NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 8/19/17

August 19, 2017

Emmy Blotnick, Christine Nangle, and Lane Moore: "Tinder Live"A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (bottom; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guests, Emmy Blotnick (top left; brilliant rising star stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever) and Christine Nangle (top right; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Inside Amy Schumer and Kroll Show). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Cait Elliott: "Good at Cults"…or if you like storytelling shows, take in a bunch on this next-to-last day of the Speak Up, Rise Up Festival. They start at 1:30 pm with Cait Elliott performing an autobiographical one-woman show about “joining a cult in 2014, falling in love with its leader, and life on the other side; a meditation on spirituality, sexuality, abuse of power, and the basic human drive to seek something more:” Good at Cults (1:30 pm; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Leslie Goshko: "Slightly Feral"…and experience stories about being somewhat animalistic by Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of Sideshow Goshko and The Real Housewives of Columbo), Aasif Mandvi (former correspondent for The Daily Show; appearances in numerous movies & TV shows), Andrew Bancroft (ace hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme), and Catie Lazarus (host of Employee of the Month): Slightly Feral (6:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Aparna Nancherla…and enjoy storytelling by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), who “has always been unsure of herself. In fact, she has spent a good deal of her life trying to figure out why exactly other people aren’t. Spend an evening with her, aided by some extraordinary cohorts, as she bumbles her way through a show that offers no answers, but does raise more questions. The only guarantee is no guarantee, no warranty, no problem. Sound intriguing? If so, please lower your expectations and come on down:” A Night of Subjective Comedy with Aparna ‘N Friends (9:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Killy Dwyer (wild singing comic), Ray DeVito (Comedy Central), and Tracy Carnazzo (host of Hashtag Comedy) perform at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): What may be your last chance to see Maggie Seymour & Olivia Atwood revive their acclaimed FringeNYC 2016 two-woman production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, tackling 15 characters in a wacky condensed version running just an hour that reportedly includes puppets, nerf guns, rap, song & dance, breaking the fourth wall, and lots of energy and comedic timing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 15 Villainous Fools

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): 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 highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

10:00 ($5): Comics compete in freestyle rap games and battles, with the prize being stage time, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage with DJ Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

[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 at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

11:00 pm ($7): “A feminist exploration of Tentacle Erotica, this show delves into the world of female sexuality through the lens of one slimy genre of pornography at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tentacles

11:30 pm ($7): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show; breakthrough star performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; Netflix special Homecoming King) tries out a new solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: A monthly lip synch contest judged by you and your audience, taking into account costume, choreography, and lip synching perfection, with this month’s theme 90s hip-hop and R&B, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Christina Galston: What That Mouth Do

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/20/17

Picture This!In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special), Josh Johnson (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special; Comedy Central’s Hart of the City and @midnight; former writer/performer for Jimmy Fallon), Greg Fitzsimmons (host of The Greg Fitzsimmons Show on Howard 101 radio; former writer for Lucky Louie, Politically Incorrect, Chelsea Handler, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show—for which he won four Daytime Emmy Awards), Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; TruTV, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), and Chloe Hilliard (The Nightly Show, Last Comic Standing, MTV, TruTV), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Robin Bady…and go out earlier to experience the issues of the day addressed by five female storytellers—Robin Bady (host of BADYHouse Storytelling Concerts), Nicole Ferraro (The New York Times), Valentina Ortiz (author/musician), Angel Yau, Megan Hicks, and Michele Carlo—in this final show of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival: “No, We Won’t Shut Up” (3:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door, The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Sunday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among five shows, with four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature rising star cast member on Saturday Night Live), Lisa Curry, Matty Ryan, Alex Kumin, Brian Mitchell, and Eman El-Husseini perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Alison Leiby (sharp, fresh, likeable stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Artie Lange, VH1) and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Stand-ups challenge each other’s and the audience’s dumbest assumptions at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK): Let’s Say You’re Right

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/21/17

Sex HouseToday kicks off the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival, running every night through August 26th. Among the vibrant choices is this world premiere screening of a unified cut of The Onion’s entire 2012 webseries Sex House satirizing America’s reality show culture (for a trailer, please click here), followed by a Q&A with the director and writers of the series hosted by Sean Joseph Patrick Carney (host of Humor and the Abject podcast) and Darcie Wilder (author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person): Sex House (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Bob the Drag Queen: "Queen for the People"…and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival is this stand-up show starring Bob the Drag Queen (winner of Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), plus performances by Alotta McGriddles, Lady Bearica Andrews, Papusa Smear, and host Sandy Devastation, with music by DJ Ten Yards: Bob the Drag Queen: Queen for the People (7:30 pm & 10:30 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival show starring extreme character comic Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) with guests Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Lorelei Ramirez (host of Do Something), Bardia Salimi (host of Hell House), Andrew Tisher, Steve Whalen, and Sebastian Dinatale: The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Nicki Wright: "Panel of Thrones"…and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, check out this free weekly show in which comics Christian Finnegan, Michael Lewis, Samantha Bednarz, and Jeremy Kaplowitz discuss the final episodes of this spectacular season of GoT hosted by Nicki Wright: Panel of Thrones (7:30 pm, Free!, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): UCB comics perform solo character bits at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBT Character Showcase

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Improv trio Doppelganger—consisting of Sasheer Zamata, Keisha Zollar, and Nicole Byer—created fresh, brilliant improv before each of its rising stars went off to be famous. Nicole is probably in LA right now, but Sasheer and Keisha are reuniting to make up scenes based on audience suggestions at the UCB East theatre: Doppelganger

[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): Janelle James, Jeffrey Joseph, Tim Dillon, Katie Hannigan, Noah Garfinkel, and Calvin Evans perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Terrific character comics perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted & directed by Michael Hartney plus a co-host (last month it was Timothy Dunn, who was a perfect partner for Michael). This is one of my favorite shows, and I especially recommend checking it out if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Joe List, and other stand-ups perform 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 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 very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/22/17

Cocoon Central Dance Team: "Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone"Day #2 of the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival (running through August 26th) includes this screening of a performance film starring the Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani—who will also perform live on stage!), with cameos by Reggie Watts, Kate Berlant, and more directed by Rachel Wolther & Alex H. Fischer: Cocoon Central Dance Team: Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

The Fancy Show…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival stand-up show with T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Michael Joyce, Simmons McDavid, and Lane Pieschel hosted by Rob Haze (Adam Devine’s House Party, Viceland’s Flophouse): The Fancy Show (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[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 Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime), and Sydnee Washington (host of The Warm Up) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Sharron Paul (College Humor) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just for Laughs): Cheap Date Comedy Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm (no charge, but you must RSVP): Comics who create material for Above Average perform, including Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and host Matt Star, all at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street): Above Average Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers), Ronny Cheng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Joey Dundale perform stand-up hosted by Dan Licata, Joe Pera, and Charles Gould at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Two long headlining sets on this stand-up double-bill starring Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Netflix’s Master of None) and Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show) at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Monroe Martin and Derek Gaines: No Need for Apologies

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

[FREE] 10:30 pm (Free! using online code COMP; no min.): Stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness by veteran comics such as Big Jay Oakerson and Rich Vos at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters

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-$12

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-$12

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; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

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

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/22/17

April 22, 2017

Leslie Goshko's "The Real Housewives of Columbo"It’s the 1970’s. The cocktail parties are glamorous, the brandy snifters abound, the clothes are colorfully polyester—and when foul play occurs, homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo is on the case. But behind every man’s untimely death remains a shattered housewife who wants answers. Join Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) as she and guests Gary Burton, Tamra Paselk, and Jan TIlley present this comedic musical-mystery show where day-drinking is glamorous and chain-smoking the norm. Play detective and receive clues from live musical performances, overly dramatic pauses, and more. And just when you think you have the case solved, there’s “one more thing”…there always is when you’re dealing with The Real Housewives of Columbo (6:00 pm; $10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show often sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 3:00 pm ($15): Grammy-nominated family comic Billy Kelly performs a squeaky-clean matinee show for all ages—but especially recommended for kids 8 and up—at The PIT Underground: Billy Kelly’s Family Comedy Show

6:00 pm ($7): Group Daddy’s Ghost hosts improv, sketch, and/or more at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Eulogy: A Variety Show

6:00 pm ($7): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($12): Improv group Women and Men interview audience members about a weird and/or wild birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, or other social gathering and then make up scenes based on those anecdotes at the UCB East theatre: Women and Men: Party Jumpin’

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

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

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group BBC2 (which includes Patrick McCartney, Raquel Powell, Jennifer Bareilles, and Kevin Scott) make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: BBC2

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “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 Bryan Berlin—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

7:30 pm ($10): Comics (not announced) share with you things they feel you really ought to know at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Colum Tyrrell & Lev Fer: Sh*t You Should Know: An Educational Comedy Show

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($53 & 2-drink min.) A writer/comic who plays Leon Black on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has performed on Saturday Night Live, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, The Chris Rock Show, and in such feature films as Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds, headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club: JB Smoove

7:30 pm ($10): Married couple Jordan & Amanda Hirsch perform a comedic play about their everyday lives at The PIT Underground: Til Death

[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 Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): A mashup of stand-up, sketch, and minor league sports gimmickry—cheap beer, mascots, questionable seat upgrades, kiss cameras, hot dog cannons, and more—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Instantacular

8:00 pm ($7): Skilled improvisors David Rysdahl & Paul Gutkowski make up a play on the spot at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) as improv duo True East

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): A show celebrating a modern dating site, with guests Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert) and Sady Doyle (writer for The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Rookie; author of book Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock and Fear, and Why) and host Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeneys), playing around with Tinder at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Tinder Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): 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 highly talented freestyle rapping long-form improv group makes up scenes with fierce musical energy at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Caroline Cotter, Joanna Bradley, David Bluvband, and Zach Cherry at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A talk & variety show that spotlights character comics Julie A. Feltman, Tessa Claire Hersh, Lauren Ireland, Ren Peir, Adrien Pellerin, and Tom Sanchez, plus stand-up by Natasha Vaynblat and musical guest Adrien Pellerin, all performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC): This Live Show

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

9:00 pm ($5, or Free if you show up at 8:00 pm): Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Brian Rabideu, Ashley Hamilton, Neil Constantine, and Ayanna Dookie perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($15): Dynamite comedy duo Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg (producers & stars of Blogologues) share audience break-up texts, plus screen shots of their favorite relationship dumps found on the Net, in this fast-paced and hilarious interactive show at The PIT Mainstage: How to Break Up By Text

9:30 pm ($10): Jay Light (Comedy Central), JC Best (co-host of podcast Trans Talk), and more perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tracey Carnazzo: Hashtag Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($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 time—which this week is Experimental Theatre—at The Magnet: The Cast: Experiemental Theatre

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show from Matt Mitchell “as he journeys back across his life, reflecting on the girls he fell so hard for and those who broke his heart in a million little pieces” at The PIT Underground: Where the Hell Have You Been

10:30 pm ($7): A variety show that incorporates tarot cards—show up an hour early for a free reading—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups who are single each perform a set and then participate in a dating game show, choosing among three mystery contestants based on their online dating profiles at The PIT Mainstage: Tinderella

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

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Nathan Macintosh (Conan O’Brien), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Jolenta Greenberg share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby (VICE): It’s a Long Story

11:30 pm ($5): “In a post-apocalyptic world now dominated by rats, a writer comedian wants to fulfill her/his dream of selling a TV pilot to a network television (or Netflix). So with the first draft ready, she/he embarks on a journey across Bushwick and New York City to pitch to the presumably still alive network (rat) executives” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Chumble

11:30 pm ($7): A one-man show by Dekunle during which he might sing, play guitar and piano and drums, and express reservations about living at The PIT Underground: Dekunle Wants to Die

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

Midnight ($7): Sketch groups Austin Rye and Terrorbird compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alden Ford & Justin Tyler: Backyard Brawl

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

6:00 pm ($7): A walk-in open mic for any form of poetry, memorized or improvised, at The PIT Underground: The PIT Poetry Slam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 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.