NYC Top Comedy Choices for April 2018: Last Updated Friday 4/13/18

April 13, 2018

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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

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

Jo Firestone, Marcia Belsky, and Natalie WallFriday 4/13: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Jo Firestone (above left; one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Marcia Belsky (above middle; Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), and David Goldberg (writer for Time Out New York) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Jessie Jolles and Katie Hartman: "Kevin Bacon is Our God"Friday 4/13: Hosts Katie Hartman (above right; brilliant, fearless dark comedy writer/performer; sketch groups Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting and Hartman & Carl, ace improv group Gypsy Danger) and Jessie Jolles (above left; co-host of No Such Thing as Love; improv groups Witch and Lisa From School), plus guests Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Jon Bander (Netflix’s Master of None, TBS’ Search Party; musical improv groups Aquarius and Dagger), Girls With Brown Hair (sketch duo Becky Chicoine & Samantha Reece), Angel Yau (Azn Pop, Netflix), Brittanie Sheree, and Rachel Pegram demonstrate their devotion to actor Kevin Bacon “with a combination of vibrant song and prayer, Footloose hymns, revealing how to reach the ‘first degree,’ and offering the only food that matters: bacon (pork, turkey, and veggie options available):” Kevin Bacon is Our God (8:00 pm, $5, Brooklyn’s Cloud City at 85 North 1st Street)

Sasheer Zamata and Keisha Zollar: "Doppelganger"Friday 4/13: Improv trio Doppelganger—consisting of Sasheer Zamata (above left; cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Keisha Zollar (above right; HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV; writer for The Opposition with Jordan Klepper; sketch group Astronomy Club), and Nicole Byer (scores of TV and film roles)—created fresh, brilliant improv before each of its rising stars went off to be famous. Nicole is probably filming right now in LA, but Sasheer and Keisha are reuniting in NYC to make up scenes based on audience suggestions: Doppelganger (9:00 pm, $12, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Michael Ian BlackFriday 4/13: PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT. Comedy icon Michael Ian Black has acted in nearly a dozen movies, including Wet Hot American Summer; and in scores of TV series—most recently, Comedy Central’s Another Period and The Jim Gaffigan Show, as well as such classics as seminal MTV sketch series The State and NBC’s Ed. He’s also the author of 11 books, including the 2016 bestseller A Child’s First Book of Trump. And on top of all that, he enjoys performing stand-up…which is what he’s doing tonight: Michael Ian Black: Shut Up & Comedy (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Mike Drucker and Roy Wood Jr.: "Dark Spots"Saturday 4/14: Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and/or Alison Zeidman, with tonight’s guests Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Martin Urbano (Jimmy Kimmel), Alison Klemp, Saurin Choksi, and Julia Claire: Dark Spots (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily FlakeSaturday 4/14: Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Colin Stokes (Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) read a book every month so you don’t have to and then perform something loosely related to its themes for your edutainment, along with guests Emily Flake (above; star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), and Talib Babb: Book Club—A Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris Duffy's "You're the Expert"Sunday 4/15: Comics TBA demonstrate their quick wits by hilariously answering questions about what a guest scientist’s job entails at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $16.89 in advance online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Statehood: Five Comedians Make a Country from ScratchSunday 4/15: Following the Montevideo Convention of 1933, comics Eman El Husseini, Usama Siddiquee, Kate Sisk, Fareeha Khan, and Sam Morrison design a brand new country to co-rule, with this month’s theme Immigration: Statehood: Five Comedians Make a Country from Scratch (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

David CrossMonday 4/16: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emmy BlotnickMonday 4/16: Two NYC comics TBA each perform 30-minute stand-up sets hosted by the fabulous Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1): Big Long Sets (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Characters WelcomeMonday 4/16: Terrific character comics perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent directed & hosted by Michael Hartney with a co-host TBA. This is one of my favorite shows, and I especially recommend checking it out if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome (9:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, and Maeve HigginsMonday 4/16: This weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) emcee Katie Compa, Dave Ross, Kevin Iso, Chris Charpentier, and Nonye Brown-West: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

WhiplashMonday 4/16: For over nine years, under the guidance of brilliant comedy booker Jeremy Levenbach, and the extraordinary hosting of Leo Allen and Aparna Nancherla, Whiplash became NYC’s best-ever free stand-up show—and one of the finest comedy showcases anywhere—attracting such star drop-ins as Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, John Oliver, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Kitson, and pretty much any other top comic who happened to be in town and wanted to try out material. (To learn more, please click here.) Aparna recently left the show for a paid gig, co-hosting Butterball Mondays at 8:00 pm at Littlefield. Now Whiplash has followed Aparna’s lead, exiting UCB to become a paid show at Union Hall, with Jeremy continuing to do the booking. It may take a while to select a new permanent host, and the lineup is almost never announced in advance; but chances are this will remain one of the top stand-up shows in the country. Come see a classic reinvent itself, now as a paid weekly event in Brooklyn: Whiplash (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Morgan MillerMonday 4/16: Whiplash, which was NYC’s best-ever free stand-up show, has moved to Union Hall (where it’s now $10, but hopefully will continue to be transcendently great). Taking its Mondays-at-11:00 pm time slot at the UCB mainstage is a new show that sounds a great deal like UCB’s much-missed School Night, which packed as many as a dozen guests into 75 minutes performing stand-up, characters, sketch, improv, and occasionally acts that defied categorization. The level of talent varied wildly; but for some, like me, that was part of the laid-back fun. If you care to support experimentation, and can patiently wait for periodic magical surprises, consider giving this new showcase a chance in the hope that, like School Night, it becomes a uniquely organic rollercoaster ride. Hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (sharp improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up), it’s time to reveal the Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Mary Beth BaroneTuesday 4/17: , Mary Beth Barone (above; Viceland, Mary Beth’s Sex Tape) hosts 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; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Gary Richardson (writer for Saturday Night Live; brilliant improvisor; Comedy Central), and Pat Regan (Lloyd Night improvisor): Mary Beth Barone: America’s Stepdaughter (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossTuesday 4/17: This benefit for Everytown for Gun Safety is sponsored by NYC indie record label Little Lamb Recordings and features David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host of Lasers in the Jungle), Greg Johnson (Sirius XM), and George Gordon (“You should totally hit this raw would be an amazing slogan for a sushi restaurant”): Little Lamb Recordings Comedy Night (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

New York City's Secrets and LiesTuesday 4/17: Five storytellers share the fascinating secret pasts of NYC locations you may walk by every day. Four of the stories are entirely true…and one is a pack of lies. Can you spot the fibber? Aiming to fool you are Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album “The Human Comedy;” for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Suzanne Reisman (author of Off the (Beaten) Subway Track: New York City’s Best Unusual Places), Carla Katz (Body Parts at Solocom 2017), Vicki Eastus (law professor), and host Christa Avampato (author of YA novel Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters). If you spot the liar, you’ll be in the running to win a pair of tickets to a secret NYC event: New York City’s Secrets and Lies (7:00 pm; $13.71 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Rent PartyWednesday 4/18: A live band proves musical accompaniment to jokes for this monthly show that tonight features stand-ups Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu), Matt Ruby (MTV; sharp co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit, new comedy album Hot Flashes), Sam Taggart, Joyelle Nicole, Farah Brook, Rosebud Baker, Aminah Imani, and Stavros Halkias hosted by Yedoye Travis: Rent Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Monotony: A Smart Comedy Show about Stupid StuffFriday 4/20: Comics go deep on their weird obsessions with seemingly boring things (e.g., “The History of the Rubber Duck”), with tonight’s information gifters Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, VICE’s Flophouse, comedy album Glass Gutter), Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying), Benari Poulten (former senior producer for The Nightly Show), Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, TVLand, and Glamour; co-host of The BackFatlorette, Backfat Variety, and Side Ponytail), and Joyelle Nicole (tours for Lady Parts Justice League) hosted by Raj Sivaraman (co-host of Universe City podcast): Monotony: A Smart Comedy Show about Stupid Stuff (9:00 pm, $8, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Greg Barris: "Mwah Mwah Mwah"Friday 4/20: Celebrate this day of four twenty with mind-altering host Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness) and his guests McQueen Adams (creator of Comedy Central Snapchat series Heads Will Roll) and more TBA: Greg Barris: Mwah Mwah Mwah (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Carly Ann FilbinFriday 4/20: A unique show based on the premise “Let’s be honest, love doesn’t exist, couples suck, and Valentine’s Day is bullshit. We test real life couples to see if they are meant to be together (they aren’t). The couple with the least amount of points at the end of the night will have to break up, because we all die alone anyway and what’s the point of anything really? It’ll be fun!” hosted by spectacular rising star Carly Ann Filbin (above; video correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com): Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show (Midnight, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street

Ziwe Fumudoh, Jo Firestone, and Lane Moore: "Lane Moore's Tinder Live"Saturday 4/21: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions for this extra special edition are brilliantly funny guests Ziwe Fumudoh (above left; writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe), Jo Firestone (above middle; one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), and Louis Peitzman (Deputy Editor of Arts & Entertainment for BuzzFeed News). This show is virtually certain to sell out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets in advance online for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Saturday 4/21: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $16.89 in advance online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Blythe Roberson & Madelyn Freed: "The Scientists"Saturday 4/21: Comics TBA give funny lectures on a science-related topic TBA, hosted by the brilliant & delightful Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists: A Comedy Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

PostmenSaturday 4/21: A hour of sketches from 3-guy group Matt Barats (The Onion), Carmen Christopher (MTV), and Anthony Oberbeck (IFC), plus special guest stand-up 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; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers): Postmen (10:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kevin SmithSunday 4/22: National treature Kevin Smith is a director/writer/actor (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), TV creator/host (AMC’s Comic Book Men), pop culture nerd royalty, and ace talker…and tonight, following his recent heart attack, he conducts two Q&A sessions at Carolines: An Evening with Kevin Smith (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm, $32.75 per show plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok Kondabolu: "Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live"Sunday 4/22: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

What the Fuck Do We Do: Earth Day at CaveatSunday 4/22: On this Earth Day, Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV; writer for The Opposition with Jordan Klepper; sketch group Astronomy Club) hosts this show that gathers comics and scientists TBA to talk about climate change and what practical steps might help ensure the human race goes on: What the Fuck Do We Do: Earth Day at Caveat (7:00 pm; $16.89 in advance online or $20 a the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Steven Markow: "Dad Jokes Only"Sunday 4/22: Comics work out daddy issues in this show consisting exclusively of jokes about fathers, with John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; writer for The President Show, previously writer for Craig Ferguson and Celebrity Deathmatch), 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; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Catherine Cohen (Difficult People), Larry Owens (TruTV), Max Wittert, Eric Schwartan, Stephen Phillips, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy (Above Average) hosted by Steven Markow (writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s; acted in sketch for Stephen Colbert): Dad Jokes Only (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"Monday 4/23: In one of the finest solo shows ever created about motherhood—and one of the best comedy shows in NYC—rising star Jamie Aderski shares extraordinarily honest and hair-curling tales of what it was like for her to go through pregnancy and the early months of raising her baby (for a trailer, please click here). Whether this is a cautionary tale to would-be moms or an ode to the power of love is up to you to decide. Either way, you should not miss the unforgettable Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (9:30 pm; $13.71 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Liza TreygerMonday 4/23: Liza Treyger (above; fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately), Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Half Hour; NBC’s The Carmichael Show), Chris Thayer (Comedy Central’s Adam DeVine’s House Party, VICELAND’s Flophouse, TBS; has toured with Pete Holmes), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: "Two Beers In"Monday 4/23: Comics and pundits TBA chug a couple of beers on stage and talk politics hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Michelle Buteau and Jordan Carlos: "Adulting"Monday 4/23: Michelle Buteau (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) & Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim) host this podcast taping, with guests TBA: Adulting (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)

WhiplashMonday 4/23: For over nine years, under the guidance of brilliant comedy booker Jeremy Levenbach, and the extraordinary hosting of Leo Allen and Aparna Nancherla, Whiplash became NYC’s best-ever free stand-up show—and one of the finest comedy showcases anywhere—attracting such star drop-ins as Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, John Oliver, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Kitson, and pretty much any other top comic who happened to be in town and wanted to try out material. (To learn more, please click here.) Aparna recently left the show for a paid gig, co-hosting Butterball Mondays at 8:00 pm at Littlefield. Now Whiplash has followed Aparna’s lead, exiting UCB to become a paid show at Union Hall, with Jeremy continuing to do the booking. It may take a while to select a new permanent host, and the lineup is almost never announced in advance; but chances are this will remain one of the top stand-up shows in the country. Come see a classic reinvent itself, now as a paid weekly event in Brooklyn: Whiplash (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Morgan MillerMonday 4/23: Whiplash, which was NYC’s best-ever free stand-up show, has moved to Union Hall (where it’s now $10, but hopefully will continue to be transcendently great). Taking its Mondays-at-11:00 pm time slot at the UCB mainstage is a new show that sounds a great deal like UCB’s much-missed School Night, which packed as many as a dozen guests into 75 minutes performing stand-up, characters, sketch, improv, and occasionally acts that defied categorization. The level of talent varied wildly; but for some, like me, that was part of the laid-back fun. If you care to support experimentation, and can patiently wait for periodic magical surprises, consider giving this new showcase a chance in the hope that, like School Night, it becomes a uniquely organic rollercoaster ride. Hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (sharp improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up), it’s time to reveal the Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Hari Kondabolu: "Two of my favorite things, my Grandmother & Alphonso Mangoes"Tuesday 4/24: For this taping of his Sporkful podcast, host Dan Pashman interviews Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) about the foods Hari grew up eating in Queens, the items Apu from The Simpsons offers at the Kwik-E-Mart, why you shouldn’t talk to Indian-Americans about Indian food, and the time Hari mistook a papaya for a mango (expect a lot of stories about mangoes): Sporkful Live with Hari Kondabolu (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jean Grae and John Hodgman: "Jean and John"Wednesday 4/25: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The Nights of Our LivesWednesday 4/25: Sharp storytellers TBA, who typically include Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album The Human Comedy; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), tell comedic tales on a montly theme TBA for this live podast taping hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anthony AtamanuikWednesday 4/25: Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (star of Comedy Central hit The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv, helped by cast members and guests TBA, in the revival of this show that used to run weekly at UCB East: The Tony Show: Resurrection (11:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Kevin Geeks Out About Mad ScienceThursday 4/26: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher (Emmy-nominated writer whose work has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, and AMC; former host of AMC’s The Sci-Fi Dept.) and guest co-host Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), this month focusing on mad science (for a trailer, please click here), with scheduled guests Richard Harland Smith (acclaimed writer for Turner Classic Movies blog, Video Watchdog magazine, and numerous movie DVD audio commentaries), Kristen Sollee (author of new book Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive), John Cribbs (Head Writer of cinema website ThePinkSmoke.com), and Becky Munich (author of The Occult Activity Books; Associate Art Director of Little, Brown and Company’s Books for Young Readers): Kevin Geeks Out About Mad Science (7:45 pm; $15—buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas often sells out; Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)

Gina Yashere and Dave HillThursday 4/26: Gina Yashere (above; correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO’s Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), Dave Hill (above; 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), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and more perform stand-up hosted by Michelle Collins (former co-host ABC’s The View; co-host of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise and UCB stand-up show Magic Mich XXL) for this show raising funds for cooperation: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

DED Talks: TED Talks From Dead PeopleThursday 4/26: Comics play historical figures who give lectures on odd topics: DED Talks: TED Talks From Dead People (7:30 pm; $11.59 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Thursday 4/26: Comics and comedic storytellers TBA join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friends Who Folk and Nate Dendy: "You Get A Spoon"Saturday 4/28: Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com), Nate Dendy (magician; Penn & Teller: Fool Us Himself), and Dylan Marron (actor; Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast) perform songs, magic, or characters, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm; $13.71 online, $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Rape Jokes by SurvivorsSaturday 4/28: Storytelling, catharsis, and laughter as over a dozen comics who identify as survivors of sexual assault, harassment and, in one case, a lawsuit for speaking out against an alleged rapist share their experiences. This show will be filmed as part of a documentary: Rape Jokes by Survivors (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 4/28: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups (TBA) to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Biodiversity JamSaturday 4/28: Stellar comics share their love for the weirdest animals on the planet, with tonight’s zoologists Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Ariel Dumas (writer for Stephen Colbert), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; co-host of podcast & stage show Las Culturistas), Larry Owens, Conier Mandt, and X Mayo hosted by Karen Chee (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s): The Biodiversity Jam (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Petey Deabreu & Christi Chiello: "White Chocolate"Saturday 4/28: NYC comics TBA perform stand-up or sketch hosted by the fabulous Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar Ars Nova show It’s Christi, B*tch!; unforgettably observed the woman in the photo on the wall of the Union Hall stage looks like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire) & Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World): White Chocolate (10:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jaime Lutz & Maggie Widdoes: "Dead Meet"Sunday 4/29: In this stage version of their podcast Dead Meet, Jaime Lutz & Maggie Widdoes play mediums who talk to ghosts…performed by ace comics Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV; writer for The Opposition with Jordan Klepper; ace improv trio Doppelganger, sketch group Astronomy Club), James Dwyer (Master of None; co-star of UCB’s A Big Dumb Thing), and Nicole Silverberg (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Editor-at-Large for Reductress): Dead Meet (Live Show) (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gravid WaterMonday 4/30: Some of the most brilliant improvisors alive (TBA) stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Morgan MillerMonday 4/30: Whiplash, which was NYC’s best-ever free stand-up show, has moved to Union Hall (where it’s now $10, but hopefully will continue to be transcendently great). Taking its Mondays-at-11:00 pm time slot at the UCB mainstage is a new show that sounds a great deal like UCB’s much-missed School Night, which packed as many as a dozen guests into 75 minutes performing stand-up, characters, sketch, improv, and occasionally acts that defied categorization. The level of talent varied wildly; but for some, like me, that was part of the laid-back fun. If you care to support experimentation, and can patiently wait for periodic magical surprises, consider giving this new showcase a chance in the hope that, like School Night, it becomes a uniquely organic rollercoaster ride. Hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (sharp improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up), it’s time to reveal the Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

David CrossTuesday 5/1: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Brandon Collins: "Don't Think Once"Tuesday 5/1: This African-American stand-up show features Dillon Stevenson (writer for HBO’s Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witsream), Jordan Carlos (cast member of Netflix’s Friends From College; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Chris Lamberth (AXS TV) hosted by Brandon Collins: Don’t Think Once (7:30 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for March 2018: Last Updated Friday 3/23/18

March 23, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone else who does? Send him or her to me, and for the first year I’ll give you a referral fee of 10% of payments received. To learn about my writing and developmental editing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

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

Adrian Sexton & Dana Shulman: "Ouiser & Clairee"Friday 3/23: Delightful stellar improvisors Dana Shulman & Adrian Sexton play Clairee Belcher & Ouiser Boudreaux, the sassy supporting characters from 1989 film Steel Magnolias about charming but tough Southern women. In this show, they’re “fresh graduates from the one-day improv workshop at The Chinquapin Parish Senior Center and are ready to show you everything they’ve learned at the NYC Improv Fest. You’ll be enchanted by their improvisation skills, their witty banter, and their ability to make grown men cry. If you’re lucky, they might give you their signature offer, ‘Come and sit by me, Ouiser and Clairee:'” Ouiser and Clairee Go to an Improv Festival (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; part of the Seventh Annual NYC Improv Fest)

Friday 3/23-Sunday 3/25: Three more nights to see a brand new hour-long stand-up set by Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM Comedy Central Radio; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; film Trainwreck; hour-long special Perfect; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight; NBC’s America Ninja Warrior: Celebrity Edition; podcast You Had to Be There) headlining through Sunday at Carolines: Nikki Glaser (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm Thursday; $35 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Mary Beth Barone, Sydnee Washington, and Natalie WallFriday 3/23: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Mary Beth Barone (above left; Viceland, Mary Beth’s Sex Tape), and Sydnee Washington (above middle; MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Emma Carmichael.and Ashley Brooke RobertsSaturday 3/24: Emma Carmichael (above left; former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel), Ashley Brooke Roberts (above right; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up, sketch comic and actress; stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely),and Celisse Henderson (singer/songwriter/musician; recently performed with Ke$ha at the Grammys) sing or tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 3/24: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Onion), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede), Milly Tamarez (The Story Pirates; co-creator of the Diverse as Fuck Festival), and Eudora Peterson (visiting from New Jersey) perform stand-up hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV) & Josh Nasser (The Story Pirates): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie Boyle: "Transplants"Saturday 3/24: Seven comics—tonight including Rob Haze (Jimmy Fallon; from Atlanta), Kimberly Dinaro (Reductress; from Massachusetts), and Darius Davies (BBC; from England)—tell stories of where they originally came from and the journey that led them to NYC, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Space JamSaturday 3/24: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate the 1996 Michael Jordan & Looney Tunes cinematic collaboration Space Jam, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Space Jam but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:”Space Jam…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street; part of the Seventh Annual NYC Improv Festival)

David CrossSunday 3/25: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal LotterySunday 3/25: Comics perform for the approval of a panel of moms and dads in Parental Approval; and then comics randomly paired into duos (e.g., a stand-up with an improvsior) compete for your laughs in The Lethal Lottery, with tonight’s twosomes Clare O’Kane & Sandy Honig, Sydnee Washington & Wes Haney, Stavros Halkias & Nathan Min, and Sonia Denis & Sarah Lazarus, all hosted by Brett Davis (HBO, TruTv, Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) & Colin Burgess (host of Strangers and Late Mic): Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal Lottery (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Alphaville at 140 Wilson Avenue; take L subway to Jefferson Street)

The Roast of VegetablesSunday 3/25: In a parody of comedy roasts, comics roast vegetables. Can Mitra Jouhari, Danny Groh, Eliza Cossio, Halcyon Person, Jason Gilbert, Meaghan Strickland, and Tommy McNamara stretch this one-joke idea into a fun hour? You won’t know unless you join them and host Zach Zimmerman for The Roast of Vegetables (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shit ArcadeMonday 3/26: Stellar comics and game nerds Anthony Atamanuik, Josh Gondelman, Alison Leiby, Mitra Jouhari, Ziwe Fumudoh, Mike Brown, and Dan Ryckert play and make merciless fun of some of the worst video games of all time (e.g., Shaq-Fu) hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s): Shit Arcade (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lena HallMonday 3/26: Lena Hall (Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee as Yitzhak in 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Nicola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots; lead singer of rock band The Deafening) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adira Amram and the ExperienceMonday 3/26: Adira Amram and The Experience (Adira, above middle, is a spectacular comedic writer, singer, and dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens; co-host of Ophira & Adira), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

James AcasterTuesday 3/27: UK comic James Acaster is famed for the delightful one-hour solo comedy shows he’s developed over the years for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today Netflix releases filmed versions of the four productions, titled Recognize, Represent, Reset, and Recap, packaged under the umbrella titled of Repertoire. Stream and enjoy: James Acaster: Repertoire

An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and MoreTuesday 3/27: Mike Birbiglia (writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Eudora Peterson (Jezebel, Huffington Post), and more perform stand-up for this show by The Comedy Resistance, “a nonprofit headlined by comedians, run by professionals with decades of experience in talent and campaign management, and fueled by anyone who wants to make an impact in our country by getting out the vote and boosting activism. Laugh, learn, and resist:” An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and More (7:30 pm, $40, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun ControlWednesday 3/28: Fifty comics tell dick jokes for this show raising money to support gun control, featuring Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Emmy Blotnick, Roy Wood Jr., Ashley Brooke Roberts, Mike Drucker, Christi Chiello, Clare O’Kane, The Reformed Whores, Janelle James, Kat Radley…and many more, hosted by long-time Daily Show staff writer Matt Koff. Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun Control (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossThursday 3/29: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Feel Good ShowSaturday 3/31: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witstream), and Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded) perform stand-up for this show that each month raises funds for a different worthy cause—this time it’s The Ali Forney Center—hosted by Mike Brown & Sam Grittner: The Feel Good Show (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 3/31: Hosts Catherine Cohen & Mitra Jouhari “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Marie Faustin, Lily Marotta, Martin Urbano, Emily Panic, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 8/25/17

August 25, 2017

Chris Gethard and Emmy BlotnickAs part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, enjoy Chris Gethard (comedy genius; star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), Joyelle Nicole, Alex English, and Jaboukie Young-White perform stand-up, with music from DJ Donwill, and hosted by Michelle Buteau (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): A Night of Really Funny People in Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street;—take R subway to Union Street)…

Krystyna Hutchinson, Angela Perrone, and Natalie Wall…or join the lovely Natalie Wall (above right) in celebrating the Fourth Year Anniversary of her best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Krystyna Hutchinson (above left; co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast, Carson Daly), Angela Perrone (above middle; sketch group Dark Times, improv group Former Children), and Care Stigs (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Care (formerly Carolyn Castiglia) as white rapper, please click here) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.82 online or $20 at the door—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets)…

Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman: "Your Love, Our Musical"…or come marvel at world-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil 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). Part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:30 pm; $10, which is super cheap—;this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($15 cover for FBPL shows, $24 cover for CC & VU shows, 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), the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Friday

8:00 pm ($7): A two-man comedic play about star Redd Foxx, who had a legendary stand-up career and hit TV series; “yet toward the end of his infamous life the IRS took everything he had…so he decided to give a fuck” written by Laurence Maslon, and starring Kareem M. Lucas as Redd Foxx and Adam McNulty as an IRS agent at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Redd, Black, and Blue

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Michael Delaney, and/or Silvija Ozols forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central Half Hour, Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), Wanjiko Eke (MTV), and Sarah Lazarus perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Mamoudou N’Diaye & Yedoye Travis as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival: The Resistance Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): 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

Midnight ($7): “You have been cordially invited to the Mad Queen’s birthday spectacular, and no mad birthday would be complete without an appearance by The Fiend. The Fiend must be fed, so The Queen has decided to kill two birds with one stone: Any performance that does not meet the Queen’s Standard will be fed to The Fiend!” with potential victims Corin Wells, Patrick Keene, Melanie Owens, and Arti Gollapudi performing at the UCB East theatre: Cool Shit / Weird Shit: The Mad Queen’s Birthday Monstrosity

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/26/17

Diversity in Late NightAs part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, a free panel discussion about diversity in writing for late night TV sponsored by NBC and NBCUniversal TIPS (Talent Infusion Programs), with Kate Sidley (staff writer for Stephen Colbert), Nedaa Sweiss (staff writer for James Corden), and more TBA: Writers Panel: Diversity in Late Night (3:00 pm-4:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

Brooklyn Comedy Festival Closing Night Surprise Party…and the closing night live show of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival (the fest officially ends Sunday, but the only show tomorrow is a series of short film screenings) is like a box of chocolates—the performers will be a surprise, but the chances you’ll like at least a few of them: Brooklyn Comedy Fest Closing Night Surprise Party (8:00 pm-Midnight, $15, Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar at 150 Greenpoint Avenue)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 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), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

10:00 pm ($10): Kenny Warren invites comedians to his “barbershop” to get their hair cut and talk comedy at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) co-hosted by Barry Ribs & Larry Beyah: Comics Cutting Comics

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/27/17

Birthday SaxTim Girrbach (half of comedic musical duo Squirm & Germ) and friends perform “your favorite 1980s soundtrack songs, re-imagined by a German überfan and a saxophone quartet at his birthday party. Come rock out with Manheim Tuttlingen, his Frauleins, and The Garden State Saxophone Quartet as they crank out his all-time favorite hits from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Sixteen Candles, The NeverEnding Story, and more. Filled with lederhosen-dropping surprises, it’s a comedic character concert created as a homage to Tim’s German dad, directed/choreographed by Wendy Seyb (HBO’s & Broadway’s The Pee Wee Herman Show, The Toxic Avenger Musical).” For one night only: Birthday Sax (9:30 pm, $15, Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place)…

Pet Prov…and there’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this endearing monthly show, improvisors perform along with their real-life pets—tonight featuring Katie Hammond & her dog Vern and Angela Perrone & her dog Francis, plus other improvisors including Dana Shulman (rising star; host of Student Driver, improv group Poor Melissa), Rory Scholl, TJ Del Reno, and wonderfully humane host Kerstin Porter (sketch show BoogieManja, sketch/improv group The Pin-Up Squirrels), all making up scenes for Pet Prov (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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] 7:30 pm ($7): Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), Josh Rabinowitz (writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City; TruTV’s Friends of the People), Kelsey Caine (Miss New York State finalist; for a video sample, please click here), Liz Magee, Hoodo Hersi, and Brandon Ash Mohammed perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Alison Leiby (sharp, fresh, likeable stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Ayanna Dookie (co-host of King Hippo Comedy), Chris Laker, Lisa Curry, and Khalid A. Rahmaan perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and/or Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/29/16

September 29, 2016

Natalie Wall's Awkward Sex FestivalNatalie Wall runs a two-day fest devoted to comics sharing “their most excruciating, embarrassingly awkward sexual encounters, with booze, giveaways, and an awkward kissing booth,” starting with three shows tonight running from 7:30 to midnight: Awkward Sex Festival (7:30, 9:00 pm, and 10:30 pm, $5-$8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: 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; host of Best New York Stand-Up) tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Myq Kaplan

7:00 pm ($5): “Lisa Bettencourt & Jillian Schirilli are the saddest indie folk sensation of our generation. Join them for a pathetic evening of lament and harmony while they serenade you with original songs and covers” (for samples, please click here) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street).: Pretty Sad White Girls: Folk You

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from a six-person troupe at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Sunday School Dropouts

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.)  A one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Gilbert Gottfried

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 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 Thursday

7:30 pm ($5): Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Adam Mamawala (MTV’s Girl Code), Rojo Perez, Mary Beth Baronek, and Nate Simmons performing at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Each invited improv group is played a random sample from a music video and then must make up and perform a “making of” documentary for asked to “The audience decides who will start a food fight when improvisers sit down to a potluck dinner” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Making the Video

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a sketch show parodying Hollywood’s depiction of women and motherhood: M.I.L.P: Moms I’d Like to Portray

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a musical sketch comedy show: Pop Roulette’s Amazing Earth

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Hear No Evil (improvisors wear earplugs preventing them from hearing what’s happening on-stage), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Storytellers share their true “coming out” tales, and then improvisors make up either a play or a musical based on each story at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQ Event

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up, sketch, and music revolving around the Presidential election, with a remote Facebook audience in partial control of the show, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Now This Presents

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Gun Club

8:30 pm ($10): 75 minutes of sketch comedy from group Teen Radio, plus an opening set from stand-up Boris Khaykin, at The PIT downstairs lounge: Teen Radio

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): “Watch the hottest underground designers battle it out to be the winner of New York Basement Fashion Week” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Project Fashionista

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show that incorporates tarot cards—show up an hour early for a free reading—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tamara’s Tarot Variety Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two of the sharpest improvisors in NYC, Shannon O’Neill (The Chris Gethard Show, Broad City, The Stepfathers, UCB-NY Artistic Director) and Tami Sagher (superb staff writer for Broad City; former writer for 30 Rock; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006) invite their brilliant improvisor pals Ellie Kemper and Connor Ratliff to make up scenes with them at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Tami and Shannon Have Friends

9:30 pm ($10): Short political plays from across the country are performed at The PIT upstairs theatre: Raucous Caucus

[$] 9:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): A cast member of the much-missed Chappelle’s Show headlining through and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv groups Area 52 and The Union compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): “Improvisers and stand-ups do what they do best…and then switch places to try their hand at what the other does best. Performing to sold out crowds at UCBT-LA, this show is a cross-discipline Cage Match” with tonight’s stand-ups Katie East, Griffin Newman, and Khalid Rahman, and improv group Some Kid, all at UCB East hosted by Boris Khaykin: Impro(vs)tandup

11:00 pm ($5): Improv with feedback at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (with names selected from a bucket) to do anything you want for 5 minutes—”chat, rant, plug, tell a story, be a character, play a game, review a new religion”—for a podcast recorded at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild & Mike Mercadal: The Open Mic Podcast

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

 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 4/22/16

April 22, 2016

Natalie WallThe lovely Natalie Wall (in front above) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, with tonight’s superb comics Jacqueline Novak, Ashley Brooke Roberts, and Chrissie Mayr telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm $20—which includes free beer, wine, and condoms!—at The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets)

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:

[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): “Improvisers create scenes inspired by essays written about personal experiences and show that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine” at The Magnet theatre: You Are Not Alone: An Uplifting Show About Depression

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s determined by a human judge, the audience…and a dog. If there’s a tie between the votes of the judge and audience, the guest canine will decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, Anthony Atamanuik is thoroughly hilarious as Donald Trump in this loosely scripted show in which President Trump is giving a speech from the East Room of the White House about the Hunt for Rosie O’Donnell, his plans for bronzing illegal immigrant’s babies and using them for ship anchors, and much more: Trump Dump: President Luxury

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): All-gal improvisors Ashley Ward, Brigid Boyle, Alexis Saarela, and Elizabeth Findlay, plus a guest improv group; plus an 8-gal group of improvisors, all making up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Taco Supreme and Flying V

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Comics performing in Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Meggie Spellman & Anne Victoria Clark: Black Magic Lab Variety

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm  ($20; no min.): Gary Gulman, Laurie Kilmartin, Sherrod Small, Monroe Martin, Paul Virzi, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): “A not-so-safe space where comics expose the shitty, horrifying teenager that made them into shitty, horrifying adults. Nobody leaves until everybody cries” with an all-gal panel that includes Natasha Vaynblat and Christi Chiello at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Alise Morales: The Roast of Your 15 Year Old Self

8:00 pm ($10): Stand-up from Seaton Smith and Sharron Paul, music from Speedy Ortiz and Death Tap (“tap dancing obituaries”), and more at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Griffin Newman & Joe Garden : Griff and Joe’s Earth Day Earthtacular

8:00 pm ($5): NYC comics perform at this variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and/or music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Christi Chiello, Tim Dillon, and many more performing stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and guest-hosted by Michelle De Swarte: 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, Jordan Klepper, Silvija Ozols, Shannon O’Neill, 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 ($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 ($15): A talk & variety show at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) produced by Jay Malsky & Tamsi New: This Live Show

9:00 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: [title of team] and Royals

9:00 pm ($8): Comics TBA performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Gregorek—who might invite you on stage: Man Interviews Audience

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20): Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and foley artist Kelsey Didion perform a spectacular live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park at The PIT upstairs theatre directed by the exceptional Kristin McCarthy Parker: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc

9:30 pm ($5): A comedy play that proclaims “Love is patient, love is blind. Love is deaf and dumb. Love is a burden dressed in a top hat and spats, tearing the pulse from the blood. Love is closing your eyes to come, baby, split yourself in nine. Love is a jerk-off partner and a sad meal. Love ain’t never gonna…” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Love Ain’t Never Gonna

[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): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

10:30 pm ($5): Stand-up, sketch, improv, and/or interviews 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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT downstairs lounge with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically include Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), and/or many more, all declaring Chica Go-Go

[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): A 30-minute stand-up set by Mike Cannon (MTV), stand-up from Emmy Blotnick (staff writer for Comedy Central’s Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, previously writer for @midnight; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), and more at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($5): A mix of sketch and improv taking place in the fictional town of Rivergrove, New York in which the Zodiac Killer is revealed to be Ted Cruz, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Conspiracy!

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Stylized musical duo improv by Ariel Dumas & Jennifer Millsat inspired by the works of Stephen Sondheim at the Magnet theatre: Leotard Foundation: Improvised Sondheim

11:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre: Scorpion Bowl Presents

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Comics including Aaron Jackson perform sets inspired by Radiohead album OK Computer—which will play in its entirely during the show—at UCB East hosted by Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

[FREE—plus FREE BEER] Midnight: “Sage Augustine is gifted with a heightened sense of spiritual curiosity resulting in many amazing intuitive experiences. Jack Marble is Sage’s apostle, confidant, business partner, and best friend. Together they are embarking on a journey to harness the power of laughter and open the world’s eyes to spirits, angels, demons, prophecies, wishes, magic, and the afterlife” by hosting NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Remember Your Spirit

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 Sydney Beveridge & Davey Melch: Queens Open 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

[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] 6:00 pm ($1): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 Mic

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

[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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

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

 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 2/18/15

February 18, 2015

Louis C.K. has a new comedy special. Nab it for a mere $5 here.
If you haven’t seen Julie Sharbutt’s Moved, learn more here.

TV Alert: Nick Kroll and Matthew Perry are hosted
by Thomas Lennon on The Late Late Show;
Kathy Griffin is on Seth Meyers;
Rob Corrdry is on Carson Daly;
Broad City does “The Matrix” at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central

Natalie Wall

Natalie Wall (above), Sasheer Zamata, Kevin Allison, and more tell stories at Robin Gelfenbien’s Yum’s the Word

Ali Wong

…and Ali Wong performs stand-up at Comedy Cellar and Gandhi, Is That You?

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and/or more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

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: NYC stand-up Raj Sivaraman is appearing on Jeopardy tonight. This free live screening is for friends to cheer him on and hope he wins, and you’re free to join them at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Jeopardy Screening to Cheer for Raj

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm show ($20 at the door or $18.50 online—price includes slices of homemade ice cream cakes): Star storytellers Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Natalie Wall (host of Awkward Sex and the City), and Colin Dempsey (NPR) tell personal tales at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Robin Gelfenbien (storyteller and singer/songwriter; VH1, AMC, Sirius Radio, acclaimed one-woman show at FringeNYC) with free ice cream cakes made by Robin herself: Yum’s the Word

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm [$] ($25): Ophira Eisenberg and friends tape their comedy trivia radio show live at Brooklyn’sThe Bell House (149 7th Street): Ask Me Another

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Buchanan, Astronomy Club, and Big Revival: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ted Alexandro, Ali Wong, and Dan Soder at the 8:00 show; Michael Che, Mark Normand, Joe Machi, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Nikki Glaser, Keith Alberstadt, Big Jay Oakerson, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; HBO, Comedy Central, NPR, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, author of Tasteful Nudes), Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with a delightfully wry style and lightning-quick mind; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, recently opened for Tig Notaro at Town Hall), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Tom Cowell, Naomi Karavani, Evan Jones, and Chris Williams performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Katherine Williams: Train Wreck Stand-Up: Dave Hill, Aparna Nancherla, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12): Storytelling from Norm Lewis (starred in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway), Jordan McDonough, and The Bitchy Waiter, plus game “Craigslist Ad or Casting Notice?”, at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by the quick-witted & endearing Katharine Heller (Naked in a Fishbowl): Tell the Bartender

8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, the highly talented Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp perform in a fucked-up show about twins who sing, dance, and screw each other: Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a gay-themed improv show featuring stellar comics Brandon Scott Jones, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, and more: Ass Wednesday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: James Ferrarella & Eric Smith perform as a musical comedy duo, and also host other comics, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Listen Brother

8:00 pm ($7; no min.): NYC stand-ups Mike Dobbins, Janelle James, Eagle Witt, Tim Warner, Anthony DeVito, Omar Shaukat, and Carmen Lagala performing at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Seena Jon: Dean Street Comedy

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Ali Wong (fearless, razor-sharp, hilarious comedy dynamo; Jay Leno, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC’sAre You There Chelsea?, film Savages), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), Nate Fridson, Dan Shaki, Scott Sharp, and Chris Hamilton performing at 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, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis:Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($5): Ace improvisors Shannon O’Neill and Tami Sagher team with their talented pals to brilliantly make up scenes on the spot at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Tami and Shannon Have Friends

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Sabrina Jalees (delightful dynamo stand-up; Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy), Josh Gondelman (HBO’sLast Week Tonight), and Ken Schultz (Nerdmelt) performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($7.50 online using discount code GRIFT; no min.): Lynne Koplitz (Joan Know’s Best, IFC’s Z Rock, host of WB’s Life & Style), Seaton Smith (FOX’s Mulaney, Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), and Casey Balsham performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Finoia: Lynne Koplitz, Seaton Smith, Pat Dixon, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors pair up as scene-inventing duos for one night only at the UCB East theatre hosted by comedy giants Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell: Couples Skate

11:00 pm ($5): As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some, like me, that’s part of the laid-back fun. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a monthly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible, hosted by Jackie Jennings (The Chris Gethard Show, improv group Smalls): School 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 theStand 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 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City 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 Improv Mixer

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

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 hosted by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Guilt Trip

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

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

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

If you have a comedy show you want considered for listing, simply create a Facebook page for the event—including price & lineup—make sure we’re FB friends, and invite me through that page.

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