NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 2/24/17

February 24, 2017

Leslie JonesA Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters star headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Leslie Jones (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $65.50 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($15 cover for FBPL shows, $24 cover for CC & VU shows, 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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 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 Friday

7:00 pm ($7): A solo show by Jamie Aderski about her experiences in becoming a mom at The PIT Mainstage: Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood

7:00 pm ($10): Comedy group Terrorbird performs dark sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Terrorbird

7:00 pm ($7): “Improvisers create scenes inspired by essays written about personal experiences and show that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine” at The Magnet theatre: You Are Not Alone: An Uplifting Show About Depression

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Sharp comics mix sketch and improv in this show that welcomes visiting characters who are a surprise to both the audience—with tonight’s theme The Academy Awards—and hosts Brian Faas & Dom Manzolillo at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Ding Dong!: The Oscars

7:30 pm ($10): Stand-up from Langston Kerman, Mitra Jouhari, Jaboukie Young-White, Ziwe Fumudoh, and Gary Richardson, plus music from Lil Freckles, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($10): “Five comics connect their stand-up sets into one giant mutant set” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Molly Horan: Human Centipede Comedy Show

7:30 pm ($10): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The PIT Underground as troupe Lead McEnroe

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($41 & 2-drink min.): A cast member of the legendary Chappelle’s Show headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($16.82 online, $20 at the door—includes free beer and wine): At this best sexy NYC storytelling show, performers Katie Haller (Open Bark Night), Lucas Connolly (host of The Secret Loft Show), and Mallory Schlossberg (Redbook Magazine) tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at The Pleasure Chest (1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets) hosted by the wonderful Natalie Wall: Awkward Sex…and the City

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A comedic play written by Charlie Walden and performed by over a dozen comics about how “on July 12, 1979, an ill-fated radio promotion turned Comiskey Park into the largest anti-Disco rally in the history of mankind. Explosive shock jock Steve Dahl filled the stadium beyond capacity with his ‘anti-disco army,’ comprised mostly of the beer-swilling and grass-smoking teens who listened to his radio show and wanted to see some disco records detonated. Anyway, things got violent…” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Disco Demolition

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Comics of color, many of whom work in late-night comedy (Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee), perform stand-up, sketch, and improv at The PIT Mainstage: CPT: Comedy People’s Time

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Gary Vider, Doug Smith, Paul Hooper, Max Rosenblum, Brian Grossi, and Amanda Hurley performing stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt and hosted by Chrissie Mayr: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show from Amanda Miller playing “15-year-old Kevin, who was sent to Camp Smile Power, an anger management camp, on a plea bargain with the Brooklyn Justice system. His crime? Throwing a rock at Donald Trump’s head” at the intimate PIT Attic (behind and above the Mainstage): Camp Smile Power: Curing Anger One Smile at at Time

8:00 pm ($5): A 90-minute variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Silvija Ozols, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] ($10; includes free pizza if you arrive early): 9:00 pm:Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Marisa Douenias (Louie), Corinne Fisher (co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast), and Tyler Fischer performing stand-up at a location in Brooklyn (near the Morgan Avenue L subway stop) to be revealed after you buy your ticket, hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central): The Secret Loft Show

9:00 pm ($10): A trip through world history via Commedia dell’Arte, “the great-grand daddy of modern improv and sketch comedy…filled with physical humor, acrobatics, song, and satire” at The PIT Underground by The Department of Fools: A History of Servitude

9:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy that shows you what’s happening behind the scenes of people’s lives at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Peephole

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure at The PIT Mainstage: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera

9:30 pm ($8): Comics tell funny true stories, then face interjections and follow-up questions from the hosts and audience, with tonight’s guests Shane Torres, Kerry Coddett, Carmen Lagala, David Agyekum, and Mary Cella at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Dan Perlman & Billy Prinsell: Hindsight

9:30 pm ($5): Annoyance Artistic Director Philip Markle performs sketch, cabaret, and more with friends at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Sparkle Zone

9:30 pm ($7): Stand-ups Mike Feeney, Ayanna Dookie, Lindsay Boling, and Lindsay Goldwert performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Jessica Watkins and guest hosted by Julia Solomon: Homespun Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

10:00 pm ($7): Stellar comics Jay Malsky, Chris Booth, and Adrian Sexton host a musical celebration of George Michael and Leonard Cohen at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Hallelujah: A Faithful Tribute to George Michael and Leonard Cohen

10:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[$] 10:30 pm ($12): Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s The American Life, Moth StorySlam Champion, host of And I Am Not Lying), Mary Houlihan, and Chris Scopo performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5) Clare O’Kane (Viceland, Semi-Famous, SpongeBob SquarePants), Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code,), Andrew Collin, and Courtney Maginnis performing stand-up or music at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by a piano playing singer/songwriter: Unplugged with Tommy McNamara

10:30 pm ($5): Comics pretend to be infants at The PIT Underground: Babies Night

10:30 pm ($7): Food-related stand-up and storytelling at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): This Tastes Funny

[FREE] 11:00 pm: NYC stand-ups 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

11:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Ashley England about working as a comic for four months on a cruise ship at The PIT Mainstage: Code Oscar

[FREE] 11:00 pm: NYC stand-ups 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

11:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from Vassar College group The Limit and Magnet group The Executives performing for this double-bill at The Magnet theatre: The Limit and The Executives

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): Dara Katz & Betsy Kenney host a crazed parody of a dance tournament featuring “amateur (or worse) teams performing choreographed dances” for a rotating panel of comic judges—and you—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Nationals: An Amateur Comedy Dance Tournament

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): “Once a year wax goddess Madame Tussaud allows her wax figures of famous deceased celebrities to come to life and perform in front of a live audience. Tonight is that night” at UCB East hosted by Matt Denne & Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

[FREE] Midnight: Comics present “sure-fire, can’t miss, get-in-on-the-ground-floor, knock your socks off ideas that will not only make a lot of money but will make lives better across the board” and then request your money (whether you give is entirely up to you), with tonight’s entrepreneurs Christina Galston and group Young Business (Ronnie Fleming & Justin Hartough)—plus stand-up from Mike Denny—all at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Ben Conrad: Snake Oil

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sydney Beveridge & Davey Melch: Queens Open Mic Fridays

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 ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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

6:00 pm ($5): A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Friday Night Mics

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

6:30 pm ($3): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at The PIT Underground for Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

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.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 4/19/15

April 19, 2015

TV Alert: On HBO, last Sunday brought back the best series on TV, Game of Thrones; but other reasons to rejoice were the return of Silicon Valley, Veep, and most especially John Oliver’s thoroughly brilliant Last Week Tonight. If you aren’t watching these shows, repent your ways and start tonight, either live or via HBO GO.

NYC Comedy Week Alert: Get two-for-one tickets
for comedy shows one last night here

Gilbert Gottfried and Lewis Black

Comedy giants Gilbert Gottfried & Lewis Black chat at Carolines for Gilbert Gottfriend’s Amazing Colossal Podcast

Leslie Jones

…plus it’s your last chance to catch Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones headlining at Carolines

Steel Petunias

…and your next-to-last chance to enjoy the hilarious cast of a musical homage to Steel Magnolias: Steel Petunias

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($22 & 2-drink min.) Two of the most iconic comics in the biz, Gilbert Gottfriend and Lewis Black, chat for a live podcast taping at the Carolines Comedy Club: Gilbert Gottfriend’s Amazing Colossal Podcast with Lewis Black

6:00 pm ($5): Sketches and other scripted comedy in 5-minute and 15-minute slots at The Magnet theatre: The Generator

6:30 pm ($5): Improv troupes not affiliated with any comedy school compete at UCB East for audience laughs and votes—and the privilege to go on to perform at the primary Cage Match show at UCB Chelsea—in this show hosted by the delightful Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (Krompf): Indie Cage Match

Steel Petunias[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm ($11.54 online using code JUICE, otherwise $20 at the door): The movie parody Unauthorized musicals by Christopher W. Barnes (book, lyrics, and direction) and Ryan Mercy (music composer and the shows’ one-man band) are crafted with breathtaking speed—going from idea to staged production in as little as two months—and have energized NYC’s comedy community by blending sketch and theatre to create something fresh, vibrant, inventive, and filled with laughs.

Virtually all Unauthorized shows are based on SF/fantasy franchises: Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, The Hunger Games. The one exception is Steel Petunias, whose comedic target is Steel Magnolias, a 1989 film classic about a small town community of Southern women who are both as delicate as flowers and as tough as industrial metal.

I don’t know what led Barnes & Mercy to make such an extreme deviation from their successful formula…but I’m very glad they did. Steel Petunias is actually the best-crafted musical of the Unauthorized series to date; plus it has a lightness and heart unmatched by its SF/fantasy counterparts.

Part of the production’s charm is its willingness to be highly playful with the source material. For example, one of the movie’s most famous scenes involves Julia Roberts’ character being at risk of going into hypoglycemic shock until her mother, played by Sally Field, gives her orange juice. Steel Petunias wrings every drop of entertainment possible out of this with a show-stopping song & dance number—which includes the lyrics apparently being slightly misheard by passersby, resulting in three black-garbed and bearded Hasidic men bursting onto the stage to do a dance out of Fiddler in the Roof. They don’t stop until one of the Southern gals has to sweetly explain, “Juice! Not Jews!! It’s juice!!!

But even more important than the witty script & songs is the delicious all-gal primary cast—which includes Dana Shulman (a stand-out star even among these all-stars), Adrian Sexton, Julie Feltman, Emily Mathwich, Taylor Ortega, and Emily Essig—who form one of the finest comedy ensembles in NYC. The warmth between the women and their pleasure in performing with each other is clear, and gives the show a wonderful dimension that goes beyond anything that can be scripted.

In fact, many of these actresses are also dynamite improvisers, and they’re quick to take any small accident, audience interaction, or other unexpected incident and make it part of the show. While these in-the-moment bits of joy are by definition unplanned, at the performance I saw they were among the highlights of the production.

Frankly, I’m a huge SF/fantasy fan, and not remotely the target audience of Steel Magnolias. In fact, I watched the movie only as preparation for attending this parody (and even then, I managed to get through only the first half…). But of all the Unauthorized musicals to date, Steel Petunias has the tightest script and musical numbers, and the most uniformly great cast…and is my favorite of the series.

That said, Barnes & Mercy realize that what they’re made with lightning speed are brilliant first drafts. So keep an eye out for improved versions of Unauthorized productions as time goes on…especially The Hungry Hungry Games. With honing, both the latter and Steel Petunias have strong potential for healthy commercial runs.

Tonight’s performance is at The PIT upstairs theatre (for video samples, please click here and here): Steel Petunias: The Unauthorized Musical Parody

7:00 pm ($5): A shortform improv troupe visiting from Hartford Connecticut perform for one night only at Brooklyn’sThe Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Wacky Hats

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) 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 ($35 & 2-drink min.) A star of Saturday Night Live and writer for Chris Rock (and one of the actors in Chris’ movie Top Five) headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Leslie Jones

7:30 pm ($7): Groups Baby Shoes and Action Park perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Ali Faranakain, Micah Sherman, Jenn Welch, and more make up theatrical scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly show produced by Micah Sherman & Sarah Nowak:People Improvising

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Greer Barnes, Nick Griffin, Jeff Leach, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Mark Normand, Joe Machi, Carmen Lynch, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane):Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Christina Gausas & Michael Bertrando perform two-prov at Brooklyn’sThe Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Come Together

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Iconic former child actress Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire; currently a writer; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale) hosts this show about “death, commitment, sock puppets—everyone’s afraid of something. Laugh at your fears as Mara takes you through comedians’ anxieties (and a few of her own),” tonight featuring comedic storytellers Erin Barker (producer of The Story Collider), Brian Kennedy (Moth StorySlam winner), and Tynan DeLong (Mortified Nation, The Chris Gethard Show) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: What Are You Afraid Of?

8:00 pm ($5): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch group Murderfist), Kenny Zimlinghaus (Sirius XM Radio host), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host ofLasers in the Jungle), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), Greg Stone, Jeremy Essig, and Andrew Tavin performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm  ($7.50 online using code ComedyWeek; no min.): Amanda Seales (VH1) performs a one-woman show about love mixing characters, music, and audience participation at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Amanda Seales: It’s Complicated

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Zainab Johnson (Arsenio Hall, Last Comic Standing, BET’s Comic View), Erin Jackson , and Daniel Simonsen performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which typically includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Act One

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): The spectacular Tracy Mull loves short-form improv games with a passion, and so is the perfect host for this jam that lets audience members—including you—put their names in a bucket. Tracy will then repeatedly pull out a name and a game and facilitate improv magic at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sunday School Short-Form Jam

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

5:30 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly atUCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/18/15

April 18, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

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

Leslie Jones

Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones continues her headlining run at Carolines

Soojeong Son and GInny Leise

…and Soojeong Son & GInny Leise make comics top each other at embarrassing themselves in The Shame Game

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

[ALMOST FREE] 1:00 pm (FREE or $1.02, depending on how quickly you register online): A brunch-time stand-up show that’s rated PG—that is, kid & family friendly—and is also a lottery-style open mic for children under age 15. This unusual monthly show is at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Guess What: A Family-Friendly Stand-Up Show & Kids’ Open MIc

[$] 6:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Gnome Necessary, Wine Supremacists, Seramillo, and Group of Dads at a Barperforming at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Greer Barnes, Gregg Rogell, Nick Griffin, Lynne Koplitz, Zainab Johnson, Sherrod Small, and Jon Fisch (hosting) at the 7:00 show, and Morgan Murphy, Ari Shaffir, Sherrod Small, Dov Davidoff, Ricky Velez, Jeff Leach, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground(130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Movie & TV star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), 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), Jordan Carlos (writer for The Nightly Show; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central, VH1, Adult Swim), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

7:00 pm ($5): All-gal improvisors Ashley Ward, Brigid Boyle, Alexis Saarela, and/or Elizabeth Findlay, plus guest improv group The Stank, perform at the PIT downstairs lounge as group Taco Supreme

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Women & Men will spin off scenes from the tales of a monologist at the UCB Easttheatre: Women & Men

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A comedic juggler tries out material for this last night of his four-night run at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Marcus Monroe

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Christina Gausas, Tami Sagher, Brandon Scott Jones, Keisha Zollar, Eric Drysdale, Jen Bartels, and James III making up scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Maraville

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A star of Saturday Night Live and writer for Chris Rock (and one of the actors in Chris’ movie Top Five) headlines tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Leslie Jones

[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 Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour, The BTK Band)— 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] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Comics share their most shameful stories with the aim of being crowned the King or Queen of Shame, with tonight’s hopefuls David & Katie (David and Katie Get Re-Married), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), and Subhah Agarwal performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Ginny Leise & Soojeong Son: The Shame Game

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25; no min.): Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; Comedy Central’s Nightly Showand Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, host of My Sexy Podcast), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’s Down and Dirty,National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1) performing stand-up at The StandComedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Kurt Metzger, Sabrina Jalees, Ari Shaffir, Christian Finnegan, Bonnie McFarlane, and Sherrod Small

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

8:00 pm ($10; SOLD OUT, but you can try to get in via a standby list): Sketch comedy group Bridge & Tunnel plus guest comics Anna Rose Roisman, Madonna Eleganza Refugia, and Briana Kelly perform at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel: A Sketch Show

[$] 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:00 pm ($15 for the three episodes comprising “Part 1”): A 3-part series that tries to capture the spirit of anime such as Dragon Ball Z on stage…with limited success. The costumes are fun, the cast is cute (especially lead Madeleine Bundy, whose musical theatre voice is the best “special effect” in the show), but the script is too often flat, arbitrary, and juvenile, making it almost impossible to care about anything that happens, while genuine top anime is much more nuanced and gripping. On top of that, the playwright also appears to mistakenly equate “annoying” with “entertaining”—which helps explain why he wrote himself one of the most gratingly irritating characters in the show. I can’t recommend 8:00 pm’s Part 1 at all, but 9:30 pm’s Part 2 is an improvement (largely thanks to the addition of Asia Kate Dillon as a charismatic female warrior) and might be worth checking out for the sheer novelty of this production. As for Part 3, it debuts tonight at 11:00 pm, and here’s hoping it transcends what came before it. The whole shebang happens at The PIT upstairs theatre at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kapow-i GoGo

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

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

[FREE] 8:30 pm: This show-and-tell event encourages you to “bring your weird family photos, demonstrate how many flips you can do in a row, reveal the tattoo your uncle gave you at last year’s family retreat—share anything crazy, kooky, strange or insane; the best of the best will win prizes and bragging rights,” plus stand-up from Matt Dennie (MTV, IFC, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Lukas Kaiser (Chappelle’s Show; senior writer/producer for Spike TV; co-host of Amazingtown), Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s The American Life, Moth StorySlam Champion, host of And I Am Not Lying), Charlie Kasov (MTV’s Guy Code), Alia Janine (Playboy), Aalap Patel, and Joel Walkowski, all performing at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) produced by Lukas Kaiser and hosted by Simmons McDavid: Show/Tell Show

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

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

9:30 pm ($10): Sketches, characters, and improv from the Anthology Players, tonight inspired by legendary bandNirvana at The PIT downstairs lounge: The B-Side: Nirvana

9:30 pm ($5): “Good improvisation requires commitment and listening and a sense of play. But great improvisation requires great actors. Tonight we celebrate our students as they perform their favorite monologues and scenes from plays and films both beloved and obscure with raw, powerful vulnerability” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre(367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Jed Resnik: Annoyance Acting Masterclass Showcase

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[$] 10:00 pm ($25; no min.): Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, Christian Finnegan, Bonnie McFarlane, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups take a comedic look at the world’s problems at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tom Dillon: Love, Poverty, and War

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

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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

10:30 pm ($5): Comics (not announced) “perform kooky bits based off online videos. The goal of the show is primarily to be louder than the jazz music coming from upstairs” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Matt Barats: Louder Than Jazz

11:00 pm ($5): A young improv group performs and hosts guests at The PIT downstairs lounge: Tickle Party: An Intimate Evening

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Sketch comedy that aims to have you “laughing until blood pours out of your throat and eyes and you die and you go to hell and you’re like ‘god damn that was worth it!’ to Satan and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, I know, I was there, it was dope'” at the UCB East theatre: O.S.F.U.G. A Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight ($7.50 online using code ComedyWeek; no min.): Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, host of My Sexy Podcast), Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), Alex Pavone, and Crystian Ramirez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Sabrina Jalees, Barry Rothbart, Ben Kronberg, and More

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/16/15

April 16, 2015

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

TV Alert: Kevin James is on David Letterman;
Will Ferrell and Chelsea Peretti are on Jimmy Fallon
(repeated from 3/18);
an especially great lineup of Tim Minchin, Rhys Darby,
and Rich Fulcher on @midnight

David and Katie Get Re-Married

Katie Hartman & David Carl have a show so wonderful that The PIT painted the duo’s faces on its outside window. I’ll be seeing the updated production tonight, and you should join me for this epic sketch-based play filled with loud, unsettling songs and many fights: David and Katie Get Re-Married

Olympia Dukakis

…plus Olympia Dukakis is among the guests at Catie Lazarus’ & Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan’s Employee of the Month

Leslie Jones

…and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines

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

7:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Sarah Peele who “inspired by the greatest decade ever plays four weird characters” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sarah Peele’s 90s Mixtape

7:00 pm ($5): Talented improvisor James III and friends play characters at The PIT downstairs lounge: James III and Friends

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A comedic juggler tries out material tonight through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Marcus Monroe

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) A star of Saturday Night Live and writer for Chris Rock (and one of the actors in Chris’ movie Top Five) headlines tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Leslie Jones

7:30 pm ($5): Guy Branum (head writer/performer on G4’s X-Play; regular panelist on Chelsea Lately), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine), Jenny Rubin, Alex Grubard, and Grant Gordon performing stand-up atUCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ted Alexandro, Joe Machi, Marina Franklin, Lynne Koplitz, Jonathan Kite, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 7:45 show; Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Lenny Marcus, Dov Davidoff, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 8:00 show; and Mark Normand, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson ,and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Brilliant character comics David Carl (Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), and Katie Hartman (Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting) team up to become singing explosive forces of nature (when I saw the first version of this in June they almost destroyed the stage, with cake, champagne, and imaginary blood everywhere) at The PIT upstairs theatre: David and Katie Get Re-Married

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15): Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), and Luis J. Gomez performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Wyatt Cenac, Mark Normand, Dan Soder, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Blackout (long form improv in which “scenes are edited solely by blackouts created by the director in the booth and the stage is set by the improvisers from the previous scene”), at 10:00 pm by favorite sketches of established groups in Bonus Round, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, 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] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a one-man show by Don Fanelli as “Mr. Jersey presenting to you the real people that make New Jersey amazing: the poets and musicians, restauranteurs and strippers. Take Exit 17 off the turnpike for a night celebrating these lovable, totally normal characters” at Mr. Jersey’s Neighborhood

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece put on a pretend kids’ show in which “you learn valuable life lessons about friendship, expressing your individuality, fucking the family members you love the most, and much much more” at Through the Back Door

8:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from group The Dog Committee at The PIT downstairs lounge: “Help I Need Somebody!”

8:00 pm ($5): John Early, Phil Hanley, Eliot Glazer, Josh Gondelman, Brett Davis, Max Silvestri, and Naomi Karavan performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

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

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv house groups, Salt and Gun Club, make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Salt + Gun Club

8:40ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1,Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories), Saurin Choksi (TruTV), Kerry Overfab Coddett, Marie Faustin, Brian Grossi, and LeClerc Andre Darguin performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Franklin Bar and Lounge (739 Franklin Street) hosted by Khalid A. Rahmaan & Mike Eltringham: It’s Sooo Up and Coming

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): “When an aging playwright attempts to re-invigorate his career online, he sparks a flame war that summons the ghostly spirits of Theatre Past, Present and Future, who expose his brutish behaviors from the past, but offer him the chance to course-correct his fate. The evening devolves into the recreation of sixteen plays, once thought all but lost to time…all performed in under an hour” at The PIT downstairs lounge curated by group Forever Dog: Forever Dog Presents The Average Was Lousy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Improv giants Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman produce and host this show featuring three improvised one-act plays at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Scene

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Annie Lederman (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately, co-host of Pirate Party), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Mary Mack (Last Comic Standing), and Tony Hinchcliffe (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($25 at the door or $24.50 in advance online, plus 2-item food/drink min.): This show that interviews luminaries about what it’s like to have a dreamy job tonight features Olympia Dukakis (Oscar-winning actress), Cindy Chupack (Emmy Award winning writer/producer for such shows as Modern Family and Sex and the City; author of book Between Boyfriends), Betty Halbreich (famed Bergdorf personal shopper), and Justin Sayre (2 Broke Girls, The Meeting) at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place) hosted by Catie Lazarus, plus music from Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan: Employee of the Month

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Sketch troupe The Grape Dutches of York performs a show set in an amusement park “immersively, with 3D and 4D effects” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Enchantment Park

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

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

[DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($7.50 online using discount code ComedyWeek; no min.): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Ricky Velez (correspondent for The Nightly Show), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Ben & Josh, Subhah Agarwal, Giulio Gallarotti, and Luis J. Gomez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Dan Soder, Ricky Velez, and More

10:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from guests Anna Drezen, Brandon Scott Wolf, and Devin Richie, plus improvised therapy sessions from host Ali Levin playing “Miami’s most beloved spicy Cuban holistic wellness counselor, Viviana Cortez is on a quest to answer life’s toughest questions while healing her clients one churro at a time” atThe PIT downstairs lounge: The Sessions with Viviana Cortez

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups—possibly performing in a camp tent—at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Aaron Friedman: Campfire Comedy

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” directed by Conner O’Malley (staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): The brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Charles Gould, and Dan Licata host this stand-up show with guests Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever) and Seaton Smith (FOX’s Mulaney, Opie & Anthony Virus Tour) at the UCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv groups Curtains and Women & Men compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: 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

[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

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes for each audience member whose name is pulled out of a bucket to perform a true story, sketch, or characters—plus tonight only, storyteller Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion) and Katey Healy-Wurzburg (improvisor, stand-up, and storyteller)—at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by JiJi Lee & Patrick Clair: Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

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

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

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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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