NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 9/3/16

September 3, 2016

Leslie GoshkoFour funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Rich Greene (author of Walt Disney biography 30 Years: Inside the Dream), Marie Faustin (The Today Show), Andy Ross (Mad Magazine; Onion News Network), and Rory Scholl (The PIT, BTK Band). These talented storytellers and guest host Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show (6:00 pm, $10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show usually sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia 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: 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

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): All Aboard The Butter Cruise + m/marc/k

[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 Akbar Shahzad—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] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 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) and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): An all-gal group of improvisors—typically Keisha Zollar, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Laura Wilcox, Caroline Colter, and/or Nicole Drespel—make up scenes about failed relationships at the UCB East theatre: The Breakup

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

[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

7:30 pm ($5): Short form improv (vs. long forms such as The Harold) at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Good Stuff: Short Form Saturday

7:30 pm ($5): Comics not affiliated with any particular comedy theatre perform solo characters at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Super Indie Takeover: Characters

7:30 pm ($8): NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee: Nerd is the New Black

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.) A co-star of such movies as I’m Gonna Get You Sucka and White Chicks, and of TV series In Living Color and The Wayans Bros., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Shawn Wayans

8:00 pm ($10): A non-verbal duo sketch show by Rachel Kaly & Charlie Bardey at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Ugly x Crying

[TOP PICK] 8:00 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 Amber Nelson, Aaron Jackson, Patti Harrison, Cory Palmer, and Cole Escola at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Top comics (not announced) are interviewed at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Inside Joke

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

[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

9:00 ($10): Long form improv known as The Harold from group Women & Men based on tales from audience members on the times they had to hurry the most at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Women & Men: Rush Hour

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Alex Marino & Louis Kornfeld make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Evil Trike: Murder Most Foul

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party, IFC, Oxygen), Joe Zimmerman (Comedy Central Half Hour, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Last Comic Standing), Subhah Agarwal (PBS’ Modern Comedian, TruTV), Freddy Sheffield, Nina Tarr, and Kyle Turner performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

9:30 pm ($10): A variety of comics (not announced) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Will Cheng: Wildcard Comedy Hour

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): Annie Lederman, Carolyn Castiglia, Jason Burke, Rebecca Rush, and Kerryn Feehan performing stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show

[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] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman: Dark Spots

[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

[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 End of Summer—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: End of Summer Edition

10:30 pm ($5): A comedic play by Caitlin Dullea & Thomas Fricilone at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Labor

10:30 pm ($5): An improvised show based on the premise that “in the middle of a live news broadcast the signal goes down, leaving the anchors and crew with nothing to do but wait until it goes back up” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Signal Is Down

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

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight  ($8.45 online using discount code LABOR; no min.): 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; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), Vladimir Caamano (WB), Subhah Agarwal (TruTV, Fusion), and Luis J. Gomez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Stamd Saturday: Sean Patton, Pete Lee, and More

Midnight ($5): Indie improv groups Affirmative Action, Seyonce, and PartyDads make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by indie group The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[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

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 3:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 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] 6:00 pm: Put your name in a bucket for this open mic for stand-up, sketch, music, or anything else you want to work out on stage at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Bates & Brian Pisano: Make Out Party: An 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

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!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down 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, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/26/16

May 26, 2016

Leslie GoshkoThe delightful & razor-sharp Leslie Goshko (storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force) hosts oddball tales from Andy Christie (host of The Liar Show), Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion), Gail Thomas (voiceover artist for Beavis and Butthead; Law & Order: SVU), and Joey Novick (MTV, Comedy Central) for this wonderfully strange free monthly storytelling show with such twisty features as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, free, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second 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] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): NYC-based sketch group The Tenderloins—James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, and Brian Quinn—became TV stars with their TruTV series Impractical Jokers, which is in its 4th season and still running strong. Tonight the guys tape two episodes of their podcast via this early show and a second show at 9:30 pm. It all happens at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): The Tenderloins Podcast Show (#1 of 2)

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Great lineup of 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), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Jessica Delfino (CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; popular animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller, host of Funny Story, albums Better Stronger Faster and Big Room; last year released a new storytelling album each month), and Rob Little (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Myq Kaplan, Mike Drucker, Jacqueline Novak, Jessica Delfino, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Comics with kids share the horror: Emily Flake (cartoonist for The New Yorker), Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer), Andy Ross (Mad Magazine, The Onion, host of Real Characters), Josh Comers, and Raquel D’Apice performing stand-up or cartooning at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Shit Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Storytellers Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger,, sketch group Astronomy Club), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories, comedy album True Love), Kat Burdick (NPR, Moth Grandslam Champion, NPR),a nd Lori Baird (Talk Therapy Stories, Moth Grandslam Champion) share tales of courage and/or cowardice at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mara Wilson (former iconic child star of Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire; author of Where Am I Now?; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale): What Are You Afraid Of?

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): A cast member of the much-missed Chappelle’s Show headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

7:30 pm: A dozen superb PIT performers each perform a 5-minute comedic character bit at The PIT downstairs lounge: PIT Character Showcase

7:30 pm ($5): Three-person sketch comedy cooked up at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Bakery

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Ashley Ward, and Lauren Adams make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “Dr. Brothers is the hottest young doctor at Williamsburg General. But after a long hiatus doing non-profit charity surgery on Taliban soldiers, Dr. Brothers’ brother Dr. Brothers wants back in the rotation. Will Dr. Brothers forgive his brother, Dr. Brothers, and save the hospital and/or a patient? And in the B plot, can three young interns pass their prostate exam exams and become official doctors?:” Dr. Brothers

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “A live band will play Hanson’s classic ‘MMMbop.’ Musicians will rotate in and out as different groups put their own personal stamp on the song, but all the while ‘MMMbop’ is never stopping, never ceasing, never surrendering for 1,800 seconds. Those who are able to withstand the onslaught for the full 30 minutes without a bathroom or drink break will receive their very own ‘I survived 30 minutes of MMMbop’ t-shirt. The music will be followed by an improv jam” at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Matt Strickland: 30 Minutes of MMMbop

8:00 pm ($5): A variety of comics performing songs, characters, and/or stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by sketch/improv group Martha

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Comics compete with on-the-spot tweets…and you decide the winner in real time using your smart phone” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shelby Taylor: Like Me

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Uncivilians (“follows realistic characters and situations to their unpredictable extremes”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house 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 + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Tim Dillon, and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A four-person comedic play in which “Attendees of this mandatory interactive theatrical seminar will learn valuable office skills that will optimize their performance in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Refreshments will be not provided. You will come” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Dingleberry Theater Foundation Presents Mandatory Seminar

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Glenn Marshall, Atif Myers, and Ryan Schutt compete for the affections of an audience member at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Joe Welkie: Dating is Hard in NYC

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The writers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Alfredo: Late Show Writers Improv

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): NYC-based sketch group The Tenderloins—James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, and Brian Quinn—became TV stars with their TruTV series Impractical Jokers, which is in its 4th season and still running strong. Tonight the guys tape two episodes of their podcast via this later show and the first one at 7:00 pm. It all happens at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): The Tenderloins Podcast Show (#2 of 2)

9:30 pm ($5): A comedic play about the Hollywood experience for minorities, in which “four black actors in Room 4 have just realized they’re stuck in a time loop, auditioning for the same role of ‘Drug Dealer #2’ over and over. What once felt like a messed-up metaphor has become a literal existential nightmare. Get them out of there” at The PIT upstairs theatre written by Marina & Nicco and with an eight-man cast: Room 4

9:30 ($5): Improvisors (not announced) pair up to create on-the-spot duo scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: It Takes Two-Prov

10:00 pm ($5): 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 downstairs lounge: The Boozeroom

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Dan King: Swamp Thing

[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

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced & hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two brilliant Improv groups, Fuck That Shit (with 14 wins in a row) and The Curfew (at UCB Chelsea every Saturday night at 7:30 pm) compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): I have no idea what this show is about, but it’s hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, Carmen Christopher, and Joey Dundale at the UCB East theatre: $$$

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

5:45 pm-8:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 4-5 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic Thursday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies 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 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for 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 ($3): 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 downstairs lounge: 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

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 3/17/16

March 17, 2016

Reformed Whores 10

The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; first album Ladies Don’t Spit; CBS’ The Doctors) celebrate the release of their second album Don’t Beat Around the Bush by performing the best tracks from their CD with their band: Reformed Whores Album Release Party (7:00 pm, $12, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)…

Leslie Goshko…and help the irresistibly charming Leslie Goshko (WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) go Hollywood in this edition of her wonderful oddball storytelling show that will be taped for a film project, featuring storytellers Brad Lawrence, Thomas Pryor, Francesco Marciuliano, and Michele Carlo, a trivia contest, and free wine: Sideshow Goshko (6:30 pm, Free!, Bennett Media Studio at 732 Washington Street off Eleventh Avenue in the West VIllage)

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] 6:00 pm to MIdnight ($40 for all-festival pass guarantees you admittance to any and all shows during the festival): Over 15 hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre, downstairs lounge, and loft—including such notable shows as Stonehenge, Brian McCann, X Plus One, and The Island—for this 2nd day of the 5-day 2015 NYC Improv Festival

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Enjoy a free extra long stand-up set from one of the finest stand-ups in the country, Sean Patton (killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash) performing every night through Wednesday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Sean Patton

[$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah does stand-up and performs his full range of characters (“on SNL I don’t do white people, but if you break me in half like a coconut, white just spills out”) headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jay Pharoah

7:30 pm ($5): Storytellers team up into two duo teams (a total of four comics) and then compete for audience applause at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Liz Phillips: The Rivalry

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($5): Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Emma Willmann, and Phoebe Robinson performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Henry Zebrowski (Wolf of Wall Street, Heroes Reborn, co-founder of Murderfist), Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Rachel Antonoff, and more help Jacqueline Novak celebrate the release of her first book How to Weep in Public at Brooklyn’s Villain (50 North 3rd Street): #WeepInPublic

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): 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; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), 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), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, and Aida Rodriguez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand on St. Patrick’s Day

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A St. Patrick’s Day celebration from improvisors Shannon O’Neill, Mike Kelton, and Sean Casey at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Drunk Advice for Dumb Fucks

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Two veteran house improv groups, art-inspired improv from The Forgers Guild, themed improv show Hall of Mirrors (“every piece of this show reflects back some facet of every other piece, revealing the strange and spooky undercurrent of meaningful coincidence that might just underpin the universe as we know it”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by stand-up Nick Maritato and improv troupe Priest and the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house 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 + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Griffin Newman & Joe Garden host a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with guests Henry Zebrowski, Mike Drucker, Jessica Delfino, Nore Davis, Matt Beacon, and The Amazing Amy at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): The Griff and Joe St. Patrick’s Day Drunktacular

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A comedic play written by Ryan Douglass, with a cast of seven directed by Anthony Oberbeck, spun off the fact “someone wrote a script titled Cut-Throat with Charlton Heston in mind for the lead and was able to hand it to him. Not much is known about the script other than Heston’s own belief that it ‘seems to have been written without adequately researching the realities of competition tennis.’ Unfortunately for us and Western culture, the movie was never made. Luckily, Ryan Douglass has written what he thinks that movie was probably about” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Cut-Throat

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Selena Coppack, Janelle James, and more 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] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Potentially an animation fan’s dream come true, in this show comics make merciless fun of bad Japanese anime at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Benel Germosen: Otakulypse

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): UCB comics perform solo character bits at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBT Character Showcase

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC magicians try out new material, with some stand-up thrown in, at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen): Amazeballs

[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

11:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing 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: A character-based open-mic happening monthly at UCB East hosted by Mike Sapp: 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 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for 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

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

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursday 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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A supportively silly jam for duo improv (you’ll be paired up on the spot) in which the audience shows “Good Scene!” at the end of every scene at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Judith: Good Scene!: A Judith Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/25/16

February 25, 2016

Mike Lawrence describes his winding career path, from seven years of working a drive-through window at McDonald’s to currently being a staff writer at Emmy Award-winning series Inside Amy Schumer, for my podcast.

Kevin Geeks Out About Wigs, Toupees, and HairpiecesA glorious collection of hilarious film clips and live guests from super-fan Kevin Maher and friends with Hair as this month’s theme: Kevin Geeks Out About Wigs, Toupees, and Hairpieces (9:30 pm, $15 [buy in advance, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Sideshow Goshko 7 Year AnniversaryLeslie Goshko…and Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Andy Christie (host of The Liar Show), Tara Clancy (The New York Times, The Paris Review) and irresistibly charming host Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) perform at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show featuring such magic as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes—and tonight celebrating its 7th Year Anniversary: Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street, off Second 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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm ($24.75 via Goldstar [vs. $29 at the door]): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Meltdown, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Chris Lamberth, and Chrissie Mayr performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Annalise Domenighini (writer and social editor for Noisey) is interviewed about “that one song she’ll never forget,” plus music by band Rockaway, 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

7:30 pm ($5): Sketches by writer/performers compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Gabe Capone & Joanna Hausmann: Battle Sketch

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): David Lawson makes his living handing out flyers in Times Square…while competing with a wide variety of unusual characters for the attention of tourists. This one-man show (which debuted at the Solocom Festival) happens at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway), and it’s fascinating; plus there’s opening tales from the lovely Katharine Heller (Tell The Bartender podcast, famed improv group Naked in a Fishbowl), Marc Abbott (Moth GrandSlam Champion), and Sam Sherwood: Flyer Guy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Suggestions for jokes are gathered from the audience and then pro stand-ups are forced to incorporate them into their sets at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Will Carey: You Can Use That

8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Two veteran house improv groups, Alex Marino improvises with someone cool TBA in Someone and Alex, themed improv show Bloom (“fantasy, myth, and memory intermingle freely in this story-based improvisation inspired by the movie Big Fish), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters & movement, sketch; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), Pat Wise, and more perform stand-up sets, and then improvisors make up scenes springboarding off their jokes at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Matt Strickland & Gladys: I’d Rather Be Weird Than Good

8:00 pm ($5): A variety of comics performing songs, characters, and/or stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by sketch/improv group Martha: All You Can Eat

8:00 pm ($7 at the door or $8.24 online; no min.): NYC stand-ups Jim Tews, Ginny Leise, Julia Johns, Jordan Temple, Justin Auslaender, and Taylor Connelly performing at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Chris Donahue: Dean Street Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house 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 + Dim Wit

8:30 pm ($5): A monthly anthology series of speculative fiction in the vein of The Twilight Zone at The PIT downstairs lounge: Lucid State

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “A not-so-safe space where comics expose the shitty, horrifying teenager that made them into shitty, horrifying adults. Nobody leaves until everybody cries” with an all-gal panel that includes Natasha Vaynblat and Christi Chiello at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Alise Morales: The Roast of Your 15 Year Old Self

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Seth Herzog, Erik Bergstrom, Mary Mack, Matin Morrow, and Anthony Devito performing stand-up at UCB East guest-hosted by Nate Fernald: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Christi Chello, Peggy O’Leary, and Kristen Manna compete for the affections of an audience member at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Joe Welkie: Dating is Hard in NYC

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Brooke Van Poppelen (co-host of TruTV’s Hack My Life; writer and/or producer for a slew of MTV shows; also performed on HBO, Comedy Central, VH1) perform a long stand-up set, with openers Seaton Smith, Giulia Rozzi, and host Maria Heinegg, at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Brooke Van Poppelen Headlines A Basement

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The writers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Alfredo: Late Show Writers Improv

9:30 pm ($10): Marina & Nicco perform a play in the dark (flashlights will be provided) in which “A happy couple has just moved into their new home. But the novelty of home ownership quickly fades as they face a sea of boxes, a major blackout, and, shortly thereafter, the ghosts of all their past relationships” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Unpacking: A Ghost Story Told in the Dark

[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 ($5): Improv groups Fuck That Shit and 32K compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous semi-finals of Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): I have no idea what this show is about, but it’s hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, Carmen Christopher, and Joey Dundale at the UCB East theatre: $$$

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

6:00 pm ($3): 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 downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies 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 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for 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

[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

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursday 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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A supportively silly jam for duo improv (you’ll be paired up on the spot) in which the audience shows “Good Scene!” at the end of every scene at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Judith: Good Scene!: A Judith Jam

For tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:
Click Any Image That Interests You to See the Discount Offer

The Stand

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/18/16

January 18, 2016

Mike Lawrence describes his winding career path, from seven years of working a drive-through window at McDonald’s to currently being a staff writer at Emmy Award-winning series Inside Amy Schumer, for my new podcast here.

Janelle James and Ted AlexandroTed 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; frequently opens for Louis C.K.) hosts stand-ups Janelle James, Carole Montgomery, and Buddy Fitzpatrick, plus sociologist Michelle Ronda discussing the issue of mass incarceration, at The Ted Alexandro Show (8:30 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Leslie Goshko…and the multi-talented Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, host of Sideshow Goshko) is a classically trained pianist. This evening Leslie blends comedy, storytelling, and music for a piano party celebrating her birthday tomorrow, featuring everything from traditional standards to The Cranberries; plus guests Camille Harris (delightful singer/sketch comic; music album Silly Jazz) and Joe McGinty, and a karaoke post-show at 9:00 pm: Leslie’s Birthday Piano Bash (8:00 pm, $10, no min.; Sid Gold’s Request Room at 165 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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—which include groups Lovers & The Future at 8:00 pm featuring the spectacular Dana Krashin, Tracy Mull, and David Carl—at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Dan Wilbur (College Humor, McSweeney’s, The Onion News Network, Someecards, author of How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life) tries out material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Dumbing it Down with Dan Wilbur: Grimm’s Fairy Tales

[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 Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Great lineup of Eugene Mirman, Seaton Smith, Marina Franklin, Brooks Wheelan, Nimesh Patel, Giulia Rozzi, and Matt Wayne performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for numerous awesome shows, including South Park; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Long stand-up sets from Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor) and Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), plus scenes from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): Vladimyr Novakoff

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—invite you to “join Reverend Professor Ray Cordova in the year 2025 as he delivers a lesson in what really happened in black history. In our past, discover what the Underground Railroad has in common with the MTA, watch in awe as Batman meet the Black Panthers, and in our not-too-distant future, Obama is all washed up, Rick Ross sings protest anthems, and the first female president will shock you! This show is the realization of MLK’s dream…or maybe his nightmare:” Astronomy Club: A Journey Through Black History

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group One Idiot performs the theatrical parody Tennessee Williams’ “What The Horse Saw”

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Character comics who typically include rising stars Leslie Meisel (Stone Cold Fox), Christine Bullen (one-woman show My Melonbasket, sketch group Goodbye Handsome), and many more performing bits at UCB East hosted by Justin Tyler & Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome

[FREE] 8:00 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

9:30 ($5): House sketch groups Gotta Go and Choir try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Chris Gethard, Gary Vider, and more perform stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($7): Two pairs of improv duos compete for audience laughs & votes at The Magnet theatre hosted by Carly Monardo & Branson Reese and Elena Skopetos & Sam Rogal: Let’s Duo This

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world-who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing). Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:40 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

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 3 minutes on stage. Arrive at around 5:45 to sign up, or wait for the late bucket at 6:15, to perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: First Stop Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at People’s Republic of Brooklyn (247 Smith Street) hosted by Dustin Drury: This Is Happening Open MIc

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 The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 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

For tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:
Click Any Image That Interests You to See the Discount Offer

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 6/25/15

June 25, 2015

TV Alert: Mark Normand and Jason Schwartzman are on Conan O’Brien;
Seth MacFarlane is on Seth Meyers;
Richard Lewis is on The Daily Show;
Lisa Kudrow and Zach Woods are on James Corden (repeated from 5/19);
Kate Micucci, David Koechner, and Will Sasso are on @midnight;
Chris Gethard, please note Morrissey is Jimmy Fallon;
a new episode of The Chris Gethard Show is on Fusion at 10:00 pm
—and don’t forget shows from Chris’ cable access years
air every weeknight on Fusion at 3:00 am-4:00 am

Kevin Geeks Out About Aninal Attacks

A breathtaking collection of hilarious film clips from Kevin Maher when Kevin Geeks Out About Animal Attacks

Leslie Goshko and James Bewley: Wunnerful Wunnerful!

…and Leslie Goshko and James Bewley host a gala absurd tribute to Lawrence Welk at Wunnerful Wunnerful!

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 ($18.39 in advance online or $20 at the door): The wonderful Leslie Goshko & James Bewley host an oddball tribute to classic TV series The Lawrence Welk Show with a small army of comedic musical guests at the Ars Nova Theatre (511 West 54th Street, off 10th Avenue): Wunnerful Wunnerful!

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing) tries out material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Pete Lee

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A tribute to The Muppet Show via a retrospective, sketches, musical numbers, and more atThe PIT upstairs theatre written, directed, and produced by Kaitlin Fontana, Sean Reidy, and Luke Ward: We Love TV: The Muppet Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Genius improvisors Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at the UCB East theatre: The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Michael Che, Kurt Metzger, Joe Machi, Nick DiPaolo, Keith Alberstadt, Carmen Lynch, Marina Franklin, Jessica Kirson, Seaton Smith, Pete Davidson, Liza Treyger, Jeff Leach, and Sean Donnelly, with three of the shows atComedy 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

7:30 pm ($5): UCB improvisors from both NY and LA gather at UCB Chelsea for Coast to Coast Harold Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15; please note advance tickets have sold out, but there’ll be a limited number of tickets at the door): Superb comics Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), 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, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch group Murderfist), and host Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters & movement, sketch; one-woman show Spooky Jerks) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Beach Magic

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($24.75 via Goldstar [vs. $29 at the door]): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Hello Laser and Junior Varsityperforming improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by Junk Food (improv that embraces pure absurdity and silliness; you’ll eat it up but never feel full), at 10:00 pm by sketches from group Wendigo, 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 ($5): Jared Logan (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host of Lasers in the Jungle), Mike Dobbins (unique stream-of-consciousness stand-up), Jesse Popp (briefly back from LA), and James Patterson performing stand-up for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

8:00 pm ($10): A variety of comics (not announced) performing songs, characters, and/or stand-up at The PITupstairs theatre hosted by sketch/improv group Martha: All You Can Eat

8:00 pm ($5): Katie Haller & Corrine Fisher host this show consisting of almost all gal stand-ups at The PITdownstairs lounge: The Token Guy Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sketch groups Business Computer, The Uncanny Valley, Hayden & Andy, and host The Grape Dutches perform scripted comedy scenes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: A Midsummer Night’s Wet Dream.

8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Stand-up Joe Praino records his first comedy album at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Joe Praino

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv house groups, Salt and Gun Club, 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): Salt + Gun Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Superb comics Aparna Nancherla, Megan Neuringer, and Johnny Meeks perform their worst–ever sketches at UCB East hosted by Justin Michael & Jacob Reed: Before You Were Funny

9:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Tim Paul that explores “sex, depression, body image, monogamy, open relationships, therapy, psychedelics, and Wellbutrin with extreme frankness and almost disturbing candor” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street):Wellbutrin Whore

9:00 pm ($5): A short play—performed with the lights off—at The PIT downstairs lounge curated by group Forever Dog: Forever Dog Presents Two Miners Horny as Hell and Trapped in the Dark

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): A glorious collection of hilarious film clips and live guests from super-fan Kevin Maher and friends at at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford), with Violent Beasts as this month’s theme: Kevin Geeks Out About Animal Attacks

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] [$] 9:30 pm ($7.44 online using discount code ROZZI, plus 2-drink min.): Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories) wants to immortalize your laughs for the recording of her first stand-up comedy album. Plus opening for Giulia are Christi Chiello, Will Miles, and Joel Kim Booster. It all happens at New York Comedy Club (241 East 24th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues): Giulia Rozzi Comedy Album Recording

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Storytellers Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), Julian Goldhagen, host Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, owner of The Story Studio), and more tell tales revolving around the theme Wonder at The PIT upstairs theatre for one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

9:30 pm ($5): “Last year a small book was passed around the Del Close Marathon. Improvisers from around the world contributed one page at a time in what came to be DCM the Novel. Now, for the first time ever, the novel will be released to the public. Chapters will be read aloud, followed by improvisation based on the reading. Come listen to an epic tale that only drunk and sleep deprived improvisers could have come up with” at the UCB Chelsea theatre:DCM the Novel

10:00 pm ($5): Character-based sketch comedy from duo Michael Delisle & Rosie Guarino at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Rosie & Mikey Variety Hour

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” directed by Conner O’Malley (staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers) 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 ($5): “Dar Silicon returns to us from the future’s past. A renegade group of soul-warriors have been temporally reincarnated for your listening and viewing pleasure. THIS SHOW IS TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME” at UCB Chelsea: Dar Silicon Concert

11:00 pm ($5): I have no idea what this show is about, but it’s hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, and Joey Dundale at the UCB East theatre: $$$

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 theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal open mic at UCB East hosted by the spectacular Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies 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 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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes for each audience member whose name is pulled out of a bucket to perform a true story, sketch, or characters at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by JiJi Lee:Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

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 (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd 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 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 info@oldmanhustle.com or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at theOld Man Hustle Bar (39 Essex Street) hosted by Solomon Chehebar: Peep Show Comedy Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [AMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A storytelling open mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Chris Booth:Bar Tales & Blowhards

[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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A supportively silly jam for duo improv (you’ll be paired up on the spot) in which the audience shows “Good Scene!” at the end of every scene at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Judith: Good Scene!: A Judith Jam

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

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

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

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

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)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-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.)

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/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/11/15

April 11, 2015

NYC Comedy Week Alert: Get two-for-one tickets
for scores of comedy shows through April 19th here

TV Alert: Taraji P. Henson hosts SNL at 11:29 pm on NBC

Leslie Goshko and James Bewley

Lots of comedic music tonight, including Leslie Goshko and James Bewley (above) hosting a gala absurd tribute to Lawrence Welk at Wunnerful Wunnerful!; Rebecca Vigil, David & Katie, Summer & Eve, and more performing song-driven comedy at Coldchella; sharp musical sketch from group Pop Roulette; improvisors making up lyrics at Happy Karaoke Fun Time!; and a musical history of alcohol at The Imbible

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:

6:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Kate Berlant (MTV, IFC, CNN, Billy on the Street) and John Early (30 Rock, Comedy Central, Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer) performing at the UCB East theatre: Hey: An Evening With Kate Berlant and John Early

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Joe Machi, Ricky Velez, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Lynne Koplitz, Ricky Velez, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Ricky Velez at the 9:15 show; and Ari Shaffir, Nick Griffin, Ricky Velez, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Ted Alexandro (one of thevery finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presentshalf-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro, Janeane Garofalo, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): The University of Pennsylvania’s all-gal sketch & musical comedy troupe performs a rare NYC “best of” show at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bloomers

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): An all-gal improv show mixing women from The PIT’s free improv nights with those on PIT improv house teams at The PIT upstairs theatre: Ladies of the PIT

7:00 pm ($5): House improv groups such as Santeria and Improv Frogs perform for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Annoyance Improv Teams

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and more 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 ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) Star member of legendary sketch troupe & seminal MTV series The State, co-star of NBC’s Ed, co-star of Comedy Central’s Michael & Michael Have Issues, and host or co-host of numerous other TV shows and podcasts headlining tonight and Sunday as a stand-up at the CarolinesComedy Club: Michael Ian Black

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Storyteller Lyssa Mandel invites some of the finest comics in NYC—who tonight are 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, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Dan Hodapp (Jimmy Fallon, UCBT’s sketch troupe Beige and musical Newsadoozies, co-producer of PIT improv show The Scene, co-star of smash FringeNYC show Tail! Spin!), Tom Cowell (The Village Voice), and Matteo Lane—to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws” at Brooklyn’s Union Hall : The Bitch Seat

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Stellar improv groups The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman, Sarah Nowak, and Brigid Boyle) and Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Baldwins and Big Black Car

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25; no 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; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Morgan Murphy (fresh, brilliant, and fearlessly dark; The Comedians of Comedy; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon and CBS’ Two Broke Girls; stellar comedy album Irish Goodbye), 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), 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), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Morgan Murphy, Ari Shaffir, Christian Finnegan, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

8:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

8:00 pm ($8): “When the long-time owner of Ski Mountain dies, everyone expects the mountain to be passed down to his beloved daughter Jocelyn. However, his evil older son Ernest appears at the funeral and takes his lawful control of the mountain. Ernest’s first order of business is to fly in a Swiss mountain and stack it on top of Snow mountain…making a double mountain. While everyone loves the double mountain at first, it becomes clear that Ernest has ulterior motives when he continues flying in Swiss mountains, stacking them higher and higher. With a crisis on their hands, Jocelyn, a reclusive trailer rater named Bearnie, and the employees and residents of Snow Mountain must save the day” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Crisis on Ski Mountain

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Greg Stone, Christy Coffey, Clark Jones, and Joel Kim Booster perform at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Allison Leiby & Alyssa Wolff: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from superb comics Anthony Atamanuik, John Murray, and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20 at the door plus 2-item food/drink min.): The wonderful Leslie Goshko & James Bewley host an oddball tribute to classic TV series The Lawrence Welk Show with a small army of comedic musical guests at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place): Wunnerful Wunnerful!

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): The super-talented Rebecca Vigil (rising star who’s a powerhouse improv singer with a lightning-quick wit; The Vigilante, Your Love Our Musical) and Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You) host a show devoted to comedic music, with guests David Carl & Katie Hartman (spectacular musical sketch show David and Kate Get Re-Married), Summer & Eve (superb singing group), and musical group Nancy, all performing at the Treehouse Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor): Coldchella

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): This unique weekly show incorporates song and dance into sketch comedy focused on pop culture—and does it surprisingly well, with strong writing and a sharp cast of performers. The latter include Amanda Shechtman, who has a lovely musical theatre voice and would fit right in on Broadway (musical comedy casting directors, please take note). It all happens at The PIT upstairs theatre: Pop Roulette

9:30 pm ($10): Typically disturbing and semi-obscene sketches at The PIT downstairs lounge from troupe FUCT

9:30 pm ($5): An improv show describing itself as “a lights up, lights down, mix-up mash-up, comme ci comme ca, anything goes kinda show” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dim Wit

[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), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—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] [$] 10:00 pm ($25; no 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; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Morgan Murphy (fresh, brilliant, and fearlessly dark; The Comedians of Comedy; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon and CBS’ Two Broke Girls; stellar comedy album Irish Goodbye), 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), 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), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Morgan Murphy, Ari Shaffir, Christian Finnegan, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups at this monthly show that describes itself as follows: “Starting in 1982, the city of Atlanta threw an annual party called Freaknik which essentially became the largest black spring break party in the country. The party became so big and wild that the city shut it down for good in 1996. But comedians Andy Sandford and Noah Gardenswartz are bringing Freaknik back…to Long Island City. ‘Comedy Freaknik’ will be a lot like the original Freaknik, except it’s going to happen once a month, and it will be a comedy show hosted by three white guys. That’s basically the only difference” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Freaknik

[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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Philip Markle (Executive Director of The Annoyance Theatre): Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy spearheaded by such members as Henry Zebrowski (co-star of Wolf of Wall Street). This group won the ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group, was written up by Jason Zinoman in The New York Times, and performs tonight at The PIT downstairs lounge: Murderfist

11:00 pm ($10): With the help of social media, writers & performers put together an entire sketch show from scratch in one intense day and then perform it at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sktch Shw

11:30 pm ($5): Jake Fogelnest (Squirt TV’s Wet Hot American Summer) and Kristen Bartlett (writer for terrific sketch group Goodbye Handsome) are guests at “a live monthly comedy game show in which three contestants participate in a battle of wits and knowledge for the chance to win a grand prize of 20 American dollars” at UCB East hosted by Ryan Simmons: Everyone’s Favorite Game Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Real-life lovers Diana Kolsky & Murf Meyer bring you the live counterpart to their saucy podcast, a fun, ballsy, raucous variety show about the audience” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Menage a Trois Radio Live

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evans: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:30 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors:Magnet Improv Mixer

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran improvisors make up scenes with improv students from any school (selected by lottery) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street):Fishbowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-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.)

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/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.