NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Friday 10/4

October 4, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for October 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

Big Mouth Season 3Friday 10/4-Sunday 10/6: The highlights of the first day of New York Comic Con included a gloriously long Q&A session with the writers and voice actors of Big Mouth—who are some of the funniest comics in the world (among the panelists were Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, and Jessi Klein)—plus the screening of the Season 3 premiere, which is a jaw-dropping, laugh-crammed epic about Florida. You can actually see all the episodes right now, as Netflix released Season 3 in its entirely last night. Netflix also renewed the series for another three seasons—and green-lit a spin-off devoted to the monsters, titled Human Resources. Highly recommended.

Another highlight was Randall Munroe giving a thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking talk about his new book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, which encourages thinking in ridiculous ways to come up with uniquely effective solutions. Too many Comic Con panels are little more than self-congratulatory PR stunts. In contrast, Munroe championed an uncommon way of thinking, with uniformly funny examples, that could end up being life-altering for anyone with an open mind. You still have a chance to see Munroe, as he’s doing a show tonight at Caveat with Zach Weinersmith (please see directly below).

My biggest difficult decision yesterday was choosing between a Dragon Ball panel with stellar voice actors Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat and a panel about bad movies. I let love for greatness win over love for terribleness, and had a delightful time. But I expect the movie panel was also way fun, so want to recommend the book it celebrated, titled Rotten Movies We Love: Cult Classics, Underrated Gems, and Films So Bad They’re Good by the razor-sharp editors of the popular Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews site.

Comedy-related panels for Day 2 of NYCC19 include “SpongeBob Squarepants Appreciation Day” (10:30 am, Hammerstein Ballroom), “Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken” 4:30 pm, Hammerstein Ballroom), “TruTV’s Impractical Jokers” 6:15 pm, Main Stage 1D), “CollegeHumor’s Dropout” (6:45 pm, Room 1A21), and “The George Lucas Talk Show” (9:15 pm, Room 1A21).

I’m attending all four days. If you spot me, please feel encouraged to come over, say hey, and share your personal highlights from the fest: New York Comic Con 2019 (Thursday-Saturday 10:00 am-10:00ish pm, Sunday 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th Streets)

How To.jpgFriday 10/4: Engineer, author, and cartoonist (webcomic xkcd) Randall Munroe was a clear highlight of yesterday’s New York Comic Con, delivering a funny and fascinating talk about his new book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, which encourages outside-of-the-box thinking to create great solutions that might otherwise be overlooked. Tonight you can have Randall and host Zach Weinersmith try to solve your problems…via ridiculous ideas. The audience will then break into groups for a hackathon, challenging each other to devise the most oddball fixes before pitching them in a lightning round competition for the entire room’s most non-obvious solution: How To: A Night of Absurd Problem-Solving (7:00 pm, $35 (includes a copy of Randall’s superb book), LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Chris HardwickFriday 10/4-Saturday 10/5: One of the smartest and nicest guys in show biz—who hosts NBC’s The Wall, AMC’s Talking shows, and popular podcast ID10T, and used to host the great @midnight—headlines for two more nights at Carolines (while he’s here for New York Comic Con) to tell jokes and make you feel good: Chris Hardwick (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Chris HardwickSaturday 10/5: Don’t tell anyone, but tonight is the last chance to spend an evening with the immensely popullar and charming host of AMC’s Talking shows, NBC’s The Wall, podcast ID10T, and more performing jokes and Q&A: Chris Hardwick (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Chaos TheorySunday 10/6: This solo production, which debuted at last year’s FringeNYC and is now enjoying a monthly revival at LES’ Caveat, starts out pretending to be a scientific lecture about and demonstration of chaos theory.

But it’s really a highly interactive show that uses comedy and thoughtfully structured game-play for nudging audiences to explore their wishes and desires, push past boundaries, connect with everyone around them, and be open to anything.

It’s all courtesy of writer/performer Jessica Ellen Creane, who cycles between faux-shyly giving illustrated talks about such things as fractals, love, and velociraptors, making herself fearlessly vulnerable, and improvising quick-witted responses to audience choices. For example, when Creane asked me to name a goal, I replied, “writing and selling a movie.” She immediately gave me the best pep talk I’ve ever had, stating beyond doubt that I’d succeed. In gratitude, I added, “I’ll cast you in it.” Without missing a beat, and fully committing to her scientist character (wearing thick black-frame glasses with no lenses), Creane tossed off, “I’m not good at acting” before moving on to help someone else. That she even thought of that line demonstrates what a superb actress Creane is…and how completely she performs in the moment.

Because this show relies so deeply on interaction, each edition will be different based on the decisions made by you and your fellow audience members. Along the same lines, how much you enjoy it, and genuinely get out of it, will depend heavily on what you bring to it.

For me, it was a **** (out of 4) show. If you come experience this—and you should—I hope you have a wonderful time too; and that it moves you closer to your dreams.

Chaos Theory (7:00, $27.63 in advance online or $30 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Story Collider: Enter at Your Own Risk 2Monday 10/7: Comedic storytellers and/or scientists TBA share tales on this month’s theme of opening doors and taking chances: The Story Collider: Enter at Your Own Risk (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Nerds and the BeesTuesday 10/8: Gabe Gonzalez (Scruff, MTV News) and Steve Dean (dating industry consultant & relationship coach) will choose audience members with dating woes and use data to transform their lives by helping them find who they’re looking for. “Along the way we’ll hear some crazy stories, learn insane truths about the dating industry, and meet some new people:” The Nerds & the Bees (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Rebecca VigilWednesday 10/9: Rebecca Vigil (above; powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Nore Davis (HBO, Showtime, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Netflix; album You Guys Are Dope), Rita Sengupta (Buzzfeed), and Brittany Carney perform music or stand-up for hosts Sean Crespo, Katina Corrao, and Matt Little: Lasers in the Jungle (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Phoebe RobinsonThursday 10/10: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) is giving us New Yorkers one last chance to enjoy her national stand-up comedy tour, which runs tonight at Bowery Ballroom and then moves on to venues in California and Philadelphia: Phoebe Robinson: “Sorry, Harriet Tubman” Tour (6:00 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; $35; East Village’s The Bowery Ballroom at 6 Delancey Street)

Andrea Jones-RooyThursday 10/10: Andrea Jones-Rooy, who is a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Study at the NYU Center for Data Science—and also a fire-wielding circus performer—uses data-driven political research to answer such questions as “What does majority rule even mean and what are the consequences of it?”, “Are we actually getting more polarized?”, and “Why, despite the historical records in the midterm election, do so many candidates and leaders still look the same?”: Political Circus: Why Democracy is F*cked (And What to Do About It) (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

MortifiedThursday 10/10: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Modern WhitneyThursday 10/10: Comics Pat Regan, Lily Marotta, and Tawanda Gona try to figure out and articulate the meaning of a piece of art. Then an actual art expert tells them what the piece is generally considered to be about and its cultural impact. Plus select audience members—maybe including you—will draw their art on the spot and have it interpreted by the comics. According to hosts Matt Hartin & Akmal Tajihan, “This is the only show you’ll want to Van Gogh to:” Modern Whitney (9:30 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Brian Posehn 11Friday 10/11: The wonderful Brian Posehn (hilarious stand-up, comedic actor, and writer; recurring roles on The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, The Sarah Silverman Program, Just Shoot Me, Mr. Show, and more; star of indie film Uncle Nick; Netflix special The Fartist; writer of Marvel Comics’ wildly popular Deadpool; author of book Forever Nerdy) correspondents on The Opposition with Jordan Klepper) graces Brooklyn with his wild wit for one night only: Brian Posehn (7:30 pm; $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)


Emma Vernon: Friday 10/11: Multitalented rising star Emma Vernon (hip-hop musical improvisor, stand-up, actor, writer, and romance expert) uses her exceptional matchmaking skills to bring together love applicants and have them experience their first dates live on stage…while using improvisors to instantly create the settings for those dates (e.g., a music festival, a bowling alley, under the sea). To get a feel for this long-running monthly extravaganza, please click here, and then nab tickets for In A World: The Dating Show (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Cat Cohen, Lane Moore, Liz Plank, and Scott Rogowsky: Friday 10/11: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guest comics Scott Rogowsky (bottom row; NBC’s The Voice, WB’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), Liz Plank (right; Senior Producer and Political Correspondent at Vox Media; author of book For the Love of Men), and Cat Cohen (left; Seth Meyers; host of podcast Seek Treatment): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Terrorbird sketch comedyFriday 10/11: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs a new oddball series of scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Found Footage FestivalSaturday 10/12: Hilariously oddball amateur VHS videos discovered & curated by Joe Pickett (The Onion) & Nick Prueher (The Colbert Report), with this year’s finds including the 1987 Miss Junior America Wisconsin pageant, a mysterious tape labeled “bonion sergery,” home movies taken at a Canadian hose factory, and a fitness video called Jugglercise: The Found Footage Festival Volume 9 (8:00 pm; $17, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Carly Ann FilbinSaturday 10/12: Carly Ann Filbin (luminous & delightful sketch comic/comedic actress/writer; on-camera correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com; host of Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show) explains this comedic game show as follows: “Romance today isn’t what it used to be—swiping, clicking, dick-picing. It’s time we went retro with an old fashioned IRL dating show! Millennials choose their hottie based on how well they answer questions like ‘If you wanted morning sex, how would you initiate it?’, all while I make fun of them because, well, why not? Let’s make some love connections or, at the very least, a one-night stand to talk about at brunch:” Young Hot Sluts: A Matchmaking Show (8:00 pm; $15 at the door or $14.30 online; Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody at 325 Franklin Avenue—take the G subway to Classon Avenue)

Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher: Sunday 10/13: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (7:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

West Wing Writers: Tuesday 10/15: Members of the West Wing Writers group (which includes former Presidential speechwriters) break down their favorite speeches, give behind-the-scenes looks at the speech drafting process, and even lead you in crafting your own keynote speech, all hosted by Chandler Dean (McSweeney’s): SpeakEasy (7:00 pm; $12; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Molly Gaebe: Thursday 10/17: Host Molly Gaebe invites female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this month’s theme Women in the Horror Genre tackled by guests TBA: Nevertheless She Existed: Horror Queens (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 10/19: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Rosebud Baker, Dee Nasty, Rebecca O’Neal, Chanel Ali, and Doug Smith to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Samantha Ruddy: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; 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
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

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

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 6/26/16

June 26, 2016

Del Close Improv Marathon 2016It’s the final day of the joyous 18th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon, which is running continuously until 9:30 pm. Improv groups from all around the US and Canada—and a few places further away—will finish up performing more than 650 shows, typically in 15- or 30-minute blocks, for over 50 hours. As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street), which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by nine additional venues: UCB East, The Magnet, Theater of the New City (3 theatres), SVA (2 theatres), FIT Haft Auditorium, and the UCB Comedy Podcast Lounge; for details, please click here. For the complete schedule, please click here. To view shows organized by performer, please click here. For information on buying a festival pass, please click here. To buy premium tickets online, please click here. (Please note that if any premium show doesn’t sell out and you have a marathon pass, you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.) Quite simply, this is the greatest improv festival in the world: Del Close Marathon 2016 (4:00 pm Friday-9:30 pm Sunday, $35 for festival pass plus $10-$20 each for premium shows, 10 venues around Chelsea and the East Village)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 5:30 pm-10:00 pm ($40 for an all-you-can-see weekend pass or $5-$20 per show): It’s the final day pf a 3-day LGBTQ-themed comedy festival at The PIT upstairs theatre and downstairs lounge (123 East 24th Street). For a complete list of tonight’s shows, please click here; and for information about the festival, please click Queercom 2016

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

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-night-only team at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from a six-person troupe at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Sunday School Dropouts

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Kate Berlant (Netflix’s The Characters, MTV, IFC, CNN), Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Dan Licata, Madonna Refugia, Matt Schimkowitz, ad Shalewa Sharpe, all at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

8:30 pm ($5): Two improv groups perform, on a rotating basis, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Annoyance Presents Improv: Waiting for Jah + Hal Doll

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Sketch comedy accompanied by live music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): With a Little Feeling

[TOP PICK] [FREE—plus FREE FOOD!] 9:30 pm to grab a seat and eat, 10:00 pm for screening: Come watch a new episode of The Jim Gaffigan Show with an audience—and have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards of Ashley Williams, who plays Jim’s wife and will be a special guest tonight! Plus, free food! (“Yes. Free. Food. It’s what Jim would want.”) It all happens at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Jim Gaffigan Show Official Watch Party

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($15; no min.): Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, host of Comedy Knockout, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue off 20th Street): Mark Normand, Ari Shaffir, and More

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket, drawings every half hour), providing 4 minutes per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Intestinal Fortitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 6/8/16

June 8, 2016

The Chris Gethard ShowSeason 2 of The Chris Gethard Show concluded last Wednesday with Chris combating his nemesis Vacation Jason (the wonderful Riley Soloner); but if you missed that, or any other episodes, you can watch TCGS anytime online. With the Del Close Marathon coming up, I especially recommend the delightful UCB reunion two weeks ago with Paul Sheer & Jason Mantzoukas—which features Chris thanking the duo for saving his life, and provides an ending worthy of the setup—which you can watch right now by clicking here.

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Lovers, which includes the spectacular Dana Krashin and Tracy Mull at 7:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Kyle Ayers placed an ad on Craigslist claiming to be the CEO/Producer of a major adult film company. He asked for 3-4 page porn scripts from aspiring adult film writers. What he didn’t expect was to get over 1,000 responses in one week…which he now has comedians and friends act out verbatim on stage, for better or worse. This month is the show’s Carnival Edition, featuring homemade games created by comics, and then followed by the actual show with Jo Firestone, Sasheer Zamata, Anna Drezen, Reformed Whores, Josh Gondelman, Ben Kronberg, and many more at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): First Comes Love: Carnival Edition

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, The Nightly Show), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Andrew Mayer, and Nate Fernald performing at the only stand-up show at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Evan Kaufman: The Sensible Show

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC) hones his skills to become the new co-host with Kelly Ripa via this interview parody show, with tonight’s guests musical improv powerhouse Rebecca Vigil (rising star; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), PIT Artistic Director Stephen Stout, and stand-up Meghan O’Malley at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Live with Kelly and Jay

7:30 pm ($5): A one-man show by Marcus Bishop-Wright at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Marcus Rebellion: Seven Sketches About How You’re Racist

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features three house groups making up scenes on the spot: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Terrific comics Connor Ratliff (hosting as George Lucas), Aaron Jackson, Dan Chamberlain, Josh Sharp, Natasha Vaynblat, and more demonstrate how funny they are at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The UCBT Summer Showcase

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “People often ask me, ‘Amanda, how do I get a summer body like yours?’ Well, I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s not easy—you have to commit to a demanding regimen of ‘reading’—preferably whilst lying down, fully clothed, and directly in front of an air conditioner. Lucky for you all, I am hosting a boot camp to get Reading Body Season off to an XTREME start: Book Club Edition!” with authors Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; HBO, Comedy Central, NPR, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Cintra Wilson (author of Fear And Clothing: Unbuckling American Style and A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Reexamined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease), Michael Schulman (author of Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep; The New Yorker), and Rebecca Traister (author of All The Single Ladies and Big Girls Don’t Cry; New York Magazine) at Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson Street): Dead Darlings

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): An eclectic group of comics & writers—who tonight are Jo Firestone, Jean Grae, Carolyn Castiglia, and Murtaza Hussain—performing stand-up and/or being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for this show hosted by recent UK transplants Jon Ronson (New York Times bestselling author of The Men Who Stare At Goats and more; screenwriter; This American Life) and Maeve Higgins (Irish TV & radio star): I’m New Here, Can You Show Me Around?

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics sing songs they normally perform in the shower, with the multi-talented Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/musician; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, host of Sideshow Goshko), Mike Kelton, and Amanda Shechtman at Sid Gold’s Request Room (165 West 26th Street) hosted by Anna Roisman & Lauren Ireland with Joe McGinty on piano, and followed by piano karaoke at 9:00 pm: The Shower Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

8:30 pm ($10): A “crazy” sketch comedy show at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tom’s Inssane

9:00 pm ($5): David Feldman (Emmy winner, co-creator of the The Jack and Triumph Show), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), and other comics performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck: Everythign Is Dumbn: A Comedy & Music Showcase

[FREE] 9:00 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’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing for this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Ashley Ward, and Lauren Adams make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a sketch show parodying Hollywood’s depiction of women and motherhood: M.I.L.P: Moms I’d Like to Portray

9:30 pm ($5): Comedy videos are screened at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The No Excuses Short Video Party Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Superb comics Katie Hartman, David Carl, Beth White, and Paul Gutkowski host this new show that invites guest improviors—who tonight are Meg Griffiths Anderson, Jenny Bareilles, Kevin Laibson, Brian McCann, and Chris Roberti—to join them in pulling keys from a bowl and forming new couples, each of whom make up on the spot how they met and became lovers at The PIT downstairs lounge: Key Party

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes about obsessions at the UCB East theatre: The Fix

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) hosts this new “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight “Ashley, a recent college grad, is finally launching her one-woman show after all these years. The role of Ashley will be played by Sunita Mani, Tessa Hersh, and Connor Ratliff. The role of Ashley’s Mother will be played by Matt Dennie” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Walk-in open mic storytelling show (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm), with each yarn-spinner getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild: Flynn’s Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

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: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Four booked NYC stand-ups, plus one open spot for an audience member whose name is pulled from a bucket, plus drop-in spots for up to five TV-credited comics who care to walk in! Spots are at least 5 minutes each, but go up by a minute per comic for every TV-credited drop-in spot that isn’t filled (e.g., if no drop-ins appear, every comic will receive up to 10 minutes per set). It all happens at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Daniel Ahrens: Drop-In/The Bucket

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs theatre hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans at UCB East hosted by members of improv group The Curfew: Rotisserie Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/29/13

June 29, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Eugene Cordero, Joe Wengert, and Shannon O'Neill

Among the highlights of Friday’s Del Close Marathon were Eugene Cordero, Joe Wengert, Shannon O’Neill…

Ian Roberts, Anthony King, and Jason Mantzoukas

…Ian Roberts, Anthony King, Jason Mantzoukas, and scores of other top improvisors. Don’t miss tonight and Sunday.

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] Right now-1:00 am Monday ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 15th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon is running continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 28th until roughly 1:00 am on Monday July 1st. Improv groups from all around the US and Canada—and a few places further away—are performing a mind-bending 420 shows, typically in 15- or 30-minute blocks, for 56+ hours. Tickets are $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer once said the appropriate charge is around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding.

As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street), which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by six additional venues. The ones near UCB Chelsea are The Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; the large Silas Theatre and small Beatrice Theatre at the School of Visual Arts (333 West 23rd Street); and the Fashion Institute of Technology Haft Auditorium (227 West 27th Street, corner of Seventh Avenue). In addition, there’ll be shows at UCB East (153 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B), which seats 99, and Theatre 80 (80 St. Marks Place, between First and Second Avenues), which seats 161. To view shows organized by venue, please click here. To view shows organized by time, please click here. To view shows organized by performer, please click here. For an easy-to-read schedule, please click here.

The DCM shows at the SVA and FIT auditoriums are an additional $15-$20—unless they don’t sell out, in which case if you have a marathon pass you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.

DCM is pure comedy magic. Don’t miss it.

 Friday Highlights

Merman

    • In Play by Play, brothers Will & Kevin Hines provided color commentary as such genius improvisors as Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, and Jason Jason Mantzoukas made up scenes with breathtaking wit, timing, and commitment. For example, when Jason stood off to the side of a group scene, Kevin Hines commented, “The pressure mounts on Mantzoukas as he awaits his moment.” Jason responded by plopping into a chair and just sitting relaxedly while listening to the others on stage. Ian quickly responded by striding over to Jason, proclaiming “No lurkers!,” and beating him to death with his bare hands. Will then commented, “There’s nothing quite as wonderful as an enraged Ian Roberts.”
    • The Smokes created a family out on a Sunday drive that uncovers startling secrets. For example, Eugene Cordero, as an 11-year-old with ADHD, revealed that he saw his older brother Joe Wengert sport a giant fin. Joe eventually admitted, “Yes, of course I’m a merman. Haven’t you ever wondered why I spend six hours every day in the bathtub?” Then Billy Merritt, as the mother, revealed that she cheated on husband Chris Kula via a studly sea lion. Joe asked “What happened to my real father?” Chris replied, “I thought the seal was attacking my wife, so I clubbed him to death.” Not willing to let go of a line of inquiry, Joe asked, “What happened to the club?” Billy replied, “We used it to build your crib.”
    • Dan Black Won’t Die was based on the premise “Everyone has taken a class with the guy who refuses to die in improv scenes. That guy is Dan Black. Whether he’s gunned down, hit by a train, or decapitated, Dan Black always finds a dumb reason to come back to life; and he will do it for 15 minutes during the marathon.” The fun began as soon as Dan introduced himself—resulting in a single clap. Shannon O’Neill burst into laughter and declared, “Dan, there’s only one person who likes you!” Dan got his revenge by outliving everyone on stage. He ended by playing around with the sitting corpse of Neil Casey, who admiringly never twitched a muscle…even when Dan pulled him off, sending Neil’s chair flying.
    • The Straight Men delivered the pleasure of former UCBT Artistic Director Anthony King and current UCBT Artistic Direction Nate Dern performing scenes together. Here’s hoping for more of that as the marathon continues.

 Today’s notable shows include Upright Citizens Brigade, The Mantzoukas Brothers, Mantzoukas and Morris, The Chris Gethard Show, Nick Kroll and Friends, The Benson Interruption, Match Game ’76, Wicked Fuckin Queeyah…and tons more. Again, please see the complete schedule here.

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

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 & 10:30 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.): A former staff writer for Saturday Night Live and writer/performer for 30 Rock who’s also performed on David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, and a one-hour Comedy Central special headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Hannibal Buress

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): 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): Improv master Ed Herbstman & Nick Kanellis perform at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

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, Comedy Juice on Tuesdays, and more; 2-drink min.)

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/8/12

July 8, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

Jason Mantzoukas and Ed Herbstman

Two of the finest improvisors alive, genius duo Jason Mantzoukas & Ed Herbstman, perform as The Mantzoukas Brothers

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:

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Showcase

[FREE] 6:00 pm: “Short-form improv teams battle it out for the most points and a prize. C’mon, admit it! You miss the quick-witted fun and audience involvement of short-form improv. A different short-form team joins Mishmash! each month and struts their stuff for a panel of judges (including one judge chosen from the audience) until a winner emerges. There will be a series of completely improvised scenes, stories and musicals all based on your suggestions. Come ready to shout out suggestions, and even shout at the judges,” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Scrimmage

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

7:30 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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Sketch, improv, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City from comedy troupe Froduce

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): “It’s Judgment Day, and Chuck Black can’t wait to meet Jesus! But things seem to go terribly awry when he has a crisis of faith. Who can blame him? All his pals seem a bit more interested in getting presents from ChristCo than trying to save their souls. And don’t even get Chuck started on Mocha Mint Mel, the know-it-all atheist with two moms.” The debut of a comedic mini-play by Matt Fried at The PIT downstairs lounge: A Charlie Brown Apocalypse

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Joe List, Dave Waite, John Roy, Andrew Short, and Lukas Kaiser performing at RG Daniels’ free weekly show at the Three of Cups lounge (83 First Avenue at 5th Street): Sunday Night Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($5): Short films from Magnet performers and others in the NYC comedy community: Flick

9:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent for The Daily Show), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), and Maronzio Vance performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by the wonderful Hannibal Buress (staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, one-hour Comedy Central special Animal Furnace): Comedy Night

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Annie Lederman (Comedy Central, co-host of Pirate Party), Chris Jurek, John Roy, and Chris Waelti performing in the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at the Beauty Bar

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Sharp Chicago-trained improvisors led by Susan Messing make up scenes at The PIT, with tonight’s guests including Christina Gausas (Conan O’Brien, 30 Rock, Louie): Messing with New York

9:30 pm ($5): Magnet sketch comics performing their best material: Sketch Sundays

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with four minutes per comic, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Molly Austin & Mike Brown: Vicious Cycle

10:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7; sold out, but there’ll be a waiting list for tickets unclaimed 10 minutes prior to showtime): Jason Mantzoukas (film/TV star; We Used to Go Out, Mother, Baby Mama) and Ed Herbstman (national TV commercial star and stellar comedic actor; co-founder of the Magnet Theater) are improv masters—as they demonstrated by easily winning the $10,000 Friars Club competition for Best Improv Troupe last year. Come see the height of improv as these breathtakingly quick-witted and skillful guys create pure magic during one of the rare evenings when Jason (who now lives in LA) is visiting NYC—and as they then engage in an unusually intimate, and potentially awkward, debriefing session with the audience that can be as much fun as the formal part of the show: The Mantzoukas Brothers

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/24/11

June 24, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

Death by Roo Roo

An epic improv battle for $10,000 to fund a short comedy film will be waged tonight by genius troupe Death by Roo Roo...

Jason Mantzoukas and Ed Herbstman

...equally genius duo Jason Mantzoukas & Ed Herbstman as The Mantzoukas Brothers...

Big Black Car and Doppelganger

...Big Black Car (which sometimes includes rising superstar Kristen Schaal), Doppelganger (a new group with a rep for toppling champs)...

Standards & Practices improv

...and Toronto troupe Standards & Practices at "The Friars Club Second Annual Improv Competition"

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups start at 5:30 pm) at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine and Annie Lederman: The Shinebox

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: A wonderful—and free!—outdoor concert at Brooklyn’s Red Hook Park with star Reggie Watts (musical improv comedy genius; Comedy Central special; Jimmy FallonElectric Company; Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited tour; for video samples, please clickhere), famed DJ Stormin’ Norman, and more. Please note the F/G train’s Smith & 9th Street Station is very inconveniently closed, but you can take the F/G to Carroll Street and then walk a whole bunch to be rewarded with Reggie Watts at Red Hook Park

7:00 pm ($8): Award-winning improv duo Lucas Kavner and Bradford Jordan make stuff up with “a celebrity guest improvisor’ at Swords, while all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name: We’re Matt Weir: Universe Drugs

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm-10:30 pm ($12): Five improv troupes—Death by Roo Roo (UCBT-NYC), The Mantzoukas Brothers (The Magnet-NYC), Doppelganger (UCBT-NYC), Big Black Car (The PIT-NYC), and Standards & Practices (Toronto)—try hard to make you laugh for a prize of $10,000 (to fund the making of a stellar comedy short film) in this second annual contest sponsored by the Friars Club:The Friars Club Improv Competition

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($49.50): Mike Birbiglia performing a unique blend of stand-up and storytelling that’s one of the best theatrical shows in NYC. For my more detailed write-up, please click here; and then grab tickets at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop) for Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($53 & 2-drink min.) Former co-host of The Man Show and Loveline, and now host of one of the most popular comedy podcasts on the Net, headlining tonight at the Carolines Comedy Club: Adam Carolla

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: TV & movie star TJ Miller (David LettermanOpie & Anthony; co-stared in ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-starred in such hit as movies Cloverfield and She’s Out of My League; member of awesome sketch troupe Heavyweight, which blew the roof off at SketchFest NYC 2011), Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents), Ryan Hamilton, Dan Soder, Justy Dodge, and Jeff Wesselschmidt performing stand-up at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Mark Normand: Hot Soup

8:00 pm ($5): Comics Jon Bander and Dave Thunder vow to lose weight (in real life) while performing sketch scenes in this show over the next month: M4: Comedy’s Biggest Losers

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s appeared on NBC, MTV, Showtime, and a Comedy Central Presents special, and performed an award-winning one man show at last year’s FringeNYC, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jim David

9:00 pm ($7): “In March of 2009 a gaggle of performers were born. Some died, some wandered off into the woods, others went to work in the private sector. Those that remained grew strong by feeding on the nectar of specific choices and the gruel of strong character work. The 2-year-old terror that exists today is akin to watching a Tsunami of hair and teeth attack a baby Blue Whale and destroy it with the will of a thousand hungry Burnese Mountain Dogs. What does it all mean? We don’t know.” In other words, improv from Chet Watkins

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about how boys will be girls, please click here) delivering a brand new collection of sketches: The Harvard Sailing Team

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors who use an interview with a n audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Thomas Middleditch (when he’s not in LA), Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Fran Gillespie Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

11:00 pm ($5): Stand-up and sketch comedy guests hosted by improv troupe Bad Luck Rising

11:00 pm ($10): Typically disturbing and semi-obscene sketches from troupe FUCT

11:30 pm ($5): Before the 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 Laura Grey (Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

Midnight ($5): Sketch comedy troupes Hammerkatz NYU and Skit Job compete for audience laughs and votes, with troupe Sidecar hosting, in Backyard Brawl

[$] 12:30 am ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining through Sunday at Carolines: Paul Mooney

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/18/11

June 18, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

Jason Mantzoukas and Ed Herbstman

Jason Mantzoukas & Ed Herbstman will perform breathtaking duo improv tonight as The Mantzoukas Brothers

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($49.50): Mike Birbiglia performing a unique blend of stand-up and storytelling that’s one of the best theatrical shows in NYC. For my more detailed write-up, please click here; and then grab tickets at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop) for Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Comedy veterans Laura Grey (Second City, Baggage with Jordan Klepper at UCBT), Jodi Lennon (Second City, Annoyance Theatre, iO, Exit 57), and Ari Voukydis (Conan O’Brien, VH1) performing an improvised play in What a Year!

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Joe Bill, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, Kay Cannon, Christina Gausas, and other stellar performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and legendary Chicago improv institutions—all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft making up a play on the spot in Theory of Everything

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on HBO, ABC, NBC, and Comedy Central headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Mario Cantone

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sara Benincasa (one-woman show & book Agoraphobia), Sue Funke, and other stand-ups with issues performing at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Chelsea White and Evan Morgenstern: Call Us Crazy

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s been on HBO’s Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam, P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy, and a Comedy Central Presentsspecial headlining tonight at the Gotham Comedy Club: Tony Woods

[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: A variety show of stand-up, storytelling, and sketch that’s not only free, but promises to give each of the first 25 audience members who arrive a free beer! Unfortunately, the lineup hasn’t been announced; but if you’d care to take a chance, join hosts Ray Combs Jr., Evan Jacobs, and Aalap Patel as they provide you a drink On the House

[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—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($7): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): 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

10:00 pm ($5): Nat Towsen (host of sketch-based The Moon Show), sketch troupe Casual Sexual Offenders, and Colin Summers performing at The Brooklyn Lyceum (227 Fourth Avenue) hosted by all-gal sketch troupe M.A.D. and all-guy sketch group Sidecar: Gentrify Brooklyn

10:00 pm ($5): “An onslaught of rapid-fire character comedy aimed directly at your face” at The PIT’s basement lounge, hosted by Rob Stern: Overload the Machine

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Jason Mantzoukas (rising film/TV star; (We Used to Go OutMother, Baby Mama) and Ed Herbstman (stellar comedic actor; co-founder of the Magnet Theater) show off how breathtakingly quick-witted and skillful they are at creating scenes from air. Time Out New York named these guys Best Improv Duo of 2006. Happily, Jason is back in NYC for a while, so take advantage of this opportunity to see these improvisation comedy stars shine—and then engage in an unusually intimate, and potentially awkward, debriefing session with the audience that can be as much fun as the formal part of the show: The Mantzoukas Brothers

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King interviews an audience member about where he or she grew up and then creates an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here

11:00 pm ($8): A veteran sketch troupe explores themes of liberation in City Hall: Freedom Explosion

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.