got extra prizes if you play one of our silly games!” at Sid Gold’s Request Room (165 West 26th Street), followed at 9:00 pm by piano karaoke with Leslie: Sunday Quiz Show with Gary and Leslie

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Ryan Reiss (MTV, FOX, Spike, WE, NICK), and Khalid Rahmaan performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Humboldt & Jackson (434 Humboldt Street) hosted by Lou Perez & Malia Sias: Coasting Comedy Night

8:30 pm ($5): A mash-up of A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Donald Trump that asks “Will there be a Christmas miracle that saves the world and Trump’s soul, or will Trump’s bumbling nighttime visitors and his bad attitude ruin Christmas?” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): It’s A Wonderful Trump Carol

8:30 pm ($5): Nearly two dozen improvisors had to skip the pleasures of streaming media for the past week and instead make their own online movies—which they’ll screen tonight at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Anthony Oberbeck: Bad Habits: No Streaming Film Festival Special

[$] 8:30 pm ($18): A well-intentioned but overly conceptual play from enormously likeable writer/actor Augie Praley that aims to both dissect and pay homage to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, with a cast of nearly 20 actors, at The PIT upstairs theatre: Looking Back, It May Not Have Been Ridgefield High’s Best Production of Our Town

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Famed storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas The Adam Wade Show and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here) teams with ace improvisor Louis Kornfeld at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Wade

9:00 pm ($6): Three comics originally from Seattle and three comics originally from LA compete for your laughs and votes to be the most beloved NYC transplants at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Brendan Busee: Graft vs. Host

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

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

9:30 pm ($5): Indie improv groups make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ian Herrin: The Ian Herrin Improv Hour

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

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[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

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

[FREE] 10:00 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

Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm, or 4:30 pm on Sundays, through 1/8/17 ($28-$48; use code PBP30 through 12/17 for $33 tickets, or code BBOX20 anytime for discounts based on seat location): Comedy genius Chris Gethard performs a transcendently great one-man show about depression, perseverance, and the healing powers of laughter, love, and medication, seamlessly blending stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience as wonderful as virtually anything currently playing on NYC stages—and that I’m guessing will end up as an HBO special, finally propelling Chris into the top tiers of show biz. Don’t miss this amazing show at The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop): Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm; plus 2:00 pm matinees on Saturdays; or 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm on Sundays, through 1/15/17 ($37-$139; use code OHBOX111 for discounts): I haven’t seen this, so can’t comment on its merits; but you should be aware that two of the sharpest and funniest comics in the biz, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, are performing as their old men characters in this Broadway show at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street): Oh, Hello

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 12/13/15

December 13, 2015

Bob KulhanA mindblowing mix of sketch and character improv spinning off this premise: “Moments before he’s to take the stage with his band The Bing Faithful 5, holiday crooner Bing Faithful learns all members of his band have died in a horrific bus accident. Bing is a consummate professional and knows ‘the show must go on.’ What follows is one character’s journey through grief and agony as, alone on stage, he attempts to compensate for the band’s absence by singing all five parts and harmonies to all the classic holiday songs requested by the audience.” Bing is played by brilliant improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan; plus there’s a twist involving several other talented comics, all at Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Downstairs Lounge 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] [$] 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($25; entire run is sold out of orchestra seats, but you can probably get into the balcony section if you arrive 30 minutes before showtime and sign up for the waiting list): Comedy genius Daniel Kitson briefly visits from the UK to gift us with a mix of humor and drama—ranging from moments of theatrical beauty, to vital new phrases such as the time for a winter beverage being “hot chocolate o’clockolate,” to referencing such legendary magazines as Brits, Tits, and Slits—at The Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A & B) through 12/18: A Show for Christmas

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm-10:30 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Sketch comedy from six sharp house groups—Stockton & Wendigo at 6:00, The Executives & Student Council at 7:30, and Adults & Dinosaur Jones at 9:00—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

6:30 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 superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: NYC comedy treasure 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; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash) tries out a long stand-up set every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Sean Patton

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: NYC stand-ups performing at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase: Church!

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) 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 ($43.75 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among five shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Dynamite comics Sasheer Zamata, Jo Firestone, Ophira Eisenberg, Erik Bergstrom, Aaron Glaser, and more, plus superb musical comics Corn Mo, Reformed Whores, and more, performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Aaron Glaser: Powerhouse

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon; breakout star of 2014 Last Comic Standing), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Missy Baker, Drew Michael, Bryan Yang, Eric Hahn, and Brian Mitchell performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors make up theatrical scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre for this weekly show produced by Sarah Nowak: People Improvising

8:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors make up scenes on a rug at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Rug Show

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Ace comics in their 30s—Langston Belton, Jay Malsky, Tracy Mull, and more—perform improv, storytelling, and/or stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge (123 East 24th Street): Dirty Thirty

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): David Carl provides a sneak peek at Tuesday’s Republican debate—playing all the candidates himself!—at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Road to the White House

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, each month Channel 101 screens new films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. Tonight is the annual awards ceremony for these cinematic treasures that’s “both a send-up and celebration of award shows, with musical numbers, all new original videos, and actual award statues:” Channel 101: The 2015 Channy Awards

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Group Medusa turns a calamity selected by the an audience member into an improvised documentary live on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Medusa Presents Improv Against Humanity

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 comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

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

[FREE] 10:00 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; 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 Saturday 12/20/14

December 20, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Amy Adams hosts Saturday Night Live at 11:29 pm on NBC

Bob Kulhan

Bob Kulhan performs for the last time this year in his brilliant mix of dark play and improv: Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special

Dean Martin

…and Orson Welles, Jimmy Stewart, Liberace, Paul Lynde, and more at The Dean Martin Christmas PITacular

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

[FREE] 2:45 pm: Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzasThe Adam Wade Show and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here) hosts a brand new podcast, which at today’s debut features seven of Adam’s favorite storytelling students at The Magnet theatre: Adam Wade Storytelling Podcast Live Taping

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Gonzo, Unsigned Waiver, Burt Sherbet, and Honey performing at The Magnet theatre:The Rundown

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Great lineup of Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander, Kevin Meaney, Judy Gold, and Greer Barnes at the 7:00 show, Judah Friedlander, Kevin Meaney, and Greer Barnes at the 7:15 show; Judah Friedlander, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Kevin Meaney, Joe Machi, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Todd Barry, Kurt Metzger, Artie Lange, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, and more at UCB Chelseainterview 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

7:30 pm ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.) A cast member of Saturday Night Live and In LIving Color (most famously playing Homey D. Clown), and an actor in numerous feature films, headlining tonight and Sunday—albeit at a steep price—at the Carolines Comedy Club: Damon Wayans

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code XMAS; no min.): Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Rich Vos, Dan Soder, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) and The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman Brigid Boyle, and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PITupstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This show-and-tell event encourages you to “bring your weird family photos, demonstrate how many flips you can do in a row, reveal the tattoo your uncle gave you at last year’s family retreat—share anything crazy, kooky, strange or insane; the best of the best will win prizes and bragging rights,” plus stand-up from Khalid Rahmaan, Megan Gailey, Sefa, and the show’s producer Lukas Kaiser, all at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and Tim Duffy: Showcasey Jones

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): The debut of a rotating cast improv group, tonight featuring Eric Drysdale, Brian McCann, Christina Gausas, Cipha Sounds, Kevin Hines, Jamie Kilstein, and Jen Bartels at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Maraville

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A mindblowing mix of sketch and character improv spinning off this premise “Moments before he’s to take the stage with his band The Bing Faithful 5, holiday crooner Bing Faithful learns all members of his band have died in a horrific bus accident. Bing is a consummate professional and knows ‘the show must go on.’ What follows is one character’s journey through grief and agony as, alone on stage, he attempts to compensate for the band’s absence by singing all five parts and harmonies to all the classic holiday songs requested by the audience.” Bing is played by brilliant improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan; plus there’s a twist involving Micah Sherman, Greg Kotis, Mark Stetson, and Bill Connolly at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): “Musical sketch comedy that skewers and dissects pop culture one roll of the dice at at time” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Pop Roulette

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code XMAS; no min.): Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Rich Vos, Dan Soder, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups take a comedic look at the world’s problems at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tom Dillon: Love, Poverty, and War

[$] 10:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): 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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy trio Trike

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy; won ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group; written up by Jason Zinoman in The New York Times; members include Henry Zebrowski (co-star of Wolf of Wall Street) and Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Murderfist

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): For his holiday special, Dean Martin hosts Orson Welles, Carol Burnett, Jimmy Stewart, Liberace, Paul Lynde, Elaine Stritch, Barbra Streisand, and more—played by over a dozen comics—at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Dean Martin Christmas PITacular

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): 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'” at the UCB East theatre: O.S.F.U.G. A Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight ($7.25 online using discount code XMAS; no min.): Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and Adam Meyers performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street):Judah Friedlander, Rich Vos, Dan Soder, Jessica Kirson, and More

Midnight ($5): “Real-life improvisors bring real-life secret santa gifts and exchange in make-believe scenes on stage with hilarious justifications” at UCB Chelsea hosted by sketch troupe Sidecar: Secret SantaProv

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evans: The Amateur Hour

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; 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.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 12/5/14

December 5, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Bob Kulhan

Brilliant character comic & improvisor Bob Kulhan and friends create a nightmare Christmas celebration you’ll probably never forget at The PIT’s Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special

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

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[$] 7:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Mark Normand, Jeff Ross, Alan Havey, Greer Barnes, and Marina Franklin at the 10:30 pm show, with all of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): The delightful Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman show Our Condolences at FringeNYC; brilliant writer, actress, and improvisor) co-stars in this sketch/character comedy show with Jana Schmieding, Veronica Osorio, Alan Starzinski, and a bunch of other talents at The Magnet theatre: Jana & Lauren Presents

7:00 pm ($5): All-gal improvisors Ashley Ward, Brigid Boyle, Alexis Saarela, and/or Elizabeth Findlay, plus guests, perform at the PIT downstairs lounge as group Taco Supreme

7:00 pm ($10): Musical improv from the group that hosts the weekly Pitch jam, tonight performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team]

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($10): Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper performs stand-up, with Travon Free opening, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jordan Klepper: Politely Whining

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($54.50 & 2-drink min.): Hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. In addition, Norm has written for Roseanne, acted on such prime-time sitcoms as ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and NBC’s NewsRadio, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. Norm is also a razor-sharp and acclaimed stand-up comic, and well worth catching. He’s headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald

[$] 7:30 pm ($15): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

8:00 pm ($10): Jamie Cummings (Comedy Central, MTV) performs a solo show in which “after 10 years of competition, the fourth-ranked Elvis impersonator in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area has told himself ‘It’s now or never.’ The only things standing between him and Taking Care of Business are his rival, his Momma and his talent. Complete with singing and dancing” at The PIT upstairs theatre: The King & Me

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT downstairs lounge improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15; SOLD OUT of seats, but there’ll be a standby line if you’re okay with standing): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Jordan Klepper, Connor Ratliff, Don Fanelli, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’s Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased, Glamour Magazine), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), and Niles Turner performing stand-up at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Justin Perez: Justin’s Basement Party

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Janine Brito (former staff writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), Nate Fernald (Team Submarine), Jason Burke, nd more performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A mindblowing mix of sketch and character improv spinning off this premise “Moments before he’s to take the stage with his band The Bing Faithful 5, holiday crooner Bing Faithful learns all members of his band have died in a horrific bus accident. Bing is a consummate professional and knows ‘the show must go on.’ What follows is one character’s journey through grief and agony as, alone on stage, he attempts to compensate for the band’s absence by singing all five parts and harmonies to all the classic holiday songs requested by the audience.” Bing is played by brilliant improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan; plus there’s a twist involving Micah Sherman, Greg Kotis, Mark Stetson, and Bill Connolly at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Neruda Williams…who will be celebrating the birthday of at least one of these comics with cake and beer: The Happy Happy Birthday Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV),, and more performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Nick Leftley (Content Director of Time Out New York) and the hilarious Bing Faithful (brilliant improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan) are interviewed and/or perform at this late night talk show hosted by Jamie LeeLo and sidekick Mehdi Barakchian at The PIT upstairs theatre: Brunch Night

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT downstairs lounge with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically are Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jodi Lennon (Exit 57, Annoyance Theatre), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Betsy Stover (UCB), Ari Voukydis (VH1’s Best Week Ever, UCB), Russ Armstrong (iO Chicago, The Magnet), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), Rick Andrews (Magnet teacher/performer), and Michael Burton (Act One, The Magnet), all declaring Chica Go-Go

11:30 pm ($7): “A unique fusion of variety show and pulp superhero story, with all of the strengths of both and none of their weaknesses. And remember, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do not see this show”at the Magnet theatre: Crisis!: The Improvised Comic Book

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A raucous laboratory for wacky ideas, in which comics Jo Firestone, Michael Wolf, Dan Glaser, and Cory Palmer create absurd game shows that they try out on the spot using audience members. “After we’ve attempted to create all the game shows, the audience votes on which idea gets to go straight to TV (not really)” at UCB Chelsea hosted by the fabulous Jo Firestone (also host of Punderdome 3000 and many, many other shows): The Incredible Game Show Showcase

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Join filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick, Jar-Jar Binks, as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with Fran Gillespie (ace improvisor & sketch comic; Two Guys Named Josh), Ben Rameaka (Alpha House), and musical guest Franz Nicolay performing at the UCB East theatre hosted by Connor Ratliff & Shaun Diston: The George Lucas Talk Show

Friday Open Mics & Jams

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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; 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.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.