NYC Top Comedy Choices for April 2019: Last Updated Thursday 4/4

April 4, 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 295,000 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. Alternatively, if you know someone who should have a book, please refer him or her to me; for a year, you’ll get 10% of all revenue I receive from the referral (e.g., if the client pays me $40,000, you’ll get $4,000). 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 (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 April 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

Mike Drucker's "My Obituary Show"Thursday 4/4: In this monthly show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are Anthony Atamanuik (brilliantly innovative comic; star of Comedy Central’s The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien; wrote A Viewer’s Guide to Donald Trump for The New York Times; author of American Tantrum), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), Branson Reese (Cartoon Network), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), and Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon): My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Astoria BookshopThursday 4/4: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage, hosted by David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; The Flyer Guy): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show (7:00 pm, Free!, Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street)

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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.

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.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

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.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for May 2018: Last Updated Thursday 5/24

May 24, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

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 (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 May 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

David CrossThursday 5/24: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; please note previous performances of this show have consistently sold out, so nabbing tickets in advance ASAP is recommended)

Mindy Raf and David LawsonThursday 5/24: Superb storytellers Mindy Raf (brilliant solo show Not the One; MTV’s Girl Code, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as singing alter ego Leibya Rogers), David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; Solocom; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show), Sam Dingman (host of podcast Family Ghosts), and Bill Chambers (Ten Foot Rat Cabaret) perform for this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Risk!Thursday 5/24: Comedic storytellers DC Benny, Ria Spencer, Mary Cyn, and Susan Kent join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 5/25: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street; see also Friday’s North Coast show)

The Break with Michelle WolfSunday 5/27: Michelle Wolf (star stand-up; previously the finest writer/correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers; stellar HBO hour-long special Nice Lady; shocked attendees at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner by bluntly telling the truth) debuts her weekly Sunday Netflix show tonight! For a trailer, please click here; and don’t forget to watch The Break with Michelle Wolf

Mike Drucker's "My Obituary Show"Sunday 5/27: In this new show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are Sean Crespo and Nicole Silverberg (like Mike, staff writers for Samantha Bee), Jess Dweck (executive story editor for Showtime’s SMILF; long-time former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Evan Waite (staff writer for The President Show), and Dina Hashem (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle): My Obituary Show (8:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

I'm a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-DiagnosisSunday 5/27: Storytellers Andrea Hickey (illustrator for Buzzfeed), Jesse Lee (Broad City), and Brad Einstein tell DIY healthcare tales, ranging from homeopathic cures for yeast infections to at-home surgery, and are then judged by comic & registered nurse John St. Denis: I’m a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-Diagnosis (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

See You in HellSunday 5/27: In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups Tom Thakkar, Abby Rosenquist, Tito Garzo, and Maria Wojciechowski each perform a 10-minute set while they “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne & 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?f” For a sample torture set with the delightful Christi Chiello, please click here; and if you’d then like more, Matt & Wayne will See You in Hell (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Battle of the Divas: Judy Garland vs. Barbra StreisandMonday 5/28: Because there isn’t enough division in America, this monthly show strives to create more discord by asking the musical question “Whose side are you on: Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Star is Born) or Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl, The Way We Were, Yentl, A Star is Born)?” Comic Cole Escola argues for Baby Gumm and Peter Smith makes the case for Babs, with illustrative diva drag performances by Gina Tonic and Summer Orlando, plus music from DJ Molly Austin, with fabulous hosts Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of White Chocolate, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!) & Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Judy Garland vs. Barbra Streisand (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dan St. GermainMonday 5/28: Dan St. Germain (above; 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), Molly Austin (TruTV’s Late Night Snack), Daniel Simonsen, Whitmer Thomas, and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Yardsale Comedy NightWednesday 5/30: A dozen comics—including Jo Firestone, John Reynolds, Matt Barats, and Anthony Oberbeck—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kevin Geeks Out About DetectivesThursday 5/31: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher (Emmy-nominated writer whose work has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, and AMC; former host of AMC’s The Sci-Fi Dept.), this month focusing on detectives (for a trailer, please click here), with scheduled guests Adam Howard (Associate Producer of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Emily Intravia (co-host of The Feminine Critique podcast), Chico Leo (co-host of the Scream Squad podcast), Nick Nadel (host of the Movies My Friends Have Never Seen podcast), Gena Radcliffe (co-host of the Kill By Kill podcast), and Mike Schuster (writer-producer of Super Deluxe and Rifftrax): Kevin Geeks Out About Detectives (9:30 pm; $16—buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas often sells out; Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue—take the L to Bedford)

Emily Flake: "Mama Tried"Thursday 5/31: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children, with tonight’s cruel jokesters J.R. Havlan (Emmy-winning former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon and The Daily Show), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witsream), and Carole Montgomery (Comedy Central, ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Oprah, Showtime, MTV, VH1, A&E) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried [above], Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/16/17

July 16, 2017

Langston Kerman, Myq Kaplan, and Sherrod Small: "Laughter in the Park"It’s week #2 of a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks. This afternoon’s lineup features Myq Kaplan (above middle; one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Sherrod Small (above right; writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Langston Kerman (above left; cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), Gary Vider (America’s Got Talent 2015 finalist; for great Conan O’Brien set, please click here; for more jokes, please click here), and Leighann Lord (HBO, Comedy Central, Lifetime; frequent co-host of StarTalk Radio podcast; author of Dict Jokes): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park by the 7th Street entrance)…

David Lawson, Angel Yau, and Erika Elton: Story Fest 2017…it’s the final day of a weekend storytelling festival at the PIT Loft, with 5 shows running a total of 7 hours. Notable events include VHS Presents at 5:30 pm (comics David Lawson (above left), Angel Yau (above middle), and Elann Danziger screen embarrassing videos they made years ago to hype themselves and share anecdotes about them) and Singeling at 8:30 pm (tales of dating, plus advice from professional dating coach Erika Elton (above right)): Story Fest 2017 (4:00 pm-11:00 pm, $10 per show, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)…

Picture This!…or see this unique show in which animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Tonight’s comedy lineup consists of Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Molly Ruben-Long (Someecards; co-host of Well Behaved podcast), and Mara Wiles (Viceland’s Flophouse), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Wyatt Cenac and David Cross…or join Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live) as she hosts Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter; host of Night Train), David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani), and Maria Heinegg (host of The Worst Thing podcast) performing stand-up or dance, plus music from DJ Donwill, all at Sasheer Zamata Party Time (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…and finally:

Go out tonight; but set your recording device to HBO at 9:00.

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/17/17

Mike BirbigliaMike Birbiglia (feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; three Comedy Central specials, multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live) is one of the most sensitive and observant comics in the biz. This week he’s allowing audiences into his process as he tries out new material. I don’t usually get the opportunity to list this show because it rapidly sells out way in advance; but tonight a set number of tickets have been put away for at-the-door sales. Arrive early to enjoy Mike Birgiblia: Working It Out (7:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Phoebe Tyers and Filip Jeremic…and character comics—including brilliant writer/performers Phoebe Tyers (above left), Filip Jeremic (above right), and many more—perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler. This is one of my favorite monthly events, and I especially recommend it if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome (9:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 7/18/17

A monthly wild pun competition that’s been enormously popular in Brooklyn expands its audience tonight to Chelsea by playing at the fancy Highline Ballroom. As always, it’ll be hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)…

Dave Hill and Melissa Villasenor…or see a live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with Dave Hill (above left), SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor (above right), Judy Gold, Gregg Rogell, Paul Morrisey, and Phil Hanley performing stand-up and/or sketch, plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa (8:00 pm, $10 plus two-item min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Third Annual Muslim Funny Fest…and this annual comedy mini-fest (four shows over three days) is a rare NYC gathering of Muslim stand-ups, including Aasif Mandvi (HBO’s The Brink; former correspondent for The Daily Show), Maysoon Zayid (self-described “Palestinian Muslim with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey;” cast member for two seasons of As the World Turns; former pundit for Keith Olbermann; Queen Latifah show), Ramy Youssef (Stephen Colbert), Wali Collins (David Letterman), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Gibran Saleem (MTV), Azhar (one-man show Ultra American…which he’ll perform Thursday at 9:30 pm to close the festival), Preacher Moss, Aman Ali, Suzie Afridi, Moses the Comic, and more hosted by Dean Obeidallah (CNN, Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil, SiriusXM’s The Dean Obeidallah Show, one-man show I Come in Peace). For complete details, please click Third Annual Muslim Funny Fest (8:00 pm tonight, 8:00 pm Wednesday, and 7:30 pm & 9:45 pm on Thursday; $25 per show, plus 2-drink min.; Comic Strip Live Comedy Club at 1568 Second Avenue off 81st Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 7/19/17

Mindy RafMindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) has been a respected and beloved member of the comedy community for over a decade. In this one-woman show, however, Raf achieves a whole new level of comedy greatness. Her script weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the Dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Raf delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously

Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Raf is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it.

With this show, Raf has developed into a star talent who demands attention.I highly recommend this wonderful production, which is having a brief Off-Broadway run tonight and this weekend, and then moves on in August to play for 28 performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

By the way, don’t get put off by the oddball title. This show has nothing to do with illness; and the only body organs it focuses on are the vagina and the human heart: Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys (8:30 pm tonight, 2:30 pm this Saturday & Sunday; $15; 59E59 Theater at 59 East 59th Street between Madison & Park Avenues)…

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) is honing a fresh, clever one-man show that (like Mindy directly above) he’ll be performing at next month’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can enjoy Julio’s production tonight, Thursday, or Friday at UCB Chelsea, or on Saturday or Sunday at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (6:30 pm tonight & Thursday, 7:30 pm Friday, $7-$12, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street; or 8:00 pm Saturday & Sunday, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Gad Elmaleh…and a comic who’s a superstar in France playing to 12,000-seat stadiums, but is just starting to get known in the US (Seth Meyers, The Daily Show, Comedians in Cars; feature films Coco, Priceless, La Doublure, Midnight in Paris; for a May 2016 stand-up set & interview on Conan, please click here and here), performs in an intimate 50-seat West Village lounge: Gad Elmaleh (9:00 pm, $20 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd 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; 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 Tuesday 4/4/17

April 4, 2017

Jessica Kirson: "Talking to Myself"Jessica Kirson (The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, Bravo, VH1) tries out a new one-woman show in the West Village: Jessica Kirson: Talking to Myself (8:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Hasan Minhaj and David Lawson…and a “longform storytelling” show provides a whopping 30 minutes per writer/performer, with tonight’s yarn-spinners Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show), and David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; Solocom; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) telling fun anecdotes about what it’s like to hand out flyers in Times Square while competing with a wide variety of unusual characters for the attention of tourists. It all happens at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Eli Reiter: Long Story Long (7:00 pm, $10, Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place off First Avenue)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jim Norton (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing; hosted HBO stand-up showcase Down and Dirty; former cast member of HBO sitcom Lucky Louie; HBO half-hour One Night Stand; feature film Spider-Man; regular on The Opie & Anthony Show; author of book Happy Endings) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Jim Norton: Work In Progress

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions (preceded by a free improv jam at 6:00 pm that gives you a chance to perform with some of these sharp talents): Magnet Musical Megawatt

7:00 pm ($7): A weekly showcase for brand new scripted shows—tonight featuring solo characters by an all-gal lineup of Lani Harms, Sarah Smallwood Parsons, Becca Beberaggi, Amanda Xeller, Kathleen O’Mara, and Michelle Drozdick—at The PIT Underground produced by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Justin Silver (host of Funny for Fido podcast, author of The Language of Dogs) & Eric Neumann (“I am yet to have a year that financially tops my Bar Mitzvah year. If you book me, you can help make this sad reality go away”) each perform a 30-minute stand-up set every night through Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Justin Sliver and Eric Neumann

7:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Lucy Shelby about the burdens of being beautiful at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Pretty Hurts

7:00 pm ($7): A themed comedy show featuring improv and more at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Florence Friebe: The Thank You Show

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10—sold out of advance seats, but there’ll be 150 tickets at the door): A monthly wild pun competition usually hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone—but Jo will be performing comedy in Florida tonight, so Fred is flying solo—with 18 audience members competing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street): Punderdome 3000

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): A monthly show about obsessions with pop culture, with tonight’s topic Things We Hate with Amanda Duarte (host of Dead Darlings and co-host of Girl Friday podcast), Jeff Hiller (30 Rock, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, musical improv group Rumpleteaser), and Carrie Wittmer (The Belladona, McSweeney’s) performing at UCB East hosted by Damian Bellino & Anne Rodeman: So Into It: A Fanatic Variety Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

8:00 pm & 9:30 pm ($5 per show): House groups at UCB Chelsea perform the classic improv form The Harold at Harold Night

8:00 pm ($7): A double-bill of one-woman shows by Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host of Lasers in the Jungle) and Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired) at The PIT Mainstage: Katina and Becky Have It All

[FREE; plus FREE DRAFT BEER 8:00-8:30!] 8:00 pm: Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Robert Dean (Comedy Central), Ayanna Dookie, and Hannah Cowger performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Two Boots Pizza Williamsburg (558 Driggs Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly, David Piccolomini, and Jake Fromm: Ambush Comedy

[FREE, plus FREE BEER] 8:00 pm: Enjoy a comfy seat and a free beer while you watch comedy at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Couch Cave Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A new storytelling show featuring top stand-ups, hosted by Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer) with Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing finalist), Robert Kelly (Louie, HBO, CBS’ upcoming The 2-2, two Comedy Central specials), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and Leonard Ouzts (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), all performing at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Tuesdays With Stories Podcast Recording

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

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

9:00 pm pm ($10): A one-man show by Carol A. Jantsen having fun with motivational speaking at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): How to Help the Self When the Self Needs Help

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Shane Torres (fresh, hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang) and Josh Johnson each perform 30-minute stand-up sets at UCB East hosted by Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX): Comedy Central Corporate Retreat: Shane Torres, Naomi Ekperigin, and Josh Johnson

9:30 pm ($7): Sketch group Mountain Rapids Soda performs a play in which oddball characters trapped together out on the high seas must uncover a killer in their midst at The PIT Mainstage: Boat Show Expo: A Murder Mystery

10:00 pm ($7): Improv trio Christine Pineiro, Zak Sommerfield, and Andy Hilbrands leverage their mutual love of improv and tank tops to make up scenes at The PIT Underground: T-Tops Three Prov

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jordan Klepper (correspondent for The Daily Show) performs a show TBD at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jordan Klepper TBD

11:00 pm ($5): 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

11:00 pm ($7): TJ Del Reno hosts improv groups performing at The PIT Underground: TJ Del Reno’s Flying Improv Circus

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

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

6:00 pm ($5): Walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Giggles & Bits Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members can join in with veteran musical improvisors to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 6 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

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

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

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

11:00 pm ($5): Ten stand-ups whose names are drawn from a “golden bowl of destiny” will be given stage time, along with a few invited stand-ups, at The PIT Underground hosted by Will Purpura: Bring It

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 11/20/16

November 20, 2016

Solocom 2016:Matt Higgins, David Lawson, and Meghan O'MalleyMatt Higgins, David Lawson, and Meghan O’Malley

The fourth and final day of the annual solo comedy festival curated by Peter Michael Marino includes such talents as Darcy Burke (who will teach you how to bake bread and love yourself 11:00 am-1:00 pm), Alex Gallafent (3:00 pm), Meghan O’Malley (5:15 pm), Stephanie Gould & Ashley England (7:00 pm), David Lawson & Joe Albano (7:30 pm), Matt Higgins & Molly McGaughey (9:30 pm), and Jaene Leonard & Peaches Rodriguez (9:45 pm) playing at all four PIT theatres: Solocom 2016 (11:00 am-11:00 pm; $10 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-watch festival pass; The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

6:00 pm ($7): “Who knew that the nerd you were casual acquaintances with in high school was secretly a famous elf warrior? Or that the quiet girl in math class was a 1,000-year-old witch? In fact, all those weirdoes you never talked to were secretly battling the forces of darkness in their mother’s basement. This show flips back and forth between fantasy and reality, magic spells and homework anxiety, the bravest campaign against evil ever fought and the hopes and dreams of the kids who imagine it all” at The Magnet theatre: Dragons & Dungeons

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: A stand-up who’s performed on MTV, is the sharp co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, and runs the award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit tries out new material every night through Monday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Matt Ruby

7:00ish pm ($5): Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Samantha Ruddy, Daniel Simonsen, Alise Morales, and Wes Haney performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

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

7:30 pm ($7): A four-person group that describes itself as performing “pop-punk cabaret” at The Magnet theatre: My Dark Little Corner: Quad Fest

7:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups Greg Stone (America’s Got Talent, TruTV’s Friends of the People) and Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party) each perform a 30-minute set that they’ll be recording and submitting to Comedy Central in hopes of landing half-hour specials. Your laughter may determine their careers at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Greg Stone and Anthony DeVito

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A fundraiser show for Haiti hurricane relief starring stand-ups Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show, and previously for Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Michelle Buteau (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), Tanael Joachim, Nathan McIntosh, and Kareem Green performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street): Jokes For Haiti

8:00 pm ($5): Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Erin Jackson (Last Comic Standing), Karl Hess, Dave Ross, Rob Little, and Paul Oddo performing at UCB East guest-hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

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

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Nate Fridson (host of Dark Spots, comedy album Best Guy So Far) and Shalewa Sharpe (co-host of Thug Passion Presents, comedy album Stay Eating Cookies) each perform a 30-minute set at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Nate Fridson and Shalewa Sharpe

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Michael Wolf (showrunner of MTV series After Hours with Josh Horowitz; sketch comedy groups O.S.F.U.G. and Nancy), Colin O’Brien (sketch comedy group O.S.F.U.G.), Matt Strickland (host of I’d Rather Be Weird Than Good), Zach Cherry (sketch group Richard), Marcia Belsky, and Aimée Lutkin at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

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

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 BBOX20 for discounts): Comedy genius Chris Gethard performs his superb one-man show about anger, depression, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter, seamlessly blending stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience at The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop): Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, plus 3:00 pm matinees on Sundays, through 11/27 ($25): UK-based comedy genius Daniel Kitson is briefly gracing us with his presence to gloat about Brexit no longer being the stupidest choice a major country has made in the 21st century (“You seem distracted. Has something happened recently? Maybe you stubbed your toe?”). He’s also here to perform his haunting one-man play Mouse, about which The Scotsman wrote: “There’s no end, let’s face it, to the evolving brilliance of Daniel Kitson, who may have started out in stand-up comedy, but is now one of the most remarkable exponents of solo theatre in the UK, if not in Europe.” To be entirely honest, stand-up at its best is a higher form of art than virtually any kind of theatre, and it saddens me that Kitson has been visiting us for the past few years to perform plays instead of maximizing his gifts as one of the greatest stand-up comics alive. (Imagine Louis C.K. restricting his new works to episodes of Horace and Pete. No matter how great those might be, our losing Louis’ voice as a stand-up would be wrong…) That said, any form of Kitson as brilliant writer/performer is worth experiencing; and while this show at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (45 Water Street) takes a long, twisty path, its conclusion packs a wallop: Mouse: The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought

[$] [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

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

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

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

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

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

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

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.

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 Saturday 7/9/16

July 9, 2016

David Lawson: "No Oddjob"Superb storyteller David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015) performs a one-man show about video games “with stories about secretly playing an ultra-violent Nazi-killing game at a Jewish Community Center, a former boss with a Grand Theft Auto-related secret, how Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have tried to censor video games, and more:” No Oddjob (6:00 pm, $5, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): Comics Ariel Dumas, Danielle Henderson, Zachary Lipez, and Alana Massey deliver silly PowerPoint presentations fueled by alcohol, with this month’s topic Work, at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Drunk TED Talks

[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

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

6:30 pm ($5): “Written from Catholic, Mennonite, and recovering Evangelical perspectives on the difference between faith and nonsense, a show blending storytelling, sketch, and song” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Cross Culture: Sacrelicious and Kiss on the Lips

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four 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): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and more make up stories with songs at the UCB East theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch group PEP shares clips from fake shows that never actually at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Clip Show: A Sketch Show

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): Selfish Green Men + Form

[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 Chris Duffy—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): Improvisors Katie Hammond & Daniel Tepper create a musical on the spot based on a location invented by an audience member at The PIT downstairs lounge: What Town? (The Musical)

7:30 pm ($7): Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party), Alex Stone (Last Comic Standing), Jourdain Fisher, Liz Magee, Brian Parise, and Chris Daniels performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sally Brookes: Saturday Night’s Alright

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A comedic play written by Rollie Williams, with a cast of four, in which “a deadly collapse traps you and the other miners deep and dark, down beneath the surface of the Earth with almost no hope of rescue” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dark Down Deep Down Dark

[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 & 10:00 pm ($25; no min.): Judah Friedlander, Todd Barry, Roy Wood Jr., Adrienne Iapalucci, Damian Lemon, and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Saturday

8:00 pm ($5): Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Alex English, Dan Perlman, and more performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lucas Connolly: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[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): 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

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

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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Petey DeAbreu (host of Petey’s World), Tyler Richardson, Ray Kump, Dina Hashem, and Mike Recine performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

9:00 pm ($8): NYC stand-ups performing for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway) hosted by Camille Harris, Camille Theobald, and Mo Fathelb: The Weekend Drop

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy, won the ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group, was written up by Jason Zinoman in The New York Times, and performs tonight at The PIT upstairs theatre: Murderfist

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

9:30 pm ($6): Charlie Nadler, Derek Humphrey, Dan Altano, and Patrick Holbert performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Christiana Jackson: End of the Line Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—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] 10:00 pm ($5): “Starting in 1982, the city of Atlanta threw an annual party called Freaknik which essentially became the largest black spring break party in the country. The party became so big and wild that the city shut it down for good in 1996. But comedians Andy Sandford and Noah Gardenswartz are bringing Freaknik back…to Long Island City. ‘Comedy Freaknik’ will be a lot like the original Freaknik, except it’s going to happen once a month, and it will be a comedy show hosted by three white guys. That’s basically the only difference” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Freaknik

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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): 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 [Blank] Monologues Audition—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: The [Blank] Monologues Audition Edition

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Using real horror films purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, the hosts select specific clips to play for 30 seconds, pause, and then ask the improvisers to finish the scene. Will anyone survive at The PIT downstairs lounge? Attend at your own peril, with hosts J. W. Crump: Gas Station Horror

10:30 pm ($5): “A monthly show produced by Anthony Oberbeck; every show is new, every show is beautiful” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Beautiful Horses

10:30 pm ($7): A improvised sitcom taking place in a deli at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Counter

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

11:30 pm ($5): Comics performing at UCB East hosted by non-musicians Matt Radlow & Betsy Kenney: Matt and Betsy Do Music

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Real-life lovers Diana Kolsky & Murf Meyer bring you the live counterpart to their saucy podcast, a fun, ballsy, raucous variety show about the audience” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Menage a Trois Radio After Dark

[FREE] Midnight: “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): So You Think You Can Rap

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 1:00 pm-2:30 pm: Walk-in open mic providing each writer or musician up to 5 minutes on stage (first come, first serve for the 15 slots available) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lacresha Berry & Megan DiBello: Queens Lit Fest 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

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 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

[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

9:00 pm ($7): This is your chance to get on stage for an improv jam hosted by group New Greta at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): New Greta Has Jams

[FREE] 11:30 pm: If you’re female, this is your chance to get on stage for an improv jam hosted by all-gal group Gun Club at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) followed by a dance party: Twat the Night: Gal Improv Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

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 5/19/16

May 19, 2016

He's BackMy computer has been repaired.
And starting today, comprehensive daily comedy listings have returned.

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 ($5): A comic whose career spans dacades, and includes writing the book Never Shake Hands With a War Criminal and being the subject of the 2015 documentary Call Me Lucky directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, tries out material every night through Sunday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Barry Crimmins

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Six improvisors—including Adrian Sexton and Matt Hammond—compete for your laughs and votes at this fun improv game show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by the wonderful Tracy Mull: The Island: Improv Competition

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Improv from indie troupe’s Clown Boy and Emilady Bogue’s TEAM, stand-up/characters from John Sartori, and more at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Nick Ramirez: Leslie

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($5): Lane Moore (The Onion, host of Tinder Live), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Tony Zaret, and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Clowns guests (not announced) and clown host Icky Shirley Dangle performing a silly show at The PIT upstairs theatre: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

7:30 pm ($5): Two teams of storytellers compete for your applause at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Liz Phillips: The Rivalry

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Uncivilians (“follows realistic characters and situations to their unpredictable extremes”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Amy Marcs performs a one-woman show about her experiences with breast cancer at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Nice T!Ts

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Rob Santos, Greg Stone, Petey DeAbreu, Freddie G., and Lauren Jordan performing stand-up or characters at Brooklyn’s Hungry Ghost Cafe/Bar (781 Fulton Street, between Fulton and South Oxford Streets) hosted by Keenan Steiner: Comedy at the Corner

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by stand-up Nick Maritato and improv troupe Priest and the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Selfish Green Men + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5): Superb storyteller David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015) performs a one-man show about video games “with stories about secretly playing an ultra-violent Nazi-killing game at a Jewish Community Center, a former boss with a Grand Theft Auto-related secret, how Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have tried to censor video games, and more” at The PIT downstairs lounge: No Oddjob

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Sam Morril (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), John Early (30 Rock, Broad City, Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer), Jamie Lee (MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holems Show), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central), and Django Gold (Stephen Colbert, The Onion) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale (1031 Grand Street) hosted by Harris Mayersohn: Just a Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A four-person comedic play in which “Attendees of this mandatory interactive theatrical seminar will learn valuable office skills that will optimize their performance in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Refreshments will be not provided. You will come” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Dingleberry Theater Foundation Presents Mandatory Seminar

9:00 pm ($5): Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Brett Davis (IFC, co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show), Ahmed Bharoocha (Conan O’Brien), Brendan Eyre (Adam Devine’s House Party), and Loyiso Gola performing stand-up at UCB East typically hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($6): Desiree Burch (Comedy Central, VH1) and other stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here)—at The PIT upstairs theatre for their phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Potentially an animation fan’s dream come true, in this show comics make merciless fun of bad Japanese anime at The Creek uptairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Benel Germosen: Otakulypse

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC magicians try out new material, with some stand-up thrown in, at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen): Amazeballs

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced & hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

11:00 pm ($5): Josh Rabinowitz (writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City), Nore Davis (Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, MTV), Hadiyah Robinson (BET’s Comic View), and Mike Camerlengo (MTV’s Joking Off) performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

Thursday 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-8:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Weekly walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 4-5 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 Thursday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

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