NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 8/6/17

August 6, 2017

The Adventures of Danny & Mike PodcastYou may remember Danny Tamberelli & Mike Maronna playing sharp-tongued brothers in Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Now grown up, they host a podcast—which they’ll be taping live on stage tonight in Brooklyn with guests Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien), Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award), and and Josh Lay (Head Writer of Nickelodeon’s The Splat): The Adventures of Danny & Mike Podcast (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Myq Kaplan, Liza Treyger, and Liz Miele…or see Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Danny Solomon (Lucas Bros Moving Co), Rosebud Baker, and Alex Pavone perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, MTV, TruTV) and hosted by Alison Leiby (VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Aasif Mandvi…or if you enjoy process, help Aasif Mandvi (former correspondent for The Daily Show; appearances in numerous movies & TV shows) as he tries out a new one-man show: Come See How the Sausage is Made (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Other notable shows this Sunday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among five shows, with four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm (price varies by seat location): One of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street). Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors (who are also experienced Shakespearan actors) David Brummer, George Hider, and Conor Mullen perform new plays from the Bard made up on the spot springboarding off an audience suggestion at The PIT Underground: As You Will: Shakespearean Improv

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/7/17

Women of MarvelA special comic book-themed show, with Sana Amanat (Editor at Marvel Comics; co-creator of Ms. Marvel), Judy Stephens (Producer of Women of Marvel podcast), Gabrielle Bell (Best American Comics, Fantagraphics), and more at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen: Downtown Variety Hour (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Aparna Nancherla and Melissa Stokoski…or if you’re a fan of MSK3K, take a quick subway ride to Queens to enjoy Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) host as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) and Melissa Stokoski (TruTV; co-host of Bitches’ Brew; for a stand-up set about therapy, please click here). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump (7:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

The Kellyanne Conway Technique: Book Launch Show…or see Jarret Berenstein play Kellyanne Conway (“alternative facts”) celebrating her new book that explains her tips & tricks for success in today’s communications game: The Kellyanne Conway Technique: Book Launch Show (7:30 pm; $10, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street—and consider sticking around afterward for the 9:00 pm show, in which 50 Magnet comics perform for about a minute each at Character Bash: A Night of 50 Characters)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Phil Hanley (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Craig Ferguson, former host of Chemistry), Maria Heinegg, Nonye Brown-West, and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Mark Normand, Chris Gethard, MIchelle Wolf, Adrienne Lapalucci, Sam Morril, and more try out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Jim Florentine, and other terrific stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/8/17

Sex With RobotsStand-ups (not announced) present funny lectures on silly topics—which this month include “The History of the Moon: Earth’s Peeping Tom” and “Sex With Robots: Our Future”—produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; producer of If You Build It) and hosted by Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York, comedy album I Was in Band): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series (9:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Punderdome 3000…or check out this monthly wild pun competition hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive and adventurous comics alive; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/9/17

Battle of the Divas: Whitney Houston vs. Mariah CareyA pop culture debate on one of the weightiest issues of our time—Whitney Houston vs Mariah Carey—featuring comics Marie Faustin (arguing for Whitney) and Alex English (arguing for Mariah), plus drag performances of both divas by Elizabeth James.and music from DJ Molly Austin hosted by Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV) & Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Whitney Houston vs. Mariah Carey (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:15 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:00 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm (price varies by seat location): One of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street). Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight Jo does a no frills interview show, chatting with friends Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow: Two Chairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 7/27/17

July 27, 2017

Jiji Lee and Leslie GoshkoOddball and/or terrifying tales from Jiji Lee (above left; Reductress, Above Average), Drew Prochaska (author of Where We Were When We Were Werewolves; two-time Moth StorySlam winner), Thomas Pryor (author of I Hate the Dallas Cowboys; The New York Times), and Mark Pagan (Risk!, The Moth) at this free monthly storytelling show in the East Village featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above right; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)…

Comedy Cellar…and among the best stand-up in the country is delivered every night at Comedy Cellar, whose six events tonight include an 9:30 pm showcase featuring Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, Pete Lee, Adrienne Iapalucci, and host Sean Donnelly (9:30 pm; $14 cover plus 2-item min.; Comedy Cellar at 117 MacDougal Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 7/28/17

"Fly, You Fools!" and "Hold On To Your Butts" double-bill by Recent CutbacksTwo of the finest productions to ever grace The Peoples Improv Theater are from the Recent Cutbacks company, which includes superbly inventive director Kristin McCarthy Parker, amazing shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and Matt Zambrano, and stellar foley artists Blair Busbee & Kelsey Didion—and tonight you can see both magical shows back to back. Kicking off the evening is a live-on-stage ‘shot for shot’ parody of the first chapter in the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time”—i.e., Lord of the Rings: Fly, You Fools!; and then an unforgettable live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc (7:00 pm, $30 for the entire double-bill (a great deal, as these shows are normally $20 each), The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

24 Hour Improv Show…and while you’re at The PIT, check out tonight’s 24 uninterrupted hours of improv, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (7:30 pm tonight through 7:30 pm Saturday, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Caroline Schaper, John Reynolds, and Eliza Cossio…or if you’re in Brooklyn, see comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates John Reynolds (above middle; Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Characters, TBS’ Search Party), Jason O. Gilbert (written for The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, McSweeney’s), Ziwe Fumudoh (The Onion, Reductress), Cassidy Routh (visual artist), and hosts Caroline Schaper (above left; writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (above right; Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (7:30 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/29/17

David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here).

Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. Titled Trump Lear, you might at first think it’s Donald Trump’s One Man King Lear (As Performed by David Carl); but it’s actually more complicated.

In this play, a character named “Carl David” has achieved acclaim performing Lear as Trump—and it’s attracted The Donald’s attention. Trump has Carl David kidnapped to perform the play in front of him…and also his social media audience. If Trump decides he doesn’t like what he sees, or if the show fails to maintain the interest of POTUS’ Internet followers, he’ll have the actor executed.

What follows is a complex blend of Carl’s impersonation of Trump, an unusual performance of scenes from King Lear (involving toys, paper puppets, and impersonations of a host of characters ranging from Ronald Reagan to Miss Piggy), and frequent conversations between Carl David as struggling artist and Trump as supreme showman.

The key power of this production is actually in the latter. Carl David is played as a poor, bumbling artist who makes most of his living from Trump impersonations, yet has devoted his life to achieving and conveying truth. In contrast, Trump has won the greatest power in the world—President of the United States—by embracing and perpetually dispensing lies. The tension between those two extremes is sometimes electric. Plus there are moments when Carl makes himself so vulnerable that this play achieves an unforgettable feeling of realness managed by few productions, be they comedy or drama.

And on top of all that, where else are you going to see a Shakespearean actor eat a McDonald’s burger and fries in under 60 seconds? (About halfway through, Carl rolls the fries into a giant greasy white ball he then stuffs whole into his mouth, which is nearly worth the price of admission by itself…)

One extra spin to this meta-show is knowing that, in real life, it’s rumored there was some sort of blowback from Gary Busey’s people about Carl’s first show—because the original brilliant title Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) was changed about a year ago to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. But even if a brush with Busey’s reps was the seed that led to the creation of this second show, Trump is both far more and far less than a stand-in for Busey.

A major difference is that Carl appears to loathe Trump, but I believe he continues to adore Busey. For example, after the production I asked Carl why Busey isn’t among any of the dozens of impersonations he performs in Trump Lear. “Oh, I couldn’t let him in,” Carl replied. “I’d love to, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making his role bigger and bigger until he took over.”

David Carl is a special comic, and this is a show worth experiencing. Trump Lear is currently running 2:00 pm every Saturday through August 12th at Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $20…and typically include free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself.

24 Hour Improv ShowThe PIT’s 24-hour improv marathon began last night at 7:30 pm, and it’s running continuously through tonight at 7:30 pm, featuring some of the finest improvisors and improv shows in NYC (details TBA). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (today from 12:00 am through 7:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

…or enjoy beloved NYC comic Morgan Miller (above; sometimes does a duo improv show with her brother T.J. Miller) perform a half hour stand-up set…

Jaqi Furback…followed by a half hour stand-up set by Jaqi Furback (above), both hosted by Ryan Crawford & Lawson Leong: The Double Feature (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/30/17

Charlie Pickering, Saurin Choksi, and Michelle ButeauThis final installment of a a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks features Michelle Buteau (above right; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Charlie Pickering (above left; Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Saurin Choksi (above middle; host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), and Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Central Park by the West 67th Street entrance)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/16/17

July 16, 2017

Langston Kerman, Myq Kaplan, and Sherrod Small: "Laughter in the Park"It’s week #2 of a 4-Sunday series of free outdoor comedy shows in July at NYC parks. This afternoon’s lineup features Myq Kaplan (above middle; one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Sherrod Small (above right; writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Langston Kerman (above left; cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), Gary Vider (America’s Got Talent 2015 finalist; for great Conan O’Brien set, please click here; for more jokes, please click here), and Leighann Lord (HBO, Comedy Central, Lifetime; frequent co-host of StarTalk Radio podcast; author of Dict Jokes): Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park by the 7th Street entrance)…

David Lawson, Angel Yau, and Erika Elton: Story Fest 2017…it’s the final day of a weekend storytelling festival at the PIT Loft, with 5 shows running a total of 7 hours. Notable events include VHS Presents at 5:30 pm (comics David Lawson (above left), Angel Yau (above middle), and Elann Danziger screen embarrassing videos they made years ago to hype themselves and share anecdotes about them) and Singeling at 8:30 pm (tales of dating, plus advice from professional dating coach Erika Elton (above right)): Story Fest 2017 (4:00 pm-11:00 pm, $10 per show, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)…

Picture This!…or see this unique show in which animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Tonight’s comedy lineup consists of Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Molly Ruben-Long (Someecards; co-host of Well Behaved podcast), and Mara Wiles (Viceland’s Flophouse), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Wyatt Cenac and David Cross…or join Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live) as she hosts Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter; host of Night Train), David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani), and Maria Heinegg (host of The Worst Thing podcast) performing stand-up or dance, plus music from DJ Donwill, all at Sasheer Zamata Party Time (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…and finally:

Go out tonight; but set your recording device to HBO at 9:00.

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/17/17

Mike BirbigliaMike Birbiglia (feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; three Comedy Central specials, multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live) is one of the most sensitive and observant comics in the biz. This week he’s allowing audiences into his process as he tries out new material. I don’t usually get the opportunity to list this show because it rapidly sells out way in advance; but tonight a set number of tickets have been put away for at-the-door sales. Arrive early to enjoy Mike Birgiblia: Working It Out (7:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Phoebe Tyers and Filip Jeremic…and character comics—including brilliant writer/performers Phoebe Tyers (above left), Filip Jeremic (above right), and many more—perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler. This is one of my favorite monthly events, and I especially recommend it if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome (9:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 7/18/17

A monthly wild pun competition that’s been enormously popular in Brooklyn expands its audience tonight to Chelsea by playing at the fancy Highline Ballroom. As always, it’ll be hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)…

Dave Hill and Melissa Villasenor…or see a live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with Dave Hill (above left), SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor (above right), Judy Gold, Gregg Rogell, Paul Morrisey, and Phil Hanley performing stand-up and/or sketch, plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa (8:00 pm, $10 plus two-item min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Third Annual Muslim Funny Fest…and this annual comedy mini-fest (four shows over three days) is a rare NYC gathering of Muslim stand-ups, including Aasif Mandvi (HBO’s The Brink; former correspondent for The Daily Show), Maysoon Zayid (self-described “Palestinian Muslim with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey;” cast member for two seasons of As the World Turns; former pundit for Keith Olbermann; Queen Latifah show), Ramy Youssef (Stephen Colbert), Wali Collins (David Letterman), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Gibran Saleem (MTV), Azhar (one-man show Ultra American…which he’ll perform Thursday at 9:30 pm to close the festival), Preacher Moss, Aman Ali, Suzie Afridi, Moses the Comic, and more hosted by Dean Obeidallah (CNN, Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil, SiriusXM’s The Dean Obeidallah Show, one-man show I Come in Peace). For complete details, please click Third Annual Muslim Funny Fest (8:00 pm tonight, 8:00 pm Wednesday, and 7:30 pm & 9:45 pm on Thursday; $25 per show, plus 2-drink min.; Comic Strip Live Comedy Club at 1568 Second Avenue off 81st Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 7/19/17

Mindy RafMindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) has been a respected and beloved member of the comedy community for over a decade. In this one-woman show, however, Raf achieves a whole new level of comedy greatness. Her script weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the Dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Raf delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously

Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Raf is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it.

With this show, Raf has developed into a star talent who demands attention.I highly recommend this wonderful production, which is having a brief Off-Broadway run tonight and this weekend, and then moves on in August to play for 28 performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

By the way, don’t get put off by the oddball title. This show has nothing to do with illness; and the only body organs it focuses on are the vagina and the human heart: Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys (8:30 pm tonight, 2:30 pm this Saturday & Sunday; $15; 59E59 Theater at 59 East 59th Street between Madison & Park Avenues)…

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) is honing a fresh, clever one-man show that (like Mindy directly above) he’ll be performing at next month’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can enjoy Julio’s production tonight, Thursday, or Friday at UCB Chelsea, or on Saturday or Sunday at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (6:30 pm tonight & Thursday, 7:30 pm Friday, $7-$12, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street; or 8:00 pm Saturday & Sunday, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Gad Elmaleh…and a comic who’s a superstar in France playing to 12,000-seat stadiums, but is just starting to get known in the US (Seth Meyers, The Daily Show, Comedians in Cars; feature films Coco, Priceless, La Doublure, Midnight in Paris; for a May 2016 stand-up set & interview on Conan, please click here and here), performs in an intimate 50-seat West Village lounge: Gad Elmaleh (9:00 pm, $20 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 6/26/17

June 26, 2017

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 6/26/17

Roast of Rich VosRich Vos (finalist for two seasons of Last Comic Standing, regular on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, Comedy Central Presents special, Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast) is roasted by fellow stand-up stars Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Robert Kelly, Judy Gold, Jim Florentine, Keith Robinson, and “special guests” in the West Village hosted by Rich’s wife Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast): Roast of Rich Vos (8:00 pm, $25 plus 2-drink min.; SOLD OUT, but email owner@fbpc.com to be placed on a waiting list.; Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Joe Berkowitz: "Away With Words" with guest Myq Kaplan…and author Joe Berkowitz celebrates the release of his book about the world of pun competitions, Away With Words, by sharing funny stories about working on the book; hosting stand-ups Myq Kaplan (above; one of the quickest minds in comedy, rapidly rising star…and professional linguist!) and Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part); and hosting Punderdome champions for a live pun competition: Away With Words Book Release Show (8:30 pm; $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 6/27/17

Carmen Lynch: "Lynched"The lovely and delightful Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing finalist) performs an hour-long solo stand-up show tonight and tomorrow that Carmen will reprise at this August’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Lynched (8:30 pm, $5 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Ophira Eisenberg and Adam Wade…and master storyteller Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here) and Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; host of The Adam Wade Show; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here) team up to tell tales of pain and healing in Brooklyn: Ophira’s and Adam’s Scar Tissue: A Night of Hilarious, Heartfelt Stories (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman: "Your Love, Our Musical"…or marvel at world-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interviewing an audience couple about their love life and then turning it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (8:00 pm; $10, which is super cheap—;this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

NYC Comedy Pick for Wednesday 6/28/17

Big Time DicksA live taping of a new comedic podcast that aims to provide “a fresh perspective on politics through an examination of the big-time dicks behind the policies affecting our lives,” with guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Amy Goodman (Host/Executive Producer of Democracy Now!, a daily award-winning news program airing on over 1,400 public TV & and radio stations worldwide; author of six New York Times Bestsellers), and Erika Andiola (former Press Secretary for Latino Outreach for Bernie 2016 and current Political Director for the campaign’s successor organization Our Revolution) sponsored by Jezebel, and hosted by Joanna Rothkopf & Prachi Gupta: Six Months Deep with Big-Time Dicks (7:30 pm, Free! if you RSVP, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

Carmen Lynch: "Lynched"…and if you missed her debut last night, this is your second chance to enjoy the lovely and delightful Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing finalist) performing an hour-long solo stand-up show that Carmen will reprise at this August’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Lynched (8:30 pm, $5 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Pick for Thursday 6/29/17

WanderfestStand-up from Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive and adventurous comics alive; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Billy on the Street), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Someecards), plus improv from UCB East Gentrify hosts Brandon Scott Jones, Alden Ford, and Justin Tyler, produced by Cassie Grimaldi and hosted by Kelsey Caine, Martin Urbano, and Jack Comstock, all performing at a wandering show that takes place at a different venue each month: Wanderfest (8:00 pm; $10; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street, take R subway to Union Street)…

Reductress Wet…or catch Kate Berlant (Netflix’s The Characters, MTV, IFC, CNN), Anna Drezen (writer for Saturday Night Live; superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; author of How May We Hate You), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), and Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike) perform stand-up hosted by Nicole Silverberg and sponsored by a famed magazine focused on female comedy: Reductress Wet (8:00 pm, $20, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 9/14/16

September 14, 2016

Myq Kaplan, Leah Bonnema, Nore Davis, and Sal VulcanoIn this unique show, Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, comedy album True Love) interviews comics as they share rare and embarrassing footage of one of their first sets—and will also perform new material for comparison’s sake. Tonight’s wonderful guests are Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Nore Davis (Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Boardwalk Empire, Comedy Central’s Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, MTV), and Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers): First Set: Myq Kaplan, Sal Vulcano, Nore Davis, and Leah Bonnema (8:00 pm, $7, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of White Chocolate Sundaes), Bowen Yang (Broad City), and Khalid Ramaan performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents): The Sensible Show

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm-midnight: Five free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Lovers, which includes the spectacular Dana Krashin and Tracy Mull at 7:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

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

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features three house groups making up scenes on the spot: Lloyd Night

7:30 pm ($7): Mindy Raf, Andrea Ilene Shapiro, Alan Richardson, Angela Cobb, Justin Hayes, Katrin Higher, Kaitlyn Holland, and James Hussey tell funny stories about their day jobs at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kristin Seltman: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

7:30 pm ($5): A one-man cabaret show of songs and stories by Eric Scholl performed at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): I’m Grumpy And I Don’t Like Puppies

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf perform a duo rock concert directed by Jo Firestone & Aaron Jackson: Nancy: Home is Where the Songs Are

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a play directed by the wonderful Langan Kingsley, and written by & co-starring Matt Barats & John Reynolds, about “on the night when the girls ask the boys, it’s finally the teacher’s turn:” Sadie Hawkins Day: Love Knows No Bounds

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($20 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A star stand-up with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Louie who’s also an Emmy-nominated comedy writer and talk show host headlines at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Nick DiPaolo

8:30 pm ($10): “The siblings run, The siblings shout, The siblings throw things all about, They do not want to go to bed, Too many voices in their heads, They run and hide when MomDad seeks, Crawl under here, shh do not speak” with Kelly Cooper, Caitlin Dullea, and Thomas Fricilone directed by Michael Bertrando at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Siblings

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of White Chocolate Sundaes), Dan Perlman, Tim Dillon, Argon Fritz, and more performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck: Everythign Is Dumbn: A Comedy & Music Showcase

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1, comedy album He Has Friends), Adam Glyn (host of FOX’s South of Wilshire), Sean White (Comedy Central), Brian Parise, David Drake, and Kristin Manna performing stand-up for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Tami Sagher (superb TV writer for Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Girls, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006) and Chris Gethard (star of The Chris Gethard Show, co-star of film Don’t Think Twice; The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York) perform duo improv at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Sagher & Gethard

9:30 pm ($5): “Two brothers need a good night’s sleep because they have something big in the morning; but the night has other plans for them” written & starring John Higgins & Cory Snearowski at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Two Guys Just Tryna Sleep

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes about obsessions at the UCB East theatre: The Fix

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) hosts this new “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight features improv by such stellar talents as Langan Kingsley, plus pancakes, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow

[TOP PICK] [$] 11:00 pm ($20): “Lots of comedians tell jokes about the sex business onstage, but you almost never get to hear the other side of the story. So for one night a month we turn the tables and hand the mic off to actual sex workers to showcase the humor and charm of tales told about the industry by the pros themselves! This month featuring stand-up, storytelling, poetry, and booty shaking by Hannah Cowger, Jacq the Stripper, Mx Master Bean, Ariel Wolf, Lydia Love, Jenna Torres, Paige Ovadia, Lola and Shanlita Bandita” at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (272 Grand Street, basement): Red Light Comedy Night

Wednesday 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] 6:00 pm: Walk-in open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild: Flynn’s Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans at UCB East hosted by members of improv group Bucky: Rotisserie Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:

The Stand

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 8/5/16

August 5, 2016

Best New York Stand-Up with Myq Kaplan

Ophira Eisenberg The finest stand-ups in the country—Mark Normand (opens for Amy Schumer), Mike Lawrence (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer), Sean Patton (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, co-host of Best Bars in America), Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (cast member of The Electric Company, The Daily Show, popular improv hip-hop group Freestyle Love Supreme), and Ophira Eisenberg (host of weekly NPR show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone)—perform in Best New York Stand-Up with Myq Kaplan, a show produced by me, Hy Bender (BestNewYorkComedy.com) and hosted by Myq Kaplan (opens for Louis C.K., and has one of the quickest minds in comedy). For more about these comedy giants, please click here.

Each comic does a 4-minute set…followed by Myq providing improvised comments about what just happened. This goes for two rounds, so every comic performs and is the object of Myq’s observations twice.

This show—which is a top pick by The New York Times—is being filmed for a web series. Come help make it a hit by letting us immortalize your laughter. (8:10 pm, $10, The PIT Upstairs (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($13): A glorious collection of hilarious genre film clips from super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, tonight about Satan at Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum (424-A 3rd Avenue): Kevin Geeks Out About The Devil

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

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

7:00 pm ($5): An opening indie improv troupe perform for 20 minutes, and then host New Greta makes up scenes for 20 minutes, at The PIT upstairs theatre: New Greta Has Friends: Indie Improv

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Jeff Hiller, Morgan Miller, and more make up scenes about “the Hole-iest Hump Day on the Vatican Calendar” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Ass Wednesday

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s a cast member of NBC’s The Carmichael Show, and appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and TruTV’s Friends of the People, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Lil Rel

7:30 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): Dagger and Hello

7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($5): Seven New York comics telling stories of where they came from (one from Ireland) and the journey that led them to NYC performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Katie Boyle & Jessica Mears: Transplants

7:30 pm ($7): A improvised sitcom taking place in a deli at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Counter

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Top comics (not announced) are interviewed at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Inside Joke

8:00 pm ($10): “A show that begins with the darkest, most offensive, or ill-conceived content, then slowly, progressively gets better, nicer, and more fun, ending on the highest note possible; it’s live catharsis” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Brett Davis: Bad to Good Show

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups and musicians drink and perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Peele: Party & Bullshit

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and guest-hosted by Caitlin Peluffo: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[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 Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Silvija Ozols, Shannon O’Neill, Don Fanelli, Alexandra Dickson, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Improvisors make up a fucking David Mamet play before your fucking eyes, trying hard to really fucking live up to his genius fucking beautiful way with words at The PIT downstairs lounge: David Fucking Mamet

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): “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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; staff writer for Emmy-winning Inside Amy Schumer; frequently invited lightning wit on @midnight; star of upcoming Comedy Central Snapchat series You’re Wrong with Mike Lawrence; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1), MIke Lawrence, Lauire Kilmartin, Sherrod Small, Derek Gains, Aaron Berg, and Aida Rodriguez performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

10:00 pm ($5): “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Late Night Snack

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety), Boris Khaykin (Broad City, North Coast), and Peggy Sinnot (TruTV) performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($10): Eight stand-ups compete for laughs by telling jokes on topics handed to them just this morning at The PIT downstairs lounge refereed by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Stand-Up Showdown

10:30 pm ($5): A monthly anthology series of speculative fiction in the vein of The Twilight Zone at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Lucid State

10:30 pm ($5): Josh Johnson (Jimmy Fallon), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), DTF, and Mo & Tim performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

11:30 pm ($7): Veteran house improv group Hello Laser makes up scenes with music at the Magnet theatre: Hello Laser

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Comics perform stand-up sets and then go on dates with each other as part of the live show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Rob Harper & Rachel Coleman: We’re Getting Laid

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A raucous laboratory for wacky ideas, in which comics Michael Wolf, Dan Glaser, and Cory Palmer (Jo Firestone is out of town this week) create absurd game shows that they try out using audience members. “After we’ve attempted to create all the game shows, the audience votes on which idea gets to go straight to TV (not really)” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Incredible Game Show Showcase

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Real-life lovers Diana Kolsky & Murf Meyer bring you the live counterpart to their saucy podcast, a fun, ballsy, raucous variety show about the audience” at the UCB East theatre: Menage a Trois Radio After Dark

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Davey Melch & Sydney Beveridge: Queens Free Mic Fridays

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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 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 hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

[ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 4/11/16

April 11, 2016

Kristen SchaalComedy treasure Kristen Schaal makes a now-rare NYC appearance, plus Eugene Mirman, Liza Treyger, Noah Gardenswartz, and Michelle Biloon performing stand-up guest-hosted by Seaton Smith: Night Train (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Myq Kaplan and Chris Sullivan (Shockwave)…and Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts this monthly show, with tonight’s guests Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Andrea Allen (producer for Vimeo), Kenny Deforest (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), Lance Weiss, and Ryan Donahue performing stand-up or music: Myq Kaplan & Friends (8:30 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($25): Ophira Eisenberg tapes her comedy trivia radio show live, with tonight’s guest Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is The New Black), at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from two sharp house groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm ($5): Sharp duo improvisors Kelly Buttermore & Justin Peters make up one-act plays based on audience suggestions at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): From Justin to Kelly

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a one-man show about letting go of integrity: Sellout

…and in the second other of this double bill, a typically brilliant parody of Seinfeld made up on the spot: Improvised Seinfeld

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb comics & writers—Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien), Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Jordan Carlos (writer/correspondent for The Nightly Show; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central, VH1, Adult Swim), Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), and Samantha Ruddy (Someecards)—share at this confessional storytelling show at UCB East hosted by Ruby Karp: HelloGiggles

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10): Mike Reiss (four-time Emmy winner for his 25 years writing for The Simpsons), Krystyna Hutchinson & Corinne Fisher (hosts of popular Guys We Fucked podcast), John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Newsroom), Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight), and Lisa Ann (Lisa Ann Does Fantasy) being interviewed or performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): Running Late with Scott Rogowsky

8:30 pm ($5): An audience member with a decision to make becomes the basis of an improvised court trial at The PIT downstairs lounge: The People’s Court

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

9:00 pm ($7): A one-woman musical storytelling show by Sierra Pasquale about “All Sierra wanted to do was sing and dance. Then all Sierra wanted to do was drink” directed by Jana Schmeiding at The Magnet theatre: Sierra Pasquale: Transformed!

9:30 ($5): House sketch groups Estevez and Monaco try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($5): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT upstairs theatre: Locked Up B*tches

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: 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), Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Monroe Martin (finalist on Last Comic Standing), and more perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-night-only team at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

10:30 pm ($7): Two “coming out” tales from storytellers serve as springboards for LGBTQ improvisers to make up scenes—some of which will be musical—at The Magnet theatre: Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQ Event

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

Monday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 3 minutes on stage. Arrive at around 5:45 to sign up, or wait for the late bucket at 6:15, to perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: First Stop Open Mic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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