NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2017: Last Updated Friday 12/22/17

December 22, 2017

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 what’s left of December include:

Gilbert GottfriedFriday 12/22 & Saturday 12/23: A one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star, whose scores of credits include numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Seth Meyers, @midnight, and Comedy Central Roasts—and who’s acted in the Robert DeNiro film The Comedian, such animated features as Aladdin and Lego Batman 3, Showtime’s Episodes, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, classic documentary The Aristocrats, and new documentary Gilbert—headlines at Carolines: Gilbert Gottfried (7:30 pm, $38.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

BXBX: Quiet RiotFriday 12/22: Mime group BXBX performs its best wordless sketches & stories, plus some new ones, set to a dynamic soundtrack for one night only at The PIT: BXBX: Quiet Riot (8:00 pm; $15, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Meg Gillan & Lauren Sagnella: "Not for You"Friday 12/22 & Saturday 12/23: Meg Gillan & Lauren Sagnella have written & perform a play about “two girls in their mid-20s: Gwen, a realist bed hopper, and Elle, a love-lost dreamer. As they get ready for a wedding. they share stories of fuckboys, lovers, and boyfriends past…with each tale leading up to a realization of why that the person isn’t right for her:” Not for You (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"Saturday 12/23: Jamie Aderski performs exceptionally honest and funny tales of what it was like for her to become a mom (for a trailer, please click here) in this popular one-woman show that’s been extended to run every Saturday night in December: Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (Saturday 12/2, 7:00 pm; $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Christmas EveSunday 12/24: Most comedy venues are closed on Christmas Eve, but there are lots of stand-up laughs to be found at Comedy Cellar and The Stand.

Santa ClausMonday 12/25: Most comedy venues are closed on Christmas, but lots of stand-up laughs can still be found at Comedy Cellar and The Stand.

Hari KondaboluWednesday 12/27: 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: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialFriday 12/29: In the wise words of media critic Cyndi Freeman: “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.‘” See it screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged tonight by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer), Wendi Sterling (Glamourpuss), and host Freddy G (NPR): Movies R Dumb: The Star Wars Holiday Special (11:00 pm, $10, 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; 150-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.

Advertisements

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/23/16

December 23, 2016

Gilbert GottfriedA one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club…

Gilbert Gottfried….Gilbert Gottfried (7:30 pm tonight & tomorrow, $38.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): In this musical comedy double-bill at The Magnet theatre, first bona fide rock band Oil in the Alley sings improvised lyrics to its original music; and then pop-punk cabaret band My Dark Little Corner channels the sound & spirit of such bands as Green Day, Blink-182, and My Chemical Romance: Oil in the Alley and My Dark Little Corner

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Reunited for the holidays, now-LA residing Will HInes joins his real-life brother Kevin Hines to perform duo improv fueled by decades-old shared experiences and sibling rivalries at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Brothers Hines

7:30 ($10): UCB improvisors who normally don’t perform together join on stage to make up scenes for one night only at the UCB East theatre: Mashed

7:30 pm ($10): A series of comics connect their stand-up sets “into one giant mutant set,” with tonight’s segments Jamie Lerner, David Perezat, and more at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Molly Horan and guest-hosted by Kyle Lewis: Human Centipede Comedy Show

8:00 pm ($5): A one-man show from Wes Haney (host of Singles Motel) that’s “named after a gross candy bar” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Bit-O-Haney

8:00 pm ($5): A 90-minute variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

[TOP PICK] 8:30 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 Alexandra Song, Joanna Simmons, Madonna Refugia, Ian Stroud, and Brian Faas at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

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

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

9:00 pm ($10): Members of UCBT house improv groups get scrambled together into new one-night-only teams at the UCB East theatre: The Blender

9:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups Liz Magee, Angela Cobb, Josh Carter, and Adam Sokol performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Jessica Watkins and guest-hosted by Jim Search: Homespun Comedy

9:00 pm ($5): A group of improvisors who’ve all felt the pain of breakups via text ghosting aim to be stronger for the experience by making up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Ghosting Hour

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Crescent Inverness (host Ryan Douglass), a vampire who hates the idea of being a vampire, screens highlights of the very bad 1989 horror movie Elves, and accompanies it with songs and characters “all inspired by this shit show disaster” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Masters of Mumblecore

9:30 pm ($5): At this weekly variety show, stand-up from Bill Cannon, Jul Ie, and Paul Rodriguez; sketch from Isaiah Mueller, Manny Regalado, and Rocco George; and improv from group Donnie in the Park (Will Cheng, Alex Novac, Paul Ton), all performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Cheng: Wildcard Comedy

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($32.25 & 2-drink min.)  Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View) headlines tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Merry Hanukkah with Judy Gold

10:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Rojo Perez (MTV), Noah Findling (Funny or Die), and Kerry O’Neill performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($5): A mix of stand-up, sketch, music, and/or improv at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

10:30 pm ($5): Indie improv groups Rebel 5 and Known Associates make up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Indie Improv: Rebel 5 and Known Associates

[FREE] Midnight: Comics present “sure-fire, can’t miss, get-in-on-the-ground-floor, knock your socks off ideas that will not only make a lot of money but will make lives better across the board” and then request your money (whether you give is entirely up to you), with tonight’s entrepreneurs Christina Galston and group Young Business (Ronnie Fleming & Justin Hartough)—plus stand-up from Mike Denny—all at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Ben Conrad: Snake Oil

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Davey Melch & Sydney Beveridge: Queens Free Mic Fridays

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

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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

[ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight Improv Jam

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 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

Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tueday 10/6/15

October 6, 2015

For a day-by-day guide to Comic Con highlights,
please click Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Jim Norton and Gilbert GottfriedJim 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; author of book Happy Endings) is interviewed by a fellow comedy giant at Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast Live (7:00 pm, $18.90 in advance online or $15 at the door (if it doesn’t sell out), or pay $24.82 online to see both this and Scott Rogowsky’s show (below); Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Horatio Sanz…plus Horatio Sanz (improv genius; seven years on SNL; 30 Rock; Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s Girls, ABC, Comedy Central, numberous other TV shows and movies), Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, host of Whiplash), Sal Vulcano & Brian “Q” Quinn (co-stars of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Budd Mishkin (NY1) are interviewed at Running Late with Scott Rogowsky (9:30 pm, $12.21 in advance online or $10 at the door (if it doesn’t sell out), or pay $24.82 online to see both this and Gilbert Gottfried’s show (above); Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Michelle Wolf, Brooke Van Poppelen, and Julio Torres…while stand-ups Michelle Wolf, Brooke Van Poppelen, and Julio Torres, plus singing duo The Reformed Whores, join host Liza Treyger at Cake Shop Comedy (8:30 pm, free, LES’ Cake Shop at 152 Ludlow Street between Rivington & Stanton)

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

For a day-by-day guide to Comic Con highlights,
please click Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

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; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv (e.g., Gravid Water, Adsit & ?), sketch (Maude Night), solo shows, and one-act comedic plays, but also hosts one of the very finest stand-up shows in the city (Aparna Nancherla’s Whiplash)

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

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

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-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)

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.)

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

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

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 4/19/15

April 19, 2015

TV Alert: On HBO, last Sunday brought back the best series on TV, Game of Thrones; but other reasons to rejoice were the return of Silicon Valley, Veep, and most especially John Oliver’s thoroughly brilliant Last Week Tonight. If you aren’t watching these shows, repent your ways and start tonight, either live or via HBO GO.

NYC Comedy Week Alert: Get two-for-one tickets
for comedy shows one last night here

Gilbert Gottfried and Lewis Black

Comedy giants Gilbert Gottfried & Lewis Black chat at Carolines for Gilbert Gottfriend’s Amazing Colossal Podcast

Leslie Jones

…plus it’s your last chance to catch Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones headlining at Carolines

Steel Petunias

…and your next-to-last chance to enjoy the hilarious cast of a musical homage to Steel Magnolias: Steel Petunias

 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] [$] 6:00 pm ($22 & 2-drink min.) Two of the most iconic comics in the biz, Gilbert Gottfriend and Lewis Black, chat for a live podcast taping at the Carolines Comedy Club: Gilbert Gottfriend’s Amazing Colossal Podcast with Lewis Black

6:00 pm ($5): Sketches and other scripted comedy in 5-minute and 15-minute slots at The Magnet theatre: The Generator

6:30 pm ($5): Improv troupes not affiliated with any comedy school compete at UCB East for audience laughs and votes—and the privilege to go on to perform at the primary Cage Match show at UCB Chelsea—in this show hosted by the delightful Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (Krompf): Indie Cage Match

Steel Petunias[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm ($11.54 online using code JUICE, otherwise $20 at the door): The movie parody Unauthorized musicals by Christopher W. Barnes (book, lyrics, and direction) and Ryan Mercy (music composer and the shows’ one-man band) are crafted with breathtaking speed—going from idea to staged production in as little as two months—and have energized NYC’s comedy community by blending sketch and theatre to create something fresh, vibrant, inventive, and filled with laughs.

Virtually all Unauthorized shows are based on SF/fantasy franchises: Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, The Hunger Games. The one exception is Steel Petunias, whose comedic target is Steel Magnolias, a 1989 film classic about a small town community of Southern women who are both as delicate as flowers and as tough as industrial metal.

I don’t know what led Barnes & Mercy to make such an extreme deviation from their successful formula…but I’m very glad they did. Steel Petunias is actually the best-crafted musical of the Unauthorized series to date; plus it has a lightness and heart unmatched by its SF/fantasy counterparts.

Part of the production’s charm is its willingness to be highly playful with the source material. For example, one of the movie’s most famous scenes involves Julia Roberts’ character being at risk of going into hypoglycemic shock until her mother, played by Sally Field, gives her orange juice. Steel Petunias wrings every drop of entertainment possible out of this with a show-stopping song & dance number—which includes the lyrics apparently being slightly misheard by passersby, resulting in three black-garbed and bearded Hasidic men bursting onto the stage to do a dance out of Fiddler in the Roof. They don’t stop until one of the Southern gals has to sweetly explain, “Juice! Not Jews!! It’s juice!!!

But even more important than the witty script & songs is the delicious all-gal primary cast—which includes Dana Shulman (a stand-out star even among these all-stars), Adrian Sexton, Julie Feltman, Emily Mathwich, Taylor Ortega, and Emily Essig—who form one of the finest comedy ensembles in NYC. The warmth between the women and their pleasure in performing with each other is clear, and gives the show a wonderful dimension that goes beyond anything that can be scripted.

In fact, many of these actresses are also dynamite improvisers, and they’re quick to take any small accident, audience interaction, or other unexpected incident and make it part of the show. While these in-the-moment bits of joy are by definition unplanned, at the performance I saw they were among the highlights of the production.

Frankly, I’m a huge SF/fantasy fan, and not remotely the target audience of Steel Magnolias. In fact, I watched the movie only as preparation for attending this parody (and even then, I managed to get through only the first half…). But of all the Unauthorized musicals to date, Steel Petunias has the tightest script and musical numbers, and the most uniformly great cast…and is my favorite of the series.

That said, Barnes & Mercy realize that what they’re made with lightning speed are brilliant first drafts. So keep an eye out for improved versions of Unauthorized productions as time goes on…especially The Hungry Hungry Games. With honing, both the latter and Steel Petunias have strong potential for healthy commercial runs.

Tonight’s performance is at The PIT upstairs theatre (for video samples, please click here and here): Steel Petunias: The Unauthorized Musical Parody

7:00 pm ($5): A shortform improv troupe visiting from Hartford Connecticut perform for one night only at Brooklyn’sThe Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Wacky Hats

[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 ($35 & 2-drink min.) A star of Saturday Night Live and writer for Chris Rock (and one of the actors in Chris’ movie Top Five) headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Leslie Jones

7:30 pm ($7): Groups Baby Shoes and Action Park perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Ali Faranakain, Micah Sherman, Jenn Welch, and more make up theatrical scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly show produced by Micah Sherman & Sarah Nowak:People Improvising

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Greer Barnes, Nick Griffin, Jeff Leach, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Mark Normand, Joe Machi, Carmen Lynch, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane):Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Christina Gausas & Michael Bertrando perform two-prov at Brooklyn’sThe Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Come Together

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Iconic former child actress Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire; currently a writer; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale) hosts this show about “death, commitment, sock puppets—everyone’s afraid of something. Laugh at your fears as Mara takes you through comedians’ anxieties (and a few of her own),” tonight featuring comedic storytellers Erin Barker (producer of The Story Collider), Brian Kennedy (Moth StorySlam winner), and Tynan DeLong (Mortified Nation, The Chris Gethard Show) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: What Are You Afraid Of?

8:00 pm ($5): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch group Murderfist), Kenny Zimlinghaus (Sirius XM Radio host), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host ofLasers in the Jungle), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), Greg Stone, Jeremy Essig, and Andrew Tavin performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm  ($7.50 online using code ComedyWeek; no min.): Amanda Seales (VH1) performs a one-woman show about love mixing characters, music, and audience participation at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Amanda Seales: It’s Complicated

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Zainab Johnson (Arsenio Hall, Last Comic Standing, BET’s Comic View), Erin Jackson , and Daniel Simonsen performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:00 pm ($5): 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] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which typically includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Act One

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): The spectacular Tracy Mull loves short-form improv games with a passion, and so is the perfect host for this jam that lets audience members—including you—put their names in a bucket. Tracy will then repeatedly pull out a name and a game and facilitate improv magic at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sunday School Short-Form Jam

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

5:30 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: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly atUCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 2/17/15

February 17, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: John Oliver is on Jimmy Fallon;
Jack McBrayer & Triumph the Insult Dog are on Conan O’Brien;
Chris Elliott and Kristen Bell are on Jimmy Kimmel;
Matthew Perry is on Seth Meyers;
Episode 3.6 of Kroll Show is at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central

Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried is among the stand-ups performing at Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground

Sasheer Zamata

…and Sasheer Zamata is among the stand-ups performing at UCB East’s Comedy Central Corporate Retreat

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-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, seven of The Magnet’s improv groups make up musicals based on audience suggestion, creating epic stories on the spot using song and dance:Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, and 9:00 pm ($10 for each of these three different “episodes” that together comprise “Part 1” or $20 for all three): Part 1 of a 3-part series that tries to capture the spirit of anime such as Dragon Ball Z on stage…with limited success (at least, based on the first two episodes I’ve seen). The costumes are fun, the cast is cute, but the script is consistently flat and juvenile, while genuine top anime is more nuanced and gripping. Plus the fight sequences, which should by definition be spectacular, are too often anemic. Of course, maybe it gets better as it goes along (and I’ll try to see more just for that reason); and either way, it’s worth at least $10 to check out any random episode and experience this as a novelty. Part 1 is playing tonight at The PIT upstairs theatre, with Episode 1 at 7:00 pm coupled with improv group Simply Unemployable, which includes the wonderful Rebecca Vigil; Episode 2 at 8:00 pm is coupled with G.U.S., a unique improvised post-apocalypse show about the last three men on Earth; and Episode 3 at 9:00 pm is coupled with Shrink, an improvised puppet therapy show: Kapow-i GoGo Part 1: Kapow-i GoGo Gooo!

7:30 pm-9:15 pm ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house groups Apollo, Greg, and 2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy at this first half of Harold Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Michael Che, Gary Gulman, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:30 show; Paul Mecurio, Carmen Lynch, Lenny Marcus, and Colin Jost at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Ali Wong, Nick Griffin, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 11:15 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane):Comedy Cellar Tuesday

7:30 pm ($5): Chris Booth & Adrian Sexton host comics singing musical theatre favorites at The PIT downstairs lounge: Underground Cabaret

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Dave Attell hosts this show featuring Gilbert Gottfried, Dave Hill, Rachel Feinstein, Monroe Martin,and more performing stand-up at the Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please clickhere; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), and Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Daniel Koren: Comedy Central Corporate Retreat: Sasheer Zamata, Joe Pera, and Nimesh Patel

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together. Tonight’s guests are Jono Zalay & Kaytlin Bailey (exes), Kevin Barnett & Josh Rabinowitz (pals from working on truTV’s Friends of the People), Justy Dodge & Rojo Perez (pals), and David Smithyman & Brendan McLaughlin (pals) performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A, between 10th & 11th Streets) hosted by real-life couple Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer forBroad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): In Stereo: Two Comics, One Stage

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups who’ve lived in Louisiana (or thereabouts)—Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Amber Nelson (bold, dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch group Murderfist), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Neal Stastny, Scotland Green, and Seth Cockfield—performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Mardi Gras Comedy Show: Mark Normand, Dan Soder, Amber Nelson, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Amber Nelson (bold, dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch groupMurderfist), Eli Sairs, Nick Mullen, and Jessica Watkins performing at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) produced by Lukas Kaiser, Sue Smith, John Szeluga, and JF Harris: Amazingtown

[TOP PICK] [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 stand-up 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Great lineup of Michael Che (SNL Weekend Update star; former star correspondent for The Daily Show and staff writer for Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Ali Wong (fearless, razor-sharp, hilarious comedy dynamo; Jay Leno, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC’s Are You There Chelsea?, film Savages), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star;Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), and more at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon long-time staff comic, Comedy Central, VH1, host of Nat Geo’s Science of Stupid): Sweet: Michael Che, Ali Wong, Mike Lawrence, and More

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Storytellers Robin Gelfenbien (host of storytelling show Yum’s the Word; VH1, Sirius Satellite Radio, FringeNYC), Lucas Connolly (host of Cranky Pants Comedy), Julia Lundy, and Jenice Matias tell true tales about this month’s theme Mardi Gras at 2A (25 Avenue A off 2nd Street) hosted by Andrew Linderman: Local Stories: Mardi Gras

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Robert Dean, Sachi Ezura, and/or Steve O’Brien: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

9:00 pm ($5): Improv duo David Rysdahl & Paul Gutkowski make up a one-act play on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: True East

9:15 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house groups Side Piece, Higgins, and Women & Men at this second half (continued from 7:30 pm) of Harold Night

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (Death by Roo Roo, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, The Nights of Our Lives) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv (with help from producer Andy Rocco and Jesse VandenBergh), plus NYC stand-ups Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV), Subhah Agarwal (Fusion), and Lisa Hering (Sirius XM), all performing at the UCB East theatre: The Tony Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing;Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), and Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Alexis Guerreros & Mike Cannon: The Illuminati Party: Dan Soder, Rachel Feinstein, and Cipha Sounds

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 10:00 pm: “The best stand-ups in the city will take to the stage armed with jokes, quirky observations, and anecdotes. Simultaneously, the producers will craft a battery of trivia questions for the audience based entirely on the comics’ material. Competitors of all levels are welcome, no matter how much you watch TMZ. You can walk in the door with a blank slate and come out victorious! All that’s required is your attention and short-term memory” atThe Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Observational Trivia Night

10:00 pm ($5): “A computer beeps at random intervals, might be 2 seconds, might be 10 minutes. Every time it beeps, and only when it beeps, the performers jump into a new scene. What happens when nothing you can do can make the scene go longer nor end sooner? When only this instant is guaranteed?” at The PIT downstairs lounge:/Switch/

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($15 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Dave Attell hosts this show featuring Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, Sherrod Small, Phil Hanley, Liza Treyger, and Anya Marina performing stand-up at the Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A mix of superb and up-and-coming stand-ups (not announced) performing at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Phil Hanley: Chemistry

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 theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted byJamie Aderski: Personality Disorder Character Jam

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open mic sketch that allows you to either perform a sketch with your own performers or bring in pages for the audience to perform at The PIT Green Room, followed by feedback on your bit from PIT “sketch-perts:” Pens & Pencils

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic with 5 minutes per performer; email prequelmic@gmail.com by Sunday to go into a lottery system for next Tuesday, or simply walk in tonight and place your name in a bucket for possible selection, at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Claudia Cogan, Katie Compa, and/or Garry Hannon: The Prequel Open Mic

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at People’s Republic of Brooklyn (247 Smith Street) hosted by Dustin Drury: This Is Happening Open MIc

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up that’s first come, first serve (signup starts at 8:30) and provides each performer 5 minutes—or 4 minutes plus 2 minutes of feedback!—at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street): Train Wreck Open Mic Stand-Up

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and David Frasure: Study Hall

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-$20)

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 Tuesday 12/23/14

December 23, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Jerry Seinfeld is on Jimmy Fallon;
Chelsea Handler is on Conan O’Brien (repeated from 10/15)

Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried shares the holiday spirit…

Seth Herzog

…at Seth Herzog’s Sweet

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-Midnight ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, six of The Magnet’s singing improv groups make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion, followed at 10:15 by a free show that lets audience members join in with a musical improv group to make up stories in song: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

7:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT downstairs lounge with twins Adam & Todd Stone: Stone and Stone Show

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Kevin Janaway parodies holiday traditions playing a Redneck, a Hippie Pothead, a Train Wreck Personality, and a Former Child Star at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Happy Holidays Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Joe Machi, Greer Barnes, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 9:30 show, and Kurt Metzger, Lori Palminteri, Sam Morril, and Ahmed Ahmed at the 11:15 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($5 online using discount code NORTHERN; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), and Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Josh Carter & Ray DeVito: Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Christian Finnegan, Cipha Sounds, and Chris Distefano

[TOP PICK] [FREE, plus FREE PIZZA while the slices last] 8:00 pm: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, improv group What I Did For Love, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Gary Marinoff (30 Rock), and Camille Theobold performing at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) produced by Lukas Kaiser, Sue Smith, John Szeluga, and JF Harris: Amazingtown

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($6): In this Jo Firestone extravaganza, “Audience members are invited to put their name in a bucket if they personally identify as ‘miserable.’ Do-gooder comedians then get to pick a name out of the bucket and attempt to really make that audience member’s life better for up to 10 minutes. Limit 6 miserable people per show,” with tonight’s comics Jacqueline Novak, Conner O’Malley, Michael Wolf, Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Chris Duffy, Joe Rumhrill, and Julio Torres performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Jo: Your Fantastic Life

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): A two-gal sketch show about dating during the holidays from Angela Spera & Laura Lane at The PIT upstairs theatre: This Is Why You’re Single: Holiday Edition

[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA!] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Sara Armour, Dan Fisher, Jimmy LeChase, Kevin Berrey, John Field, and Brendan Fitzgibbons performing at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Niles Turner: Mouth Party

8:00 pm ($5): Comics Brett Davis and Ana Fabrega performing at UCB East hosted by Bill Stiteler & Tony Zaret: School Drools

8:00 pm ($5): Meghan O’Malley performs a one-woman show at The PIT downstairs lounge: Well, Here’s the Thing

8:00 pm ($5): Improvers make up a series of scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre. It’s not The Gift of the Magi, but it’s The GIft of the Montage

[FREE; plus FREE BACON] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at this show that provides you with both free comedy and free bacon at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kevin Berrey and/or Farah Brook: Free Bacon

[TOP PICK] [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 stand-up 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried, Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Gay Apparel (Christmas Carol parody choral group), Kirk Douglas (guitarist for band The Roots), and more at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon long-time staff comic, Comedy Central, VH1, host of Nat Geo’s Science of Stupid): Sweet: Gilbert Gottfried and More

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced—beware the UCB website listing, which is referring to last month’s guests) performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre. No way to know who’s hosting this holiday week, but the usual hosts are Jessica Williams (star correspondent on The Daily Show) and Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’s Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased): Blaria Live Stand-Up Comedy

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up a made-for-TV Christmas movie on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: A Made-For-TV Holiday Movie

9:30 pm ($5): Improvers make up a series of scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre. It’s not The Gift of the Magi, but it’s The GIft of the Montage

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Kirson, Christian Finnegan, Pete Lee, and Brooks Whelan

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A mix of superb and up-and-coming stand-ups (not announced) performing at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Phil Hanley: Chemistry

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

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): Imposter Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open mic sketch that allows you to either perform a sketch with your own performers or bring in pages for the audience to perform at The PIT Green Room, followed by feedback on your bit from PIT “sketch-perts:” Pens & Pencils

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic with 5 minutes per performer; email prequelmic@gmail.com by Sunday to go into a lottery system for next Tuesday, or simply walk in tonight and place your name in a bucket for possible selection, at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Claudia Cogan, Katie Compa, and/or Garry Hannon: The Prequel Open Mic

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at People’s Republic of Brooklyn (247 Smith Street) hosted by Dustin Drury: This Is Happening Open MIc

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up that’s first come, first serve (signup starts at 8:30) and provides each performer 5 minutes—or 4 minutes plus 2 minutes of feedback!—at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street): Train Wreck Open Mic Stand-Up

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and David Frasure: Study Hall

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-$20)

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.)

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/29/14

November 29, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Gilbert Gottfried

Comedy treasure Gilbert Gottfried concludes his headlining run at Carolines

Nicole DiMattei

…and Nicole DiMattei & friends aim to educate you and get you drunk at The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 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 comics include Michael Che, Judy Gold, Dov Davidoff, and Lenny Marcus at the 7:00 show; Michael Che, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, Robert Kelly, and Gina Yashere (hosting) at the 7:15 show; Michael Che, Greer Barnes, and Robert Kelly at the 8:45 show; Michael Che, Dov Davidoff, Robert Kelly, and Gina Yashere (hosting) at the at the 9:15 show; Michael Che, Dave Attell, Ryan Hamilton, and Dov Davidoff at the 10:30 show; Mark Normand, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, and and Gina Yashere (hosting) at the 11:15 show; and Michael Che, Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Big Jay Oakerson, and Godfrey (hosting) at the 12:15 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

[$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View), James Mattern, Eliot Chang, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

7:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($10): Two teams compete in a trivia-based game show revolving around the theme of saying goodbye to Julia Morales (North Coast, Second City), who’s moving to Chicago, all at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Goodbye Game Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.)  One of the funniest guys in comedy headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Gilbert Gottfried

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, 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

7:30 pm ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[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 ($20; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane), and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger, Jen Kirkman, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:00 pm ($10 per show): The two semi-finals rounds, and then the spectacular finals at 11:00, of a beloved annual November tradition at UCB Chelsea—Pat Baer’s 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

[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 Brigid Boyle, and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

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

9:30 pm ($10): A one-hour play in which “Karen is throwing a party, Ellen’s bringing Alec, Merv is the wild card, and Lisa’s on her way. These lovely people who seem to have it all gather for wine, cheese, small tragedies, and the mysteries of Kansas” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Lisa and Her Things

9:30 pm ($10): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The PIT downstairs lounge as troupe Lead McEnroe

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane), and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger, Jen Kirkman, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[$] 10:00 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

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

10:30 pm ($10): Magnet Instructors Louis Kornfeld and Rick Andrews pair together for one night of improvisation as comedy duo Kornfeld & Andrews

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Gary Busey (David Carl) and Tom Cruise (Alan Starzinski) “host an evening of first impressions. Comedians you know from stage and screen attempt celebrity impressions they’ve never done before and you get to see them for the first and possibly only time. This show is cheap and funny so get in line as soon as you read this description, no matter what time of day it is. Also, Gary Busey and Tom Cruise want you to know that, while all of the other acts are impressions, they themselves are real people. They’re hosting this show because they need the money” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: First Impressions

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($15; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson,staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; co-host of Nat Geo’s Duck Quakes Don’t Echo; 30 Rock, Comedy Central, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Jen Kirkman, Big Jay Oakerson, Seth Herzog, and More

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 Evanshost: The Amateur Hour

5:30 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic, with sign-up at 5:15 pm and each stand-up performing for 5 minutes, at the Comedy Village Comedy Club (107 MacDougal Street): Comedy Village

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.)

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
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club, with MST3K-style movie night on Thursdays; 2-drink min.)

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

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