NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 11/10/15

November 10, 2015

New York Comedy Festival: Lewis BlackToday kicks off this year’s six-day New York Comedy Festival, running 11/10 through 11/15. Tonight’s highlights include A Conversation with Lewis Black at the 92nd Street Y and Seven Minutes in Purgatory at Littlefield; for the complete (and extensive) festival schedule, please click here

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-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): David Carl provides a sneak peek at tonight’s fourth Republican debate—playing all the candidates himself!—at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Road to the White House

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

[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 Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling (Howard Stern), and Esther Ku (Last Comic Standing finalist, MTV’s Girl Code) performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by an Emmy award winning comedy writer and co-creator of the The Jack and Triumph Show: The David Feldman Show

7:30 pm & 9:15 pm ($5 per show): House groups at UCB Chelsea perform the classic improv form The Harold at Harold Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album) seamlessly blends stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience. In this show Chris achieves a new maturity to his already stellar career with a beautifully honest look at his experiences with mental illness and suicide that reaches exceptional heights at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, with a guest comic or musician opening: Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups, including Ian Edwards, Adam Conover, and Ana Fabrega, performing at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, between Rivington & Stanton) hosted by John Early: Cakeshop Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($8): Stellar stand-ups Aparna Nancherla, Dave Hill, Ian Abramson, Seaton Smith, Nick Vatterott, and more perform at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street): Seven Minutes in Purgatory

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Superb stand-ups performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Sachi Ezura, Clark Jones, Robert Dean, and/or Steve O’Brien: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups present lectures on such weighty topics as “Points of Articulation: The Rise and Fall of the Collector-Based Action Figure Industry” at the UCB East theatre hosted by Jared Logan, Kara Klenk, and/or Jim Tews: Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Ted Alexandro, Josh Gondelman, Chad Daniels, and Jeffrey Joseph performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Joe Zimmerman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing): Deep-er-ness

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): This super-affordable weekly club show features a mix of superb and pretty good stand-ups performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies at The Stand

[FREE] 10:00 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] 10:00 pm: Comics and audience members who’ve drunk too much engage in a spelling competition at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jake Flores & Blake Midgette: The Drunk Spelling Bee

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A mix of superb and up-and-coming stand-ups performing at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Matteo Lane (Comedy Central): Chemistry

Tuesday 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 (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:15 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, typically hosted by Jamie Aderski: Personality Disorder Character Jam

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies 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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 7:30) at Brooklyn’s Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Goodbye Blue Monday

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up that’s first come, first serve (signup starts at 8:30) and provides each performer 6 minutes—or 4 minutes plus 2 minutes of feedback!—at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street): Train Wreck Open Mic Stand-Up

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and/or David Frasure: Study Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for 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 Friday 12/12/14

December 12, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Jamie Foxx and Robert Klein are on David Letterman;
Megan Mullally is on Jimmy Fallon;
Jason Sudeikis and Aubrey Plaza
are on Seth Meyers (repeated from 11/25)

Lewis Black and Ophira Eisenberg

Stellar storytellers Ophira Eisenberg…

Leslie Goshko

…and Leslie Goshko tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at Natalie Wall’s Awkward Sex…and the City

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, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Most of tonight’s official lineups aren’t exciting, but there’s always the chance of drop-ins; plus the 12:15 am show is solid, with Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Big Jay Oakerson, Allan Havey, and Keith Robinson (hosting). All shows are at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Shea Butta Magic (“smooth like a plain bagel with butter”) raps and jokes one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Shea Butta Magic

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm show ($20—or $12 if you have ID proving your birthday is in December—price includes homemade eggnog and slices of homemade ice cream cakes): Storytellers Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone, new comedy album Bangs!), Diana Spechler (The Moth Radio Hour), Adam Linn (author of American Sexy), and Danny Artese (Moth StorySlam winner) tell personal tales and celebrate Robin’s birthday at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by birthday gal Robin Gelfenbien (storyteller and singer/songwriter; VH1, AMC, Sirius Radio, acclaimed one-woman show at FringeNYC) with free eggnog and ice cream cakes— including a whiskey cake—made by Robin herself: Yum’s the Word

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): 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—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($43.75 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

7:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, sketch comedy from Matt Porter & Charlie Hankin as duo Good Cop Great Cop

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “Six months ago, Karin and Glenn started emailing each other every time they cried. Then they wrote a comedy show about feelings. To test the theory of ‘Tragedy Plus Time Equals Comedy,’ Karin and Glenn will perform some sketches, dance a little bit, and then tell you some very personal stories that they shouldn’t be talking about in front of this many people,” directed by Stone Cold Fox’s Leslie Meisel & Brandon Gulya: This Is Going to Hurt

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Neil Charles, Eric Neumann, Matt Azark, and Jay Nog performing stand-up at the One and One Bar’s Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Jeff Cerulli: Industry Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A mindblowing mix of sketch and character improv spinning off this premise “Moments before he’s to take the stage with his band The Bing Faithful 5, holiday crooner Bing Faithful learns all members of his band have died in a horrific bus accident. Bing is a consummate professional and knows ‘the show must go on.’ What follows is one character’s journey through grief and agony as, alone on stage, he attempts to compensate for the band’s absence by singing all five parts and harmonies to all the classic holiday songs requested by the audience.” Bing is played by brilliant improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan; plus there’s a twist involving Micah Sherman, Greg Kotis, Mark Stetson, and Bill Connolly at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special

[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 ($20; no min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street):Ted Alexandro, Gary Gulman, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($30 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Showtime, and his own hour-long Comedy Central special headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club:Sebastian Maniscalco

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Cannon (MTV), Chloé Hilliard (Last Comic Standing), Joyelle Johnson, Julio Torres, and Reggie Conquest performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by the tall Khalid Rahmaan and/or LeClerc Andre: Top Shelf Comedy

[FREE] 8:30 pm: A Queens indie comedy show featuring Kara Klenk (writer for VH1’s Girl Code and Guy Code;Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Chelsea White (producer of MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TLC, co-host of What Else and Call Us Crazy), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Roger Hailes (Jimmy Fallon, Chappelle’s Show, MTV; writer for VH1’s Best Week Ever and FUSE’s A Different Spins; Web series Mansome), Mick Diflo, and more performing stand-up in Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Pat Stango, Clayton Craigsly Gumbert, and Gregg Zehentner: Fortress of Attitude

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($13.41 in advance online or $15 at the door; 15% discount on Pleasure Chest products with ticket): Storytellers & comics Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone, new comedy albumBangs!), Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, host ofSideshow Goshko), and Tom Cowell(Village Voice) tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at The Pleasure Chest(1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets) hosted by Natalie Wall: Awkward Sex…and the City

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): 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, Neil Casey, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, Abra Tabak, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Janine Brito (former staff writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Nick Mullen, Mary Houlihan, and Dustin Wesley performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

9:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel: A Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm,Comedy Central hour-long special), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Gary Gulman, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Matt Dennie (MTV, IFC, half of brilliant sketch duo Dennie & Sharp) hosts this monthly variety show featuring sketch, stand-up, and acts that cannot be categorized at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Matt Dennie Sexperience

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): Mike Cannon (MTV), Max Fox, Ricky Gonzalez, Danny Kallas, and Frank Garcia Hejl performing stand-up or sketch at UCB East hosted by improvisors Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): 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 The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

11:00 pm ($10): Sketches, rap battles, and improv from the Anthology Players, tonight inspired by the early years of Jay-Z, at The PIT upstairs theatre: The B-Side. A Hip-Hop Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): This monthly stand-up, storytelling, and carny show brings the blog And I Am Not Lyingto life on stage, with storytelling from host Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life) and Alia Janine, stand-up from Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City) and Peggy O’Leary (host of Creek Cave Live), and burlesque by Jonny Porkpie and Tiger Bay, all at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Pot stand-up from “highly talented comics who have been highly recommended from people who are thought highly of in the business. Oh, and they’ll be high” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Clayton English & Noah Gardenswartz: High Five

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. 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

[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 with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level. This monthly UCB Chelsea event is helmed by Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, The Stepfathers, ASSSSCAT 3000, Strangers Wanted, Ladies Night): The Lady Jam

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)

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 1/11/14

January 11, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For a sampling of classics, please click here.

Lewis Black and Wyatt Cenac

Lewis Black, Wyatt Cenac, Gilbert Gottfried, Kevin Allison, Keith and the Girl, and more are live on stage for an event running today from 3:00 pm through midnight at Fontana’s: NYC Podcast Festival

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 ($6.17 online or $5 at the door; show up early to nab seats): A live taping of podcast Keith and the Girl, with guests Danny Hatch, Myka Fox, Lauren Hennessy, and Emmy Pellot at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street): Keith and the Girl Live Podcast

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Tink Tank, Grade School, Three Nice Boys, and Sad Kids kicking off Saturday evening at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm ($25 with discount code SHAKES FB at the door; please note the entire run has SOLD OUT, but the theatre can often squeeze people in if you’re okay with standing): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the third of a four-night NYC run at at Theatre 80 St. Marks (80 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue), with every evening utterly different from the last. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($11.34 online or $10 at the door; show up early to nab seats): A live taping of JR Havlan’s podcast Writer’s Bloc, with former Daily Show star correspondent and writer Wyatt Cenac interviewed at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street): Writer’s Bloc Live Podcast: Wyatt Cenac Interviewed by JR Havlan

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Dave Smith (IFC’s Z-Rock), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): Improv troupe Punctual Drunks interviews an audience member about his or her favorite fairy tale, and then picks up the story where it left off so you can find out how it really ended, at The PIT downstairs lounge: Punctual Drunks & Friends

[$] 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 lineups include Greer Barnes at all shows, Ben Bailey at the 7:00, 8:45, and 9:15 shows, and Dave Attell, James Smith, and Big Jay Oakerson 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 and 9:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($8): Duo sketch from Ruby Marez & Joanna Brown about annoying sisters at the PIT downstairs lounge: Biddies

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, 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

7:30 pm ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): An Iranian-American stand-up headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Max Amini

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Abbi Crutchfield (MTV, VH1; co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), Neil Constantine, Gregory Joseph, Craig Mahoney, and Paul Spratt performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Evan Morgenstern & Darin Patterson: Comic Sans

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Brown, Taylor Clark, Ben Conrad, Alex Grubard, Kerryn Feehan, and Casey James Salengo, and improv troupe Butts perform at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s hosted MTV’s Numbnuts and Money From Strangers, and starred in a Comedy Central Presents special, headlining at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jeff Dye

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

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) hosted by Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here): Comedy at Irish Exit

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($16.52 online or $15 at the door; show up early to nab seats): A live taping of Kevin Allison’s superb storytelling podcast Risk!, with storytellers Alex Edelman, Godfrey, and Keith Malley & Chemda from Keith and the Girl performing at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street): Risk! Live Podcast

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

9:30 pm ($10): Improvisors make up new episodes of a TV classic at The PIT downstairs lounge: Saved by the Bell: The Lost Episodes

[$] 9:30 pm ($11.34 online or $15 at the door): A young all-guy improv troupe making stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($11.34 online, or $10 at the door; show up early to nab seats): Wonderful comedy stars Lewis Black and Gilbert Gottfried are interviewed at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street) by host Liam McEneaney for a live taping of a podcast: TYF Live Podcast: Lewis Black and Gilbert Gottfried

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Aaron Jackson (Newsadoozies), and more form an improv troupe at UCB East that won this year’s prestigious Cage Match championship by springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 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 West Village’s Soho Playhouse: The Complete Performer

[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): Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney perform sharp improv at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): Original comedic songs are showcased, with tonight’s singers Patrick Noth, Matt Starr, Tamsi New, Evan Altshuler, Edith & Franny, and Kingmaker performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Justin Perez and Nicole Pasquale: Total Requesty

11:30 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) perform at this sketch comedy/talk/variety show at UCB East hosted by Anthony Apruzzese: Showtime with Anthony Apruzzese

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight ($15 online using discount code CRINGE; no min.): Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Luis Gomez, and more performing “cringe” stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Cringe Humor: Wyatt Cenac, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; opens for Amy Schumer; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Phil Hanley (Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central), Alan Starzinski (improv group Sandino), Johnathan Marballi (sketch group Beige), David Bluvband (improv group Good Girl), and David Ebert (improv group Alamo) performing stand-up or sketch at UCB Chelsea with hosts Andy Rocco & Steven Slate: Underground Americana

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups (not announced) joking about their culture—Jewish, African-American, Asian, geek, whatever—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shak Standley & Paul Higbie: The Black Bar Mitzvah

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”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Walk-in open mic comedy show—stand-up, character, or funny story—providing 5 minutes per comic at The Fifth Estate Bar (506 5th Avenue, off 12th Street) hosted by Meghan O’Keefe: Open Mic-hael Douglas

5:30 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic, with sign-up at 5:15 pm and each stand-up performing for 5 minutes, at the Comedy Village Comedy Club (107 MacDougal Street): Comedy Village

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)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 11/3/10

November 3, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For the best of Bill Hicks, please click here.

Louis C.K.

Interviews with two extraordinary comics tonight: Louis C.K. (above) at the Paley Center for Media, and Lewis Black at Union Square Barnes & Noble

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

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Star Daily Show commentator and author of the new book I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas interviewed by Bill Scheft at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square (33 East 17th Street): Lewis Black

[TOP PICK] 7:30ish pm ($10 at the door or $12.75 online): A monthly comedy show in which top storytellers tell a personal tale that in some way incorporates a lesson learned at college (for a write-up of last month’s amazing debut, please click here)—with tonight’s lineup consisting of host Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Liar Show), Martin Dockery, (London Fringe Festival award winner), Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion), Andy Ross, and Tracy Rowland—performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for producer Adam Magazine’s You Went to College For That?

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb sketch troupes The Harvard Sailing Team, The Franco & Billy Show, BoF, and Paul Downs performing at this special event: Best of NY Sketch

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Gavin Speiller, Neil Casey, Jon Gabrus, and more performing at this special event: UCBT Improv All-Stars

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($25 live, $10 via closed circuit viewing room): An interview about the extraordinary FX series Louie with its creator/writer/director/editor/star at the Paley Center for Media: A Conversation with Louis C.K.

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($16.50 & two-drink min.): Stand-ups Morgan Murphy, Donnell Rawlings, Joe Mande, Kurt Metzger, and host Bobby Lee performing at the Carolines Comedy Club (while being broadcast on Comedy Central’s Jokes.com!): Jokes.com Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who tonight include UK star Glenn Wool and Jon Glaser (star of Adult Swim’s Delocated)—guest-hosted by comedy genius Sean Patton (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1) at Whiplash

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For the best of Bill Hicks, please click here.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wed. 10/20/10

October 20, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Lewis Black

Marc Maron interviews Daily Show stars Lewis Black (above) and Kristen Schaal, plus a number of other comedy giants, live on stage for his hit podcast "WTF?"

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

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

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($19.33 online for this show alone, or just $21.51 for both this show and the 9:30 show, using code PLAYBILL, plus 2-item minimum per show): Comedy legend Marc Maron interviews some of the best stand-ups in the world—who tonight include Kristen Schaal, Jessi Klein, Eugene Mirman, Jon Glaser, and Sam Seder—as he tapes an episode of his hit WTF podcast live on stage at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Marc Maron’s WTF with Kristen Schaal and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: A blowout “best of/DVD taping” edition of this endearingly oddball monthly show, with DTMT’s top live sketches, comedy short films, a new 3-D film (with free glasses), and “spooky Halloween surprises,” plus guests Christian Finnegan (co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; commentator on MNBC’s Countdown with Keith Oberman and VH1’s Best Week Ever; Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), musical group Fortress of Attitude, and more performing with hosts Pat Stango & Blaine Perry at Karma LoungeDon’t Touch Me There

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Josh Fadem (rising star hilarious at both physical & verbal comedy; 30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever), and Gabe Delahaye (Videogum.com) join best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author of Look At This F*cking Hipster) at Totally J/K

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Ace comedic storytellers John Flynn and Cyndi Freeman, and NYC stand-ups Anthony DeVito, Brent Sullivan, and Joe Pontillo, performing at this free weekly show hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:30 pm ($19.33 online using code PLAYBILL, plus 2-item minimum): Comedy legend Marc Maron interviews some of the best stand-ups in the world—who tonight include Lewis Black, Rich Vos, Mike DeStefano, and Bonnie MacFarlane—as he tapes an episode of his hit WTF podcast live on stage at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Marc Maron’sWTF with Lewis Black, Rich Vos, and More

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which brilliant writer/performers—who tonight are Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion and record-breaking 15-time StorySlam Champion; for sample, please click here), Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock; brilliant member of championship improv troupe Death by Roo Roo; Huffington Post), Justin Tyler (sketch troupe Sidecar; co-host of marvelous Comic Book Club), and Jesse Falcon (legendary improv troupe Mother; Cracked Magazine), and wonderful host David Martin—tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious, with tonight’s theme Pets (sounds harmless, but be very afraid) at The Nights of Our Lives

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

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/23/10

April 23, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Comedy star Lewis Black performs stand-up tonight and Saturday in his one-man show In God We Trust

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): “Jon Bander has always believed himself great at something. These are the moments where he found out what that something wasn’t. A one-show about being comfortable in your own skin by a guy who, despite glaring flaws, has always loved himself:” Delusions of Bander

7:00 ($5): Improvised one-act plays by four talented improvisors: superb Austin comedic actress Lee Eddy, Ben Sterling (Start Trekkin’), Caitlin Sweet (Topanga), and Jeremy Lamb (Out of Bounds Comedy Festival): The Hypotheticals

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Superb stand-ups Matt McCarthy (Comedy Central, Verizon Fios guy, new comedy CD Come Clean), Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), and Erik Bergstrom (author of Grimmer Tales); sketch comedy from Roger Hailes, Sean Donnelly, and Steve Bossous; musical group Fortress of Attitude; comedy films; and “drunken makeout-filled afterparty” with hosts Pat Stango & Blaine Perry, all at Karma Lounge for this endearingly oddball monthly comedy show: Don’t Touch Me There

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($45-$75): One of comedy’s funniest angry white men performs tonight and Saturday at the New York City Center: Lewis Black: In God We Trust

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Comedy dynamo Shannon O’Neill debuting her extravaganza about an annual talent show in “Charlie Sheen Prison, the only talent show starring the criminally retarded and insane,” directed by the wonderful Will Hines; plus Kate McKinnon, Sarah Claspell, Nicole Drespel, Jocelyn Guest, Veronica Osorio, and Aaron Glaser perform a sketch show written by Leila Cohan and Caitlin Tegart about Smith, our nation’s largest women’s college, in the double-billPrison Freaks: A Talent Show and This is About Smith

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A groundbreaking and surreal improv/sketch troupe performing with new guests each Friday and making a valid complaint: Centralia: We Were Supposed To Have Flying Cars By Now

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A beloved high-concept sketch troupe that delights in exploring silly ideas and wordplay (for example, demonstrating that a caveman and the Cookie Monster sound remarkably alike when saying such things as “Me have problem with subject/verb placement…”) debuts an all-new show:Elephant Larry

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

11:00 pm ($5): “When life gives you lemons, get Streeter Seidell & Dan Gurewitch (CollegeHumor), along with a few of their friends, to perform a night of stand-up comedy so funny you’ll totally forget fruit even exists:” Plan B

12:20ish am ($5): “Set sail with your hosts, The Brooks Brothers (Alex Scordelis & Chris Schell), on the S.S. WASP for a delightful evening of entertainment and a delicious clambake! Come watch your favorite UCB performers make a mockery of all things preppy—everything from Sperry Top-Siders, Vampire Weekend, and the Hampton Jitney to popped collars, Princeton University and Zack “Preppy” Morris. And seriously, we’ll be serving clams:” The Brookes Brothers Clambake

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/25/10

January 25, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Some of the finest TV & film comedy stars in the country—including Janeane Garofalo, Kristen Schaal, Lewis Black, Todd Barry, Wyatt Cenac, and Fred Armisen—perform stand-up to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders tonight at Tell Your Friends: Haiti Relief Edition

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

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours—at John Morrison’s Ochi’s Motel

[FREE] 7:45 pm: NYC stand-ups Mark Normand, Dan Mahoney, John Clark, Vlad Caamano, and Matt Maragno performing at a free weekly show in the Manchester Pub hosted by Phoebe Robinson: Case of the Mondays Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A blowout gathering of top TV & film comedy talent—including Janeane Garofalo, Kristen Schaal, Lewis Black, Todd Barry, Wyatt Cenac, Fred Armisen, Victor Varnado, and producer Liam McEneaney—for this fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders at the Lolita Bar: Tell Your Friends: Haiti Relief Edition

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Saturday Night Live star Jason Sudeikis, and Broadway & off-Broadway stars Jennifer Grace (Theatre World Award Winner for Our Town), Jonathan Kaplan (Tony nominee for Falsettos, Diary of Anne Frank), Kevin Kelly (Shakespeare In The Park: Twelfth Night), and Julie Sharbutt (Shakespeare In The Park: Twelfth Night), mixing it up with some of the best improvisors in the world—Scott Adsit, Becky Drysdale, Anthony King, Thomas Middleditch, and Tami Sagher —as they crash improv into classic theatre scenes at actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water

9:30 pm ($5): Wonderful comic Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon, The Rejection Show), and improvisors making up a feature film in 30 minutes at Big Ass Movie, auditioning for a spot on the UCBT lineup in tonight’s double-bill of tryout show Spank

9:30 pm ($5): Superb stand-up comic Carmen Lynch (Comedy Central) debuting a one-woman show, and Leah Bonnema debuting a one-woman show about waiting for her comatose mom to wake up, in Fishy and Mom in a Coma

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the country—tonight including lightning-fast & thoroughly hilarious Pete Holmes (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, John Oliver and Friends, VH1’s Best Week Ever, The New Yorker, host of hit shows Punch Up Your Life and Gutbucket), razor-sharp rising star Sean Patton (Comedy Central, ComedyJuice), Ireland comedy star Des Bishop (Desfunctional), and Louis Katz (Carson Daly)—hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen (Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, HBO, Comedy Central) at Whiplash

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.