NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/21/13

February 21, 2013

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Catch the hilarious first episode of The Jeselnik Offensive, with Amy Schumer & Aziz Ansari, tonight at midnight on Comedy Central

Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames, author & creator of HBO’s Bored to Death…

Sara Schaefer

…and the luminous Sara Schaefer are interviewed at Running Late with Scott Rogowsky…

Dave Hill and Mara Wilson

….Dave Hill (left) tells tales at Jenny Rubin’s Here’s the Story; Mara Wilson (right) does the same at Tom Shillue’s Funny Story; and Shannon O’Neill is at Todd Bieber’s Animated Stories….

Manos The Hands of Fate

…or enjoy one of the worst films ever made, the 1966 anti-classic Manos The Hands of Fate, at Devil Science Theater 3000

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

 [TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Joanna Parsons (The Moth, NYC actress) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, hosted by the wonderful John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv troupe Adorable mixes with musical improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Pitch

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Anna Drezen about “lonely cannibals, clingy ghost roomies, manic pixie devil worshipers, and other adorable stains-on-society who just want to make a friend” (and, with any luck, I’ll be attending this tonight) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Spooky Jerks

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT downstairs lounge: Punchbowl and THEM

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Comedic true tales from superb comics Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, The Stepfathers, ASSSSCAT 3000, Strangers Wanted, Ladies Night, The Lady Jam), Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, host of And I Am Not Lying), Craig Rowin (College Humor, Head Writer of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?), Rory Panagotopulos (UCB), and Dylan Donahue (UCB), plus some open-mic slots for audience members, at UCB East hosted by Todd Bieber (Commercial Interruption, Director of Content & Production for that at the end selects a favorite yarn to be turned into an animated short film premiering the following month (for hilarious samples, please click here): Animated Stories

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10; includes a free beer): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers comics to tell funny stories at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street), with tonight’s guests former child actress Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Jason Fried, and Jonathan Schnapp: Tom Shillue’s Funny Story

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Storytellers Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper, author of Tasteful Nudes), Danny Leary, Dana Rossi, and Eli Reiter performing for this twice-monthly storytelling show at 2A (25 Avenue A & 2nd Street) hosted by Jenny Rubin: Here’s the Story

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Colbert Report gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seize the Mustard

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A former roommate & drinking buddy of such comedy giants as David Cross and Marc Maron performs a one-man show that was such a hit at August’s FringeNYC it’s been extended indefinitely. Please read my review by clicking here, and Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review by clicking here; and then come share an intimate hour with Matt Graham at theSoho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club so he can explain life and meaning and why This Too Shall Suck

8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT downstairs lounge: Hemlock and Dagger

8:00 pm ($8): Ora Fruchter & Christopher Scheer put a hand-puppet through improvised therapy atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Puppet Therapy

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Junior Varsity, Featherweight, and Hello Laser performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Round Trip (long form improv that tells the story of a group of characters over the course of three separate monoscenes, directed by legendary improvisor Armando Diaz), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component), tonight featuring Megalou vs. Listen, Weirs!: The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:40 pm ($13): The debut of a play about the history of Braille, with performers including NYC storytelling icon Leslie Goshko, at The Kraine Theatre (85 East 4th Street): The Spectator & the Blind Man: Stories of Seeing & Not-Seeing

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover and/or Emily Heller: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Jonathan Ames (creator/showrunner of HBO’s Bored to DeathDavid Letterman; film The Girl Under the Waves; author of numerous books, including Wake Up, Sir), Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), B. J. Mendelson (author of Social Media is Bullshit), stand-ups Sam Morril (Comedy Central) and Zach Broussard, and photographer Seph Olenick, all performing and/or being interviewed at The PIT upstairs theatre by host Scott R.: Running Late with Scott Rogowsky

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of, you can see the folks behind it plus like-minded comics on the UCB Chelsea stage—tonight including Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), Jeff Rubin, and Max Silvestri: CollegeHumor Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Ryan Hamilton (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime), Michael Che (David Letterman, Comedy Central), Erik Rivera (Jay Leno, MTV), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Mike Vecchione (Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua: Ted Alexandro, Ryan Hamilton, Michael Che, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($5 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the 1966 classic example of dreadful Manos The Hands of Fate (garnering an impressively low 1.9 on IMDB; for a wordless trailer that says it all, please click here) at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv troupe Grandma’s Ashes grinded its competitor to a fine powder and tossed it into the wind last week, winning with a audience vote of 105-18 (ouch!). Tonight the champ faces Huxtable at UCB Chelsea; and while things don’t look good for the challenger, you really never know what’s going to happen as these improv groups compete for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

11:00 ($5): NYC comics Anna Drezen (see 7:00 pm), Chris Grace (sharp improvisor, PIT star), Brendan Fitzgibbons (TLC, The Onion, Cracked, Rolling Stone). Cyrus McQueen (HBO, Power 105), and Bryson Turner performing stand-up at UCB East as part of the online community, hosted by Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, The Daily Show): /r/standup

[$] Midnight ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Andrew Schultz (MTV2’s Guy Code), Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam), Chris Distefano (Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Sam Morril (Comedy Central) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV): The Nasty Show: Big Jay Oakerson, Kurt Metzger, Andrew Schultz, and More

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

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 11/12/12

November 12, 2012

For more, please visit

Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames, author & creator of HBO’s Bored to Death, is among the luminaries raising post-Sandy funds at Brooklyn Relief: A Night of Words, Music, and Comedy…

Billy The Mime

…and a wryly brilliant silent comic performs as Billy the Mime

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Cammi Climaco (co-host of Ask Me Stories) debuts this weekly hour-long open-mic storytelling show, with 6 audience members chosen from a bucket of names getting to tell tales for 6 minutes each at The PIT downstairs lounge. My note to PIT management: Please give Cammi 90 minutes for this show so she can provide a proper 8 minutes per storyteller, plus a guest-host each week, so it can be competitive with other offerings—even if that means changing the show’s current name: Six By Six

6:00 pm ($5 cover for comics, no cover for audience with code HyReviews, plus 1-drink min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4 1/2 minutes per set and 20 comics crammed into 2 hours—at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street) for John Morrison’s Village Motel

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show running about 90 minutes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Chris Gaynor: Open Mic Mondays

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5.65 in advance online, $8 at the door): A monthly storytelling show from the wonderful Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Tales of the Cosmos and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), along with guest storyteller Steven Berkowitz (Moth StorySlam winner), at Under St. Marks: The Adam Wade from New Hampshire Show: Tales of Life, Love, and Little League

7:00 pm ($5): A variety show mixing sketch, stand-up, music, and improv (sadly, this month’s guests haven’t been announced) at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by all-gal improv troupe Gypsy: The Mélange

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at One and One Bar’s Downstairs Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A spectacular and unforgettable demonstration of the artful power of mime when combined with a wickedly sharp modern sensibility, executed with great wit and style. Street performers have given mime a bad rep; but if you think about it, what mime does is boil a situation down to its essential elements, and then express those elements in a manner that’s instantly and universally understood. That’s really what art is all about; and that’s also what Billy the Mime does, often brilliantly. (For my review of his FringeNYC show in 2006, please click here.): Billy the Mime

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($20 at the door or $24 in advance online): Comics, storytellers, writers, and musicians—including Jonathan Ames, Amy Sohn, Elna Baker, and Dan Wilbur—gather for this fundraiser providing help to Hurricane Sandy victims at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Brooklyn Relief: A Night of Words, Music, and Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 online): Gary Gulman (Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), Erin Judge (Comedy Central; comedy album So Many Choices; for hilarious short bit on men vs. women, please click here), Jerrod Carmichael, Ron Funches, and Jean Grae performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent of The Daily Show): Night Train with Wyatt Cenac

8:00 pm ($5): 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

[FREE—and FREE BEER!] 8:30 pm: Heineken sponsors this free beer event featuring NYC stand-ups Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim, Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show; films Pluto Nash, End of Days, A Guy Thing), Nimesh Patel (co-host of Broken Comedy), Josh Gondelman, Sean Mallory, and Matt Fullchiron at B Bar (40 East 4th Street) produced by Libby Phillips & hosted by Ray Devito: Recess Comedy

8:30 pm ($5): At The Magnet, Oscar Montoya (Midnight Movies, Aquarius) invites some of his favorite musical improvisors to perform songs made up on the spot with him: Musical Improv Spotlight

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Hari Kondabolu (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, , FX’s Totally Biased), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central Presents), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Monroe Martin III, and Sean Keane performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Bar Matchless back room (557 Manhattan Avenue, near the G subway’s Nassau Avenue stop) hosted by Nimesh Patel, Mike Denny, and/or Michael Che: Broken Comedy

9:00 pm ($8): A one-woman show at The PIT: “Becky Flaum thinks she’s Julia Roberts. And Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan, Drew Barrymore, even Katherine Heigel. But she isn’t. Her high cinematic hopes for her love life start to get in the way of reality on her quest for the perfect co-star:” Hopeless Romantic Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Stand-up auditions for SXSW, which is likely to feature superb comics, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Maddog Mattern: SXSW Showcase

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon), Jermaine Fowler (FOX’s new In Living Color, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Kevin Barnett (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor), Lil’ Rel, Jennifer Bartels, and Josh Rabinowitz performing stand-up at UCB East: Legion of Goons

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch troupes try out fresh material: The Prom (which includes such stellar talents as Sasheer Zamata, Amber Nelson, Stephen Soroka, Siobhan Thompson, and Ari Scott), and Onassis (which has seldom been strong on the writing side but includes superb actress Lauren Conlin Adams): Maude Night: The Prom & Onassis

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Twelve improv comics who are “friends of Dorothy” perform at The Magnet hosted by Andrew Fafoutakis: There’s No Place Like Home: A GLBTQ Event

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who are no longer being announced in advance, but it’s virtually always a great lineup—at UCB Chelsea hosted by someone wonderful (while Leo Allen is in LA): Whiplash

[FREE] 11:00 pm: If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should be Whiplash! night (see listing above). If you’re a comic who couldn’t get booked on UCBT’s all-star show, though, you can opt to instead practice your skills at this exceptionally supportive stand-up open-mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jared Reed: Fresh

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 11/11/09

November 11, 2009

For full details, please visit

Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames, the creator of HBO's superb series Bored to Death, is interviewed tonight on Carl Arnheiter's Inside Joke

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation in The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm ($5): A superb improvisor & comedic performer tries out material for a one-man show: Will Hines

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Top writers and comedians—who tonight are the powerhouse line-up Jessi Klein, Leslie Goshko, Robin Gelfenbien, and Jim O’Grady—join world-class storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion and record-breaking 10-time StorySlam Champion; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here) in Ochi’s Lounge to share their favorite true campus anecdotes at True Tales From College

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Carl Arnheiter interviewing a novelist and the creator of HBO’s superb series Bored to Death: Inside Joke with Jonathan Ames

[FREE] 8:00: NYC stand-ups John Morrison, Karith Foster, Moody McCarthy, Mick Diflo, Eric Vetter, and Dave Greek performing at this free weekly show hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Kurt Braunohler, Patrick Borelli, Noah Garfinkel, and Rory Scovel performing at a free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) hosted by Gabe Liedman and Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Brilliantly funny Dave Hill tells of his adventures overseas, and a one-man show about extreme gay-phobia, in the double-bill Dave Hill: Big in Japan and Brent Sullivan: Fag Life

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) providing as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

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