NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 3/15/16

March 15, 2016

Top stand-up Myq Kaplan is hilarious as he reveals secrets about his past involving Robin Hood, violins, linguistics, improv, playing Carnegie Hall, and much more in this second career episode of my podcast website.

Blaine Swen and The Improvised Shakespeare CompanyIf you braved the rain last night, you saw genius improvisors from Chicago—including ISC founder Blaine Swen—go for the silly as the five-member troupe became armies for England, Ireland, France, and Germany that alternated between battling, singing, and dancing, mixed in with subplots that included a young woman named Molly who doubled as drug metaphor and a soldier so young he was the spirit of an unborn baby (and had the latter gotten on Molly’s back rather than that of another character, the show would have ended literally with a Ghost On Drugs…). There’s no telling where an audience suggestion will lead on this final night of the current NYC run of this finest improv troupe in the world that performs one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Seats are sold out, but you can get in if you arrive early and are okay with sitting on stairs (with tickets discounted to $20). Don’t miss your last chance for a while to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company (7:00 pm, $20 to sit on stairs, Theatre 80 St. Marks at 80 St. Marks Place off First Avenue)…

Brain and Heart…or see neuroscientists, physicists, and comics tell tales related to the brain hosted by Ben Lillie & Erin Barker: The Story Collider: Brain Awareness (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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] [FREE] 5:30 pm: Comics performing funny characters audition at The PIT to appear in the most prestigious comedy festival in Canada: Just for Laughs Character Auditions

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

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

7:30 pm & 9:15 pm ($5 per show): House groups at UCB Chelsea perform the classic improv form The Harold at Harold Night

7:30 pm ($5): A showcase for two brand new shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—every week at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Dave Hill, Janeane Garofalo, and Shakir Standley perform stand-up hosted by the hilarious Joe Pera, Charles Gould, and Dan Licata at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This charming show puts comics who are friends behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together. Tonight’s guests are Phoebe Robinson & Mehran Khaghani, Joe Zimmerman & Doogie Horner, Katie Compa & Raquel D’Apice, and Nick Turner & Greg Stone performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A, between 10th & 11th Streets) hosted by real-life couple Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): In Stereo: Two Comics, One Stage

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] [FREE] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm (FREE online using code JFL; no min.): Rising stand-ups audition for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, hosted by Yannis Pappas at 8:00 and Aaron Berg at 10:00, at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The wonderful 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) hosts this stand-up show featuring Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing), and Aida Rodriguez at the UCB East theatre: Comedy Central Corporate Retreat: Hosted by Mark Normand

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform sets—and you and the rest of the audience tries to answer trivia questions based on those sets! It all happens at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedy Pursuit

8:00 pm ($5): Sketch, improv, and stand-up comics “create a brand new show in only one week, and then perform improvised sketches based off of your suggestions, just like The Second City used to do” at The PIT upstairs theatre directed by Micah Sherman: Old School Sketch Show

8:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Colin Quinn (SNL, Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, HBO, NBC, Broadway), Brett Davis, Peggy O’Leary, and more performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) for host Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show hosted by Steph Cook (founding member of sketch collective Kill All Comedy) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Steffi Cook Show

9:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Derek Humphrey: Headliner’s Ball

9:15 pm ($8, which includes free beer): NYC stand-ups performing at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway) hosted by Jaqi Furback & Mike Lewis: The Party

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A sketch show based on the soundtrack of Hamilton featuring improv hip-hop group North Coast, Jonathan Braylock, hosts Becky Chicoine, Sudi Green, and Sam Reece, and more at the UCB East theatre: Theme Party: Hamilton

9:30 pm ($5): Five stand-ups attempt to seamlessly weave their bits into each other’s sets to create a holistic 30-minute experience at The PIT upstairs theatre: Human Centipede

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: A stand-up performs a 6-minute stand-up set…and then has to endure an old video of him or her telling bad jokes poorly, so the audience can see how much the comic has grown. Six stand-ups—Emily Winter, Sarah Kennedy, Evan Jones, Dina Hashem, Daniel J Perafan, and Kevin Froleiks— will go through this at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Patrick Hastie: Old Bits, New Bits

10:00 pm ($5): In this unique show, improvisors make up a complete family & friends intervention based on an audience suggestion at The PIT downstairs lounge: Impro-vention

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A mix of veteran and newer stand-ups performing at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Matteo Lane (Comedy Central): Chemistry

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, typically hosted by Jamie Aderski: Personality Disorder Character Jam

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

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

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

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tuesday After Class Jam

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and/or David Frasure: Study Hall

For tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

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 Monday 3/14/16

March 14, 2016

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, on my podcast website.

The Improvised Shakespeare CompanyIf you skipped last night, you missed two extraordinary Shakespearean tales made up on the spot from genius improvisors from Chicago—including ISC founder Blaine Swen—using the language and themes of the Bard. (To give you a taste, one scene involved three of the guys playing prostitutes forming different animal shapes to please the bestiality fantasies of a rich Duke in the audience-titled tale Syphilis and Such. And another scene involved a dictatorial politician responding to a protestor at a rally by unhesitatingly shooting him with an arrow in the heart…) This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the second of a three-night NYC run, with every evening utterly different from the last. Tonight’s and Tuesday’s ‘s shows are sold out, but you can get in if you arrive early and are okay with sitting on stairs (with tickets discounted to $20) instead of theatre seats. This is a rare, and highly recommended, opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company (7:00 pm, $20 to sit on stairs, Theatre 80 St. Marks at 80 St. Marks Place off First Avenue)…

Chris Sullivan and Jacqueline Novak…or if you prefer stand-up and improv music, 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) hosts this monthly show, with tonight’s guests Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Micah Sherman (brilliant improvisor, Myq’s musical partner), Ray Devito, Clark Jones, Jaqi Furback, and Willie Caldwell: Myq Kaplan & Friends (8:30 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 5:30 pm: Comics each perform funny solo characters at UCB East in this audition for the most prestigious comedy festival in Canada: Just for Laughs Character Auditions

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

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

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from two sharp house groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm ($5): Sharp duo improvisors Kelly Buttermore & Justin Peters make up one-act plays based on audience suggestions at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): From Justin to Kelly

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Nick Vatterott, Peggy O’Leary, Josh Johnson, and David Ebert performing stand-up or sketch at Pianos (158 Ludlow Street) booked by Tovah Silbermann, produced by Jane Clausen, and hosted by Yoni Lotan & Mark Vigeant: The Loud Boys Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb comics & writers—Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; FOX’s Mulaney, The Nightly Show), Abbi Crutchfield (MTV, VH1; co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), Corinne Fisher (co-host of Guys We Fucked podcast), and Shenaz Treasury (The Nightly show with Larry Wilmore)—share at this confessional storytelling show at UCB East hosted by Ruby Karp: HelloGiggles

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, duo sketch from Matt Fisher & Jim Santangeli in Who’s More Awesome?

…and in the second other of this double bill, sketch group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—invite you to “join Reverend Professor Ray Cordova in the year 2025 as he delivers a lesson in what really happened in black history. In our past, discover what the Underground Railroad has in common with the MTA, watch in awe as Batman meet the Black Panthers, and in our not-too-distant future, Obama is all washed up, Rick Ross sings protest anthems, and the first female president will shock you! This show is the realization of MLK’s dream…or maybe his nightmare:” Astronomy Club: A Journey Through Black History

8:00 pm ($8): Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Kyle Ayers, Rojo Perez, and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for numerous awesome shows, including South Park; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): Zhubin Parang (head writer for The Daily Show), Tracy Clayton (staff writer for BuzzFeed), and Eugene Mirman and/or associates demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at the live taping of Chris Duffy’s radio show at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): You’re the Expert

9:00 pm ($7): Eight sharp female comics perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Lady Sketch Show

9:00 pm ($5): “Henry Koperski has come up with another dumb combo for a show: Titanic featuring the music of High School Musical! Come enjoy a staged version of one of the most successful films of all time, complete with showstopping numbers from the hit Disney channel original movie/musical: High School Musical” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Titanic Featuring High School Musical

9:30 ($5): House sketch groups Estevez and Mona co try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: 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), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Langston Kerman, Wendi Starling, KC Arora, Frank Liotti, and more perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[FREE] 10:00 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

10:30 pm ($7): Two “coming out” tales from storytellers serve as springboards for LGBTQ improvisers to make up scenes—some of which will be musical—at The Magnet theatre: Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQ Event

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world-who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing). Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 3 minutes on stage. Arrive at around 5:45 to sign up, or wait for the late bucket at 6:15, to perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: First Stop Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

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

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

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

For tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

 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 Sunday 3/13/16

March 13, 2016

The Improvised Shakespeare CompanyGenius improvisors from Chicago—including ISC founder Blaine Swen—delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the start of a three-night NYC run, with every show on every evening utterly different from the last. As I write this, tonight’s 7:00 pm show is sold out, but there are still tickets for the 9:30 pm show here (use discount code OPHELIA). Plus you can even get into the sold-out shows if you arrive early and are okay with sitting on stairs (with tickets discounted to $20) instead of theatre seats. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm, $25 using discount code OTHELLO or $20 if you opt to sit on stairs, Theatre 80 St. Marks at 80 St. Marks Place off First Avenue)

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 5:00 pm: Comics performing funny characters audition at The Magnet to appear in the most prestigious comedy festival in Canada: Just for Laughs Character Auditions

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

6:30 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

7:00 pm ($5): Myka Fox, Tyler Richardson, and Sean O’Brien make up jokes on the spot based on pictures you and the rest of your audience submit via the Crowd Source app at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Forrest Haigh: Crowd Sourced Comedy

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

7:00 pm ($5): Brandon Scott Wolf, Liz Acury, and more perform stand-up on this show that features an equal number of male and female comics at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jen Flanagan: Cootie Free Zone Comedy Show

[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, 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

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comics perform their material, and then improvisors make up scenes that further explore those worlds of sketch at The Magnet theatre: Works Cited

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Krashin and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT downstairs lounge: Student Driver Indie Road

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander, Joe List, Pete Lee, and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue off 20th Street): The Stand Sunday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do their best to impress at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) in these auditions to perform in the most prestigious comedy festival in Canada: Just for Laughs Stand-Up Auditions, Part 1 (Part 2 is at 10:00 pm)

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

8:00 pm ($5): Phil Hanley, Christi Chiello, Doug Smith, Peggy O’Leary, Kevin Iso, Nate Fridson, and Ramon Rivas II performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

8:30 pm ($5): What appears to be an uninspired science parody sketch show (click for video promo) at The PIT downstairs lounge: Dr. Professor PhD

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

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: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tom Cassidy & Matt Pavich: Have Fun

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do their best to impress at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) in these auditions to perform in the most prestigious comedy festival in Canada: Just for Laughs Stand-Up Auditions, Part 2 (Part 1 was at 8:00 pm with an entirely different group of comics)

[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 downstairs lounge 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’ 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

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[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 tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

 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 Monday 1/12/15

January 12, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Casey Wilson is on Seth Meyers;
Fred Armisen is on Conan O’Brien;
Marc Maron, Jen Kirkman, and John Hodgman are on @midnight

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

If you’re okay with standing…

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

…get on the standby line to experience the finest improv troupe in the world performing two sold out shows tonight at Theatre 80 St. Marks: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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] 1:00 pm ($30): There are hundreds of walking tours in NYC, but my favorite so far is this survey of artwork in the New York City subway system. While guide Phil Desiere isn’t in any way a comic, the artwork itself primarily is comedic (and often includes a comic book sensibility). If you’d enjoy having your eyes opened to the whimsical art strewn about heavily traveled NYC subway stations that millions of busy commuters never notice, treat yourself to this 2½ hour expedition happening on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 1:00 pm: New York City Subway Art Tour

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm ($25 at the door with discount code OPHELIA; please note all shows have SOLD OUT, but the theatre will be squeezing people in if you arrive early and are okay with standing):Genius improvisors from Chicago—typically including Blaine Swen (ISC founder) and Thomas Middleditch (star of HBO’s Silicon Valley)—delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the second of a three-night NYC run at at Theatre 80 St. Marks (80 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue), with every evening utterly different from the last. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): A monthly storytelling show from the wonderful Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of 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), featuring guest storyteller Rob Penty at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): The Adam Wade from New Hampshire Show: Tales of Life, Love, and Little League

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers, Stone Cold Fox) tries out material for a one-man show at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Connor Ratliff’s Workout

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation—which include group Holiday at 9:00 pm featuring the spectacular David Carl and Becky Krause—at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: “This show is very different. Our audience sits in a big circle where everyone may speak at anytime in a very chill open group conversation. Expect a lot of improv, storytelling, topic discussion, jokes, songs, and great vibes from everybody in a very casual no stress group atmosphere” at Solas (232 East 9th Street) hosted by Will Thilly: The Chill Circle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Ryan Hamilton, Jermaine Fowler, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:30 show; Mark Normand, Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, Carmen Lynch, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 9:30 show; and Kurt Metzger, Jena Friedman, Jon Fisch, Big Jay Oakerson, Pete Davidson, Sam Morril, and Godfrey (hosting) at the 11:15 show, all performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.79 online): Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’s Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased, Glamour Magazine), Andy Haynes (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour), Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), and Saurin Choksi performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; albums Wyatt Cenac: Comedy Person and Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Matthew Patrick Davis (composer/lyricist of UCBT-LA musicals based on Jurassic Park, The Shining, King Kong, The NeverEnding Story, etc.) performs a one-man musical about his quest to not die alone, featuring such songs as “Superficial Bastard,” “I’m In Love With A Girl That I Hate,” and “She Doesn’t Like Radiohead,”at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Matt Davis Gets a Girlfriend

…and in the other half of this double-bill, Joel Weidl (Goat, Death by Roo Roo) writes and stars in sketch showAmerican Weidl

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Storyteller/comics Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code,VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live), Lane Moore, and Akilah Hughes share true tales for this confessional storytelling show at UCB East hosted by the extraordinary Ruby Karp: HelloGiggles

8:00 pm ($10): Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC; clash with Roseanne on Last Comic Standing led to #gofuckyourselfBen) and more performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre with twins Adam & Todd Stone: Stone and Stone Show

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: Goodbye, Handsome (which includes irresistible dynamo Christine Bullen) and Nipsy (which includes the highly talented Natasha Vaynblat):Maude Night: Goodbye, Handsome and Nipsy

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phillip Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 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 albumSadamantium), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Shang Forbes (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View,The Newz), Luchana Gatica, Emma Willmann, and Chris Scopo performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaryA Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7): Twelve improv comics who are “friends of Dorothy” perform at The Magnet hosted by Andrew Fafoutakis: There’s No Place Like Home: A GLBTQ Event

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A monthly comedy variety show featuring sketch, character bits, and stand-up at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Anthony Apruzzese: Comedic Information

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla or someone else wonderful: Whiplash

Monday 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 theStand 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—and also allows everyone play Bingo!—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Julia Lundy & Veronica Elizabeth: Bingo Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village:Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

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

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Kat Toledo and/or Alan Shain: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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-$20)

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)

This Theater
(154 West 29th Street; new venue that, at its best, features shows comparable to UCB & PIT; free-$12)

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 Tuesday 5/13/14

May 13, 2014

TV Alert: New Inside Amy Schumer at 10:30 pm and 2:30 am on Comedy Central (for highlights of the red-hot Season 2 to date, please click here); Weird Al Yankovic and Mamrie Hart are on @midnight

Ashley Brooke Roberts

Ashley Brooke Roberts debuts a new monthly stand-up show: Sweet Tooth Comedy

Blaine Swen of The Improvised Shakespeare Company

…and Blaine Swen spearheads the finest improv troupe in the world performing for its final night in NYC: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm ($26.87 online or $25 at the door with discount code MAY FB; please note this show has SOLD OUT of chairs, but the theatre can often squeeze people in to sit on stairs or stand): Genius improvisors from Chicago—including Thomas Middleditch (star of HBO’s Silicon Valley)—delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the finale of a three-night NYC run at at Theatre 80 St. Marks (80 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue), with every evening utterly different from the last. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, seven of The Magnet’s singing improv groups make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

7:00 pm ($8): Comedy duo Keith Kingbay & Jesse Neil perform sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: Keith & Jesse

7:30 pm-9:15 pm ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house groups Higgins, Grammer, and GoodGirl at this first half of Harold Night

[TOP PICK][$] 8:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Robert Kelly (Louie, Comedy Central, Opie & Anthony), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam), Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno, Comedy Central), and Leslie Warren (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by William Stephenson (FX’s Louie, The Chris Rock Show): Judah Friedlander, Marina Franklin, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Anthony P. Devito, and musical improv group Pop Roulette performing at Brooklyn’s Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer Street) for this new monthly show hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts: Sweet Tooth Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, tonight features screenings of select films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. The shorts receiving the most audience votes get to continue with additional episodes, while the others are “canceled” at Channel 101

8:00 pm ($10): A house sketch troupe performs at The PIT upstairs theatre: National Scandal

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Anna Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), Emily Winter, Matt Donaher, Tim Duffy, Alex Ryu, and Sam Grittner performing stand-up or sketch for this free weekly show at People’s Republic of Brooklyn (247 Smith Street) hosted by Tim Ellis & Mo Fathelbab: Manifesto

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

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Mark Normand (rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Luke Cunningham (monologue writer for Jimmy Fallon), Dion Flynn (plays President Obama on Jimmy Fallon;, LOGO’s Big Gay Sketch Show, VH1’s Best Week Ever, improv group Big Black Car), and “special guests” performing stand-up at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon long-time staff comic, Comedy Central, VH1, co-host of Nat Geo’s Duck Quakes Don’t Echo): Sweet

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Roger Hailes (Jimmy Fallon, Chappelle’s Show, MTV; writer for VH1’s Best Week Ever and FUSE’s A Different Spins; Web series Mansome), Clark Jones, and Alyssa Wolff performing stand-up at this weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Sean Donnelly, Kevin McCaffrey, Robert Dean, and/or Steve O’Brien: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): “Katie Haller may be small, but her jokes will kick you hard in the shins. Watch her do 20 minutes on what life is like as a small White African British American Jew riddled by dating & social media anxiety” headlining at the only comedy club in the East Village: Katie Haller Headlines at Eastville

9:15 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house groups Graceland, The Regulars, and Namaste at this second half (continued from 7:30 pm) of Harold Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20): A mash-up of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and HBO’s Girls in a critically acclaimed 50 minutes that’s reportedly “brilliant” and “hysterical” at The PIT upstairs lounge: Women

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Storyteller/comics Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month), Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), and Leah Palmieri share true tales for this confessional storytelling show at UCB East hosted by the extraordinary Ruby Karp: HelloGiggles

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Exceptionally strong lineup of Neal Brennan (razor-sharp, edgy comedy veteran; HBO, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, comedy album Women and Black Dudes), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game), Nick Griffin (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Dan Naturman (David Letterman, Jay Leno) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by William Stephenson (FX’s Louie, The Chris Rock Show): Neal Brennan, Gary Gulman, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Nick Griffin, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Annie Lederman (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately, co-host of Pirate Party), and Danny Palmer performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Judah Friedlander, Nikki Glaser, Barry Rothbart, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups each tell precisely three jokes at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Seth Cockfield: Three Joke Mafia

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Legion of Skanks

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

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

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Jen Kwok (Comedy Central) and Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): Imposter Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open-mic sketch that allows you to either perform a sketch with your own performers or bring in pages for the audience to perform at The PIT Green Room, followed by feedback on your bit from PIT “sketch-perts:” Pens & Pencils

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] 6:15 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Jay Dean and Tynan DeLong: Two Nice Guys Open MIc

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at People’s Republic of Brooklyn (247 Smith Street) hosted by Dustin Drury: This Is Happening Open MIc

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Tuesday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[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 guest co-host Koshin Egal: The Dump

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up at UCB East hosted by Boris Khaykin, John Trowbridge, and/or Katie East: Tuesday Night Open Mic

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): An improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and David Frasure: Study Hall

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

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

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 Friday 10/5/12

October 5, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Baby Wants Candy

Two Chicago-based improv troupes that are the greatest in the world perform tonight: at The Magnet, Baby Wants Candy…

Blaine Swen of The Improvised Shakespeare Company

…and at Theatre 80, The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-MIdnight ($10-$15 per show): The Magnet continues its 4th Annual New York Musical Improv Festival with THEM and North Coast at 7:00, BEEES! and Baby Wants Candy at 8:30, and The Made Up Musical at 10:00: The Magnet’s New York Musical Improv Festival

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($22.73 with discount code ISCFBOOK; this show is SOLD OUT but there might be a teeny waiting list): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. (I attended the 10:00 pm show last night and yes, they’re still super awesome…) Tonight is the last of a three-night NYC run, with every evening utterly different from the last. Both performances are SOLD OUT, but if you show up early you might find a few seats opened up via last minute cancellations (not from me, though; I’ll be at both performances…). This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

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

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

8:00 pm ($5): “It may be made up on the spot, but there is a method to the madness. In this show players explore the structure of improv by performing unique forms provided by the community and abroad” at The PIT downstairs lounge: True to Form

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Michelle Buteau (Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, VH1; for stand-up video about Utah, sharing, and tits, please click here), Jermaine Fowler (FOX’s new In Living Color), Chris Distefano (MTV’s Guy Code), and Brendan Fitzgibbons (Bravo) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Postmark Cafe (326 6th Street) hosted by  Abbi Crutchfield & Luke Thayer: The Living Room

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

[$] 8:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and Bad Boys of Comedy, Showtime at Harlem, BET’s ComicView, and the feature film Next Friday headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Michael Blackson

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City downstairs lounge: Mic and Cheese

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): Winner of the second season of Last Comic Standing, a frequent performer on Jay Leno and VH1, and star of two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials and an hour-long Comedy Central special, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: John Heffron

[FREE] 8:30ish pm: Hari Kondabolu (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, , FX’s Totally Biased), Chris Distefano (MTV’s Guy Code), Kate Berlant (MTV, CNN, host of Crime & Punishment, notable hair), Team Submarine, and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Red Star (37 Greenpoint Avenue) hosted by Annie Lederman, followed by wild Karaoke: Pirate Party

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—Michael Kayne, Amber Petty, Ashley Ward, Morgan Phillips, and Winston Noel—making up a musical on the spot: Diamond Lion

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Emily Heller (Comedy Central; staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here) and her comedy friends celebrate her 27th birthday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Emily Heller Birthday Show

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

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

10:30 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($8): Sketch host Meredith Hackman and her many friends promise “Despair. Pride. Heartbreak. Comedy.” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Saddest Sketch Show

11:00 pm ($5): Dan Hodapp (Jimmy Fallon, UCBT’s sketch troupe Beige and musical Newsadoozies, co-producer of PIT improv show The Scene, co-star of smash FringeNYC show Tail! Spin!), NYU belly dancers, and more performing at the Richmond Shephard Theatre (309 East 26th Street) hosted by Caitlin Bitzegaio and friends: The Gadget Hour

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

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

Midnight ($5): A three-person improv competition at UCB East hosted by Brian Glidewell, Josh Patten, and Ben Rameaka: Three for All

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

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/7/11

May 7, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Tonight is the final chance this season for New Yorkers to catch the smartest & funniest improv comedy troupe in the world: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 4:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($35.50 with discount code BOX): Mike Birbiglia has long been one of the finest stand-up comics in the country, with credits including the hour-long Comedy Central special What I Should Have Said is Nothing; two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien; and the comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live. But what puts Mike in a class all his own is a unique style he’s developed that mixes the razor-sharp hilarity of the finest stand-up with the depth of emotionally moving theatre. Mike pioneered this approach with his previous off-Broadway hit Sleepwalk with Me (which he then turned into a New York Times bestselling book, Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories); but he’s raised his game to a whole new level with this show, which is regularly selling out—for good reason. The $35.50 (discounted via code BOX) price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($15, which includes 1 drink; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzasReal Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; Manhattan Monologue Slam Champ, Sideshow Goshko), Tracy Rowland (TV writer/producer), and Colin Dempsey (Comedyland). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam Champion) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Christina Gausas, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, and more—plus a rotating cast of stellar visitors who’ve included writers & performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show—all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft making up a play on the spot in Theory of Everything

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A stand-up who’s performed on NBC, BBC,Comedy Central Presents, and The Howard Stern Show, and has twice won Time Out New York’sBest Comedy Performance of the Year award, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($20 with discount code TODDB, plus 2-drink min.): One of the finest stand-ups in the country, with appearances on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central PresentsThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead, headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Todd Barry

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: The 3rd Anniversary of this “comedy chat show with boundary issues” that has stand-ups perform sets and then be interviewed about their personal lives, with tonight’s guests Dan Soder, Jesse Popp, and Yannis Pappas at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby: We’re All Friends Here

[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: A variety show of stand-up, storytelling, and sketch that’s not only free, but promises to give each of the first 25 audience members who arrive a free beer! Unfortunately, the lineup hasn’t been announced; but if you’d care to take a chance, join hosts Ray Combs Jr., Evan Jacobs, and Aalap Patel as they provide you a drink On the House

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($7): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($20 online or at the door with discount codeISCFRIEND): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight ends ISC’s brief May visit to NYC; don’t miss this chance to experience the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching tonight’s edition of Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): 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): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King interviews an audience member about where he or she grew up and then creates an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here

10:30 pm ($7): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) and Leslie Korein as comedy trio Trike

11:00 pm ($10): “Have you ever wondered what would happen in a porno movie if there was no sex? Would the repairman fix the washing machine and be on his way? Would the teacher help Johnny raise his SAT scores? Would the delivery boy tell the nice, scantily clad lady she can pay him later? This show is the best parts of adult films: the character work, the blocking and the acting—oh, the acting! Improv troupe Borealis screens the opening scenes of random porn movies and then makes up what happens next” in Who Ordered Pepperoni?: Porn-Inspired Improv

[FREE] 11:45 pm: A weekly chance for you to shine, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

Midnight ($5): John Flynn (superb storyteller; The Nights of Our Lives), Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Dan Gurewitch (College Humor), Thunder God Thor (played by Rob Stern), and more performing at host Andy Rocco’s Underground Americana

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/6/11

May 6, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

Joe Bill

Two of the greatest improvisors alive—each visiting from Chicago—are coincidentally both performing tonight: Joe Bill at "Lights Out, Shirley!"...

Blaine Swen

...and Blaine Swen at "The Improvised Shakespeare Company"

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:

7:00 pm ($8): “Ever wonder how you become a writer for an Emmy winning TV show? So does J. D. Durkin. Since no one has told him, here is his one-man show performing all original material to become a writer for The Colbert Report. Durkin channels Colbert live on stage to present political punditry as only The PIT could do it…and only The PIT, since he was escorted off the Comedy Central premises:” Stephen Colbert: Hire Me

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($20 online or at the door with discount code ISCFRIEND): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is actually sold out, but it’s not too late to grab tickets for the final performance on Saturday of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Andrea Rosen is already famed as a comic—in fact, she recently won the prestigious 2011 ECNY Award for Best Stand-Up—but what’s not as well-known is that Andrea’s among the finest comedic storytellers in the country. This new one-woman show should fix that. It offers smart, fearless, hilarious material ranging from fast food you should avoid to the medicinal power of a boyfriend’s penis. It also provides one of the sharpest comedic performances that will grace NYC this year (for which kudos are also deserved by the show’s superb director, John Flynn). Plus if you sit in the first few rows, expect free home-baked cookies. Don’t miss Andrea’s unique blend of dark comedy and silliness: Ding Dong Meow

 …and in the other half of this double-bill, Jordan Klepper and Laura Grey perform an acclaimed sketch show in which “they’re bringing their baggage to the stage and dumping it all on you” in Baggage

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A stand-up who’s performed on NBC, BBC,Comedy Central Presents, and The Howard Stern Show, and has twice won Time Out New York’sBest Comedy Performance of the Year award, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV; for reenactment of Dan’s breakup, please click here), Phoebe Robinson (host of Case of the Mondays Comedy), and more performing atO’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Mark Normand: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing with a three-piece rock ensemble: Centralia

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($35.50 with discount code BOX): Mike Birbiglia has long been one of the finest stand-up comics in the country, with credits including the hour-long Comedy Central special What I Should Have Said is Nothing; two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien; and the comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live. But what puts Mike in a class all his own is a unique style he’s developed that mixes the razor-sharp hilarity of the finest stand-up with the depth of emotionally moving theatre. Mike pioneered this approach with his previous off-Broadway hitSleepwalk with Me (which he then turned into a New York Times bestselling book, Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories); but he’s raised his game to a whole new level with this show, which is regularly selling out—for good reason. The $35.50 (discounted via code BOX) price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

8:00 pm ($5; includes copious homemade treats): Fine NYC stand-ups Dan St. Germain, Kevin McCaffrey, Raquel D’Aprice, and Sean Donnelly performing at Karma Lounge (51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with hosts Aalap Patel, Matt Maragno, and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, College Humor): It’s Not That Serious

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy about the past year from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name, and tonight plan on performing a movie sequel: We’re Matt Weir: Thor 2

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($20 with discount code TODDB, plus 2-drink min.): One of the finest stand-ups in the country, with appearance on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central PresentsThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature filmsThe Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead, headlining through Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Todd Barry

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers

9:00 pm ($7): “In March of 2009 a gaggle of performers were born. Some died, some wandered off into the woods, others went to work in the private sector. Those that remained grew strong by feeding on the nectar of specific choices and the gruel of strong character work. The 2-year-old terror that exists today is akin to watching a Tsunami of hair and teeth attack a baby Blue Whale and destroy it with the will of a thousand hungry Burnese Mountain Dogs. What does it all mean? We don’t know.” In other words, improv from Chet Watkins

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here) delivering a brand new collection of sketches: The Harvard Sailing Team

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors who use an interview with a n audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Thomas Middleditch (when he’s not in LA), Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Fran Gillespie Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Jenny Slate (Saturday Night Live, HBO’s Bored to Death) and Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), plus wonderful musical guest Corn Mo, performing at this monthly comedy talk show hosted by the Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC, Hot Tub Variety): Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): One of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) spearheads a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who’ll blow the roof off at this spectacular monthly show that offers lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other players are Jodi Lennon (Comedy Central’s Exit 57), Ari Voukydis (UCB instructor, VH!’s Best Week Ever), Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, UCB), Rick Andrews (Magnet performer), Mark Grenier (Magnet instructor), Jen Sanders (Magnet performer), and Chet Siegel (Magnet performer). The previous show I caught was one of the finest comedy hours I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience (but no pressure, Joe; am just sayin’….). You don’t want to miss Lights Out, Shirley!

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A comedic freestyle rap contest featuring some of the funniest & sharpest comics in NYC—who tonight include Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Seth Herzog’s mom, Peter Gwinn (Baby Wants Candy), Billy Eichner (Bravo, Creation Nation), and Carla Rhodes (rock n roll ventriloquist)—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and the wonderful Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown

 For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/17/10

December 17, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Blaine Swen and Kate McKinnon

Two incredible midnight shows tonight (don't know how to choose, but for goodness sakes see one of them): Blaine Swen doing improv at Tony Wayne and Kate McKinnon performing sketch at Neil Casey's Sentimental Irish Christmas

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Comedy veterans Laura Krafft (former writer for The Colbert Report), Jodi Lennon (Exit 57), and Miriam Tolan (The Daily Show) perform an improvised play in What a Year!

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Brilliantly funny writer/singer Jessica Delfino (enjoys singing songs about her vagina, as demonstrated by her CD Dirty Folk Rock; created the hilarious and wildly popular YouTube animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; has a cool MySpace page, and an even coolerblog; to get a feel for Jessica’s amazing range and talent, please click here), stand-ups Leighann Lord (Fox News, Huffington Post) and Jane Galvin-Lewis, illusionist Lee Alan Barrett, and band The Summer Replacements performing at Otto’s Shrunken Head (538 East 14th Street, between Avenues A and B) hosted by Eric Vetter: No Name and A Bag O’ Chips

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): A delightful tale of heartbreak by Leslie Meisel—who manages the impressive feat of being adorable, sexy, and hilarious all at the same time, and is a sharp comedic talent very much worth keeping an eye on—quite ably abetted by co-writer Megan Neuringer in one of the smartest theatrical shows to grace UCBT this year: Love Can Suck a Dick…and So Can I

plus for the second half of this double bill, young talents perform a loud and mildly amusing sketch show about cops in The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Sara Benincasa (Comedy Central, YouTube star, upcoming author), Luke Cunningham (Comedy Central’s new Norm Macdonald Show), Barry Rothbart (Comedy Central, Men of a Certain Age), Kara Klenk (Spike TV), Sean Donnelly (Lil’ Seany Boy), DTMT sketch troupe Steve Bossous, Gregg Zehentner, and Roger Hailes, and musical group Fortress of Attitude—followed by “a drunken, makeout-filled dance party”—performing at Karma Lounge with hosts Pat Stango & Blaine Perry for this endearingly oddball monthly comedy show: Don’t Touch Me There

[$] 8:00 pm pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A Curb Your Enthusiasm star and superb stand-up headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Susie Essman

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($51.27 online if you use code PLAYBILL, plus 2-item minimum): Ray Romano’s big brother on the eternal classic sitcom Everybody Loves Raymondproving he also has stand-up chops by headlining tonight and Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Brad Garrett

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here) delivering a brand new collection of sketches titled Ms. Larsen’s ClassThe Harvard Sailing Team

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors who use an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

10:30 pm ($10): Jonathan Gabrus, Sue Galloway, and other fine improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Kate McKinnon is one of the funniest sketch comics alive. Tonight Kate joins one of the best deadpan comics in the biz, Neil Casey, and terrific improv/sketch performer Nate Lang, for “an evening of whiskey-soaked sketch comedy, music, and poorly remembered stories recounted slurringly in celebration of the anniversary of the Incarnation of the Child Christ,” written by Neil Casey, Michael Trapp, and David White, and directed by Neil’s wonderful Krompf improv partner Ryan Karels: Neil Casey’s Sentimental Irish Christmas

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Genius improvisor Blaine Swen—founder & head of my favorite improv troupe in the universe, The Improvised Shakespeare Company—and Blaine’s childhood friend Jeff Lepine perform duo improv as Tony Wayne

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/31/10

July 31, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Blaine Swen

Blaine Swen's one-man improvised musical BASH was among the highlights at Day 1; be sure to catch as much as possible of the Del Close Improv Marathon

Tonight’s recommendation for the best in New York City comedy is:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] All Day Today and Sunday ($25): One of the most magical events in NYC, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from 4:30 pm yesterday until after midnight on Sunday, August 1st. Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Montreal, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are a mere $25 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. As in past years, the only down side will be way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by three additional venues just a couple of blocks from UCBT: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. This is one of the finest comedy events in the country, always magical, and flat-out should not be missed.

Highlights from the 12 hours I spent at the festival yesterday included:

The Improvised Shakespeare Company taking the suggestion hope” to craft a play about royal serial killing, unending senseless war, and the highest body count of the Marathon…for which the audience rewarded the troupe with a standing ovation.

ISC’s founder Blaine Swen demonstrating he can do anything by performing a one-man improvised musical with an inventiveness, skillfulness, and depth that was breathtaking…and garnered the only other standing ovation of the Marathon.

The wonderful Bobby Moynihan (cast member of Saturday Night Live) tap-dancing on a talk show hosted by the also wonderful Horatio Sanz.

Many of the finest improvisors at UCBT—led by rising star John Gemberling—wearing nothing but diapers to perform as whiny babies.

Another group of top NYC improvisors pretending to be Bostonians who continually cursed the Yankees, drank beer, and sprayed copious amounts of beer on the audience.

Several shows that didn’t pan out but tickled us with their concepts, including Jane Austen-era improvisors, hillbilly improvisors, and a small army of Jay Leno impersonator improvisors.

The guys of the Upright Citizens Brigade—Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh—announcing that they and Artistic Director Anthony King will be opening a new NYC theatre in January 2011 named UCB-EAST—on 3rd Street off Avenue A (where the Two Boots indie film theater used to be)—and that its focus will be on stand-up to complement the Chelsea theatre’s focus on improv.

There are other comedy events happening tonight; but they pale in comparison.

Come experience the awe, mystery, and hilarity of The 12th Annual Del Close Marathon

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.