NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 8/17/13

August 17, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

For my FringeNYC 2013 coverage, updated daily, please click here.

Recipe for Success with Chef Michael Denardi

Notable FringeNYC comedies today include Peter Grosz’s Recipe for Success (my fave so far)…

Mary Dimino

…and Mary Dimino’s Big Dummy: Me & My Old Man (which I’ll be seeing at 12:45 pm)

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 5:45 pm ($15 in advance, $18 at the door): The funniest show at FringeNYC—and one of the finest comedies anywhere in New York—Peter Grosz’s one-man show will keep you laughing non-stop for 70 minutes. To read more on my FringeNYC 2013 reviews page, please click here; and then grab tickets to Recipe for Success with Chef Michael Denardi

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: One of the finest stand-ups in the world, Ted Alexandro (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), tries out new material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Ted Alexandro

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:15 pm, 11:00 pm, and 12:45 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include SNL’s Darrell Hammond at 7:30 and 8:00, Hannibal Buress at 7:30, 9:15, and 11:00, and Dave Attell at 11:00 and 12:15, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($16.52 in advance online, $20 at the door): A top-notch theatrical troupe that’s equally fine at compelling acting and split-second comedy uses actual material on the Web, performed verbatim, to craft laugh-out-loud scenes. This 14th edition of the series (begun in 2011) focuses on our favorite place in the world: New York City. While everyone in the cast is exceptional, standouts such as Wendy Joy, and the show’s producers Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula, are worth the trip all by themselves. For a video sample (a pale shadow of the live show), please click here. Another reviewer called this “like Forbidden Broadway for the Internet,” and that’s pretty close to the mark. The show is running August 15-17 and August 22-24 at 8:00 pm. Grab tickets in advance before it sells out, and then enjoy this production at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place): Blogologues: New York F#cking City

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

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A comedy star you either love or actively avoid headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tom Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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

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

11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from a troupe born in a Boston college and tonight performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Astronaut Theatre

11:00 pm ($5): A young all-guy group performing a mix of improv and sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:30 pm: Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger) and Poupak Sepehri host a variety show at UCB East that tonight features Amber Nelson (stand-up), Rob Paravonian (music), Nicole Dellert (sketch), and improv jams led by Sharon Li and Alex Miller: The Soul Glo Jam

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

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

Saturday Open Mics

[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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Friday 8/9/13

August 9, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

FringeNYC kicks off today. My first pick, sight unseen, is below.

Mary Dimono: Big Dummy

The first day of FringeNYC includes powerhouse Mary Dimino’s new one-woman show “Big Dummy: Me & My Old Man”

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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Ted Alexandro (one of 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.), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s fine lineups include SNL’s Darrell Hammond at 7:00 (and at 8:00 at sister venue Village Underground), Ted Alexandro at 8:45, and Todd Barry at 10:30, all performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($5): 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,” and are joined tonight by Jason Saenz (sketch troupe Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Lisa Kleinman (sketch group Beige, co-host of Shut Up! Storytelling), and more performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hodapp & Rothwell

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Tim Gage (Comedy Central) tries out new material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Tim Gage

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Magnet improvisors play a fun game in which they all stay on stage at all times, and alternate between speaking roles and playing inanimate objects: Medusa

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Stepfathers, Diamond Lion) does a show based on nothing but interviews with the audience and sheer guts at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Strangers Wanted with Shannon O’Neill

[FREE] 7:30ish pm: Michelle Wolf (super-likeable dark comic rising star; IFC), Dave Rosinsky (IFC), Sue Funke, Mike Tsirklin, and Erika Wasser performing at this monthly stand-up show at the One and One Bar (12 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Jeff Cerulli and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, VH1, TLC, co-host of Call Us Crazy): What Else? Comedy

7:30 pm ($5): Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Meghan O’Keefe, and Mikala Bierma performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Halle Kiefer and/or Dan Chamberlain: Splitsider and Tumblr’s Dog and Pony Show

8:00 pm ($10): An energetic 8-member sketch group at The PIT upstairs lounge: Nerds on Fire

[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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($15 in advance, $18 at the door): It’s the first day of FringeNYC, so I haven’t yet seen any of its 185 productions…but I can nonetheless recommend this one-woman show because it’s from the wonderful Mary Dimino (2008 Gracie Allen Award, 2010 MAC Award for Outstanding Female Comedian), who delivered powerhouse writing & performing in her 2010 FringeNYC show Scared Skinny. A brief excerpt:

Tears are streaming down my face. A car pulls up right next to me; I didn’t even notice it.

But then I hear two Italian guidos talking.

“Ay, she’s crying! What do you think her problem is?”

“O-o-h, she’s fat! That’s what her fucking problem is!”

I’m trying not to react. But every cell in my being is tingling with shame.

It’s like I’m exposed; like they’re reading my mind and there’s nothing I can do about it.

“Imagine being that. O-o-h, she’s one fat freakin’ bitch!”

I didn’t move a muscle.

And it was right there, between the stillness and the pain, that I had my epiphany: I am fat.

Yes, you’re correct. I’m crying because I’m fat.

I may have felt that a million times. But have I ever really accepted it?

Putting myself in those guys’ shoes, I finally got to see myself objectively.

A newfound compassion, a complete understanding, for both them and me: I am fat.

And I am so obviously fat, it’s all people are going to see.

How can I expect anyone to get past that?

In this scene, Dimino is employing comedy to reveal the deepest, most personal aspects of herself. It’s raw, honest, and jaw-droppingly brave. And as a result of this approach—coupled with Dimino’s immense skill—Scared Skinny was one of the biggest hits of the 2010 festival.

Dimino’s new show is titled Big Dummy: Me & My Old Man. The first two (of five) performances have already sold out. The first two (of six) performances have already sold out. I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP: Big Dummy: Me & My Old Man

[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 Chris Gethard, Anthony Atamanuik, Brandon Gardner, Phil Jackson, and Abra Tabak at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT improv groups making up a musical on the spot, one with sharpness and the other with a friendly greeting: Dagger and Hello

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC comics performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Justin Grace, Mike Pullan and James Ferrarella, who also promise “skits, arm wrestling, jeopardy, contests, drinking, and everything else you would do on an” Almost Saturday Show

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

10:30 pm ($10): Two Fun Men (Jimmy Fallon), Jamison Guest, and Charla Lauriston (co-host of School Night) performing at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($5): Improv juxtaposed with over-the-top character-driven classic ’70s-’80s era wrestling at The PIT downstairs lounge: ImprovMania

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): A rotating cast drawing from over a dozen of the talented gal improvisors and sketch comics at The Magnet—including Artistic Director Megan Gray, Lauren Olson, Elena Fishbein, Kimberly Ferguson, and Beth Newell—aim to “give you a dark and twisted late night explosion:” The Clubhouse

Midnight ($5): Matthew Brian Cohen takes his Lifescrapers podcast life, in this debut show interviewing on stage Brian Glidewell, Alex French, Johnna Scrabis, and Hunter Nelsons at the UCB East theatre: Lifescrapers: Tall Stories of American Lives

Friday Open Mics

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

5:45 pm (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 hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

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

[FREE] 11:00 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

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Fambly: Liquid Courage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.