NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 3/14/17

March 14, 2017

T.J. Miller and Tariq TrotterT.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Tariq Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought; co-founder & rapper/MC for legendary band The Roots; regular sketch performer on Jimmy Fallon, and exceptionally quick, witty guy), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Mary Mack, Aunty Donna, and more perform stand-up or sketch hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)…

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone…and two of the sharpest, funniest, and most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz, Aparna Nancherla (former writer for Seth Meyers; HBO’s Crashing, Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash) and Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), perform for one night only at this free show in a Brooklyn church: NYC Treasures: Aparna Nancherla & Jo Firestone (7:00 pm-10:00 pm; FREE, but register for tickets online; Brooklyn’s San Damiano Mission Catholic Church at 85 North 15th Street—take the G subway to Nassau Avenue)

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: 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; comedy album I Did It; webseries Teachers Lounge; frequently opens for Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan) tries out new material for an upcoming hour-long special every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ted Alexandro

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Leah Evans & Matthew Schrader make up a fast-paced duo-dialogue mini-play in the style of an Aaron Sorkin movie or TV series at The PIT Mainstage: The Boozeroom

7:00 pm ($5): A showcase for brand new scripted shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—this week featuring sketch comedy by groups Moshpick and! Sketchy, and solo characters by Becca Beberaggi, all at The PIT Underground produced by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

7:00 pm ($7): Improv group Honey performs and hosts other groups at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Honey and Friends

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($10 to watch): Star John Hodgman runs a heavy-duty trivia contest designed to raise funds for creative writing programs at NYC public schools. The contestants have already been selected, but you can come to watch and vicariously participate at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Trivia Night for Cheaters

7:30 pm ($5): Annalise Domenighini (Noisey) and Project Diem perform and/are interviewed about “that one song you’ll never forget” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) performs a solo stand-up show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street): Sam Morril at Village Underground

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

8:00 pm ($7): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, tonight features screenings of select films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. The shorts receiving the most audience votes get to continue with additional episodes, while the others are “canceled” at Channel 101

8:00 pm & 9:30 pm ($7 per show): The top level improv-for-industry shows scheduled for tonight were canceled due to the storm. In their place will probably be some sort of more casual improv TBA at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCB Improv

8:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT Mainstage hosted by twins Adam & Todd Stone: The Stone & Stone Show

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

8:30 pm ($5): Latino comics perform storytelling, improv, and/or more at The PIT Underground: Latinx

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Ian Fidance, Lindsay Boling, Django Gold, Momoh Pujeh, and Shelby Taylor performing after being introduced by “gloriously bad metalcore music” at Brooklyn’s Tender Trap (66 Greenpoint Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Justin Hancock: Buttery Riffz

9:00 pm ($7): Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, MTV), Charles McBee (Comedy Central, MTV, host of Nerd is the New Black), Alzo Slade, Victor Burt, and David Johnson performing for a comedy show “about single life, dating, love, and relationships from the male’s point of view” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Essence Stewart: Two Heads, One Brain: A Night of Mansplaining

9:30 pm ($7): In this unique show, improvisors make up a complete family & friends intervention based on an audience suggestion at The PIT Underground: Impro-vention

9:30 pm ($7): The debut of a comedic political talk show with a Middle East slant at The PIT Mainstage hosted by “a real live brown person:” Passport Control with Mehdi Barakchian

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Comics TBA present funny lectures on silly topics—e.g., “Octopuses: Squishy Satans of the Sea”—at the UCB East theatre hosted by Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform for this show that likes to brag about how great it is at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Brian Bahe & Stu Melton: Hyperbole

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show by Steven Hajar that invites you to “Come observe the recently captured Public Enemy No. 1 down in cell block 888, the revolutionary that the nation’s top psychiatrists have been treating. And if you’re lucky, you might meet the other odd prisoners who share the maximum security cell: in the convict’s mind” at The PIT Underground: The Cell

11:00 pm ($5): Improv group Higgins looks at the Instagram photos of audience members and then uses them as springboards for comedy scenes at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: The Instagram Show

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

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

6:00 pm ($3): A chance for gals to get on stage and improvise with veteran female comics at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Blair Silverman and friends: Lady Jam

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

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

[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

[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 (it’s usually upstairs; the location change is for this week only) hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

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

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

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

[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

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 Wednesday 2/22/17

February 22, 2017

The Educated Guess Science FairJo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:45 pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of their choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then stick around at 9:00 pm for an awards ceremony presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals

7:00 pm pm ($7): A one-man show by Eli James that provides “a decade-by-decade journey through the sordid history of rock ‘n’ roll” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Imagine All the People: A Survey of Music Business Creeps

7:00 pm ($5): Sketches about recent political events at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Swamp: THis Week in Politics

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

7:00 pm ($5): A mix of solo storytelling and improv at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Hot Seat

[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

7:30 pm ($5): Comics screen their favorite movie clips as part of their sets, with tonight’s guests Ja-Ron Young, Jason Chatfield, Judith George, Casey McGowan, and Glo’ Shantae Butler, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Justin Angermeyer & Caitlin Mckee: Roll Credits

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

7:30 pm ($5): Real-life brothers Joe & Tommy Galan perform duo improv at The PIT Underground: Gallons

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with stand-ups Joe DeRosa, Judy Gold, Greer Barnes, Jon Fisch, and Melissa Villasenor, plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Daniel Kibblesmith (writer for Stephen Colbert), Vinny DePonto (mentalist), and Sandy Honig (The Special Without Brett Davis), plus theremin music from Cornelius Loy, all at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Dale Seever: Deep Night with Dale

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A pop culture debate, with this month’s topic Britney vs. Christina argued by Matt Rogers and Bowen Wang, plus drag performances by Zeta Jones and Nomi Sas, all at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Matteo Lane & Christi Chiello with DJ Molly Austin: Battle of the Divas: Britney vs. Christina

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): Comics and comedic storytellers—who tonight are Kevin Allison, Kendra Cunningham, Maritess Zurbano, Doug Smith, and Rebecca Vigil—joining pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

8:00 pm ($7): Writer/performers Adam Wade, Halle Kiefer, Andrew Collin, and Greg Johnson tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Anger at UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street) for David Martin’s The Nights of Our Lives

8:00 pm ($7): “King Zebra has a full black cast (including Ray Morency from Off Top, David Bell, and Raquel Palmas), and we want to do an improv show based around the theme ‘black lives laughter'” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): King Zebra Safari

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) performs a solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Sam Morril: You’ve Changed

8:30 pm ($5): Matt Barats, Anthony Oberbeck, and Carmen Christopher perform as improv group Postmen at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Postmen

8:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy at The PIT Underground: 301 Views

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

9:00 pm ($5): Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine, podcast Sooo Many White Guys, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, host of Comedy Knockout, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Ryan Reiss (Late Night with Seth Meyers) Jared Freid (MTV), and Mike Lebovitz (Last Comic Standing) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Gutter Bar (200 N 14th Street) hosted by David Drake: Comedians You Should Know

9:00 pm ($10): A parody of La La Land from four-guy improv group No Feelings, plus stand-up by Anthony Appruzssze, contortions & music from Amazing Amy, and more at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): No Feelings: Ny Ny Land

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Christian Finnegan, Leah Bonnema, Katina Corrao, Jason Burke, Tanael Joachim, Max Rosenblum, and Ismael Maldonado performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv troupes perform, plus a final set by host group New Greta, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): New Greta Has Friends: Indie Improv

[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 ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, “Becky Abrams is determined to go on a date with every boy she can, and you’re damn right that she’s going to enjoy it while she does:” A Date with Every Boy

…and in the second other of this double bill, “the world’s first Asian-American pop group from the USA. Join Baby Rice, Quirky Rice, Edgy Rice, Competitive Rice, and Brown Rice as they kick off their tour by dancing, singing, and rapping about boys, friendship, and systemic racism/oppression. CUTE!:” AzN PoP!: Live in Concert

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes while you optionally munch on free popcorn at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Kelly Cooper: Popcorn Hour

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Stand-ups perform—until the audience decides they’re done!—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mark Reiss: Slaughter House Live

10:00 pm ($7): An autobiographical one-man show by Gianmarco Soresi at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Infinite Bris

10:00 pm ($7): Comics (not announced) perform stand-up, sketch, improv, and/or more at The PIT Underground hosted by Jared Wilder: Laugh and a Draft

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

11:00 pm ($5): “Logan is 7 years old and hosts a late night talk show in his bedroom when he’s supposed to be asleep. The monster in his closet is his warm-up comic, furious because he knows he’s imaginary! His sidekick, Bunny, is a stuffed animal terrified at the thought of meeting another rabbit, and his house band is a motley crew of action figures and misfit toys. There will be music, real guests, and genuine conversation until Logan eventually gets too tired and falls asleep…probably” featuring stellar comics Connor Ratliff, Sebastian Conelli, and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Way Past Your Bedtime

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, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) 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 Vincent Chang: 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 ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez: Recess

[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

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 Underground: The Camel Butt

[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 lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[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: The Improv Jam

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

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

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

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

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre (123 East 24th Street): 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 Thursday 2/16/17

February 16, 2017

Jo FirestoneComics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers)…

Alingon MitraAlingon Mitra (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Last Comic Standing), Andrew Tisher (host of The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour), Danny Groh (improv group Selfish Green Men), and Mo Fry Pasic—plus actual Pulitzer winnder Anthony Cormier (investigative reporter/editor for BuzzFeed News)—hosted by Caroline Schaper (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (7:30 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 5:30 pm ($12): An autobiographical one-man show by Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion) on how he “survived a childhood in the Reagan Eighties, the rise of the moral majority and meth amphetamine, the terrors of sex and nuclear bombs, and his guest role in a sibling’s suicide by escaping into pop culture” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): The Idaho Jackson Action Playset

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

7:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a documentary based on an audience member’s suggestion at The PIT Mainstage: Observer Effect: An Improvised Documentary

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Jeff Maurer (writer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Pat Brown (Stephen Colbert), and Dean Obeidallah (SiriusXM, The Muslims Are Coming) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($8): “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics Ana Fabrega, Ziwe Fumudoh, Jonathan Braylock, Priya Patel, and Tim Mahoney at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

7:30 pm ($6): Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Spring Day (charming stand-up & sketch comic with cerebral palsy), Jerrold Benford, Ismael Maldonado, and Rashad Bashir performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andre Mcsween: TIgerhouse Comedy

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) are shared by their original authors before total strangers at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Mortified

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Space Station Delta (a Star Trek-like TV episode made up on the spot), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Comics (not announced) performing at this show sponsored by satirical women’s magazine Reductress at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Nicole Silverberg: Haha, Wow! by Reductress

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

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Show Up

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Gun Club

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups Jordan Temple, Samantha Ruddy, Amber Rollo, Bob Carbo, Carolyn Bergier, Napoleon Emill, and Tito Garza performing for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Kilo Bravo (180 North 10th Street) hosted by Lucie Steiner & David Spector: Goliath Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Dan Soder, Nick Griffin, Roy Wood Jr., Adrienne Iapalucci, Keith Robinson, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Alex English, Pedro Gonzalez, Alon Elian, and Keenan Steiner performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Hungry Ghost Cafe/Bar (781 Fulton Street, between Fulton and South Oxford Streets) produced by Keenan Steiner and hosted by Thiago Macklin Lima & Harrison Tweed: Comedy at the Corner

8:30 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT Underground capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

9:00 pm ($7): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (Nat Geo, MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Samantha Ruddy, Alison Klemp, Sarah Kennedy, and more performing after being introduced by “gloriously bad metalcore music” at Brooklyn’s Tender Trap (66 Greenpoint Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Justin Hancock: Buttery Riffz

9:00 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

9:00 pm ($5): Comedy group Unlikely Heroes performs new sketches for this monthly show at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Unlikely Heroes

9:00 pm ($6): NYC stand-ups and storytellers Robin Gelfenbien, Sharron Paul, Jen Mutascio, Marc Gerber, Alexis Guerreros, and Nicole Conlan performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

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

9:30 pm ($10): Comics who all met at Brown University perform scripted comedy at The PIT Mainstage: Rad Motel Sketch Comedy

10:00 pm ($5): This inexpensive variety show typically features improv and more at The PIT Underground: The Really, Really Cheap Date Show

10:00 pm ($7): Booked comics try out stand-up, characters, songs, and other new material at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Liz Noth, Jessica Morgan, Erin Bartley, and/or Casey McCormick: First Looks

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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Last week musical improv group Rumpleteaser severely dimmed improv team Brightlight, winning a decisive victory of 78-16. Tonight Rumpleteaser tries to curb Too Big of a Dog, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Meghan Hanley, Alex Carabano, and Tyler Fisher performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open mic for solo character bits, with names drawn from a bucket and 5 minutes provided to each performer, at the UCB East theatre: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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

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

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam open to the audience in which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

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

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

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

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

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

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:00 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 12/21/16

December 21, 2016

Jo Firestone

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 “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight “There are over 237 problems in the world but not for long. Join us for The Telethon, a star-studded benefit concert and variety show to raise real money to give a dog a real Bar Mitzvah (also to give to the real New York Immigration Coalition). Remember: Money can’t buy happiness, so give it to a good cause!“: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow (11:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 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), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), Kath Barbadoro (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle), Khalid Ramaan, and Jason Carlos Saenz performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker): The Sensible Show

7:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Three hours of improv from six groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): On Christmas week, every UCB East Wednesday improv house group—The Union, Barrymore, Steakhouse, Blush, The Nightmare, and Slingshot—performs for 30 minutes each on The Longest Lloyd Night of the Year

[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

7:30 pm ($8): Ray DeVito, Jonas Barnes, Sydnee Washington, Brian bargainer, and Ismael Maldonado performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andre Mcsween: Tigerhouse Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A musical improv and stand-up show that features a live band providing musical accompaniment to jokes, with guests Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), 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), Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety), Rae Sanni, Ramy Youssef, Dan Perlman, Joey D’Alessio, Paul Adler, Alex Weston, and Benjamin Louis Brody performing stand-up or music at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Yedoye Travis & Farah Brook: Rent Party

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sharp writer/performers—who tonight are Nick Stevens, Adam Wade, Halle Kiefer, John Murray, and wonderful host David Martin—tell comedic tales revolving around this month’s theme Best Present at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

[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 ($5): Matt Barats, Anthony Oberbeck, and Carmen Christopher perform as improv group Postmen at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Postmen

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

9:00 pm ($10): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT downstairs lounge: Locked Up B*tches

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Lauren Conlin Adams (Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything), TJ Del Reno (Comedy Central), Matt Sky, and Kenny Warren performing stand-up for this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($10): Comedic storytellers Veronica Garza (MTV), Lori Baird (Talk Therapy), Sam Evans, Aaron Kaplan, Chris Murphy, Daniel J Perafan,and Corey Reppond tell tales about losing their virginity at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Angela Cobb: My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Breathtakingly subtle genius improvisor John Lutz (cast member of 30 Rock; six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live; John and Scott) and extreme improvisor Peter Grosz (Veep, Inside Amy Schumer, former writer for Seth Meyers and The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials) perform duo improv as 2 Square

10:30 pm ($5): A tribute to a popular animated series at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Drum Drum Christmas Drums: A Rick & Morty Christmas

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: 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Walk-in open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) 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 Vincent Chang: Flynn’s Mic

[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: 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 lounge 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 ($5): On Christmas week, take this opportunity to jump on stage and jam with improv veterans—who tonight include members of group Higgins, and possibly a bunch of others from the previous extravaganza (see 7:30) at the UCB East theatre: The Longest Improv Jam of the Year

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 Saturday 12/17/16

December 17, 2016

Never Seen ItHost Kyle Ayers asks each invited comic to rewrite the climactic scene of a famous movie he or she has never seen. Kyle then casts the reinvented scenes and has them acted out on stage, accompanied by new musical scores. Tonight’s revisionist screenwriters are Jo Firestone (rewriting 12 Angry Men; exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Will Miles (rewriting Star Wars; co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), and Jean Grae (rewriting Annie Hall; singer; Night Train), all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Never Seen It (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

Noon ($5): A staged reading of a TV pilot written by Kevin Scott at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tiny Black Box

[FREE; reserve tickets here] 1:00 pm: A rare lunchtime stand-up show for families, with all kids under 15 allowed on stage to tell a joke, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Guess What?

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 2:00 pm-4:00 pm ($15 online using discount code 3DQED, otherwise $20; tickets available online only!): Eric Drysdale (former writer for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report) is a brilliant comic—but in addition he’s a huge fan of 1950s photos taken with the once-popular Stereo Realist 3-D camera system. In this interactive show—limited to just 12 people—Eric provides everyone with his or her own 3-D viewer, allowing you to plunge yourself into over 200 of the most amazing “stereo photos” Eric’s collected. Like looking at images in a dream, this show takes you on a haunting, amusing, and fascinating trip to the past that I highly recommend at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Eric Drysdale’s Midcentury Stereopanorama

6:00 pm ($5): Stand-up Shawn Wickens stays awake for 24 hours before performing this show, with guests Will Cheng and The Boozeroom at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Shawn Wickens: Insomniact

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in February at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

6:00 pm ($3): Sketch, improv, and other comedy forms at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Brian Pisano & Josh Bates: The Golden Hour

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

6:00 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): The Porterspace comedy group performs at Greenwich Village’s The Lantern (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Amber Rollo: Deep Dish Comedy

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and/or more make up stories with songs at the UCB East theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 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 Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group Ladies of The PIT (Dana Krashin, Tracy Mull, Sarah Nowak, and more) make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and Ladies of The PIT

7:00 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($5): Mary Houlihan & Sam Taggart perform duo improv, and group Monogamous performs one long 30-minute scene, all at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Mary & Sam Do Two-Prov and Monogamous

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

 [TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($40 plus 2-drink minimum): The king of roasts headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club:Club: Jeff Ross

7:30 pm ($10): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT downstairs lounge: Locked Up B*tches

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($8): Musical comics Lauren Maul and Pat Wise, and classical musicians Adam Grannick & Elana Estrinand, performing at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Robin Gelfenbien (host of storytelling show Yum’s the Word; VH1, Sirius Satellite Radio, FringeNYC)—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($10): In this mini-play, “When the four most qualified (and emotionally unstable) astronauts money can buy crash-land on the moon, they find there are worse things in space than being out of fuel, out of radio contact, and out of luck. Much worse. But at least they still have plenty of Tang” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Moon Crew

8:00 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Centralia

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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist) and Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code) “sing your favorite Christmas songs while slowly getting drunker throughout the night. Come see if we can still stand by the end” at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Amber & Matteo’s Christmas Songs

9:30 pm ($10): A comedy group that blends sketch, dance, physical comedy, poetry, live music, and metaphysical comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre: His Majesty, the Baby

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan Steakhouse

9:30 pm ($10): A four-guy improv group, plus guests performing improv, stand-up, and/or music, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): No Feelings

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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic) Mary Houlihan (Comedy Central, Cartoon Monsoon), and Adam Burke (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) perform stand-up, plus music from “serious musician and outrageous comedian Tommy McNamara who performs an intimate, unplugged set” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tommy McNamara Unplugged Christmas Spectaculara

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week—which tonight is The Rockettes—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Rockettes Edition

[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 ($5): A young all-guy comedy group performing improv and/or sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: Gentlemen Party: Secular Christmas Miracle Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Six improvisors—who tonight include the wonderful Tracy Mull, Ron Hill, and Jason Scott Quinn—compete for your laughs and votes at this fun improv game show at The PIT upstairs theatre produced by Tracy Mull and hosted by Jeffrey Mondoro: The Island: Cutthroat Improv Competition Championship Finale

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

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), Greg Stone (America’s Got Talent, TruTV’s Friends of the People), and Justin Flanagan share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

[FREE] Midnight: “Every month comedian Dan King writes a pilot script for a new sitcom and hosts a live table read of the script. It’s important that you come see these live because these ideas will never, ever make it to television” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Test Pilots

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

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

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 Comedy Picks for Wednesday 11/2/16

November 2, 2016

Louis C.K. is performing his most recent Madison Square Garden show one more time, on Friday December 16th at 8:00 pm. I saw this show thanks to Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review, and found Jason’s observations & insights to be spot-on. Louis managed the almost miraculous feat of delivering a vulnerable, intimate performance for 18,000 people, turning them into a single delighted group mind. It was masterful, reminding us of the heights stand-up can reach; and one of the best shows I ever expect to see. (Am hoping it gets turned into an HBO special; but even if that happens, there’s nothing quite like experiencing it live…) To nab tickets, please click here.

Judah Friedlander, Michelle Buteau, and Jo FirestoneThis second day of the Seventh Annual New York Comedy Festival features Judah Friedlander, Michelle Buteau hosting Judah, Mark Normand, and Sasheer Zamata, Jo Firestone hosting a dating show, and more. For the full schedule, please click New York Comedy Festival 2016

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] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Ruined!

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): 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), Joe Zimmerman (Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Matt Dennie (MTV, IFC, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Sensible Show

7:00 ($5): A sketch show in which “after an unexpected fart shakes the foundation of their marriage, Off-Off-Off Broadway’s favorite married couple decide to separate, sharing custody of their adult son” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: ‘Til Death Do Us Fart

[FREE] 7:00 pm-midnight: Five 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

7:00 pm ($5): The host of Creek Cave Live tries out stand-up material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Casey James Salengo

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 ($12-$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): Mindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; alter ego Leibya Rogers) performs a one-woman show about love and relationships at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys

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 ($10): The spectacular Jo Firestone (dynamic rising star; host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) hosts this show in which “comics represent you onstage in a live dating game! You may cringe and remain as anonymous as you want in the crowd…or arrive at 7:30 pm to be paired up with a comic and tell everything there is to know about you in 10 minutes or less, and then let them guide your love life in great and maybe horrible ways.” Tonight’s comics are Myq Kaplan, Aparna Nancherla, Naomi Ekperigin, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Gary Richardson, Nick Maritato, and Kevin Iso. “Out of over 100 couples matched, four couples have managed to develop actual long-term relationships. One couple just moved in together. It’s amazing and defies all odds” at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Comedian Friends of Single People

8:00 ($5): Sketch comedy revolving around the Presidential election at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Election Hot Takes 2016

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) performs a solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Sam Morril: You’ve Changed

[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 ($5): Storytellers share tales of bad dates, and then improvisors create scenes that make those bad dates even worse at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Ryan Darden: Bad Date Theater

8:30 pm ($5): Three long-form improv sets revolving around “a Happening designed to Gather Experience, Experience Gathering, and Hather Gearience” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Will and Maya’s Gathering Experience Happening

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Nathan Macintosh, Casey James Salengo, and David Drake performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Gutter Bar (200 N 14th Street) hosted by Saurin Choksi: Comedians You Should Know

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Leah Bonnema, Adam Lowitt, DC Benny, Dan Frigolette, Justin Williams, TJ Del Reno, and Doug Key performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($7): Musical improvisors Katie Hammond & Daniel Tepper, singer Camille Harris, improvisor Rory Scholl, and puppeteer AJ Cote performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Gregorek—who might invite you on stage: Man Interviews Audience

[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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Genius comics Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teams up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (staff writer for Seth Meyers; previously cast member of 30 Rock, and six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live) to form a super-smart and hilarious star improv duo that’s become one of the very best attractions at UCB Chelsea and should not be missed: John & Scott

9:30 pm ($5): “Wilboro Shakespen and Christopen Marlboro are roommates with a terrible secret…they’re history’s greatest playwrights! They’ve also got a terrible mission—to write history’s greatest play, or else get evicted from their chill bach’ pad!” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Shakespen & Marlboro

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United) answers your questions at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jonas Barnes: Judah Friedlander

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($8): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code,), Annie Lederman (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately, co-host of Pirate Party), Ricky Velez (former correspondent for The Nightly Show), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Jared Freid, and Lil Freckles performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Liza Treyger (Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately): Liza Treyger and Friends

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($10, plus 2-item food/drink min.): A parody game show in which male stand-ups Kurt Metzger, Sam Morril, Chris DiStefano, and Aaron Berg each performs a 5-minute set, and then female stand-ups Lynne Koplitz, Tammy Pescatelli, Gail Bennington, and Kerryn Feehan try to decide if they’d bang him. (Not for every taste.) It all happens at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue) hosted by married couple RIch Vos & Bonnie McFarlane: Would You Bang Him?

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Charlie Todd & Kevin Hines provide color commentary on improv sets by other top improvisors at UCB East for this monthly event: Play by Play

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Dara Katz & Betsy Kenney host a crazed parody of a dance tournament featuring “nine amateur (or worse) teams performing choreographed dances” for a rotating panel of comic judges—and you—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Nationals: An Amateur Comedy Dance Tournament

[TOP PICK] 11:15 pm ($5): The first round of a beloved annual November tradition at UCB East hosted by Pat Baer: 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

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, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) 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 Vincent Chang: 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: 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: 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

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: 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 lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 8/10/16

August 10, 2016

Ridgefield Middle School Talent NitePossibly the funniest duo sketch show in NYC, from Dylan Marron (Welcome to Nightvale, 2015 Drama Desk Nominee) and 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), who give you “a real-time middle school talent show performed by two grown adults:” Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite (8:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

Jo Firestone…and then later Jo Firestone (co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts her “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show that tonight celebrates the Olympics by asking you to “watch as incredibly unfit comedian-types compete in challenges solely requiring physical strength and agility. Who will take home the gold? Who will roll away in shame? Come find out.” Featuring Jo, Tyler Richardson, Sandy Honig, Chris Garner, Ryan Haney, and more: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow (11:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

More recommendations for the best in NYC 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

7:00 pm ($5): Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, #FAIL Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Bowen Yang (Broad City), Zack Bornstein (Jimmy Kimmel Live), Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party), and Drew Dowdey performing stand-up 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 (genius musical improvisor of Your Love Our Musical and North Coast; VH1): 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 ($12-$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 ($20, plus 2-item minimum if you purchase a seat; no min. if you buy a standing room ticket; either way, price includes free slices of homemade ice cream cakes!): Peter Grosz (Veep, Inside Amy Schumer, former writer for Seth Meyers and The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials), Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Sandi Marx (7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and Adam Linn (The Moth Mainstage) tell true tales for this Fifth Year Anniversary show at the The Gallery of Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Robin Gelfenbien (storyteller and singer/songwriter; VH1, AMC, Sirius Radio) with free ice cream cakes made by Robin herself: Yum’s the Word: 5th Year Anniversary Show

7:30 pm ($5): Erica Hernandez & Natalie Rich perform a two-person comedy about a high school in its last week of Senior year at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Gimme an F

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 ($15; 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 bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central, MTV), Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Sarah Tollemache, and Tim Dillon performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Wednesday: Judah Friedlander, Dan Soder, Joe List, Jim Florentine, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comics Justin Charity, Jason DeMarco, Ben Hopkins, and Zoe Camp deliver silly PowerPoint presentations fueled by alcohol, with this month’s topic Animation, at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Drunk TED Talks: Get Animated

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Movie & TV clips of Muppet Gonzo’s best moments screened at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, plus “Muppet-themed drink specials, cool giveaways, and more:” The Muppet Vault: Gonzo the Great

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Comedic storytellers Sean O. Brien, Joseph Robert, Nathaniel Cocoa-Bates, and Ritchie Redding performing on the premise “Sometimes people are dicks. Then they tell us about it onstage. It’s great!” at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) for this monthly show hosted by Jake Hart & Nick Padilla: Antagonist Storytelling Series (ASS)

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) performs a solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Sam Morril: You’ve Changed

8:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups guide you through “a typical day at school” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Lillian DeVane, Guitler Raphael, and Kofi Thomas: Hall Pass

8:30 pm ($5): Chris Roberti hosts sketch, improv, and/or more at The PIT downstairs lounge: Chris Roberti Presents

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Sean Donnelly, Rob Little, Langston Kerman, Meghan Hanley, Scotland Green, Paul Schissler, and JP Roy performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): Casey Balsham, Derek Humphrey, Jacob Williams, Chris James, and Tori Piskin 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

9:00 pm ($5): An improv pianist plays for four improv acts—two of which are musical improv—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Piano Show

[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): Top improvisors Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Molly Thomas “talk to one person for less than 10 minutes and let them know how they die 45 minutes later” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: We Know How You Die

9:30 pm ($5): A five-woman play described as follows: “After graduating college, sorority sisters make a pact to come together during various periods in their life at that time of the month to celebrate their sisterhood. They soon learn, even if you belong to the most prestigious sorority of beavers, life can get messy—PERIOD! It’s Sisterhood of Traveling Pants meets Requiem for a Dream if it was written by a teenage girl with a cast that have all done at least two improv classes and background work on HBO’s Girls” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Blood Pact

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central, MTV), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Aida Rodriguez, and Ian Lara performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Dan Soder, Joe List, Jim Florentine, Pete Lee, and More

[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

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, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) 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 Vincent Chang: 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: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

[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 theatre 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

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: 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 lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[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 What I Did For Love: 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!)

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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.