NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/20/17

April 20, 2017

Kevin Geeks Out About WizardsOn this 4/20, enjoy a glorious collection of hilarious film clips and guest movie & TV experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends focusing on the magical, arcane, and mind-popping (for a video sampling, please click here): Kevin Geeks Out About Wizards (7:00 pm; $15, Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Storytellers Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion), Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer), and Colin Wilhm tell true comedic tales, with host Rory Scholl (Chicago City Limits, The Moth, BTK Band) giving you the chance to win prizes by answering trivia questions based on each story, plus stand-up from Yaari Nadav Tal, all at Brooklyn’s Terra Firma (119 Ingraham Street): Pop Quiz Stories

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

7:00 pm ($5): Adam Hamway performs his impression of Jimmy Fallon hosting The Tonight Show,with fellow impressionists playing celebrity guests, at The PIT Mainstage: Fallon Tonight

7:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups tell stories which improvisors then turn into TV movies at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Catherine Cypher, Emily Duke, and Christina Sirabian: Live or Die

[$] 7:30 pm ($49 & 2-drink min.) A writer/comic who plays Leon Black on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has performed on Saturday Night Live, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, The Chris Rock Show, and in such feature films as Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: JB Smoove

[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 three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($7): Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), John Trowbridge, Courtney Fearington, and Ashley Hamilton perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($7): All-gal stand-up, this month featuring Becca Beberaggi, Ashley Bez, Samantha Ruddy, Katrin Higher, Wanjiko Eke, and Ariel Leaty performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jourdain Searles: Madams of the Universe

7:30 pm ($7): Real life couples perform duo improv The PIT Underground hosted by Nate Foster & Raquel Powell: Couples’ Retreat

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a play about the minutiae of small town politics directed by the wonderful Leslie Meisel and featuring a seven-person cast: All in Favor

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch gals Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece are hilarious playing 13-year-old boys who are “the Internet’s most viral, most teenage, and most white hip hop duo:” Famous Male Duo

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, indie improv group The Boys, themed improv show Titanic (exploring love stories beyond Jack & Rose that might have taken place during the doomed voyage), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A show hosted by the lovely Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Katy Frame & Marie Cecile Anderson), with guests Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Rosebud Baker (staff writer for Elite Daily; host of podcast Netflix Campfire), and Blaze Mancillas (host of podcast Social Abstinence), all at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue: Up N’ Coming

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): An all-gal lineup of stand-ups, storytellers, character comics, and improvisors performing at The PIT Mainstage hosted by the women of group Darling Satan: She Makes Me Laugh

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

[$] 8:30 pm ($15): “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” plus Thorgy Thor (RuPaul’s Drag Race), and stand-up from 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), all at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Haunting Renditions

8:30 pm ($7): Storytellers share tales “so horrible they are hilarious, all for your entertainment” at The PIT Underground hosted by Francisco Breton & Corey Easley (We’re a Genius): Good, Bad Stories

[$] 8:30 pm ($15): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Show Up

[$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts a variety of stand-ups from Comedy Cellar and more trying out new material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Lauren Maul, Nika McLean, Courtney Reynolds, and Maddy Smith perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Hungry Ghost Cafe/Bar (781 Fulton Street, between Fulton and South Oxford Streets) hosted by Keenan Steiner & guest co-host Thiago Macklin: Comedy at the Corner

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Jo Firestone (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 of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Stone & Stone (Last Comic Standing finalists), Lucas O’Neil, and Bethany Van Delft perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York), and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code): Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($6): Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Scotland Green, Garry Hannon, Lauren Vino, and Darin Patterson performing stand-up or storytelling at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): This sketch double-bill at The PIT Mainstage begins with nationally touring comedy troupe The Don’t We Boys (Joe Anderson, Sonny Pandit, and AJ Schraeder), which SF Sketchfest Review described as “Whimsically dark, self-referential, and yielded as many gags-per-second as a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker film.” And in the second half of the show, comedy troupe Big Britches (Calvin Cole, Emily Duncan, Jon Hudson, and Kantad Svendsgaard) “bring you real characters with real emotions,” and sketches that “hit hard and quick:” The Don’t We Boys and Big Britches

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

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

10:00 pm ($7): “Improv teachers and coaches read their notes to unfamiliar performers, who will then reenact that show as best as possible,” plus sketch from comedy group New Phones, Who Dis?, at The PIT Underground: Put Me in Coach: An Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Part of the fun of Cage Match is that anything can happen…and that was demonstrated last week when, in a major upset, seemingly unstoppable musical improv group Rumpleteaser (10 wins in a row) was defeated by UCB Saturday night improv group Airwolf in a squeaker, 88 votes to 81. Tonight the new champion airborne canine will try to chomp down on earthbound improv group Horse Girl, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Jeff Cerulli, Alex Carabano, Joe Gerics, and more perform 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: An open mic for solo character bits, with names drawn from a bucket and 5 minutes provided to each performer, at the UCB East theatre: 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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam open to the audience in 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 ($5): 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 Underground: Ladies Night Open Mic

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] 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] 8:00 pm: A recorded-for-podcast walk-in open mic providing 5 minutes on stage for whatever you want to perform—stand-up, sketch, song—with names drawn from a bucket at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Mercadal & Will Watkins: Unsung Heroes

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

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.

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