NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 10/16

October 16, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications.

Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for October 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

Emily Flake: "That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug"Wednesday 10/16: The wonderful Emily Flake (brilliant writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times; author of just-released book That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug) & Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK; host of Let’s Say You’re Right) host this monthly show that features funny people sharing their nightmares while Emily or a guest draws them, with tonight’s dreamers Mindy Tucker (beloved, super-talented, and indispensable long-time photographer of comedians who has been called “NYC comedy’s soul”), Hilary Campbell (cartoonist for The New Yorker), Felipe Torres Medina (writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Buzzfeed), and Elsa Waithe (activist stand-up): Nightmares: The Best People Tell Their Worst Dreams (6:30 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; no cover but 2-drink min., with cheapest options $8 each, so figure on spending at least $16 plus tip; KGB Bar’s upstairs Red Room at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Colin QuinnWednesday 10/16: A beloved Broadway, TV, and film star who is a friend to all, and star of Netflix specials Red State Blue State, The New York Story, and Unconstitutional, tries out new material in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Michelle WolfWednesday 10/16: Star of Netflix’s The Break, former star correspondent for The Daily Show, and former writer for Seth Meyers tries out new material in an intimate club: MIchelle Wolf (10:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street; reservations are sold out, but you might still get in if you arrive early on the stand-by line)

Molly Gaebe: Thursday 10/17: Host Molly Gaebe invites female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this month’s theme Women in the Horror Genre tackled by guests TBA: Nevertheless She Existed: Horror Queens (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Bad Pitches: Halloween TV Special EditionFriday 10/18: Comics TBA pitch the worst ideas for Halloween TV specials they can think of, only to have them nickel-and-dimed by a panel of TV exec judges, in this monthly show hosted by Ned Ehrbar: Bad Pitches: Halloween TV Special Edition (8:30 pm, Free!, Crystal Lake Brooklyn at 647 Grand Street; take L subway to Brooklyn’s Lorimer Street or Graham Avenue)

Picture This!Saturday 10/19: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Rosebud Baker, Dee Nasty, Rebecca O’Neal, Chanel Ali, and Doug Smith to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Samantha Ruddy: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kaiju Big BattelSaturday 10/26: A modern conflict of epic proportions. Evil villains, menacing alien beasts, and giant, city-crushing monsters threaten to destroy the planet. Who will save the helpless humans from total ruin? The Heroes, of course; plus a few privileged audience members getting in on the action, as they try to contain danger within the three-roped arena of Kaiju Big Battel (6:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The 12th Annual Schtick or TreatMonday 10/28: For the 12th year of this fabulous annual event, scores of NYC comics get a couple of minutes each to do a set as a famous comedian (e.g., Amy Schumer, George Carlin, Jimmy Fallon, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers…the possibilities are endless) hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby. For highlights of last year’s show, please click here, and then nab tickets to The 12th Annual Schtick or Treat (8:00 pm; $16.41 online or $12 at the door (if it doesn’t sell out in advance, which it often does); Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue—take the G subway to Metropolitan Avenue or L subway to Lorimer Street)

Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty PeopleTuesday Tuesday 10/29: Hosts Austin Bernhardt (writer for Comedy Central, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Megan Meadows (Reductress) “invite you and your worst impulses to a night of gripes, games, and non-scary audience participation,” featuring petty complaints from Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Mary Cella (Comedy Central, The New Yorker, The New York Times), Nicole Boyce (Comedy Central, The New Yorker), and Brian Bahe (Vulture): Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty People (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost StoriesThursday 10/31: Stand-ups share true personal stories about supernatural experiences, with Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; stand-up album One of the Good Ones), Pranav Behari (co-host of Mango Bae podcast), Maria Wojciechowski (editor at Comedywire), Srilatha Rajamani, and Jericho Davidson hosted by Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me Another; The New Yorker, The New York Times) and Larry Mancini (ESPN radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost Stories (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Punderdome 3000: Halloween SpecialTuesday 11/5: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. This special Halloween edition also features a spooky Pun-Costume competition: Punderdome 3000: Halloween Special (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

The National Lampoon Radio HourWednesday 11/6: The National Lampoon Radio Hour ran weekly from November 1973 through December 1974. A number of its comics then moved on to Saturday Night Live, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and brilliant writer Michael O’Donoghue. Decades later, you can come see NLRH resurrected as a podcast and stage show with a brand new cast of writers and performers: Jo Firestone, Maeve Higgins, Aaron Jackson, Brett Davis, Alex English, Rachel Pegram, Lorelei Ramirez, Meg Stalter, Martin Urbano, and Cole Escola: The National Lampoon Radio Hour (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sarah Squirm's HellTrap NightmareFriday 11/8: Sarah Squirm, who created the infamous Adult Swim video here, gifts us with a live show filled with her disturbingly gross dark comedy, plus musical guests Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez (as duo Beautiful Souls Al Fresco): Sarah Squirm’s HellTrap Nightmare (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

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

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

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

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

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

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

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W 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.

Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; 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
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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.

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.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, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.

 

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/2/17

January 2, 2017

Michelle WolfAfter vacationing in London, Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers) is happy to be back in NYC and Comedy Cellar. Joining her at tonight’s 9:30 show are Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon; breakout star of 2014 Last Comic Standing), Aida Rodriguez (Last Comic Standing), Leonard Ouzts (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), and host Jon Laster (9:30 pm; $12 cover plus 2-item min.; Comedy Cellar at 117 MacDougal Street)

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

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

7:00 pm ($5): A dozen PIT comics—who in the past have included Katie Hartman, Keisha Zollar, Sarah Nowak, and many more—each have 5 minutes to perform a solo character piece at The PIT upstairs theatre: The PIT Character Showcase Hour

[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): Three-person improv groups make up scenes at The Magnet theatre hosted by team Eaves (Molly Kiernan, Sam Johnson, and Michael Stevens): Three’s Company

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($7): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo and 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), and Yedoye Travis (Hulu’s Coming to the Stage) performing stand-up, plus an interview with Sarah Murphy (Director of Development at Coalition for the Homeless), an NYC trivia contest, and more at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen: Downtown Variety Hour

8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a one-woman show by Hallie Haas celebrating PBS and tits: Masterpiece Classic: Women in Art

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

8:00 pm ($5): Producers, writers, and other staff members of TruTV show Impractical Jokers improvise scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Impractical Jokers Staff Infection

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

9:00 pm ($7): Improvisors pair up to make up scenes as duos at The Magnet theatre hosted by Alex Kornfeld & Anna Neu: The Duo Show

9:30 pm ($7): Over a dozen improvisors, including Anthony Atamanuik and Sebastian Conelli, reenact the countdown to 2017 for a former homeless drug addict named Frank the Snitch who now hosts a radio advice show in Seattle and takes care of an aging father the UCB Chelsea theatre: Frank The Snitch’s Rockin’ New Year Holiday Special

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors who include Ronny Pascale (PIT Associate Artistic Director, co-producer of the superb Unauthorized! series and Solocom) make up plays on the spot based on audience suggestions at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Scene Work: Improvised One Act Plays

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Jermaine Fowler (creating & starring in new CBS sitcom; star of Showtime special Give ‘Em Hell, Kid; MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, finalist on Last Comic Standing, MTV), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked), Aida Rodriguez (Last Comic Standing), KC Arora, and Eagle Witt performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:30 pm ($7): Exploring the nuances of nonverbal communication, improvisors perform as quietly as possible at The Magnet theatre: Silence, Please

[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 typically hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There). 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 who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

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

[FREE] 10:30 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

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 theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/31/16

July 31, 2016

Best New York Stand-Up with Myq Kaplan is a new show produced by me that lives up to its name—the debut next Friday August 5th includes Mike Lawrence, Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, and more TBA, plus host Myq Kaplan offering observations following each set. For details on this group of comedy giants, please click here. For further info on the show and to nab tickets (a mere $10 each), please click here.

Michael Che, Joe Marchi, and Ryan HamiltonSuperb stand-ups Michael Che, Joe Machi, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, and Kevin Brennan perform at the 7:30 pm Comedy Cellar

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

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

6:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy show created in just five days by a class taught by Kevin McDonald (The Kids in the Hall) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kevin McDonald’s Sketch Class Show

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows—Pedro & Dave, Mitra & Patti, and Cockapoopees—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): 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] 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 ($10): A play about co-written & performed by Elana Fishbein & Elena Skopetosunique, and co-written & directed by Peter McNerney, about a family’s reluctant reunion at the Magnet theatre: Sisters Three

7:30 pm ($15; no min.): Laurie Kilmartin, Joe List, Pete Lee, Damien Lemon, and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue off 20th Street): The Stand Sunday

8:00 pm ($8): “A monthly explosion of the best modern comedy, literature, performance, and music,” with tonight’s performers Patti Harrison, Catherine Cohen, Joel Kim Booster, Ben Hopkins, Sam Taggart, Lucy Randall, and Ryland Duncan at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Steven Markow & Zach Mandeville and drawn on the spot by cartoonist Angelica Blevins: New American Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Josh Rabinowitz (writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City; TruTV’s Friends of the People), Jeff Maurer (Last Week Tonight, Last Comic Standing), Courtney Fearrington, Kat Radley, and Jared Goldstein performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Alison Leiby (VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It

8:00 pm ($5): Improv comedy duo Kevin Laibson & Chris Booth make up scenes to music with the help of improv pianist Alan Schmuckler at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Calvin & Craig: Return to “Normal”

[FREE] NYC stand-ups Scott Chaplain, Mike Lemme, Thomas Dixon, Mary Houlihan, and Colin Burgess performing at Queens LIC’s The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd.) hosted by Christi Chiello & Petey DeAbreu: White Chocolate Sundaes

8:30 pm ($5): This themed improv show is based on the premise that “The human body is 70% water. The other 30% is a potent mixture of blood, shit, piss, and cum. Come hear real stories about the most disgusting things humans and the surrounding world are capable of, and then watch as they are brought to life on stage” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Annoyance Presents Improv: Blood Shit Piss Cum

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “Facebook. Snapchat. Google Maps. A fourth app. What do they have in common? None of them are as revolutionary or life-changing as our (improvised) app. Our app is so incredible and our (randomized) PowerPoint is so convincing, you’ll be begging to throw your money at our experienced, professional dev team:” The Annoyance Presents Improv: An Exclusive Presentation of a Life-Changing New App

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Stand-ups perform—until the audience decides they’re done!—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mark Reiss: Slaughter House Live

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews 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

9:00 pm ($5): An improv group reunites to make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): #SoAlone: A Reunion Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE—plus FREE FOOD!] 9:30 pm to grab a seat and eat, 10:00 pm for screening: Come watch a new episode of the excellent second season of The Jim Gaffigan Show (Episode #4, dealing with the NYC comedy scene, is especially hilarious) with an audience—and possibly have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards of someone involved with the show, as there’s no telling who might drop by. Plus, free food—probably pizza! (“Yes. Free. Food. It’s what Jim would want.”) It all happens at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Jim Gaffigan Show Official Watch Party

9:30 pm ($10; no min.): The comics who create the Center City Comedy Podcast—Godfrey, Derek Gaines, H. Foley, Tom Cassidy, Kevin Ryan, Andrew Schiavone, and more —perform live on stage at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue off 20th Street): Center City Comedy Live

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

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 3:30 pm: An improv jam celebrating diversity in comedy that lets audience members—whose names are drawn from a bucket—perform with sharp improv/sketch group Astronomy Club (which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock) at the UCB East theatre: Diversity Improv Jam

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

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

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

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 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 Saturday 7/2/16

July 2, 2016

The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge 2Starting tonight, Comedy Cellar expands to a third venue (in addition to Comedy Cellar at 117 MacDougal Street and Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street): The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street. At 6:45 pm, TV, movie & Broadway star Colin Quinn (SNL, Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd, Trainwreck) tries out material for his show New York Story; and at 8:15 pm, top comics (not announced) are interviewed on Inside Joke ($5 cover for Colin, $15 cover for Inside Joke, plus 2-item min.)

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Ben Conrad, Lizzy Mazzucchelli, Will Carey, and Will Watkins each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in April at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): An all-gal improv group swap personal stories and then use them as springboards for improv scenes at the UCB East theatre: The Living Room

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters—tonight including Julie Sharbutt (her last show before returning to LA)—make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Form + Suburbia

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Abby Lovett—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

7:30 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 & 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 and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Michael Blackson

7:30 pm ($8): NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee: Nerd is the New Black

7:30 pm ($10): A one-woman show about “the 39 men Maddie Gibba has been in love with, mad about, encompassed by, infatuated with, totally head over heels for—for about a week or less. A partially scripted and partially improvised musical adventure into the moments things went horribly wrong” at The PIT downstairs theatre: Boy Crazy

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 10:00 pm, and Midnight ($15-$25; no min.): Big Jay Oakerson, Laurie Kilmartin, Jermaine Fowler, Ari Shaffir, Pete Lee, Derek Gaines, and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Saturday

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

8:00 pm ($10): A four-person musical written and co-starring Rachel Kaly & Sophie Zuckerby in which “Anne Iowa (from Kansas City, Missouri, Illinois County) travels to Nervosa, a special place for special people who hate their bodies. Her new friend Clarissa (a self-identified fat Samantha) shows her around, but is Nervosa the right fit for Anne? Or is she too fat?” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Nervosa: The Musical

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from superb comics John Murray, Chad Carter, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Glenn Boozen, Joanna Bradley, and/or Caroline Cotter at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

9:00 pm ($10): Improvisors Nick Kanellis & Branson Reese make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups performing for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway) hosted by Camille Harris, Camille Theobald, Michael Lewis, and/or Mo Fathelb: The Weekend Drop

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

9:30 pm ($10):Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Ben Kissel (FOX, co-host of Last Podcast On The Left), Jon Laster (BET’s Comic View), and Adam Sokol performing stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show

9:30 pm ($10): Stand-up from Kurtis Conner, Jacob Sharpe, and Dean Hebscher at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kurtis Conner & Friends

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, and Marcus Parks of Cave Comedy Radio’s Last Podcast On The Left  “explore the dark recesses of humanity, both real and imagined, via short films, clips from favorite features, and audio spookiness” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Last Podcast on the Left Live

10:00 pm ($10): Members of UCBT house improv groups get scrambled together into new one-night-only teams at the UCB East theatre: The Blender

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week—which tonight is 90s Sitcom—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: 90s Sitcom Edition

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

10:30 pm ($10): Annoyance Artistic Director Philip Markle performs sketch, cabaret, and more with friends at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Sparkle Zone

10:30 pm ($5): An improvised show based on the premise that “in the middle of a live news broadcast the signal goes down, leaving the anchors and crew with nothing to do but wait until it goes back up” at The PIT downstairs theatre: The Signal Is Down

[FREE] 11:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tommy Kang: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

11:30 pm ($5): A comedic play that proclaims “Love is patient, love is blind. Love is deaf and dumb. Love is a burden dressed in a top hat and spats, tearing the pulse from the blood. Love is closing your eyes to come, baby, split yourself in nine. Love is a jerk-off partner and a sad meal. Love ain’t never gonna…” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Love Ain’t Never Gonna: Freedom

Midnight ($5): Sam Morril (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Blair Socci (MTV), and more TBD performing stand-up at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Glaser: Midnight Stand-Up

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

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

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Put your name in a bucket for this open mic for stand-up, sketch, music, or anything else you want to work out on stage at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Bates & Brian Pisano: Make Out Party: An Open Mic

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

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 Thursday 12/24/15

December 24, 2015

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

Christmas Eve

Most comedy venues are closed tonight, but there’s still lots of stand-up to enjoy at The Creek, Comedy Cellar, Carolines, Eastville, The Stand, Gotham, and Stand Up NY

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A veteran stand-up who’s performed on Louie, Broad City, 2 Broke Girls, HBO, and much more, co-hosted The View, and won two Emmys as a writer/producer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, headlining tonight and tomorrow at the Carolines Comedy Club: Merry Hanukkah with Judy Gold

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Gary Gulman, Todd Barry, Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Gregg Rogell, Nick Griffin, Rachel Feinstein, Sam Morril, and more performing stand-up spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and a 9:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Christmas Eve

[$] 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): Stand-up for Jews, with Jon Fisch, Marion Grodin, Gregg Rogell, Gary Vider, and more performing at the Gotham Comedy Club: A Very Jewish Christmas

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups Josh Gondelman, Liz Magee, Rae Sanni, Jordan Temple, and Shane Torres performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ariel Elias: Creek Cave Live Christmas Eve

[$] [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): Rachel Feinstein, Gary Vider, and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Christmas Eve

9:00 pm  ($10; no min.): Stand-ups Aaron Berg, Brenda Colonna, Yannis Pappas, Vladimir Caamano, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Christmas Eve

[$] 10:00 pm ($15 & 2-drink min.): 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), Sam Morril, and more performing at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up New York Christmas Eve

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Stand-ups Josh Gondelman, Ariel Elias, and Clark Jones performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Nate Fridson: Whiskey Basketball Day Eve

Christmas Eve Open Mics

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 with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

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

 For more shows on non-holiday nights (most of these are closed for Christmas), please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

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

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

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/24/15

April 24, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Jerry Seinfeld is on David Letterman;
Chris Pratt is on Jimmy Fallon

Colin Quinn

Stars Colin Quinn…

Artie Lange

…and Artie Lange are among the stand-ups tonight at Comedy Cellar

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, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Colin Quinn, Artie Lange, Carmen Lynch, Lynne Koplitz, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 7:00 show; Colin Quinn, Artie Lange, Lynne Koplitz, Dov Davidoff, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Colin Quinn, Keith Alberstadt, Lynne Koplitz, Dov Davidoff, Sherrod Small, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Judy Gold, Gregg Rogell, Lenny Marcus, Dov Davidoff, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Big Jay Oakerson, Lenny Marcus, Seaton Smith, Sam Morril, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 12:15 am show, with all of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($7): “It’s important to stay informed. That’s why we bring you all the news that happened this month, at the end of this month. Just your average news show, keeping you up to date with your world one month at a time” at The Magnet written & performed by Jarret Berenstein: Current Events

7:00 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team] and Royals

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

7:00 pm ($5): Comics (unfortunately, not announced) are interviewed at The PIT downstairs lounge by Mike Blejer (VH1): Malignant Brain Humor Podcast Live

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up & character actress Karen Batista tries out material tonight through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Karen Batista

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a one-man meta-show by Joel Weidl (Goat, Death by Roo Roo) which Joel declares is the last time he performs as a lowest common denominator Jeff Foxworthy-like character who he personally finds offensive so he can pursue higher forms of art—such as playing Werner Herzog having an existential crisis from ordering a burrito at Chipotle (which, Ironically, is actually a brilliant bit and show-stopper…). Joel doesn’t always hit the mark, but his production is so filled with ideas, energy, and verbal and visual jokes that you’re almost certain to have fun at American Weidl

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Kristen Bartlett (writer for terrific sketch group Goodbye Handsome) & Jason Gore perform a sketch show about dealing with losing their dads within months of each other “but it’s funny, we swear” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Dead Dads Club

7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improvisors make up a religion based on an audience suggestion—e.g., The Church of the Carrot, The Church of Crime—and then make up hymns, readings, sermons, sacraments, and more on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Fake Church

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

8:00 pm ($20): Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Rove McManus, and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Big Jay Oakerson, Christian Finnegan, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

8:00 pm ($8): “Zach has never read Harry Potter. Paul is going to read it to him. That is it” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Richard Reads

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Paul Schissler: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who starred in his own Comedy Central Presents special and had a recurring role on Showtime’s Weeds headlines tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club (with openers Vic Henley and Mike Vecchione): Bret Ernst

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Connor Ratliff, Jordan Klepper, Don Fanelli, Silvija Ozols, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

9:30 pm ($10): Eight stand-ups compete for laughs by telling jokes on topics handed to them just this morning at The PIT downstairs lounge refereed by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Stand-Up Showdown

9:30 pm ($5): This variety show features stand-up, characters, dance, improv, and/or more at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

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

10:00 pm ($20): Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Big Jay Oakerson, Christian Finnegan, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

10:00 pm ($6.53 online only): “Two comics take the stage to battle for your laughs! With our special headphones, you’ll have the ability to switch between the comedians. If they tell a bad joke, just switch to the other one. Here’s where it gets interesting. The comedians can’t see or hear each other, but they can see into the crowd and see who’s listening to them. So what will a comic do if no one’s listening to him/her? You’ll have to come out to see” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre followed by a party that’s free to ticket holders: Quiet Comedy Battle

10:00 pm ($5): Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf perform sketch comedy as duo Nancy at The PIT upstairs theatre: An Evening With Nancy

10:30 pm ($5): Storytellers Chris Pappas, Jenn Hoffman, Sam Dingman, Robin Gelfenbien, T.J. Mannix, and Syd Story share personal tales on the theme Spring Break at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Colin Wilhm: Friday Night Stories

10:30 pm ($10): Andrew Michaan (Bumbershoot), James III (Seth Meyers), Adam Burke, and Rojo Perez performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Sketch/improv group Gentlemen Party tonight plays with TV tropes, presenting “adorable alien buddies, BBC period dramas, politicos talking really fast, and at least one Olive Garden commercial…and that’s just the written half! The other half is improv” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party: White Teen Lake—The Series Finale

11:00 pm ($5): This inexpensive variety show features characters by Chris Aurilio, sketch by duo Anthony Jackson & Jeffrey Mondoro, improv by group The Internet Disagrees, and stand-up by Will Neville, all performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Really, Really Cheap Date Show

11:00 pm ($7): Musical improv that springs off an an audience suggestion set in the fictional town of Jasper Falls…and that carries town facts and characters from previous shows into the current one. Tonight is this show’s debut, but once it’s established a town wiki and podcast of previous shows will be available at JasperFalls.com. Meanwhile, come see it live at The Magnet theatre: Welcome to Jasper Falls

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A satire of inept comedy classes—albeit for stand-up, a subject UCB never teaches itself—from Mark Vigeant at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Chris O’Leary’s Stand-Up Comedy Class Graduation Show

Midnight ($5): A genuine drag show at UCB East hosted by Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

Friday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-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.)

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 Wednesday 12/24/14

December 24, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Christmas Eve

Most comedy venues are closed tonight, but there’s still great laughs to be enjoyed at The Stand, Comedy Cellar, The Creek, and Stand Up NY

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] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’sLouie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central,National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Todd Barry, Ari Shaffir, Cipha Sounds, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), and Jake Young perform stand-up, followed by a screening of Matt Damon animated classic Team America, all at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Christmas Misfits: Ari Shaffir, Mike Lawrence, and Team America

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Nick Griffin (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), and Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane) 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): Nick Griffin, Gregg Rogell, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[$] 8:00 pm ($15, plus 2-drink min.): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Emmy Blotnick (blogger for Jimmy Fallon, MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Chloe Hilliard, Dante Nero, Jon Laster, and Jared Freid performing stand-up at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY

[$] 9:45 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Phil Hanley (Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central), and Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’sComic View): Todd Barry and More

[FREE; plus FREE EGGNOG!] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform at Queens LIC’s The Creekupstairs theatre hosted by Andy Sanford: Eggnogseous

[TOP PICK] [$] 11:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty,Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), and Sam Morril (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View): Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger, Jena Friedman, Big Jay Oakerson, Wil Sylvince, and Sam Morril

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at 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 at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

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

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; rare Upper East Side club, with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; rare Upper West Side club, with typically solid lineups; 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.