NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Thursday 2/22/18

February 22, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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 February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of 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 (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; Wheel of Fortune, WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Jenny's Birthday Variety ShowThursday 2/22: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), singing duo Friends Who Folk (Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley, above right; TheNewYorker.com), Alex Harris (mentalist), Matt DeCaro (singer/songwriter), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) perform perform for this show that’s a mix of stand-up, music, and magic hosted by Jenny Gorelick (Improv Anywhere; perpetual birthday gal) & Addie Weyrich (HBO’s Crashing, Hulu): Jenny’s Birthday Variety Show (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT. A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT. Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: 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, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Phoebe Robinson & Michelle Buteau: "Brown Titty Hour"Friday 2/23: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) & Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) perform stand-up and host other comics TBA: Brown TItty Hour (9:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 2/24: Hosts Mitra Jouhar & Catherine Cohen “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Josh Sharp & Aaron Jackson (Comedy Central’s The Opposition), Kelsey Caine, Drew Anderson, Fareeha Khan, and Sandy Honig: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Yardsale Comedy NightSaturday 2/24: Sixteen comics—including John Reynolds, Connor O’Malley, Ana Fabrega, and Matt Barats—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn 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)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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.

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 2/28/15

February 28, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Dakota Johnson hosts Saturday Night Live

Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet

For this afternoon only, David Carl revives one of the funniest shows you’re likely to see this year (before he performs it on tour in Florida): Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet

Demetri Martin

…comedy giant Demetri Martin performs at Town Hall as part of his national tour: The Persistence of Jokes

Natasha Leggero

…and Natasha Leggero continues gracing NYC with her beauty and wit as she headlines at Carolines

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 2:00 pm ($20): Charismatic and hilarious rising star David Carl transforms into Gary Busey—and portrays child-like Busey doing a one-man version of the psychologically complex masterpiece Hamlet. The result is consistently inventive, joyful, and laugh-out-loud funny. This was my second favorite show—out of 196—at this August’s FringeNYC, and is one of the funniest shows in New York, period. David is refreshing his Busey muscles at The PIT upstairs theatre this afternoon for a tour of the show he’ll soon be performing in Florida. If you haven’t seen GBOMH, don’t miss a wonderful and now-rare opportunity to do so. And if you have, share it today with a loved one who’s been deprived of GBONH: Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl)

[$] 6:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Trick Baby, Robopop, The Ali Fisher Duo and Honey performing at The Magnet theatre:The Rundown

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presentshalf-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), James Mattern, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Jessica Kirson, and Lenny Marcus at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, Ricky Velez, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:15 show; Todd Barry, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Lenny Marcus at the 8:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Jessica Kirson, Lenny Marcus, Ricky Velez, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 9:15 show; Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, Jessica Kirson, Dov Davidoff, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Judah Friedlander, Big Jay Oakerson, Jessica Kirson, Sam Morril, and Seaton Smith (hosting) at the 11:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Superb improv group The Enemy—which consists of Sebastian Conelli, Clara Morris, Alexandra Dickson, Dave Bluvband, Anthony Apruzzese, Joey Price, and Jesse Neil—managed the monumental feat of winning the 2014 Cage Match Championship with a thoroughly brilliant performance. Tonight it entirely owns theUCB East stage: The Enemy is Listening

7:00 pm ($10): An improv group making up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Royals

7:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from a six-person group at The PIT downstairs lounge: Teen Radio Takes Manhattan

7:00 pm ($5): House improv groups such as Santeria and Improv Frogs perform for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Annoyance Improv Teams

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Improvisors make up scenes revolving around their heroes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Nicholas Feitel: The Hero Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($58.50): Comedy giant Demetri Martin (star of Comedy Central’s Important Things, The Daily Show, Conan O’Brien) is giving a rare NYC performance for one night only at Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue & Broadway) as part of his national tour: Demetri Martin: The Persistence of Jokes

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) Natasha Leggero is a razor-sharp and irresistible stand-up and actress who stars on E’s Burning Love; was the best judge ever on Last Comic Standing; has performed on Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, The Sarah Silverman Program, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Adult Swim, and FX, and aComedy Central Presents special; and killed on Comedy Central’s classic roast of James Franco with her witty, biting writing. Tasha will provide much-needed warmth to NYC headlining tonight and Sunday at the CarolinesComedy Club: Natasha Leggero

[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 Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas The Adam Wade Show and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please clickhere)—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

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

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

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

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

8:00 pm ($8): House sketch group Sketchfrogs and director Matt Barats (Kill All Comedy) try to make you laugh for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Annoyance Sketchfrogs

[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Politically incorrect stand-ups compete in this unique show for which each comic performs a set and then has to provide biting commentary on a popular online video. The audience then votes on who was the most savagely funny and has won the right to return the following month. It all happens at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Feeney: On the Offensive

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up and impressionist who’s done a one-hour Comedy Central special, and performed on Jay Leno and Mad TV, headlining tonight through Sunday at the GothamComedy Club: Pablo Francisco

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from superb comics Anthony Atamanuik, John Murray, and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

9:00 pm ($5): Eight improvisors perform “unorthodox improv inspired by ancient traditions” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Holy Fools

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Storyteller Lyssa Mandel invites some of the finest comics in NYC—who tonight are Brooke Van Poppelen (co-host of TruTV’s Hack My Life; writer and/or producer for a slew of MTV shows; also performed on HBO, Comedy Central, VH1), Katie Hartman (wonderfully brave and dark sketch comic; Hartman & Carl, Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, Gypsy Danger), Sarah Nowak (brilliant writer/performer; improv groups The Baldwins, SidViscous; one-woman show Sarah Nowak: Mild Maniac), and Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks)—to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Bitch Seat

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show) and David Smithyman (writer for ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat) perform stand-up and sketch at the Treehouse Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor): Matt Koff and Friend

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

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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer) performs a one-woman show about how “when she was 11 years old she became obsessed with the Bigfoot phenomenon: the hunters, the hoaxes, and the true believers. That same year, her homeroom classmates perpetrated a hoax of their own. They convinced the faculty that Cyndi was a thief, an instigator of fist-fights, and an agent of mayhem. It had all been lies and, by their high school years, the kids who had participated apologized and Cyndi forgave them. But the teachers still believed the legend that Freeman was a violent pathological liar. Friendships were lost, parents lived in fear, and only the children knew, and accepted, the truth. Weaving together fun trivia about the Bigfoot myth and darker tales about the fiction that surrounded her during her formative years, Freeman talks of truth and lies, motivations both hidden and obvious, and the resilience it takes to survive childhood” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) as part of the Frigid New York Festival: I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot: A Story about Bullies, Monsters, and Hoaxes

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

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

[$] 11:00 pm ($15): Part 2 of a 3-part series that tries to capture the spirit of anime such as Dragon Ball Z on stage. Last week’s Part 1 did so with very limited success; the costumes were fun, the cast was cute (especially lead Madeleine Bundy, whose musical theatre voice was the best “special effect” in the show), but the script was consistently flat, arbitrary, and juvenile, making it almost impossible to care about anything that happened, while genuine top anime is much more nuanced and gripping. Plus the fight sequences, which should by definition be spectacular, were too often anemic. Of course, Part 2 might be better; and either way, this is worth checking out as a novelty at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kapow-i GoGo Part 2: Kapow-i GoGo Z

11:00 pm ($5): Duo sketch comedy with a theatrical spin at The PIT downstairs lounge: Scientists

11:30 pm ($5): Sean Donnelly, Robert Dean, Julia Johns, and Adam Mamawala share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

Midnight ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Glaser: Midnight Stand-Up

[FREE] Midnight: Stand-up, sketch, and improv at this variety show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre:Pinball

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran improvisors make up scenes with improv students from any school (selected by lottery) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street):Student Mixer

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have a comedy show you want considered for listing, simply create a Facebook page for the event—including price & lineup—make sure we’re FB friends, and invite me through that page.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 10/23/13

October 23, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Starting Monday following Conan on TBS: The Pete Holmes Show

Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

Demetri Martin, Eugene Mirman, Mark Normand, and more at the 2-Year Anniversary of Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for SNL’s Mike O’Brien, Chris Gethard, Christina Gausas, Tami Sagher, and/or Aidy Bryant: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

7:00 pm to 12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Five and a half hours of improv from eight groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($15 in advance online or $20 at the door): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here), Mark Katz (former White House speech writer, author of Clinton & Me), James Braly (NPR’s This American Life, author of Life in A Marital Institution), and host host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy). Come to The Writers Room (740 Broadway, on the 12th Floor) and let these authors attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

7:30 pm & 9:00 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Detroit and Hotspur (7:30) and Never Never and First Lady (9:00): Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5): Renowned comedy chameleon and sketch comic Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, VH1, feature film National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie) spearheads this multimedia sketch comedy show that tonight includes Ann Carr and Jason Saenz at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Livia Scott Sketch Program

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Improv troupe Punctual Drunks interviews an audience member about his or her favorite fairy tale, and then picks up the story where it left off so you can find out how it really ended, at The PIT downstairs lounge: Punctual Drunks & Friends

[$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Nick Griffin (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game), Ryan Hamilton (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), and James Smith (Australian comic; HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, Comedy Central; for stand-up video on what it’s like to be Australian in New York, please click here) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): NIck Griffin, Greer Barnes, Ryan Hamilton, and More

8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper, author of Tasteful Nudes), Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy), Mike Cannon, Matt Wayne, and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Dave Hill, Brooke Van Poppelen, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($8 at the door or $11.78 online): TV stars Demetri Martin and Eugene Mirman, red-hot rising star Mark Normand, Grizz Chapman (30 Rock), and Levi MacDougall (Important Things) being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Michelle Wolf (super-likeable dark comic rising star; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Mike Dobbins (unique stream-of-consciousness stand-up), Jake Green, Steven Forrest, and Max Rosenblum performing at this free weekly comedy show at Lucky Jack’s Bar (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Stand-up from Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), and Josh Rabinowitz, and sketch from Aaron Jackson & Alan Starzinski, hosted by Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer (Broad City) at UCB Chelsea for this “delicately crafted hour of fun:” Broad City Live

[$] 9:45 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Ryan Hamilton (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime), Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), and Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): Gary Gulman, Gregg Rogell, Ryan Hamilton, and More

[FREE] 10:00: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City as part of the Reddit.com online community, hosted by Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, The Daily Show) and/or Nathan Anderson (Uncoolio): /r/standup

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Charla Lauriston and guest host Ryan Beck wrangle as many as a dozen comics packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun at UCB Chelsea (for tonight’s scheduled guests, please click here): School Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 11:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Jeff Ross (Comedy Central Roasts), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), and Ardie Fuqua (HBO’s Bad Boys of Comedy, Comedy Central) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): The Nasty Show: Paul Mecurio, Jeff Ross, Jon Fisch, and More

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

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

[FREE] 5:30 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open-mic for both stand-up and sketch, with sign-up starting at 5:30 and ending at 5:55, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Brian Frange & Rob Stern: Frange & Stern’s Stand-Up and Sketch Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing 5 minutes per comic at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Benel Germosen: Cracking It

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

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

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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Lucas Hazlett: Improdome

[FREE] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with group Call Tokyo: Magnet Improv Mixer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 1/24/09

January 24, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

[TOP PICK] razor-sharp improvisors making up plays on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard: Improvised Shakespeare (5:00 pm and 10:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] four sharp storytellers—tonight including hilarious Margo Leitman (Conan O’Brien, Stripped Stories) and Rob Gorden (Spike TV)—trying to mislead the audience at Andy Christie’s The Liar Show (6:00 pm),

an exciting new NYC show developed at Chicago’s legendary iO theatre in which veteran improvisors create a play on the spot based on audience suggestions: New Play (7:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] star improvisation from writers & performers at 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show who joyously declare Let’s Have a Ball (7:30 pm),

sharp NYC stand-ups at a free comedy show guest-hosted tonight by the hilarious Joe Mande & Noah Garfinkel in Queens’ Long Island City: This Is New York (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] stellar comics Demetri Martin (star of new Comedy Central show Important Things), Andres du Bouchet (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, FOX), Michelle Buteau (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Dan Allen (Comedy Central), and folk rock band Brazz Tree—plus free beer!—at Tom Shillue’s acclaimed Moonwork (9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] one of my all-time favorite improv troupes—which in 2008 broke the Cage Match record for winning streaks with 17 triumphs in a row, and has now taken over UCBT’s prestigious prime-time Saturday night slot—the brilliant and daring members of Death by Roo Roo (9:00 pm),

organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track! (9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] inventive & hilarious sketch comedy from The Harvard Sailing Team (9:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] improvised furious action from world-class troupe Reuben Williams (10:30 pm),

a star sketch comedy group—with a popular TV series on IFC—performing at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: The Whitest Kids U’ Know (10:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, quick-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience rides home and, tonight, an open bar!—at The Complete Performer (10:30 pm),

and a dozen NYC comedic performers, including Mindy Raf, Carolyn Castiglia, Rob Lathan, Shawn Hollenbach, and show creators Ilana & Eliot Glazer performing highly unusual acts at High School Talent Show (midnight).

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.