NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 9/30/17

September 30, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear"David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here). Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a sort of amazing meta-sequel…and also as an examination of the inner turmoil Donald Trump’s success creates for struggling artists who live to discover and share truths. For my full description & review of this new production, please click here. The run was slated to end today, but it’s just been extended to play every Saturday at 2:00 pm through October 28th. David Carl is a special comic, and this show is worth experiencing: Trump Lear (2:00 pm; $20—which includes free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself: Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue)…

Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape Tour…and it’s the final night of the NYC rung of a new national tour by Jim Gaffigan, a comedy superstar who delights in observational humor about food (his Hot Pockets routine is a classic) and mundane things we take for granted (“I like escalators because they can never break, only become stairs”). As accessible as any mainstream performer alive, while simultaneously a sharp deconstructionist who can work any alternative comedy room with ease, his appeal is deep and universal. The star of The Jim Gaffigan Show, he’s also appeared over a dozen times on David Letterman and over two dozen times on Conan O’Brien (for which he created the animated series Pale Force); released numerous bestselling comedy albums, including Cinca, Mr. Universe, Obsessed, Beyond the Pale, and King Baby; and wrote the bestselling books Food: a Love Story and Dad is Fat. Tonight’s your last chance to catch this comedy giant in NYC performing Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape (7:30 pm, $39.50-$75, Beacon Theatre at 2124 Broadway between West 74th and 75th Streets)…

Matt Barats, Carmen Christopher, and Anthony Oberbeck: "Postmen" Sketch Comedy..or if you prefer a late show, check out this hour of sketch comedy from trio Matt Barats, Carmen Christopher, and Anthony Oberbeck—plus an opening stand-up set by guest star Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Postmen (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

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

7:00 pm ($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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

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

[$] 9:30 pm ($12): Masked mayhem via Commedia dell’Arte, “the great-grand daddy of modern improv and sketch comedy…filled with physical humor, acrobatics, song, and satire,” by The Department of Fools in this sequel to their A History of Servitude at The PIT Mainstage: The Tooth-Puller

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 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 at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

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

11:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups who are single each perform a set and then participate in a dating game show, choosing among three contestants based on their Tinder profiles and answers to (mostly nonsensical) questions. The host makes this a much harsher and crueler show than it really ought to be—as far as I can tell, not out of malice, just stemming from consistently odd choices, such as selecting many contestants from a pool of actors who have virtually zero interest in a love connection and are merely seeking a stage credit—but there’s a certain fascination in watching the car wrecks that result at The PIT Mainstage: Tinderella

11:30 pm ($7): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

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.

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-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/29/17

July 29, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear" David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here).

Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. Titled Trump Lear, you might at first think it’s Donald Trump’s One Man King Lear (As Performed by David Carl); but it’s actually more complicated.

In this play, a character named “Carl David” has achieved acclaim performing Lear as Trump—and it’s attracted The Donald’s attention. Trump has Carl David kidnapped to perform the play in front of him…and also his social media audience. If Trump decides he doesn’t like what he sees, or if the show fails to maintain the interest of POTUS’ Internet followers, he’ll have the actor executed.

What follows is a complex blend of Carl’s impersonation of Trump, unusual performances of scenes from King Lear (involving toys, paper puppets, and impersonations of a host of characters ranging from Ronald Reagan to Miss Piggy), and frequent conversations between Carl David as struggling artist and Trump as supremely successful showman.

The key power of this production is actually in the latter. Carl David is played as a poor, bumbling artist who makes most of his living from Trump impersonations, yet has devoted his life to achieving and conveying truth. In contrast, Trump has won the greatest power in the world—President of the United States—by embracing and perpetually dispensing lies. The tension between those two extremes is sometimes electric. Plus there are moments when Carl makes himself so vulnerable that this play achieves a feeling of realness managed by few productions, be they comedy or drama.

And on top of all that, where else are you going to see a Shakespearean actor eat a McDonald’s burger and fries in under 60 seconds? (About halfway through, Carl rolls the fries into a giant greasy white ball he then stuffs whole into his mouth, which is nearly worth the price of admission by itself…)

One extra spin to this meta-show is knowing that, in real life, it’s rumored there was some sort of blowback from Gary Busey’s people about Carl’s first show—because the original brilliant title Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) was changed about a year ago to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. But even if a brush with Busey’s reps was the seed that led to the creation of this second show, Trump is both far more and far less than a stand-in for Busey.

A major difference is that Carl appears to loathe Trump, but I believe he continues to adore Busey. For example, after the production I asked Carl why Busey isn’t among any of the dozens of impersonations he performs in Trump Lear. “Oh, I couldn’t let him in,” Carl replied. “I’d love to, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making his role bigger and bigger until he took over.”

David Carl is a special comic, and this is a show worth experiencing. Trump Lear is currently running 2:00 pm every Saturday through August 12th at Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $20…and typically include free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself.

24 Hour Improv ShowThe PIT’s 24-hour improv marathon began last night at 7:30 pm, and it’s running continuously through tonight at 7:30 pm. A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (today from 12:00 am through 7:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Jack Whitehall…or if you prefer joke-telling, a major UK stand-up & TV star (for his April 2016 set on Jimmy Fallon, please click here) performs for one night only in Brooklyn as part of an international tour: Jack Whitehall (8:00 pm, $15, Music Hall of Williamsburg at 66 North 6th Street; take the L subway to Bedford Avenue)…

…or enjoy beloved NYC comic Morgan Miller (Above Average, UCB improv group Mermaids; sometimes does a duo improv show with her brother T.J. Miller) perform a half hour stand-up set…

Jaqi Furback….followed by a half hour stand-up set by Jaqi Furback (VH1, Funny or Die), both hosted by Ryan Crawford & Lawson Leong: The Double Feature (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/30/17

Charlie Pickering, Saurin Choksi, and Michelle ButeauThis final installment of a a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks features Michelle Buteau (above right; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Charlie Pickering (above left; Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Saurin Choksi (above middle; host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), and Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Central Park by the West 67th Street entrance)…

Brandon Scott Wolf and Melissa Villaseñor…plus SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor (above right), Brandon Scott Wolf (above left; contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Noah Findling (Funny or Die), Lucy Randall, and sketch group The Postmen (Carmen Christopher, Anthony Oberbeck, and Matt Barats) perform stand-up or sketch in Brooklyn hosted by Harris Mayersohn & Jessy Morner-Ritt: Just a Show (6:00 pm, $6, Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale at 1031 Grand Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/31/17

@midnight with Chris HardwickDon’t forget to watch this final week of @midnight! Brilliant and lightning-quick Chris Hardwick has developed into a network star, and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of him on NBC (where he currently hosts prime time game show The Wall). Meanwhile, let’s cherish the four seasons that Chris hosted @midnight, which debuted on October 21, 2013, and developed into one of the wittiest and funniest series to ever grace Comedy Central—and became an international showcase for hundreds of superb comics who were either never on TV before or were severely underexposed. There are few series that are have served the entire wide-ranging comedy community as thoughtfully and thoroughly as @midnight, and we owe Chris, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, and everyone else involved debts of gratitude. The show airs every night this week at 11:30 pm through Thursday—which will be its 600th and final episode.

Judah Friedlander and John EarlyJudah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Erica Spera (host of 20 Minutes of Fire podcast), and Sagar Bhatt perform stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Kerry Bishé…and Kerry Bishé (star of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, star of the last season of ABC’s Scrubs, star of Oscar-winning film Argo) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/1/17

Dave ChappelleStarting tonight, one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, performs in NYC for 14 shows in August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique will be guests, as follows: 8/1: The Roots and Lil Wayne; 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)…

Mrs. Smith…or see a one-woman cabaret show by guitar goddess Mrs. Smith (a.k.a. David Hanbury), whose credits include America’s Got Talent, PBS, and winning the 2016 Shred For Your Life contest at Webster Hall. Why guitar? “In my experience, which has been so very painful, no other instrument gives such a clear voice to the Grief and Rage.” Mrs. Smith also tells stories and provides advice (please find a sample here). For one night only: Mrs. Smith: Shred For Your Life (9:30 pm, $15, Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/7/17

July 7, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear"David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) tonight begins an open run of his second one-man show, this time about “a fictional solo performer named Carl David who receives critical acclaim playing Donald Trump performing King Lear as a one-man (one-President) show. Trump hears about Carl’s parody and requests Mr. David’s presence.” Considering a series of bizarre events eventually led David to change the title of his award-winning first solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet, this “sequel” just might be inspired by actual events. Come judge for yourself at Trump Lear (8:00 pm, $20, Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue)…

Josh Gondelman and Kevin McDonald…and Kevin McDonald (founding member of The Kids in the Hall) hosts Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), and more for a live podcast taping: Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show (8:00 pm; $20, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/8/17

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Tour: “Watch Out For Snakes!” Joel Hodgson, creator of the legendary Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV series, and the Netflix-revived MST3K’s new host Jonah Ray join forces in this first live touring production to destroy movies for your amusement. Also on stage will be robot companions Crow (Hampton Yount), Tom Servo, and Gypsy, and Synthia (Rebecca Hanson) and her Bonehead henchmen; plus, on video only, Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt) checking up on their unwilling test subjects. Tonight features two separate and entirely different shows. At 6:00 pm the gang is riffing on MST3K classic Eegah, including all-new jokes and sketches. At 9:30 pm they’re savaging a movie that’ll be a surprise, described only as “a fun sci-fi thriller never before featured on MST3K.” For this one night only in NYC, it’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Tour: “Watch Out For Snakes!” (6:00 pm for Eegah, $39.50-$49.50 and 9:30 pm for “Secret Surprise Film,” $39.50-$49.50, PlayStation Theater at 1515 Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets)…

Jame Lee: Weddiculous…and Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; TruTV, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show) is promoting her first book Weddiculous (co-authored with Jacqueline Novak) with a national stand-up tour that lands tonight in Brooklyn: Jamie Lee: The Weddiculous Tour (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/9/17

Gina Yashere, Mark Normand, and Greer Barnes: "Laughter in the Park"Today kicks off a series of four free outdoor comedy shows Sundays in July at NYC parks in the Village, Brooklyn, and the UWS (see poster above for details). This afternoon’s superb lineup features Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself; Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Greer Barnes (HBO’s Crashing, David Letterman, Louie, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game; comedy album See What I’m Saying), Gina Yashere (correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO’s Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), and Alingon Mitra (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Last Comic Standing): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Washington Square Park at Garibaldi Plaza, on the east side of the Fountain)…

Josh Gondelman…or if you prefer your comedy indoors, come enjoy an Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver who’s also performed stand-up on Conan O’Brien, written for The New Yorker, and released the bestselling stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper headline for one night only at Carolines: Josh Gondelman (7:30 pm, $11 cover using discount code JOSH online (otherwise $20) plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/10/17

Chris ColferChris Colfer (Kurt Hummel on Glee, a role that won him a 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and three consecutive (2013-2015) People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor; #1 New York Times Bestselling author of book The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell) is tonight’s guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

Leanna Grennan, Eudora Peterson,, and Arti Gollapudi…and a show that showcases physical comedy and “the weird, the beautiful, the gross, and, ultimately, the human” tonight features comics Leanna Grennan (above left), Eudora Peterson (above middle), Milly Tamarez, Jes Tom, and Chris Burns hosted by Arti Gollapudi (above right): Yourself, Your Body (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Red Hot—Grab Tickets Before They’re Gone:
NYC Comedy Pick for Saturday 7/15/17

Tinder Live with Lane Moore and David CrossA show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above left; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guests, comedy legend David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) and Ashley Nicole Black (staff writer for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee). This show will almost certainly sell out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 5/7/17

May 7, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear" David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live) has a new one-man show, this time “about a fictional solo performer named Carl David who receives critical acclaim playing President Trump doing King Lear by himself. President Trump hears about Carl’s parody and requests Mr. David’s presence.” Considering a series of bizarre events eventually led David to change the title of his award-winning one-man show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet, this show just might be inspired by actual events (albeit that have nothing to do with Trump…). Come judge for yourself at Trump Lear (2:00 pm, $20, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[$] 2:00 pm ($20): This musical with puppets is a family-friendly and interactive reinvention of the fairy tale The Three Billy Goats that urges the audience to work at improving the environment. Today’s performance at The PIT Mainstage is the NYC premiere of Gruff!

[$] 5:00 pm ($15): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Show Up

6:00 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, and Brian Urreta of improv group The Mannequin Room: Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ryan Hamilton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with consistently fresh ideas and great crafting of language; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime) performs a rare NYC solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Ryan Hamilton Doing His Hour

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Solo character bits by Laura Shepard, David Bluvband, James III, Christine Piñeiro, Liz Leimkuhler, and Sarah Smallwood at The PIT Mainstage: Avocado Toast: A Character Show

[$] 7:00 pm ($15): In this musical written & directed by Elias Rubin, the 3rd graders of TV series The Magic Schoolbus have grown up and are enjoying their last day of high school…when their former teacher Ms. Frizzle abruptly reappears to take them on an out-of-this-world adventure at The PIT Mainstage: The Edge of the Universe: A Magic School Bus Musical Parody

7:00 pm ($5): Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Courtenay Fearrington perform stand-up, plus improv from group Snapshirt, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle: The Dream Team Variety Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nine-person improv group The Internet Disagrees makes stuff up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Internet Disagrees

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($25): Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Caroline Rhea Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Comedy Central; feature films Man in the Moon, Christmas With the Kranks, The Perfect Man), and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): 4th Annual Grist Comedy Extravaganza

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A highly popular NYC stand-up who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel; starred in his own Comedy Central Presents half-hour special; and was a writer and correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Hari Kondabolu

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($7): Keith Alberstadt (David Letterman, Seth Meyers, VH1, contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Saurin Choksi, Alyssa Wolff, Kristal Adams, and Tamer Kattan perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

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

7:30 pm ($7): Improv from two groups at The Magnet theatre: Lack Lobster and Gyre

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm ($14.80 online using discount code BOX!2, otherwise $18): My favorite FringeNYC 2016 show (out of over 60 seen) was a production taking place entirely inside a box, written & performed by breathtakingly talented sketch comic/actress/writer/singer Dominique Salerno (for my review, please click here). This amazing production is now enjoying a revival running Sundays at 8:30 pm at The PIT Mainstage through June 11th. Take advantage of this wonderful chance to experience The Box Show

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a brand new play in the style of William Shakespeare at The PIT Underground: As You Will: Shakespearean Improv

[$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jared Freid (Comedy Central) and Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy) each perform a headlining stand-up set at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Jared Freid and Nimesh Patel

8:30 pm ($5): Musicians and/or comics perform and are interviewed about “that one song you’ll never forget” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): For one night only, duo improv from Magnet co-owner & master improvisor Armando Diaz and Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Diaz & Andrews

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts), Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Maria Heinegg, Brent Gill, and Jono Zalay perform stand-up 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): Indie improv groups make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ian Herrin: The Ian Herrin Improv Hour

9:30 pm ($7): Improv group Higgins looks at the Instagram photos of audience members and then uses them as springboards for comedy scenes at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: The Instagram Show

[ALMOST FREE] 10:00 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics, Open Stages, and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!

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

5:30 pm ($3): Email Michelle Thomas at improv10000hrs@gmail.com to improvise with experienced PIT performers at The PIT Underground: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($10, or just $1 with student ID): Students from all around the city are invited to come watch and perform improv scenes at The PIT Underground: NYC Student Improv Jam

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 11:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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.