NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Tuesday 2/13/18

February 13, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Tuesday 2/13 (see also 2/14): Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show in which he puts different objects on the table in front of him and tells jokes evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Marina Franklin and Seaton SmithTuesday 2/13: Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; Trainwreck, Crashing, Louie, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Nighly Show, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Matt Ruby (MTV, Seeso; sharp co-host of Hot Soup, award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit, comedy album Hot Flashes), and more guest-hosted by Jordan Carlos (cast member of Netflix’s Friends From College; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

HomeschooledTuesday 2/13: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Tushar Singh, Molly Cahen, and Shane O’Neill present funny lectures on silly topics—e.g., “Disneyland: How to Enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth Even Though It’s Super Racist” and “Big Time Sensual Personae: Bjork vs. Madonna as the Most Important Pop Star of the Late 20th Century”—produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; producer of If You Build It) and hosted by Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

James Dwyer and Caroline CotterTuesday 2/13: Caroline Cotter (above right; Seth Meyers, College Humor; UCB improv group Goat) & Mike Camerlengo (MTV’s Joking Off) host a Valentine’s Eve show “to teach you how to find love and hold onto love. From sending dick pics to when to ask about bra size, this educational seminar covers all the basics, including butt stuff (which Mike and Caroline consider 3rd base). Helping out are unlucky-in-love guests James Dwyer (above left; Master of None; co-star of UCB’s A Big Dumb Thing), Nayomi Reghay (dating columnist for The Daily Dot), and Julia Young (MTV’s Joking Off): Mike and Caroline Know Love (10:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friends of Single PeopleTuesday 2/13: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been canceled for 2/13. Jo is planning to reschedule it. If you purchased a ticket online, you’ll be refunded automatically. The spectacular Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this show in which “comics represent you onstage in a live dating game! You may cringe and remain as anonymous as you want in the crowd…or arrive at 7:30 pm to be paired up with a comic and tell everything there is to know about you in 10 minutes or less, and then let them guide your love life in great and maybe horrible ways.” Tonight’s comics are Ana Fabrega, Conner O’Malley, Patrick Borelli, Maeve Higgins, Josh Rabinowitz, Kevin Iso, Gary Richardson, and Yamaneika Saunders. “Out of over 100 couples matched, four couples have managed to develop actual long-term relationships. One couple moved in together. It’s amazing and defies all odds:” Friends of Single People (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lane Moore's Tinder Live: Valentine's Day SpecialWednesday 2/14: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. For this special Valentine’s Day edition Lane is doing two back-to-back shows. Offering comments and suggestions during the 8:30 adventure are stellar guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jon Friedman (MTV producer, Jimmy Fallon; host of former legendary annual anti-Valentine’s Day event The Rejection Show: VD Edition), and Sally Kohn (CNN pundit, Daily Beast columnist; author of upcoming book The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity). And guests for the 10:30 pm show include Dodai Stewart (Editor-in-Chief of Splinter News; previously Deputy Editor at Jezebel), This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live: Special Valentine’s Day Early Show and Late Show (8:30 pm, $15; 10:30 pm, $15; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Wednesday 2/14: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). This is a phenomenal show year-round, but it’s extra special on Valentine’s Day—which is why Evan & Rebecca will be doing it twice tonight, at 7:00 and 9:30: Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm; $15, which is a good deal—this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Wednesday 2/14 (see also 2/13): Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show in which he puts different objects on the table in front of him and tells jokes evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Bobby Tisdale: "The Wards of Merkin"Thursday 2/15: Bobby Tisdale (former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; voice of Zeke on Bob’s Burgers; numerous other TV credits, and NYC downtown comedy pioneer) hosts this out-of-the-box comedy show that features typically superb alternative comics (TBA): The Wards of Merkin (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 2/15: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily MathwichThursday 2/15: Emily Mathwich demonstrated she’s a sharp writer and highly compelling comedic actress at last year’s Solocom, for which she performed a mini-play about a post-apocalyptic world where her only hope for survival was to form a relationship with iPhone’s Siri. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch this Solocom highlight in November, take advantage of this brief revival (with a musical opening by Taylor Ortega and Max Ash): Hey Siri. Am I Gonna Die? (8:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Jay Malsky and Richie MoriartyThursday 2/15: Comics TBA play dead celebrities who give TED Talk-style lectures, “sharing the knowledge of history’s most inspired thinkers willing to push aside death’s veil,” hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) playing Elaine Stritch and Richie Moriarty (The Tick, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Going in Style) playing Don Pardo: DED Talks: Celebrities Return From the Dead to Give One Last TED Talk (7:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Greg BarrisThursday 2/15: The unique Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks; host of Heart of Darkness; comedy album Shame Wave) hosts typically outside-the-mainstream comics (TBA) for one night only: Greg Barris: Mwah Mwah Mwah (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anna Suzuak, Jeena Bloom, and Natalie WallFriday 2/16: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Anna Suzuaki (above left; AzN Pop), Jeena Bloom (above middle; stand-up/actress), and Sam Morrison (one-man show Hello, Daddy!) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Air Force OneFriday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (Sirius XM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented 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: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

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

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 9/27/17

September 27, 2017

Marina Franklin and Dan SoderMarina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show) and Dan Soder (cast member on Showtime’s Billions; film Trainwreck; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1) perform long stand-up sets in the West Village hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime): Dan Soder and Marina Franklin (8:30 pm, $15 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Gianmarco Soresi…or see a stand-up who’s also a skilled playwright (his acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%, for which he also co-stars, will run off-Broadway next year), is a member of sketch group Uncle Function, and has performed on Seeso headlines for one night only at Carolines, with opening sets by Erin Maguire, Chris Cafero, and Gabriel Pacheco: Gianmarco Soresi (7:30 pm; $11 online using code GIAN plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including dynamite comics Adrian Sexton and Jay Malsky in The Community Players at 7:00 pm, musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:30 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:30 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

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

7:00 pm ($7): Beth Slack & Brian Hansbury make up a musical based on an important life moment of a member of the audience at The PIT Underground: Hansbury & Slack Present The Moment: An Improvised Musical Play

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show) tries out a new solo show about what it means to be a good person in 2017 at QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Christian Finnegan: My Goodness

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Sharp storytellers Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out), Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer; stellar host of You’re the Expert), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album “The Human Comedy;” for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), and Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers) tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Body Issues at UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street) hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives: Body Issues

8:00 pm ($8): Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Adult Swim, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Catherine Cohen, and Ikechukwu Ufomadu perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Ethan Beach: Who Let the Dogs Out?

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Dynamite musical improvisors including Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Lauren Adams, Josh Sharp, Jeff Hiller, and/or more last year destroyed 10 improv groups in a row at Cage Match. Come see why audiences can’t resist how these comics make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

10:00 pm ($7): An all-gal group of improvisors make up scenes springboarding off vintage promotional clips intended to teach women how to exist in society at The PIT Underground: The Pitettes

11:00 pm ($7): Queer improvisors Kelley Quinn, Kelsey Bailey, Patrick Keene, Steven Polletta, and more make up scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Here & Queer: Laugh Till You’re an Ally

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

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

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 10/3/16

October 3, 2016

Wyatt Cenac, Seaton Smith, and Marina FranklinThe wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn) is back in town to host his superb Monday night stand-up show, with tonight’s guests Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Emily Heller (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, TBS’ Ground Floor), Joel Kim Booster (Billy on the Street), Kenny DeForest (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), and Rell Battle: Night Train (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

7:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Tracy Mull, Rachel Scherer, TJ Mannix, Canedy Knowles, Amelia Bienstock, and Julia Young make up scenes springboarding off stories told by Mean Girls cast member Dwayne Hill at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Mean Girls Show

[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 four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and a 7:30 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Monday

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Stockton and The Executives perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a sketch show written by Zack Philips that includes such superb comics as Langan Kingsley and Jim Santangeli: Fuck Nostalgia

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group One Idiot performs a parody of series such as Serial and Making a Murderer: This Murder A Real Murder

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Dan Soder, Nick Griffin, Jeff Maurer, Sam Morril, Rory Albanese, Ricky Velez, Phil Hanley, and Brian Scott McFadden trying out fresh material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5): A comic book night, with Fred Van Lente (author of The Comic Book History of Comics, writer of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man) Crystal Skillman (author of King Kirby, Geek!), Pete LePage (co-host of Comic Book Club), and Greg Young chatting about pop culture at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen: Downtown Variety Hour

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): “Dressed only from the waist up and ankles down, Adrienne Truscott undoes and does in the rules and rhetoric about rape, comedy, and the awkward laughs in between. With ‘appearances’ from George Carlin, Louis CK, Robert De Niro, ducks, whistles, and enough gin and tonics to get a girl in trouble, she lets her pussy do the talking. Set to pop music. Can you make jokes about rape? She plans to, all night long. Even if you tell her to stop” at The PIT upstairs theatre (for a London review, please click here): Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Nick Vatterott, Kerry Overfab Coddett, Gregory Sparks, May Wilkerson, Andrew Casertano, Michael Svetich, Jill Weiner, and Pedro Gonzalez performing at Brooklyn’s The Topaz (251 Bushwick Avenue) hosted by Paul Lombardo: Dodgers Baseball Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Betsy Carrolf, Sharon Houston, and Jeff Kreisler at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

9:00 pm ($7): Talented comics perform solo characters at The Magnet theatre hosted by Ari Miller & Elena Skopeto: Character Bash

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups tell stories which improvisors then turn into TV movies at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Catherine Cypher, Emily Duke, and Christina Sirabian: Live or Die

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Sketch comics perform before Comedy Central judges who’ll determine which talents make up this year’s “Comics to Watch” list at the UCB East theatre: Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch” Sketch Auditions

[$] 9:30 pm ($20): A full-blown scripted musical about Donald Trump—”the story of our greatest American, and his rise from humble reality star/heir to the classiest candidate in American history”—at The PIT upstairs theatre: In Trump We Trust

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), 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), Annie Lederman (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately, co-host of Pirate Party), Katie Hannigan, Emily Galati, Matt Pavich, Kelsey Cook, and Eric Terrell performing stand-up at one of best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no cost to you (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to) for The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays: Dan Soder, Ari Shaffir, Annie Lederman, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Each stand-up performs a set, then improv group The Bodega Cats makes up scenes based on the material, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue); audience applause then determines the “winner” of Rumble

10:30 pm ($7): Five improv duos each make up scenes at The Magnet theatre: The Duo Show

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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv group Higgins—which includes Connor Ratliff and Matt Dennie—makes up the season finale of a popular, long-running TV series that does not exist (based on a show title provided by the audience) at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: Season Finale

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

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

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

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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:

The Stand

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 3/27/15

March 27, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Will Forte is on Jimmy Fallon;
Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell are on
 James Corden (repeated from 3/25)

Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference
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] [$] 5:00 pm-9:30 pm ($75 for the entire 3-day conference, which starts today, or $40 per day, at the door or online): To my eye, well over half of the finest comics alive are women. As just one quick example, the best filmed comedies on TV right now are Louie C.K.’s Louie (okay, guy), Abbi Jacobson’s & Ilana Glazer’s Broad City (two gals), and Inside Amy Schumer (gal). But industry hiring practices still overwhelmingly favor male comics. This and other issues will be tackled at Bad Assery, a new 3-day conference produced by Natalie Wall (host of storytelling showAwkward Sex and the City) and Shaina Stigler (member of musical improv group Dagger). Although Bad Assery isn’t calling itself a festival, it’s featuring performances by some of the greatest comics in the country, so I expect it’ll be a highly entertaining event for anyone who loves comedy. It all happens today through Sunday at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) and Littlefield (622 Degraw Street). To nab tickets ($75 for all three days or $40 for a single day), please click here; and then look forward to enjoying Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A staged version of a TV episode written just for this show, with tonight’s subject Parks & Recreation presented “in ways you never imagined” at The PIT downstairs lounge: We Love TV

[$] 7:00 pm, 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.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Joe Machi, Artie Lange, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 7:00 show, and Dave Attell, Marina Franklin, Joe Tucker, Ricky Velez, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 12:15 am show, with all of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except 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): Movie & TV star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[FREE] 7:00 pm ($5 at the door or $6.95 online, plus $10 drink min.): Camille Harris (irresistible singer/sketch comic/cutie; featured player on The Moon Show, music album Silly Jazz) performing songs along with Wayne Tucker and David Linard at the Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen Street, near the F subway’s Second Avenue stop): Camille Harris and More at Rockwood Stage 3

7:00 pm ($7): “It’s important to stay informed. That’s why we bring you all the news that happened this month, at the end of this month. Just your average news show, keeping you up to date with your world one month at a time” atThe Magnet written & performed by Jarret Berenstein: Current Events

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

7:00 pm ($5): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The PIT downstairs lounge as troupe Lead McEnroe

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, arguably the two best scripted shows currently at UCB on a single wonderful double-bill. First, delightful dynamo Christine Bullen proves herself a fresh rising star in a one-woman show about her the various odd jobs one can find in NYC by answering Craigslist ads: My Melonbasket

…and then a smart, hilarious parody of The Wizard of Oz involving zombies, feminism, and the Hollywood system that must not be missed, written and co-starring Glenn Boozan and directed and co-starring the fabulous Laura Grey: Dorothy Goes to Hollywood: A Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A Groundlings-trained improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up who’s a regular on Chelsea Lately and After Lately headlining tonight through Saturday at the CarolinesComedy Club: Fortune Feimster

[$] 7:30 pm ($15): 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A superb Back to the Future parody with songs and special effects live on stage. The show starts out too slowly in the present time, but becomes quite fun once Marty travels to the past; and by Act 2 it’s a hilarious romp that I highly recommend. The show is by Christopher W. Barnes (book), Ryan Mercy (music) and Christopher W. Barnes (lyrics), produced by Ronny Pascale, and featuring a cast of over a dozen comics performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: That 80s Time Travel Movie: The UNAUTHORIZED! Musical Parody

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’sGuy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan) sponsored by stellar comedy club The Stand: The Stand Presents Judah Friedlander, Ben Bailey, Jermaine Fowler, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($21.69 online or $25 at the door): 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.), Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with a delightfully wry style and lightning-quick mind; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, recently opened for Tig Notaro at Town Hall), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine), Joyelle Johnson, Anthony DeVito, Frank Liotti, Charles McBee, and Katherine Williams performing stand-up for a fundraiser at Flux Factory (39-21 29th Street) in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Liz Magee: Funny by Nature Fundraiser: Ted Alexandro, Aparna Nancherla, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($20; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ben Bailey, Marina Franklin, and More

8:00 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

8:00 pm ($5): “Long, long ago, by the banks of the river Marinara, where breadstick trees grew in unlimited amounts, in the steamy valley of mozzarella, there was a sleepy little hamlet known as the town of pizza. And the people of this town were a simple, smiling folk, who loved soft drinks, and arcade games, and maintained a friendly family atmosphere. Oh, they were an eclectic bunch: a mayor with a gluttonous lust for power; a bum who tasted glory but lost it all; a fisherman desperate for one last bite. But in one house lived a man who was…a little different” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Slice of Life

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This show “randomly pairs duos from the world of comedy. They have one week to prepare a comedy set for the physically and emotionally taxing Battlebowl where these teams will compete against one another”—with tonight’s contestants Christi Chiello & Becca Kauffman, John Reynolds & Dru Johnston, Edy Modica & Gary Richardson, Nora Isabella & Ben Wasserman, Mike Abrusci & Joel Kim Booster, and Charles Gould & Madonna Eleganza Refugia—at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Bret Davis & Darren Mabee:The Lethal Lottery

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Casey James Salengo: Creek Cave Live

[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 Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Connor Ratliff, Jordan Klepper, Don Fanelli, 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 ($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, 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] 9:30 pm ($5 at the door or $6.27 online; the latter is recommended because this will probably sell out): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, and live-on-stage host ofPunderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) hosts this show in which Jo and other improvisors live-dub over muted episodes of well-known sitcoms—which tonight are Will and Grace and, more dangerously, The Cosby Show—to create entirely new story lines on the spot. “Watch as your classic Friends episode takes on a film noir spin, or how everyone in Cheers just wants to talk about pizza” at Videology (308 Bedford Avenue): Live Dubbed Sitcoms

9:30 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Ali Levin in which “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” at the Treehouse Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor): Steps to Salbachun

9:30 pm ($5): This variety show features stand-up, characters, dance, improv, and/or more at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Juice

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

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ben Bailey, Marina Franklin, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which 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 Magnettheatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-nigh-only team at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Andrew Law (Seth Meyers), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; MTV; co-star ofGUMP, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Katie Kester (host of The Later Show), Ramon Rivas II (Nerdist), and Sharon Spell (host of Big Shrink) performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($5): “A showcase of bizarre comedy entertainers. Can power producers Nick Zielinski and Micah Phillips pull off this high stakes show or will their evil overlords destroy them? Come and find out” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Starlight Entertainment

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from group Forever Dog about ” a seemingly sleepy town sitting at the base of an active volcano” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Volcano Town

11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy blended with dance, poetry, and live music at The PIT downstairs lounge from groupHis Majesty, The Baby

11:30 pm ($7): A sketch show from Ari Miller, Dmitry Shein, Trumane Alston, and Michael Delisle at The Magnettheatre: Bedlam

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Fearless, innovative dark comedy gal duo Leah Rudick & Katie Hartman (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FringeNYC) briefly return to The PIT downstairs lounge (while Leah is in NYC for the weekend) to show off their darker B-side sketches. In their words, “Katie and Leah get it. You don’t go to a Rolling Stones concert waiting to see Jagger sing ‘Paint it Black.’ You didn’t spend $300 on scalped tickets to watch Beyonce perform ‘Single Ladies’ or ‘Drunk in Love.’ You want the obscure! The less catchy! The slightly shitty! Well, we’ve got them for you! Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (known throughout the entire world as the Beyonce of sketch comedy) is back at The PIT for one night only performing the weirder, wilder, and wonderful B-Side sketches that you love, you just don’t know it yet,” plus musical guests The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; album Ladies Don’t Spit; CBS’ The Doctors): Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “For over nine years, you have been able to count on the UCBW to bring you hot comedy wrestling action each and every Thursday night at Cage Match. For an unprecedented tenth year, UCBW will present its signature show—the grandpappy of ’em all—WrestleSlamMania X! Rivalries have been brewing, and everything will come to a full boil when the full roster of UCBW MegaStars appears in the squared circle! Hilarious real wrestling matches live! Get your tickets NOW! Only 14,000 seats available!:” WrestleSlamMania X

Midnight ($5): A variety of oddball comedy acts at UCB East hosted by sketch duo Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

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] 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

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 Tuesday 3/12/13

March 12, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Catch a new episode of The Jeselnik Offensive 10:30 pm at Comedy Central.

Mike Daisy, cropped

One of the finest storytellers alive, Mike Daisey, performs a one-night-only show at Joe’s Pub: “Five Technical Rehearsals in India”…

Marina Franklin

…one of the slyest & funniest stand-ups in the biz, Marina Franklin, performs at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for Cheap Date…

Funny Ladies with Robyn Schall

…and Carmen Lynch, Leah Bonnema, Jessimae, and Robyn Schall perform a rare all-gal stand-up show 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:

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Jen Kwok (Comedy Central) and Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): Imposter Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open-mic sketch that allows you to either perform a sketch with your own performers or bring in pages for the audience to perform at The PIT downstairs lounge, followed by feedback on your bit from PIT “sketch-perts:” Pens & Pencils

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] 6:30 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Chesley Calloway (co-host of renowned Comedy as a Second Language): The Ches Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-Midnight ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight of The Magnet’s singing & dancing improv troupes make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: Fisticuffs and Vulcan (at 7:00), Mint Condition and Legend (at 8:00); BEEES! and Parliament (at 9:00); and Aquarius and Funkadelic (at 10:00): Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Hip hop musical improv at The PIT downstairs theatre from Nick Brown, Don Romaniello, and Michael Short pretending to be NYC police officers: Rap Crimes Division

…and in the other half of this double-bill, Yale’s longest-running improv troupe performs: Purple Crayon

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: YA novelist Jesse Karp and stand-up Alex Edelman joining 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: Comic Book Club

[FREE] 7:00 pm: This weekly 2-hour open-mic storytelling show allows each performer a full 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge, tonight featuring guest co-host Michael Fisher (Bad Luck Rising) and host Jake Hart: The Dump

7:00 pm ($5): The show title pretty much says it all—improvisors make up an action movie on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Boom! An Improvised Action Movie

7:30 pm ($5): Emily Heller (Comedy Central, FX’s Totally Biased), Michelle Wolf (IFC), Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses), Matt Koff (Onion News Network, WitStream), Adam Conover (College Humor, host of Fresh Out), Sean Donnelly (MTV, FOX News; host of many shows), Paul Oddo (co-host of The Friday Night Hot Chicks Mic), and Josh Gondelman performing at UCB East for a show being videotaped for UCBcomedy.com: UCBT Stand-Up Showcase

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($13.24 online using code GIRLS, plus 2-drink min.): Ignore the awful title and be happy about this rare all-gal stand-up show at the Carolines Comedy Club, which tonight features Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Jessimae Peluso (Last Comic Standing, Chelsea Lately, TruTV, Tyra Banks), Kate Wolff, and host Robyn Schall (TLC, TruTV): Funny Ladies with Robyn Schall

7:30 pm-9:15 pm ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes A Sparrow, Guthrie, and Bucky at this first half of Harold Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Marina Franklin (developing into one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with an uncommonly gentle, graceful style that’s pure joy; Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, Craig Ferguson, VH1, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend), Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here), Hari Kondabolu (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, , FX’s Totally Biased), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), and Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for this show hosted by Calvin Cole & Sharron Paul that calls attention to its inexpensive price: Cheap Date

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Veteran improvisors who’ve had children—tonight including the wonderful Mary Archbold and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian—make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Mamas and the Papas

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Killer lineup of Colin Quinn (SNL, Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, HBO, NBC, Broadway), John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, one hour special & CD/DVD New in Town, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), and Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View): Colin Quinn, John Mulaney, Nick DiPaolo, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: On this special edition, show host Joe Pera (superb surreal stand-up) will be performing 30 minutes, followed by co-host Charles Gould performing 30 minutes, and other co-host Dan LIcata premiering a short comedy film, for an hour and 15 minutes of fun at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show: Big Long Sets Edition

[$] 8:00 pm ($10 & 2-drink min.): Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central) hosts this monthly stand-up show that tonight includes Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), and Frank Liotti performing at the Vintage Lounge (downstairs at the Gotham Comedy Club): Funny Faces with Carmen Lynch

8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Nick Maritato (Meatsteak), and Alison Leiby performing stand-up on this week’s theme Last Words at Sidewalk NYC (94 Avenue A) produced by Chenoa Estrada, Emily Heller, and George Gordon, and hosted tonight by Erin Judge (Comedy Central; for bit on men vs. women, please click here): The Afterlife: Last Words

8:00 pm ($5): Christine Holt & Mary Guiteras tend bar for a living, then let off steam by performing improv at The PIT downstairs lounge where they unleash the secrets they’ve heard: Bartenders

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Typically sharp NYC stand-ups (for an update, please click here) performing at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, between Rivington & Stanton) hosted by Kate Berlant (MTV, CNN, notable hair): Crime & Punishment

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Colin Quinn (SNL, Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, HBO, NBC, Broadway),NIck Stevens (host of AMC’s Action Park and Discovery’s Money on the Menu; VH1), Laura Prangley (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Inside Amy Schumer, PBS), Sean Donnelly (MTV, FOX News; host of many shows), and more performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not yet announced, but for an update please click here) performing at this weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Sean Donnelly, Kevin McCaffrey, Robert Dean, and/or Steve O’Brien: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

9:15 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes GoodGirl, Sherlock & Cookies, and The Regulars—plus an all-gal group of 16 advanced improv students challenge the male-dominated improv world to Suck My Dick—at this second half (continued from 7:30 pm) of Harold Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($29.50 online, plus $12 drink/food min.): MIke Daisey is one of the finest and most respected storytellers alive; and he’s not resting on his prior achievements. Within just the past five months Mike’s churned out an amazing seven new shows at Joe’s Pub, and has two more coming shortly. Some have been better than others—e.g., the one titled Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand was breathtaking, and cries out for mass exposure—but even the least developed of them was highly skilled and entertaining. I haven’t been plugging them on this site simply because they’ve often sold out within a day—and sometimes mere minutes—of their tickets being available online. However, in an unusual move, Mike gave tonight’s show a title that made it sound dull: Five Technical Rehearsals in India. As a result, there are still about a dozen seats left as I write this. But don’t be fooled; what the title’s really saying is this is a story focused on Mike’s personal experiences as a fish-out-of-water performer, and those tend to be among his most revealing and hilarious. I’ll be attending tonight—and you can join me, if you most fast to snap up whatever tickets are still left online or at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place): Mike Daisey’s Five Technical Rehearsals in India

TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): “Improvised one-acts in the style of prominent playwrights and genres, spontaneously generating an original and hilarious work of instantly important theater right before your eyes” at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Improvised Play

9:30 pm ($5): Come experience the magic of improv transform The PIT downstairs lounge into a live radio show, with patter, call-ins, commercials, and songs all made up on the spot: WPIT-FM: Radioprov

9:30 pm ($5): A monthly stand-up competition at UCB East in which “new and emerging stand-up comics face off against each other in front of a panel of judges eager to provide unsolicited advice and even more unsolicited scores”—the judges being Brian Cichocki and Shannon Coffey, hosted by John Frusciante: Stand-Up Smackdown

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle Show, For the Love of the Game), Ryan Hamilton (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime), Andrew Schulz (MTV2’s Guy Code), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), and Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane; 7 Up Yours ads), and Mike Vecchione (Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View): Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15 & 2-drink min.): Stand-up from Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), Eliot Chang (Comedy Central Presents, Chelsea Lately), and Jessimae Peluso (Last Comic Standing, Chelsea Lately, TruTV, Tyra Banks), music from Stuckey & Murray (terrific comedic singing duo; Chelsea Lately, NBC, VH1, Fuse), and more performing at the Gotham Comedy Club hosted by Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, CNN, TBS): ComedyJuice

[FREE] 10:00 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 upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Legion of Skanks

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): 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: Open-mic stand-up at UCB East hosted by Boris Khaykin, John Trowbridge, and/or Katie East: Tuesday Night Open Mic

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.


December 23, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Jena Friedman

Jena Friedman (David Letterman, The Daily Show)…

Marina Franklin

…and Marina Franklin are among the stellar stand-ups performing tonight at Comedy Cellar

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] [$] 3:00 pm ($65): This isn’t pure comedy, but an enchanting hodgepodge of original tall tales fueled by laughs. The 2-hour play from the wonderful guys of PigPen blends shadow puppetry, songs, inventive staging, and more to create living dreams. For my review of PigPen’s two previous shows at FringeNYC, please click here and here. This newest work is their most ambitious, and that sometimes results in the story feeling too slow or padded; but it also yields a deeper emotional payoff. And even though not all the bits hit the mark, so many of them do that you’re likely to feel satisfied—and missing PigPen’s world after the show is over. The production is at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street) in the West Village: The Old Man and the Moon

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Showcase

6:00 pm ($5): Open-mic stand-up that includes professional feedback on each comic’s 5-minute set at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Mic-Shop: Open Mic Workshop

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Marina Franklin (developing into one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with an uncommonly gentle, graceful style that’s pure joy; Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, Craig Ferguson, VH1, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend), Nick Griffin (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents), Michael Che (David Letterman, Comedy Central), and Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show): Todd Barry, Marina Franklin, and More

7:00 pm ($8): “Comedic songs by some up-and-coming musical theater performers who’ve sung and danced Off-Broadway, on tours and regionally, in addition to some of your favorite accomplished comedians belting it out too” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Songtown

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes stars in the improv world, and sometimes even TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSCAT 3000

7:30 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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Sketch, improv, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City from comedy troupe Froduce

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Alejandro Kolleeny performs a sensitive reading at The PIT downstairs lounge of the Glenn Beck holiday classic The Christmas Sweater

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): A cast member of the much-missed Chappelle’s Show headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV), Chris Distefano (Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Thomas Dale (Craig Ferguson, VH1), and more performing at the Three of Cups lounge (83 First Avenue at 5th Street) hosted by RG Daniels: Sunday Night Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($8): Improvisors Jason Specland (1-800-LONDON, Punchbowl) and Kathryn Dunn (1-800-LONDON, Yes, Yes, Yes … And) “bring tidings of discomfort and joy with their terrifically awkward two-prov” the day before Christmas Eve at The PIT upstairs theatre: Christmas Eve-Eve

[$] 8:45 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central; opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Jermaine Fowler (FOX’s new In Living Color, MTV, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Sam Morril performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), : Rachel Feinstein, Jermaine Fowler, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Thomas Dale (Craig Ferguson, VH1), Jacqueline Novak, and Simeon Goodson performing stand-up, plus music from DJ Tara, at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by the wonderful Hannibal Buress (staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show; one-hour Comedy Central special Animal Furnace): Comedy Night

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 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): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Recine, Tim Dillon, Nathan Anderson, Tony Zaret, and Mo Diggs performing in the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at the Beauty Bar

9:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with four minutes per comic, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Molly Austin & Mike Brown: Vicious Cycle

10:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink 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; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman, host of Entertaining the Bartender), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Colin Jost (Co-Head Writer for Saturday Night Live; Jimmy Fallon), and Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane; 7 Up Yours ads) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), : Ted Alexandro, Jena Friedman, Mark Normand, and More

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 Saturday 11/3/12

November 3, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Catch one of the funniest comedic plays in New York at “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche”…
Christian Finnegan
…or catch Christian Finnegan headlining at the Gotham Comedy Club
Marina Franklin

…or enjoy Marina Franklin (above) and Janeane Garofalo at the reopening of the Eastville Comedy Club

Please note: The East Village is up and running again: UCB East, The PIT, and the Eastville Comedy Club all have shows tonight. Also, the Lexington Avenue 4/5/6 subways are now providing full service. Comedy is back on both sides of NYC.

 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] [$] 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($65): This isn’t pure comedy, but an enchanting hodgepodge of original tall tales fueled by laughs. The 2-hour play from the wonderful guys of PigPen blends shadow puppetry, songs, inventive staging, and more to create living dreams. For my review of PigPen’s two previous shows at FringeNYC, please click here and here. This newest work is their most ambitious, and that sometimes results in the story feeling too slow or padded; but it also yields a deeper emotional payoff. And even though not all the bits hit the mark, so many of them do that you’re likely to feel satisfied—and missing PigPen’s world after the show is over. The production is at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street) through November 26th: The Old Man and the Moon

[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] 6:00 pm: “A monthly show that you control. Your suggestions, blurt-outs, and whatever else you feel like doing or saying will guide us through an hour of good times” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: YBTHR

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Frosting Hangover, Wando, and Johnny Velvet & the Moonbeams at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

7:00 pm ($5): At this PIT double-bill, Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell “bring more than five years of improv collaboration to stage for an evening of bold, committed characters and probably a fart joke for good measure” as Hodapp & Rothwell, and then all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Sharp improvisors—including improv master Ed Herbstman—”perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules” at The Magnet theatre: The Weave

7:30 pm ($10): Talented improvisors 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 & 10:00 pm pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A comic who’s co-starred in TBS’ Are We There Yet?, starred in three Comedy Central specials, and performed on performed on Conan O’Brien, MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, and The Today Show headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Christian Finnegan

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Want to see your favorite stand-up comics get slapped by Satan himself? He only hosts bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: See You in Hell

8:00 pm ($10): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill—and occasionally with comedy giants Kristen Schaal and/or Kurt Braunohler participating: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on 30 Rock and Comedy Central headlining tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Mark Viera

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), James Adomian (hilarious, super-charged character comic/impressionist; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; Harold and Kumar 2), Kate Berlant (MTV, CNN, host of Crime & Punishment, notable hair), Zoe Coombs Marr (visiting from Australia; for a love letter to a dinosaur, please click here), Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), and Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk: If You Build It

[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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 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 (9:00 pm only), Marina Franklin (developing into one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with an uncommonly gentle, graceful style that’s pure joy; Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, Craig Ferguson, VH1, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($7): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now enjoying a long run at The PIT upstairs theatre: Political Subversities

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20): The return of one of the funniest comedies—and finest comedic ensembles—to grace New York, and what ended up as the very best show of this year’s FringeNYC Festival, playing at the Soho Playhouse’s upstairs theatre. Please read my review by clicking here, and then take advantage of this opportunity to see the Chicago-based 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Hilarious, organic show in which tonight’s stand-ups Erik Bergstrom, James Harris, Mike Cronin, Jason Burke, Jono Zalay, Eli Sairs, and Dan Kilpatrick perform anything except stand-up—e.g., sketch, storytelling, improv, songs, dance, puppetry, and things we can’t even imagine—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Reid Faylor, Kelly Fastuca, and/or Andrew Short: Underbelly

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): 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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv troupe Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—promises to “take your stories of the tragic and depraved and scatter them into laughter:” Grandma’s Ashes Gets Dark

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): UCBT improv troupe Airwolf—which includes such talents as John Frusciante, Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, and Emily Axford—makes stuff up at UCB East based on hellish experiences of audience members: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

10:30 pm ($7): Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney perform at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

11:00 pm ($8): A young all-guy improv troupe making stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Sketch comedy in the form of crazy ass wrestling, with main events including “Christians vs. Mormons: Father Nelson & Altar Boy vs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—winner gets their own planet” at UCB Chelsea; :Hilarious real wrestling matches live! Get your tickets NOW! Only 14,000 seats available!:” UCBW Electiongeddon

[FREE] Midnight: A small army of comics pay homage to the cult classic film Rocky Horror Picture Show at The PIT upstairs theatre: Rocky Whorer PIT-ure Show

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.