NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 3/30/14

March 30, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Michael McDonald

Former Mad TV star Michael McDonald headlines one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club

Micah Sherman

…and one-of-a-kind Micah Sherman (above),  Aparna Nancherla, and David Carl are among the superb improvisors making up plays on the spot at Act One

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 ($10): A sketch and stand-up show for kids—with no irony, this is for children aged 4-10—with musical guest Tom Leopold (Seinfeld, Cheers) and 14-year-old stand-up Simon Cadel, hosted by Mark Malkoff at The PIT upstairs theatre: Two Juice Minimum

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

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy groups American Wormholes and The Misses perform new material at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[$] 7:30 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on MTV2’s Guy Code and Comedy Central headlines for one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Damien Lemon

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s strong lineups include Colin Quinn, Mark Normand, Ali Wong, Gregg Rogell, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 8:00 show; Todd Barry, Gary Gulman, Nick Griffin, and Lynne Koplitz at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Marina Franklin, Wil Sylvince, and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb guest improvisors Aparna Nancherla, Micah Sherman, Doug Stoley, and Mike Burton, guest improv groups The Theme From Jurassic Park and The Best, and host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl), make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on MAD TV for a decade, and has also acted on such shows as Showtime’s House of Lies and Seinfeld, and such films as Austin Powers and The Heat, headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club, with openers including the superb Michelle Buteau and Sam Morril: Michael McDonald

8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), Reese Waters (David Letterman), Tanisha Long, and hosts Amanda Seales (VH1) & Marc Lamont Hill performing stand-at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Smart, Funny, and Black

8:00 pm ($5): Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Janelle James, and Shanti Charan performing at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Ali Wong (fearless, razor-sharp, hilarious comedy dynamo; Jay Leno, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC’s Are You There Chelsea?, film Savages), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, MTV), Sean Crespo (co-host of Lasers in the Jungle), and Jake Young performing stand-up at the Three of Cups lounge (83 First Avenue at 5th Street) hosted by RG Daniels: Sunday Night Stand-Up

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Ashley Brooke Roberts, Nick Maritato, Clark Jones, Brian Parise, and Patrick Schroeder performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly stand-up show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at Beauty Bar

9:00 pm ($7): Sketches written, performed, and directed by literally dozens of female comics at The Magnet theatre: Lady Sketch Show

[$] 9:30 pm ($22 plus $15 food/drink min.; I personally like both the burgers and lasagna): “Multi-talented Australian drag idol Courtney Act has opened for Lady Gaga, co-starred in Rent, sung a duet with Idina Menzel. and was a contestant in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6. Tonight she sings her favorite songs, and divulges the fascinating and funny dirty laundry list that is her sex life. There’s that angry text from a straight boy’s girlfriend, the twins in Montreal, and the US Marine, just to name a few of the titillating encounters she details in story and song. This tuneful, hysterical performance showcases Courtney’s sharp observations of living life on the gender divide” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, inside the West Bank Cafe (407 West 42nd Street, off Ninth Avenue, downstairs) for the final night of this brief NYC run: Courtney Act: Boys Like Me

9:30 pm ($8): A solo show mixing characters & music from Jillian Green at The PIT upstairs theatre: Balls

10:00 pm ($15; no min.): An evening of Brazilian-themed comedy and music with host Julia Melim performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Brazilian Hour

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 5:30 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 Emmy Blotnick, Matt Nedostup, and/or Sachi Ezurafor: Sledgehammer

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

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

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 2 minutes per walk-in performer picked at random from a bucket of names, at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Jonathan Morvay and/or Evan Williams: Child Support

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

[FREE] 10:15 pm: Open-mic show for sketch and character bits running 3-5 minutes at The Magnet hosted by Sebastian Conelli. Everyone who signs up—at 9:45 pm at the box office—is likely to get onstage: Sketch in Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/13/13

April 13, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Jim Norton and Michael McDonald

Jim Norton continues headlining at Carolines; Michael McDonald concludes headlining at Gotham…

Ed Herbstman

…master improvisor Ed Herbstman teams with Nick Kanellis at Trike…

Melanie Hamlett

…and hilarious storyteller Melanie Hamlett performs at Underground Americana

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: TV & Broadway stand-up star Colin Quinn performs bits from a show he’s developing for an off-Broadway run that looks at US history “from the Founding Fathers to the Kardashians” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Unconstitutional with Colin Quinn

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes The Gang, Kelly & Justin, and Human Pyramid performing at The Magnet to kick off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

7:00 pm ($5): All-gal improvisors Ashley Ward, Brigid Boyle, Alexis Saarela, and Elizabeth Findlay perform at The PIT upstairs theatre as troupe Taco Supreme

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A sketch comedy group that formed at Vassar and “will melt your face with college loans” performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Shoulder Pads

7:00 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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($20 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), Marina Franklin (developing into one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with an uncommonly gentle, graceful style that’s pure joy; Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, Craig Ferguson, VH1, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), Michael Che (David Letterman, Comedy Central), John Joseph (Comedy Central, The View), and Sam Morril (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Erik Rivera (Jay Leno, MTV): Judah Friedlander, Marina Franklin, Lenny Marcus, Michael Che, and More

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 & 10:30 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up veteran who’s appeared on David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Last Comic Standing; hosted the HBO stand-up showcase Down and Dirty; was a cast member of the wonderful though short-lived HBO sitcom Lucky Louie, and performed his own HBO half-hour One Night Stand special; has appeared in such hit films as Spider-Man; is a regular on XM Satellite Radio’s The Opie & Anthony Show; and is the author of the book Happy Endings, headlining tonight (previously reported sold out, but apparently more room was made) and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jim Norton

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A 10-year veteran cast member of Mad TV, and performer on numerous other top TV shows (for a sample, please click here), headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Michael McDonald

8:00 pm ($10): Barry Rothbart (Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Roger Hailes (Jimmy Fallon, Chappelle’s Show, VH1, MTV; writer for FUSE’s A Different Spin with Mark Hoppus), musical guest Steve Milton, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for a show hosted by Greg Barris: Heart of Darkness

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Erin Lennox, Anthony DeVito, and Nick Maritato, improv troupe Butts, and more performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[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

[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): A sketch troupe using recent events as the foundation for material performing at The PIT upstairs theatre directed and co-written by J.D. Durkin with co-writer Scott Swayze: Gramercy Boulevard

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:15 pm ($24 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), Lynne Koplitz (Joan Know’s Best, IFC’s Z Rock, host of WB’s Life & Style), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle Show, For the Love of the Game), Michael Che (David Letterman, Comedy Central), John Joseph (Comedy Central, The View), and DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show): Judah Friedlander, Lynne Koplitz, Greer Barnes, Michael Che, and More

[$] 9:30 pm ($15): “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

[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

[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: “Staged readings of scenes from selected plays, starring comedians” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Emily Fleming & Jarrid Reed: Fly Space: The Test Drive

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Master improvisor Ed Herbstman teams with Nick Kanellis for one night only at The Magnet to form comedy duo Trike

[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

11:00 pm ($8): Nick Carrillo, Langston Belton, and Devin James Heater perform a post-apocalyptic improvised comedy—exploring the relationship of three men trapped in a Generic Underground Shelter—at The PIT upstairs theatre: G.U.S.

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Storyteller Melanie Hamlett (brilliant writer/performer; two-time Moth StorySlam Champion, co-author of the book Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana, contributor to Marie Claire Magazine and Nerve.com, amazing blog, roving adventurer), character improvisor Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives, The Tony and Johnny Show), stand-ups Mark Normand (red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here) and Sean Donnelly (MTV, FOX News; host of many shows), and singer/songwriter Megan Kerper performing at UCB Chelsea with hosts Andy Rocco & Steven Slate: Underground Americana

[FREE] Midnight: Stand-up and sketch (performers not announced) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Kingmaker Sketch

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.