NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/17/14

April 17, 2014

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Jon Benjamin

Alt comedy giants Jon Benjamin…

Dave Hill

…Dave Hill, and Jo Firestone perform in Brooklyn at Larry Murphy’s Myrtle Comedy

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.27 online; cover price includes free drink; no min.) A “longform storytelling” show, providing a whopping 25 minutes per storyteller, with tonight’s guests Sam Dingman (Moth GrandSlam Champion), Robert Singleton Hurst, and David Arroyo performing at The Tank (151 West 46th Street) hosted by Eli Reiter: Long Story Long

7:00 pm ($5): Chris Roberti and Dave Ahdoot play a bunch of comedic characters at The PIT downstairs lounge: Fun With Characters

7:00 pm ($10): All-gal improv group Gilda, plus guest group The Serling, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gilda’s Date Night

7:00 pm ($5): Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Allison Castillo (Comedy Central), Jared Freid, and Paul Oddo performing at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Hannibal Buress, Greg Rogell, Marina Franklin, Lynne Koplitz, and Keith Robinson at the 7:45 show; Hannibal Buress, Greer Barnes, James Smith, and Lynne Koplitz at the 8:00 show; Hannibal Buress, Ali Wong, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, Jermaine Fowler, and Chris Distefano at the 9:30 show; and Paul Mecurio, Jon FIsch, and James Smith at the 11:30 show, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5): Jon Benjamin (unique off-the-wall comedy genius; FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, FX’s Archer, Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Adult Swim, MTV’s Human Giant), 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), and Jo Firestone (rising star; Punderdome 3000, host of The Incredible Game Show Showcase) performing at this show for stand-up plus sketch at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor for FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, Adult Swim’s Assy McGee and Home Movies, and numerous other shows) and/or Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp prove themselves among the finest writer/performers at UCB with a consistently charming and hilarious version of Forest Gump that covers the entire film in 30 minutes, and features a deliciously funny Jenny played by Brandon Gulya, who also directed, resulting in one of the best sketch shows currently playing on an NYC stage: GUMP

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a full-blown musical about “three polygamist pop stars on the hunt for their brother husband,” starring Caitlin Davis, Kaleigh Malloy, and Elizabeth May (with some help from Dave May): Missionary in Manhattan: A Mormon Musical

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Keith and the Girl are the guests at both Hang Out with Me taping hosted by Myq Kaplan and Myka Fox & Friends taping by Myka Fox at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jay Dean: Keith and the Girl Double-Bill

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by Welded (musical improv that takes two seemingly separate scenes and fuses them together), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from ace storyteller Adam Wade at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

8:00 pm ($10): Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), and Will Miles performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

8:00 pm ($5): Two musical improv groups make up song-and-dance based stories on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, one with a taste for oiled brains and the other for Conium: Slick Zombie and Hemlock

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Taylor Ketchum, Lucie Steiner, Matt Donaher, and Evan M. Williams performing at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) hosted by Sooyah Jun and/or Jawann Carmona: FTH Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), Nimesh Patel (co-host of Broken Comedy), Halle Kiefer (host of Splitsider’s Dog and Pony Show), Adam Mamawala, Corinne Fisher, and Taylor Ketchum performing stand-up at Tammany Hall (152 Orchard Street) hosted by Boris Khaykin & Ian Fidance: Gift Horse Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5): Simon Amstell (UK TV star writer/performer who spent 3 years hosting pop quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 6 years hosting Popworld, and is currently the creator, writer, and star of sitcom Grandma’s House), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted,, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, Alice Wetterlund (MTV’s Girl Code), and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (College Humor, Olde English): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Potentially an animation fan’s dream come true, in this new show comics make merciless fun of bad Japanese anime at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Benel Germosen & Jarrid Reed: Otakulypse

[TOP PICK] 9:30 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] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show) talks about his love/hate affair with New York City in this blend of storytelling and stand-up at the PIT upstairs theatre: Christian Finnegan’s The Gorgeous Mosaic

9:30 pm ($8): Improv spinning off the mythic TV series The Golden Girls at The PIT downstairs lounge: Four Broads and Cheesecake: Golden Girls Improv

9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of, you can see the folks behind it plus like-minded stand-ups (not announced) on the UCB Chelsea stage at CollegeHumor Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Weekly stand-up show hosted by the brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Charles Gould, and Dan Licata at the UCB East theatre, with tonight’s guest comics Jacqueline Novak, Michael Kramer, and Brad Austin: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week improv group Fuck That Shit won its 11th victory in a row against Lloyd team Graceland in a relatively close contest of 73-64. Tonight FTS will try to cool down group Hotspur, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

[FREE] Midnight: A free screening at UCB East (which used to be an indie movie theatre) of a slasher flick that features such UCB comics as John Murray, Dan Hodapp, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Amber Nelson, Andy Rocco, Dan Chamberlain, Rob Lathan, Jim Santangeli, Will Hines, Eddie Dunn, Ari Scott, and Pat Baer: Fear Town USA

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] 5:30 pm: All-gal open mic at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by the spectacular Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix 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 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email 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 (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

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

9:30 pm (free for audience members, $5 or 1 drink min. for stand-ups wanting to perform): Open mic stand-up providing 7 minutes per comic (and a free recording of your set!), with order determined raffle-style. Sign up by emailing or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at the Old Man Hustle Bar (39 Essex Street) hosted by Solomon Chehebar: Peep Show Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3-5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open stage for indie improv groups—and if you’re not in a group, that’s also fine, you’ll simply be added to one—at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Darcy Burke & Donna Lobello: New Team Lunacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: 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 Friday 3/9/12

March 9, 2012

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Bob's Burgers

The spectacular cast of FOX's Bob's Burgers, including Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, Jon Benjamin, Larry Murphy, and Kurt Braunohler, perform for free at Brooklyn's The Bell House

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

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

7:00 pm ($5): Improv that flows from moment to moment, with no sweeps or tag outs—”each exit starts a new scene, while performers use devices ranging from monologues to in-scene questions to break into characters and relationships quicker and deeper”—at The PIT downstairs lounge:Scoresby

7:00 pm ($7): Improv house troupes at The Magnet focusing respectively on dating and hyper energy: Double Date and Honey

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It’s earned this slot because its cast is one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough for potential stardom; and, at their best, the troupe’s writers sizzle too. Both strengths are evident inCrisistown, an interactive sketch show in which the audience is periodically asked to choose which of two paths it wants to go down next. This highly playful approach puts you in charge; and it also tempts you to see the show repeatedly (just as you might return to a favorite improv group week after week), because each performance is a never-to-be-repeated event. The down side is a vast amount of writing is needed to cover every possible audience-driven scenario…which means every scene won’t necessarily be of consistent quality. That actually was a huge problem on opening night; but now that the production’s had time to mature, it’s delivering gold (though you might consider playing it safe and voting for the “giant mice” story just in case the Kevin Costner material hasn’t been entirely cleaned up yet…). A vibrant, brilliant cast and mostly terrific comedy writing—plus what was probably a near-superhuman directorial effort by comedy giant Shannon O’Neil—equals a wonderful way to kick off your Friday evening: Stone Cold Fox: Crisistown

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors at UCB East making up a musical on the spot—tonight featuring ace guest improvisors Shannon O’Neil (ironically, competing against her sketch show directly above) and Doug Moe (Mother), plus monologues from Jessica Renee Williams (The Daily Show): Diamond Lion

[TOP PICK] [FREE; wrist bands for admission provided at box office starting at 5:00 pm until they run out…] 8:00 pm: The super-talented cast of FOX’s animated Bob’s Burgers—Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, Jon Benjamin, Larry Murphy, Kurt Braunohler, and  more—perform at Brooklyn’s The Bell House to help promote the show’s season premiere this Sunday March 11th: Bob’s Burgers Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: All-gal stand-ups Carmen Lynch (Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Phoebe Robinson (TV Guide), Jess Dweck (writer for Comedy Central’sIndecision 2012), Carrie Gravenson, and Lauren Maul performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Postmark Cafe (326 6th Street) hosted by  Abbi Crutchfield & Luke Thayer: The Living Room

8:00 pm ($5): Improvisors perform as duos at The PIT downstairs lounge: Couples’ Retreat

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups delivering their A game—since they’re being videotaped as they perform sets—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, with a different host each week: Mixed Tape

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($49 & 2-drink min.) A TV and movie star who first earned fame onChappelle’s Show headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Charlie Murphy

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($15 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BBOX): Telly Savalas returns to life to entertain you and provide life guidance in this 50-minute show that was a hit at FringeNYC 2011 and is now enjoying an open-ended Friday night run at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club. The script is at times very smart, especially in its choices of hilarious video clips and music tracks from the real Savalas…who, in his more intense moments, apparently rivaled William Shatner at his silliest. But even when Hunter Nelson’s writing isn’t consistent, actor Tom DiMenna—who is a professional comic with great timing and skill at engaging an audience—will keep you entertained: Who Loves You, Baby?

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

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Theatrical sketch comedy at The Magnet that tonight features “three cowboys settling their score the old-fashioned way; an old Broadway star attempting her long-anticipated comeback; in a blatantly self-referential sketch, a young comedian trying to convince his friend to come see his show,” and more at Citizen Models

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Stellar storyteller John Flynn, and superb stand-ups Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing; co-host of We’re All Friends Here), Matt Ruby (co-host of We’re All Friends Here, wonderful blog Sandpaper Suit), and Jerrod Carmichael performing at UCB East hosted tonight by David Cope: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from UCB Chelsea’s all-star members of The Stepfathers

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Stand-up star Judy Gold, Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

9:30 pm ($5): “Where there is a stage and a piano, she will be there. Where there are strangers with embarrassing stories, she will be there. Where there is a group of people willing to sit and watch someone make up songs, she will be there. A one-woman musical improv journey through the lives of the audience. You tell the story, Rebecca Vigil sings the soundtrack” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Vigilante

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: An all-musical comedy night with Jessica Delfino (enjoys singing songs about her vagina, as demonstrated by her CD Dirty Folk Rock; created the hilarious and wildly popular YouTube animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Jen Kwok, Adam Lerman, and David Cope’s “Harp Secrets” performing at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ben Lerman and Tim Dimond: Now That’s What I Call Musical Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, host ofComedyJuice),  Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel), Emily Heller (staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Adam Newman (MTV,College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses), Dan Soder, and Michael Che performing at UCB Easthosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler:Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Smart, fun sketch comedy & talk show that’s happening at The PITupstairs theatre but is actually a TV series in development from host/creator Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC, Hot Tub Variety), with tonight’s guests including Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent of The Daily Show, Comedy Central special), plus phenom house band Adira Amram and the Experience and “a surprise musical guest:” Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): One of my favorite people, Julie Sharbutt—who’s performed with some of the greatest improvisors alive at UCBT’s Gravid Water—tonight goes for improv gold herself with comedy partner Liz Wisan at The PIT downstairs lounge in a very accurately named show: Smart & Attractive

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigiousUCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage

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