NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 6/26/16

June 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible…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

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 8/1/10

August 1, 2010

For full details, please visit

Jon Daly

Jon Daly epitomizing the playfully surreal nature of Saturday's DCM as his character Sappity Tappity, the drunken green tree

The recommendation for the best in New York City comedy tonight is:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] All Day Today Through 7:15 pm ($25): One of the most magical events in NYC, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from 4:30 pm this past Friday until 7:15 pm today (following by a show from the Upright Citizens Brigade at 8:00 pm for an additional $15—except the latter’s already sold out). Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Montreal, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are a mere $25 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. As in past years, the only down side will be way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by three additional venues just a couple of blocks from UCBT: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. This is one of the finest comedy events in the country, always magical, and flat-out should not be missed.

Highlights from the 12 hours I spent at the festival on Saturday included:

The legendary guys of the Upright Citizens Brigade—Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh—challenging their young audience to test the trio’s knowledge of hip modern terms…and culminating in their persuading a young woman to make a bet with them she was bound to lose and then forcing her to “lip synch” to a song via her belly button.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company turning a rather innocent suggestion about “horse flies in the river” into a tale of multiple drowned babies, filicide, and dual regicide…and as on Friday, garnering an impassioned standing ovation.

Death by Roo Roo making a strong argument for being the finest improv troupe based in NYC, as its genius members showed us what it might be like to work for a haunted house—complete with recruiting zombies, ghouls, ravens, and guys with Atkinson’s Disease.

Paul Scheer dazzling audiences with his brilliance and charm, first in an improv about a dad with uncanny powers, and then as host of a raucous 1970s game show.

The aforementioned Match Game ’76, which featured a small army of celebrities including Chris Gethard as an inbred deviant from Deliverance, Matt Besser as the Indian crying over littering, Eugene Cordero as a very gay George Takei, John Gemberling as Larry Flynt tossing his colostomy bag at people to express displeasure, Michael Delaney neatly evoking Truman Capote, and Ben Rodgers perfect as Lt. Columbo…culminating in them all repeatedly raping the male contestant.

Matt Besser hosting a “panel of experts” including Rob Lathan as an unrepentant Mel Gibson, Kate McKinnon as an emotionally disconnected hooker, and Jon Daly as a drunken green tree named Sappity Tappity.

Comedy dynamo Shannon O’Neill as a serial killer/baby eater interviewing audience members and then drawing deeply disturbing profiles of them (e.g., “Here, this is you shitting in your own mouth”).

One of the quickest & funniest comics alive, Doug Benson, hosting his stand-up/improv show The Benson Interruption with guests Todd Barry, Paul Scheer, and Morgan Murphy…and consistently killing. Look for Doug’s show in the Fall on Comedy Central (six episodes, hopefully with many more to come).

Eugene Cordero hilariously narrating a show by calling out every improv device as it occurred: “Aw shit, we got the location set up!” “Delivered the premise in one line, goddamn!” “Oh, there it is homies, we know the game!” “Good object work, that looked like a real dick!” “Swinging door, that’s Level 2 shit!” “Sweep edit! Next scene, motherfuckers!!”

There are other comedy events happening tonight; but they pale in comparison.

Come experience the awe, mystery, and hilarity of the final day of The 12th Annual Del Close Marathon

For full details, please visit