NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 6/28/15

June 28, 2015
Upright Citizens Brigade

The founders, owners and members of the Upright Citizens Brigade perform on this final day of DCM 17

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] [$] 4:00 pm Friday-Midnight Sunday ($35): The 17th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon will run continuously from 4:00 pm on Friday June 26th, 2015 until roughly midnight on Sunday June 28th. Improv groups from all around the US and Canada—and a few places further away—will perform over 400 shows, typically in 15- or 30-minute blocks, for over 50 hours. As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street), which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by additional venues; for details, please click here. For the complete schedule, please click here. To view shows organized by performer, please click here. To view the list of premium shows (which cost an additional $20 each), please click here. (Please note that if any premium show doesn’t sell out and you have a marathon pass, you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.) I won’t be covering DCM this year, but if haven’t already experienced it, go; it’s the greatest improv festival in the world.

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing) tries out material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Pete Lee

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-Midnight ($10 per show): Tonight kicks off a 3-day LGBTQ-themed comedy festival at The PITupstairs theatre and downstairs lounge, with each show typically running an hour and costing $10. For details on tonight’s offerings, please click QueerCom

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A tribute to The Muppet Show via a retrospective, sketches, musical numbers, a panel discussion by Muppet experts, and more at The PIT upstairs theatre written, directed, and produced by Kaitlin Fontana, Sean Reidy, and Luke Ward: We Love TV: The Muppet Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 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.): Relatively anemic lineups tonight except for the 12:15 am show, which features Dave Attell, Jeff Ross, Marina Franklin, Big Jay Oakerson, Ricky Velez, John Joseph, Kevin Brennan, and host Jon Fisch. All shows are at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team] and Royals

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

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($13,53 in advance online using code MISFITS, or $15 at the door): Andrea Alton tells unsettling stories, sings and dances, and hits on women in the audience as her very funny character Molly “Equality” Dykeman, “the loveable but barely lucid security guard at PS 339 who dabbles in a bit of poetry, a bit of Percocet, and a lot of drink” in this all new gay pride show at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue):Queerly Misfits

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($24.75 via Goldstar [vs. $29 at the door]): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improvisors make up a religion based on an audience suggestion—e.g., The Church of the Carrot, The Church of Crime—and then make up hymns, readings, sermons, sacraments, and more on the spot atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Fake Church

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): “A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Cartoon Monsoon

[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 including Joe Pera & Shelby Fero—at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Bret Davis & Darren Mabee: The Lethal Lottery

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT downstairs lounge 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)—plus for one night only, SNL writer Alison Rich: Dagger and Hello

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show hosted by Danielle Wheeler & Adam Cole featuring stand-ups, storytellers, musicians, dancers, artists, and/or more performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Shut the Fuck Up

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil and her elegant partner Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—often with breathtaking skill—atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): 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), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and Luis J. Gomez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Nikki Glaser, Big Jay Oakerson, Rich Voss, Jessica Kirson, Pete Lee, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7): David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), Joe Miles, Elena Skopetos, Jamaal Sedayao, and Christian Paluck write new lyrics to popular songs “so that you can actually enjoy them” at the Treehouse Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Jana Schmieding (Classic Singles, Jana & Lauren Presents, 20/400): Parody Doo Dah

10:30 pm ($5): Eight comics perform physical comedy such as magic, clowning, mime, and burlesque at Brooklyn’sThe Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Shut the Fuck Up

11:30 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

[FREE] Midnight: “Sage Augustine is gifted with a heightened sense of spiritual curiosity resulting in many amazing intuitive experiences. Jack Marble is Sage’s apostle, confidant, business partner, and best friend. Together they are embarking on a journey to harness the power of laughter and open the world’s eyes to spirits, angels, demons, prophecies, wishes, magic, and the afterlife” by hosting stand-ups Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Peggy O’Leary (host of Hard Lonely and Vicious), and Chelsea Hood at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Remember Your Spirit

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

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

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

[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 Thursday 6/26/14

June 26, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Bob Newhart is on Jimmy Kimmel; Jonah Hill and Nick Turner are on Seth Meyers; Melissa McCarthy is on The Daily Show; Paul Rudd is on The Colbert Report; Joel McHale is on Conan O’Brien

I’m caring less and less about NBC’s Last Comic Standing at 10:00 pm, but will keep watching because hey, how many prime time shows about stand-up are there? Amy Schumer was very much missed last week; really hoping something fun happens. But the real action is NYC tonight is on stage:

Matt Besser

Improv comedy legend Matt Besser hosts UCBT Character Showcase and is a guest on Cool Shit / Weird Shit

Mike Daisy

…and one of the greatest storytellers alive, Mike Daisey, performs with Elna Baker and Catie Lazarus at Leslie Goshko’s Sideshow Goshko

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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Some of the greatest storytellers alive perform tonight: Mike Daisey (“I’ve always been willing to throw myself right off a cliff. It’s a beautiful feeling to know that below awaits the water or the rocks. When you’re suspended in that high arc above the brilliant blue, for a moment you are released, you are free…because you could live or die. I crave that…”), Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here), Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month), and irresistibly charming host Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) performing at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) featuring such magic as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Great NYC improv groups of the past—Bastian, The Opera, and Badman—perform for one night only at UCB East for this special event: Harold Night Time Machine

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Abigoliah Schamaun (carny stand-up; co-host of Abigoliah’s Bizarre Bazaar and Dick’s Open Mic) hones a 30-minute stand-up set this week every night through Thursday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Abigoliah Schamaun

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Neal Brennan and Dov Davidoff at the 8:00 show; a very strong lineup of Ted Alexandro, Judah Friedlander, Nick Griffin, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Carmen Lynch, and Lynne Koplitz at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Todd Barry, and Nikki Glaser at the 11:30 show, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you might be able get in if you arrive early and don’t mind standing): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Jeff Hiller and Ashley Ward. BWC is running every night through Thursday at Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Improv living legend Matt Besser (founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade) hosts a dozen talented comics performing comedic characters at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBT Character Showcase

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Jon Benjamin (unique off-the-wall comedy genius; FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, FX’s Archer, Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Adult Swim, MTV’s Human Giant), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), and Jacqueline Novak performing at this show for stand-up plus sketch at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor for FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, Adult Swim’s Assy McGee and Home Movies, and numerous other shows) and/or Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door, but this will probably sell out so opt for $11.59 online): Eight sharp comics—including Jared Logan, Ashley Brooke Roberts, and Ben Kronberg—performing erotic fiction they’ve written based on audience suggestions at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Bryan Cook: Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Aparna Nancherla (delightfully wry, razor-sharp stand-up; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, former writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), Emmy Blotnick (blogger for Jimmy Fallon, MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), and Siobhan Thompson telling stories about movies at Videology (308 Bedford Avenue) hosted by John Murray & Matt Fisher: Low Standards with John & Matt

[TOP PICK]8:00 pm ($15; no 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), Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, MTV) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Chris Gethard, Dan St. Germain, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by An Exhibition of Introverts (improv focused on the idiosyncratic perspectives and opinions of a cast of characters who’ll be observed in meaningful & funny everyday moments), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from Mark Gagliardi at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

8:00 pm ($10): Bridey Elliott (razor-sharp rising star; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Witstream, Fambly), Phil Hanley (Jay Leno, Comedy Central), and Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine) performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre with twins Adam & Todd Stone: Stone and Stone Show

[FREE; plus FREE CC] 8:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show that features free cotton candy (“You will laugh and then have a sugar crash”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Abigoliah Schamaun & Matteo Lane: Free Cotton Candy

[TOP PICK] 8:45 pm ($5): Great NYC improv groups of the past—Ragnarock, Monkeydick, and Mailer Daemon—perform for one night only at UCB East for this special event: Harold Night Time Machine

9:00 pm ($10): Improvisors make up new episodes of a TV classic at The PIT downstairs lounge: Saved by the Bell: The Lost Episodes

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Langan Dice Kingsley establishes herself as a major UCB talent and rising star in this one-woman show demonstrating playful wit, a dancer’s grace, and vocal gymnastics that may make you concerned Langan hurts her voice (but you’ll want her to keep doing it anyway): The Dicewoman Cometh

…and in the other half of this double-bill, scenes from nautical sketch group BOAT

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improv living legend Matt Besser (founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade), ace improvisor Fran Gillespie, and more at Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street). hosted by superb sketch duo Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp (GUMP): Cool Shit / Weird Shit

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Betty Dodson (author who’s sold over 1 million books about sex, including Liberating Masturbation; appeared on Bullshit! with Penn and Teller); W. Kamau Bell (former star of Totally Biased), Roger Hailes (Jimmy Fallon, Chappelle’s Show, MTV; writer for VH1’s Best Week Ever and FUSE’s A Different Spins; Web series Mansome), and Christine Gentry (NPR’s This American Life) telling daring personal tales at The PIT upstairs theatre on tonight’s theme Humiliation for one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20 at the door or $24.50 in advance online, plus 2-item food/drink min.): This show that interviews luminaries about what it’s like to have a dreamy job tonight features stars Martha Plimpton, Josh Charles, Bridget Everett, James Monroe Iglehart (Tony Award winner; Alladin, Freestyle Love Supreme), and Matt Zoller Seitz (TV critic for New York Magazine) at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place) hosted by Catie Lazarus, plus music from Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan: Employee of the Month

[TOP PICK]10:00 pm ($15; no 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), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Pete Davidson (MTV’s Guy Code), Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), Amanda Seales, and Jena Kingsley performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Dan St. Germain, Pete Davidson, Streeter Seidell, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Members of ace improv group Krompf—Neil Casey, Amey Goerlich, Joe Wengert, and/or Ryan Karels—perform, and host two performances by their improv students from the past year, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Pre-DCM Krompf Extravaganza

10:00 pm ($10): “Remember the happy, bouncy, Broadway-loving Rosie O’Donnell of the ’90s? Jody Shelton, Douglas Widick, and Sudi Green sure do! Come see them recreate the primarily color-heavy, Tom Cruise adoration-filled show that you loved watching with your mom,” with tonight’s mob of guests including Pop Roulett and Kevin Avery performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Rosie O’Donnell Show!

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week ace weekend improv group Grandma’s Ashes brought reality home to surreal team The Serling with a crushing 87-27 victory. Tonight the reining champion faces one of the greatest improv groups of all time, Death by Roo Roo. The heavens will quake at these giants compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

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

[FREE] 5:30 pm: All-gal open mic at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by the spectacular Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

6:00 pm ($5): Hour-long open mic stand-up providing 5 minutes per comic. Check-in is at 5:45 at the new Comedians Club of New York (158 West 72nd Street), which was formerly The Triad Theatre: Comedians Club Open Mic

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Storyteller Andy Ross (host of Real Characters) is the booked guest at this weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes for each audience member whose name is pulled out of a bucket to perform a true story, sketch, or characters at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by JiJi Lee: Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

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

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

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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3-5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open stage for indie improv groups—and if you’re not in a group, that’s also fine, you’ll simply be added to one—at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Darcy Burke & Donna Lobello: New Team Lunacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Theater
(154 West 29th Street; new venue that, at its best, features shows comparable to UCB & PIT; free-$12)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/29/12

June 29, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Matt Walsh and Matt Besser

Upright Citizens Brigade founders Matt Walsh, Matt Besser…

Ian Roberts and Amy Poehler

…Ian Roberts, and Amy Poehler are all scheduled to appear at this year’s 14th Annual Improv bash…

Del Close Improv Marathon 2012

…The Del Close Marathon

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:30 pm Friday-9:30 pm Sunday ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 14th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon will run continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 29th until 9:30ish pm on Sunday July 2nd. Improv troupes from all around the US and Canada—New York, Albany, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cambridge, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Fairfield, Austin, Miami, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, Carrboro, Toronto, Vancouver, Helsinki, and more—will perform over 390 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets will be $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding.

As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by five additional venues just a few blocks from UCB Chelsea: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; the School of Visual Arts Auditoriums A and B at 333 West 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues); and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. In addition, there’ll be shows at the new UCB East theatre at 153 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B), which seats 99. To view shows organized by venue, please click here. To view shows organized by time, please click here. For an easy-to-read schedule, please click here.

The DCM shows at the SVA and FIT auditoriums are an additional $15.90 to see—unless they don’t sell out, in which case if you have a marathon pass you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.

I plan to be at DCM continually for as long as I can stay awake and will post highlights here, so please check in daily for memorable DCM moments.

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): One of my favorite writer/actress/improvisors, the brilliant and luminous Lauren Olson, teams with Jon Bander and Karsten Cross at The PIT upstairs theatre to perform as improv trio Mr. Gorsky

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Color headlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Tommy Davidson

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($15 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BBOX): Telly Savalas returns to life to entertain you and provide life guidance in this 50-minute show that was a hit at FringeNYC 2011 and is now enjoying an open-ended Friday night run at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club. The script is at times very smart, especially in its choices of hilarious video clips and music tracks from the real Savalas…who, in his more intense moments, apparently rivaled William Shatner at his silliest. But even when Hunter Nelson’s writing isn’t consistent, actor Tom DiMenna—who is a professional comic with great timing and skill at engaging an audience—will keep you entertained: Who Loves You, Baby?

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) One of the very finest stand-ups in the country, who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel; starred in twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; and frequently opens for Louis C.K., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Smart, fun sketch comedy & talk show that’s happening at Brooklyn’sLittlefield (622 Degraw Street) but is actually a TV series in development from host/creator Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC’s BunkHot Tub Variety), with tonight’s guests including Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody) and Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls), plus phenom house band Adira Amram and the Experience: Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): A musical comedy at The Magnet “inspired by the real life plans of the US military to build a bomb that would make their enemies gay. The show is a cautionary tale set in a not-to-distant America that is a xenophobic, homophobic wet dream. This timely political piece is not only topical but extremely on point, leaving no stereotype unscathed.”Actually, there are way too many stereotypical depictions of straight men as stupid and evil, which seriously weakens the story; plus I would’ve liked to have seen more genuinely great singers in this musical. Overall, though, the problems are outweighed by the charms—including a showstopper about midway through that encourages everyone to be themselves…and becomes the shining heart of the production. Directed by Michael Martin, with music by Frank Spitznagel, and book and lyrics by Chris Friden & Steve Whyte: Gay Bomb

[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), TV & movie star Todd Barry (might be 9:00 pm only), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

9:30 pm ($5): D&D-style epic fantasy improv, plus nerdy stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Eric Grundhauserled as your Dungeon Master

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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Sketch from Livia Scott (magical comedic chameleon; Conan O’Brien,Livia’s Castle of Enchantment), dance from Cocoon Central Dance Team, songs from Myq & Micah, burlesque from Sapphire Jones at at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by terrific sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (Leah Rudick and Katie Hartman) : Daddy’s Basement: A Comedy Variety Freakshow

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): Honestly, if you like improv, you should be at DCM; but that said, this show is likely to be good too, with various improv veterans from iO Chicago performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: iO Chicago Takes Over

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): 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, top Maude sketch troupe Gramp’s, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/19/12

May 19, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Matt Besser

Matt Besser, co-founder of the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade, tonight makes rare NYC appearances at UCB East. First Matt will tell tales at the wonderful Todd Bieber’s Animated Stories; then he’ll perform at If You Build It…

Freak Dance

…and at midnight Matt will introduce, screen, and discuss afterwards his 2010 feature film musical comedy parody Freak Dance. Assuming I can get manage my current cold, I’ll be at all three shows; come join me for this rare Besser triple-treat.

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

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 5:30 pm: New improv teams experimenting with new forms at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Andy Rocco and Jon Monje: Anybody Vs. Everybody: An Improv Show for You

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Dog Court, Swagu, and Mr. Gorsky at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Todd Bieber (Commercial Interruption, Director of Content & Production for UCBComedy.com) hosts this monthly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East that at the end selects a favorite from the audience tales to be turned into an animated short film premiering the following month (for hilarious samples, please click here). Tonight’s extra special guests are Matt Besser (co-founder to the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade; NBC’s Parks & Recreation, Comedy Central, tonight’s midnight film Freak Dance) and Margot Leitman (Conan O’Brien, VH1, Spike TV, co-host of sexy & funny Stripped Stories): Animated Stories

7:00 pm ($8): Stand-ups Seth Herzog (staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, Comedy Central, CBS, VH1, film actor; host of Sweet) and Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses) opening for a sketch comedy troupe famed for their YouTube videos (especially The Bear, The Cloud, and God) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Upset Triangle

7:00 pm ($8): 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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($15.25 [vs. $20.25] online using discount code WEDDING, plus $15 food/drink min.; I personally like both the burgers and lasagna): One of my all-time favorite FringeNYC shows is Cynthia Sliver’s true-life recounting of the “deal with the Devil” she made with reality TV (for my 2005 review, please click here). The production is enjoying a brief revival tonight at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, inside the West Bank Cafe (407 West 42nd Street, off Ninth Avenue), and is highly recommended: Bridezilla Strikes Back!

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, D’Arcy Carden, Chelsea Clarke, and/or other stellar 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

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft at The Magnet making up a play on the spot: Theory of Everything

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 ($5): From the producers of The Scene, improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) A regular on ABC’s Happy Endings headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Daman Wayans Jr.

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Showtime, and his own hour-long Comedy Central special headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Sebastian Maniscalco

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

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Matt Besser (co-founder to the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade; NBC’s Parks & Recreation, Comedy Central, tonight’s midnight film Freak Dance), plus stand-ups Mike Drucker (freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report, MTV, VH1), Sara Hennessy (Fuse TV), and Andrew Johnston (Fuse TV) performing at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk and guest-hosted tonight by Erin Lennox: 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] 9:00 pm ($7): The Magnet’s new house sketch troupe Company 29 consists of such wonderful talents as Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman FringeNYC show Our Condolences; brilliant writer, actress, and improvisor) and Peter McNerney (former Magnet Artistic Director; half of improv troupe Trike). Tonight it debuts a show that “takes a look at all things American, from Johnny Appleseed to Ira Glass. It’s a character driven sketch show sure to make Neil Diamond proud:” Company 29 Presents America

[$] [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): Greer Barnes (Comedy Central), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics performing as characters at The PIT downstairs lounge, with tonight’s superb packed lineup featuring Tom Shillue, Jared Logan,Sasheer Zamata, Arthur Meyer, Silvija Ozols, Andy Rocco, Matt Koff, Dan Hodapp, Ashley Ward, and Caitlin Bitzegaio, hosted by Rob Stern: Overload the Machine

[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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Stand-up, sketch, and who knows what else at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by a stand-up/sketch duo: Team Submarine and Friends

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): 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” at this newest UCB Chelsea show to be honored with a weekend time slot: Grandma’s Ashes Gets Dark

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7): Improv master Ed Herbstman and five others “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules” at The Magnet theatre: The Weave

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): UCBT improv troupe Airwolf—which has been crushing other troupes into powder at Cage Match with nine consecutive victories to date—makes stuff up at UCB East for an entire hour: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

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

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5; SOLD OUT, but you might be able to get in if you’re willing to wait on the stand-by line): A screening of a 2010 feature film by the Upright Citizens Brigade written, co-directed, and co-starring Matt Besser, and also co-starring Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Horatio Sanz, and other comedy giants, at UCB East—which is a perfect venue for films because it used to be an indie movie theatre. I’ll be seeing the movie for the first time at this show, but in the meanwhile you can check out some festival reviews. Come and join me—especially since the wonderful Matt Besser will be making a rare NYC appearance to both introduce the movie and stick around afterwards to answer your questions: Freak Dance

P.S. If you can’t make this screening, you can also see the movie (sans Matt) at UCB East on Monday May 21st at 10:00 pm, Tuesday May 22nd at 9:30 pm, Wednesday May 23rd at 10:00 pm, Thursday May 24th at 11:00 pm, and Friday May 25th at midnight (at which point the run will probably be eligible for a New York Times review…). You can also purchase the movie and /or its soundtrack to enjoy anytime via iTunes.

[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 new monthly UCB Chelsea event is helmed by the wonderful Shannon O’Neill Shannon O’Neil (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Stepfathers, Diamond Lion): The Lady Jam

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups (not announced) participate in the fake taping of a bad late-night TV comedy show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Brad Steuernagel: Comedians Off Of the Leash

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

[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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 8/11/11

August 11, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For your personal guide to the spectacular FringeNYC 2011 Festival, please click here.

Matt Walsh and Matt Besser

Upright Citizens Brigade co-founders Matt Walsh and Matt Besser make rare NYC appearances tonight (to help usher in this weekend's Del Close Marathon) at "Apples & Oranges" and "The Back Room"

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] [FREE] 6:00 pm: A free screening of a 2002 documentary about improv legend Del Close featuring memories from such stars as Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh: The Delmonic Interviews

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics drawing names from a bucket, with each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

[FREE] 6:30 pm: In this free show, audience members (signing in at 6) can join in with veteran improv talents to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Please note this is among the last chances to enjoy improv genius Tara Copeland on an NYC stage before Tara moves to LA next month. Come see why BWC won aFringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching any or all of this five-night run (through Friday) at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street): Baby Wants Candy

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Matt Besser, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, hosts comedy stars Horatio Sanz, Todd Barry, Chris Gethard, Kate McKinnon, John Gemberling, Craig Rowan, Rob Lathan, and James Adomian at The Back Room

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comedy veterans Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey), Jodi Lennon (Second City, Annoyance Theatre, iO, Exit 57), and Ari Voukydis (Conan O’Brien, VH1) performing an improvised play in What a Year!

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Some of the Magnet Theatre’s finest improvisors make up theatrical plays on the spot: Playhouse

[$] 8:00 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who won Last Comic Standing Season 3, has performed on Jay Leno, and starred in his own Showtime one-hour special Who’s Paying Attention?, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Alonzo Bodden

8:00 pm ($8): “A 17-person middle school talent show created and performed by two people—Jo Firestone and Dylan Marron—who like themselves more now that they’re older. A comedic tribute to the best three years of our lives, and a comedic play for anyone who ever thought it couldn’t get any better than prank calls and slow-dancing:” Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Typically terrific NYC stand-ups performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Matt Walsh, one of the finest improvisors alive, performs with Jon Glaser (Conan O’Brien, Adult Swim’s Delocated) in Apples & Oranges; and Mark Sutton & Jodi Lennon perform the beloved improv show Bassprov

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teaming up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer forSaturday Night Live) to form a super-smart and hilarious star improv duo who should not be missed…and are performing tonight at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street): John & Scott

9:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): NYC stand-ups performing at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for Sean Crespo’s & Carol Hartsell’s weekly comedy show Lasers in the Jungle

9:30 pm ($5): A brand new episode of a classic sitcom written (by Luke Ward) as if it was happening during the height of the show’s popularity, with tonight’s subject Family TiesTo Be Continued

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors (not announced) make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT’s basement lounge for The Scene

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Krompf, one of the best improv troupes in NYC (consisting of Neil Casey, Amey Goerlich, Ryan Karels, and Joe Wengert), performing with its graduating improv students: Second Annual Krompf Extravaganza

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): UCBT-LA’s late night sketch/music variety show performing for one evening only here in NYC. Come catch a small army of young talent at The Midnight Show

11:00 pm ($5): Magnet improv troupes Brick and Patina compete for audience laughs and votes—yes, like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component—at Inspirado

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/30/10

July 30, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Del Close Improv Marathon 2010

The spectacular annual Del Close Improv Marathon, running continuously this entire weekend and hosting over 150 shows, will attract most of the finest improv talent in the county—and should not be missed

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] [$] 4:30 pm Friday – Midnight Sunday ($25): One of the most magical events in NYC, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from 4:30 pm today until after midnight on Sunday, August 1st. Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Montreal, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are a mere $25 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. As in past years, the only down side will be way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by the use of three additional venues just a couple of blocks from UCBT: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. This is one of the finest comedy events in the country, always magical, and flat-out should not be missed. (I’m listing other comedy events happening tonight, but almost grudgingly…) Come experience the awe, mystery, and hilarity of The 12 Annual Del Close Marathon

7:00 pm ($8): Corinne Fisher performing a one-woman show that details how to keep tabs on someone with whom you’re obsessed: I Stalk You

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

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($21.51 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): An Emmy award-winning prankster famed for his work on Crank Yankers and The Howard Stern Show headlining tonight and Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Jim Florentine

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Colorheadlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Tommy Davidson

[FREE] 8:00: NYC stand-ups performing at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue), hosted by Matt Ruby: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here): The Harvard Sailing Team

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

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/28/10

July 28, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.

Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts

The legendary Upright Citizens Brigade—Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts—perform tonight at Radio Underground

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

6:30 pm & 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours—with two installments running back to back every Wednesday at John Morrison’s Ochi’s Motel

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A one-man show from Michael Hartney about an obsession (which, given my comic book background, I consider utterly reasonable); and a tale of heartbreak by Leslie Meisel and Megan Neuringer, in the double-bill : So I Like Superman: A One-Nerd Show and Love Can Suck a Dick…and So Can I

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($19.33 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): John Oliver (star correspondent of The Daily Show and genius stand-up comic) and assorted other stand-ups performing at a show hosted by Daily Show Executive Producer Rory Albanese at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: The Daily Show and Friends with John Oliver

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Myq Kaplan (kicking ass on this season of Last Comic Standing), Erin Judge (Comedy Central; for hilarious stand-up bit about being bisexual, please click here), Jesse Popp (co-host of Beauty Bar Comedy), and Alex Koll performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) hosted by Gabe Liedman and Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

[FREE] 8:30: Brilliant comedic chameleon Livia Scott, and NYC stand-ups Johanna Clearfield, Dan Wilbur, Mick Diflo, Andy Hendrickson, and Subhah Agarwal, performing at this free weekly show hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door—but buy in advance, because every performance will sell out): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. There are three NYC performances left—tonight and Thursday at the Hudson Guild Theatre, and Friday at FIT—with each evening utterly different from the last. Try to catch every single performance of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Comedy legends Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh (co-founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade) are joined by UCBT stars for a live Sirius/XM Satellite Radio broadcast: Radio Underground

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($19.33 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): Red-hot rising star stand-ups Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1), Hannibal Buress (Variety’s 2010 Top 10 Comics to Watch; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, George Lopez; 2010 ECNY Award for Best Male Stand-Up), Dan St. Germain (hilarious, quick-witted stand-up who’ll be garnering credits soon), and more performing for a show hosted by Greg Barris at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Heart of Darkness

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

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 7/26/10

July 26, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.

Jennifer Coolidge

The beginning of a week of blowout comedy tonight features Jennifer Coolidge delivering a breathtaking stand-up set at Comix...

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

...the smartest & funniest comedy improv troupe in the world kicking off a spectacular week-long run in NYC to help pave the way for this weekend's legendary Del Close Marathon: The Improvised Shakespeare Company...

Matt Besser

...and legendary improvisor Matt Besser joining such other genius comics as John Mulaney and Chris Gethard at Whiplash

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show Risk!) hosts this free open-mic show for storytellers, in which you can put your name in a hat for the chance to tell a five-minute true story…and if it’s a good one, possibly be included in Kevin’s popular podcasts on the Web: Risk! Storyslam

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm ($17.50 online with discount code NIFF): My #1 pick for the2007 FringeNYC Festival, this wonderful group of actresses/improvisors portray characters as if they were in a play, but improvise everything they say and do. The luminous performers include Katharine Heller, Brenna Palughi, Lynne Rosenberg, and Lauren Seikaly, each of whom is immensely appealing and quick-witted. Further, they have an intimate, lovely chemistry with each other; and they’ve all committed to baring their personal lives, thinly disguised via their characters (hence the title’s Naked). As a result, this is one of the most honest and nuanced improvised shows you’ll ever see. Check out some videos of previous episodes here; and then nab tickets for tonight’s eighth installment at the Soho Playhouse of a 10-week Monday night run: Naked in a Fishbowl

[FREE] 7:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Nore Davis, Trey Galyon, Amanda Baramki, Larry Bailey, Dino Vigo, and Dan Carroll performing at a free weekly show in the Manchester Pub hosted by Phoebe Robinson: Case of the Mondays Comedy

7:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street)—at John Morrison’s Motel Luca

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door—but buy in advance, because every performance will sell out): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight begins a week-long NYC run, with every evening utterly different from the last. Try to catch every single performance of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($24.78 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): Last night, at a sold-out event at the Comix Comedy Club, an improvisor/actress best known as Stifler’s mom in the American Pie movies and a variety of oddball characters in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary films—and who once candidly observed “I like going back and doing a sequel; it’s the only chance to really ask for some money”—demonstrated that in addition to being great on film, she’s one of most razor-sharp, charming, and flat-out hilarious stand-ups in the biz. Don’t miss this extra chance to experience an extraordinary comic that—who knew?—was born to perform on a live stage and can do anything comedic: Jennifer Coolidge

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Some of the best  improvisors in the world—Tara Copeland (Mother, Ms. Jackson), Michael Delaney (Conan O’Brien, The Other Guys, The Stepfathers), Peter Gwinn (The Colbert Report, Baby Wants Candy), Arden Myrin (Mad TV, Chelsea Lately), and Michael Patrick O’Brien (Saturday Night Live)—mixing it up with Broadway & off-Broadway stars Kevin Kelly (Shakespeare in the Park: Twelfth Night, The Brother/Sister Plays), Sandy Rustin (Neil Simon’s Hotel Suite, The Scariest Show on TV), Julie Sharbutt (Shakespeare in the Park: Twelfth Night, Little Cecily), and Amy Warren (August: Osage County, The Adding Machine) as they crash improv into classic theatre scenes at actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 15-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Real Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon, host of wonderful The Rejection Show), Greg Barris (Comedy Death Ray), and more performing stand-up at a free weekly LES show at Pianos hosted by Willy Appelman: It Is It

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Sara Schaefer (brilliant, inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever), TV star Caroline Rhea, Costaki Economopoulos, Giulia Rozzi, Ryan Hamilton, and Jo Romero performing in the Lolita Bar at Liam McEneaney’s Tell Your Friends

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Michael Patrick O’Brien (staff writer for Saturday Night Live) performs a one-show show that begins with his trying to break a randomly selected Guinness World Record “using only a small bag of props and the advice of audience members,” followed by “an inspired sort of looniness,”at Shatter

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 online using discount code IMPROV): Chicago-based TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are widely considered among the finest long-form improvisors alive. Just by feeling their way through moment by moment, they create one-hour tales that most authors couldn’t match with months of labored writing. Tonight is the finale of their four-evening run at The Barrow Street Theatre: TJ & Dave

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the country—tonight including legendary improvisor Matt Besser (co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade), Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of upcoming Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake;Magic Box of Stories, The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of book Weird New York), John Mulaney (writer/performer for Saturday Night LiveConan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Brendon Walsh (stand-up visiting from LA), and Chris Locke (stand-up visiting from Toronto)—hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen (Saturday Night LiveConan O’Brien, HBO, Comedy Central) at Whiplash

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 8/13/09

August 13, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive FringeNYC 2009 coverage, please click here.

Matt Besser, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, performs tonight at a hilarious rock star impersonation show and this weekend at the Del Close Improv Marathon

Matt Besser, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, performs tonight at a hilarious rock star impersonation show and this weekend at the Del Close Improv Marathon

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] 8:00 pm ($5): The wonderful Matt Besser, who’s a founding member of the world-renowned and enormously influential Upright Citizens Brigade, and equally brilliant improvisor Horatio Sanz (SNL, ABC), return to UCBT this week to host top comics living out their roadie fantasies by impersonating favorite musicians and performing their songs at The Greatest Concert Ever

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): The gold standard for musical improv troupes, visiting NYC both this weekend for the Del Close Marathon and next week for FringeNYC, Chicago’s spectacular Baby Wants Candy

[$] 8:00 pm ($24.50 & 2-drink min.) A unique comedy star headlining at Carolines for one night only: Gilbert Gottfried

8:00 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors directed by James Eason “take an audience suggestion and break it into a million funny pieces” in The Deconstruction

8:00 pm ($8): Clever wordplay, conceptual comedy, and relentless silliness—applied to a parody of the already-goofy film Con Air—from sketch troupe Elephant Larry (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): The reunion of a legendary improv troupe acclaimed for its uniformly brilliant members’ lightning-quick verbal reflexes and wit: The Swarm

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12): One of the very finest troupes in improv history, visiting NYC for just this week, Chicago’s awesomely inventive and hilarious Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Comedy legend Matt Walsh, a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, hosts this sketch comedy show that runs regularly late at night in the UCB theatre at LA. Enjoy this rare opportunity to experience some of the best young UCBT talent on the West Coast at The Midnight Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: A free opportunity for you to perform improv with UCBT veterans—tonight probably including improv stars in town for this weekend’s Del Close Marathon—at Jammin’ with Ralph

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive FringeNYC 2009 coverage, please click here.