NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/21/17

September 21, 2017

Kevin Geeks Out About Stephen King, Vol. 2A spectacular collection of hilarious film & TV clips and guest pop culture experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends focusing, for a second round, on one of the greatest horror writers of all time (for a video teaser, please click here): Kevin Geeks Out About Stephen King, Vol. 2 (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas often sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Battle of the Divas: Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff…or join a pop culture debate on one of the weightiest issues of the 2000s—Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff—featuring comics Brian McIntyre (arguing for Lindsay) and Marcia Belsky (arguing for Hilary), plus diva drag performances by Elizabeth James and music from DJ Molly Austin, with fabulous hosts Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV) & Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff (7:30 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors James Dwyer & Jackie Jennings perform their vision of a Church of Scientology “audit” (“‘The Church of Scientology provides free Audits at our NYC location for anyone interested in going clear.’ Once you are clear you will never see the ones you love again.”), with James as L. Ron Hubbard and Jackie as new potential member David Miscavige at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Audit

[$] 7:00 pm ($20): Peter Michael Marino plays around with the audience in a mix of improv and scripted comedy (with staging by stellar director Michole Biancosino), and then attempts to pull off the very difficult feat of creating an entertaining one-man improv show inspired by what he’s learned about the audience at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue), running Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through 9/30: Show Up

7:00 pm ($7): Magicians do improv and improvisors perform magic in this collision of mildly popular art forms starring Rich Kameda, Scott Benjamin, Lee Barrett, and David Frasure at The PIT Mainstage: The League of Magical Improvisers

[TOP PICK] [$] 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 three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Superb improvisors Adrian Sexton (Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov), Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend), and other members of PIT Wednesday improv group The Community Players make up a play on the spot at The PIT Underground: The Community Players Present Theatre/Theater/Theatah

7:30 pm ($7): Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Sagar Bhatt (Last Comic Standing), Jules Posner, Rebecca Shortall, and more perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): 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). Playing at The PIT Mainstage for a mere 10 bucks (this show has sold out at other venues for twice the price), I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($30): Stand-up, TV writer, and bestselling author Jen Kirkman headlines at the Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street), with an opening set by Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central, MTV, comedy album True Love): Jen Kirkman: The All New Material Girl Tour

8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups starting at 8:00 pm, themed improv show The Setup at 10:00 pm, and improv competition Inspirado at 11:00 pm, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Brendan Fitzgibbons (MTV’s Guy Code, The Onion, co-host of Gandhi, Is That You?), Jules Posner (SF Sketchfest), Billy Prinsell, and Loyiso Gola perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($8): Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Jen Kwok (ABC’s Quantico. HBO’s High Maintenance, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, MTV, PBS), Lawrence DeLoach, Jodi Coyote, Jill Weiner, and Taffy Jaffe perform stand-up or storytelling at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC magicians (and maybe some visiting wizards) try out new material, with some stand-up thrown in, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen): Amazeballs

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Improv duo 2 Puerto Ricans (Taylor Gonzalez & Will Martinez) won its third victory in a row last week, beating former Lloyd Night team Slingshot by 56 votes to 37. Tonight 2PR faces UCB East Friday night improv group Take It Personal, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Michael Kayne (The Chris Gethard Show), Scott Sharp, Rosebud Baker, and Tron Alan perform stand-up at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 9/20/17

September 20, 2017

Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino: "Off Book"Do you know about the new make-up-a-musical-on-the-spot podcast Off Book? Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino are brilliant at wordplay, high concepts, storytelling, comedy, music, picking up cues from their superb pianist Scott Passarella, and every other aspect of musical improv, Just as impressive, even though they have a different comic join in every episode—ranging from Paul F. Tompkins to Paul Scheer to Jamie Denbo—their teamwork is so seamless that every guest comes off as an old-time partner who regularly mind melds with them. I was instantly hooked when seeing them live at the recent Now Here This Podcast Festival (with stellar guests Griffin Newman & Michael Cruz Kayne and NYC improv pianist Dan Reitz). But since they’re based in LA, listening to Jess’ & Zach’s podcast is the next best thing to being in the same room with them. The Off Book podcast is entirely free, exceptionally joyful, and highly recommended.

Meanwhile, if you want to go out tonight…

The Cambridge Footlights: "Dream Sequence"The UK’s renowned Cambridge University is known for great scholarly achievement…but also a comedy troupe named The Footlights that helped launch the careers of John Cleese (Monty Python), Hugh Laurie (House), Emma Thompson (Love Actually), Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), and more. The 2017 edition of this group performs tonight in NYC as part of a world tour: The Cambridge Footlights: Dream Sequence (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

Michael Che and Melissa Villasenor…or join Blair Socci (MTV, Fuse), who “wrote a letter to Owen Wilson in 2007 after his suicide attempt telling him how much she loved him and appreciated him and that she hoped he would feel better soon. (A breakup with Jennifer Aniston could truly shatter anyone…)” Tonight Blair interviews SNL’s Michael Che, Melissa Villaseñor, Sasheer Zamata, and more, each first sharing a 1-2 minute letter to a celebrity who’s had an impact on his or her life: Dear Owen Wilson (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street;—take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Hosts Melissa Slaughter, Alex Chester, and Rachel Liu, and guest Becky Yamamoto, discuss Disney film Mulan from an Asian perspective for this live-on-stage recording of podcast We’re Not All Ninjas at The PIT Underground: We’re Not All Ninjas Live: Mulan

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

8:00 pm ($10): A musical improv and stand-up show that features a live band providing musical accompaniment to jokes, with guests Sasheer Zamata, Janelle James, Jordan Temple, Mike Cannon, Robby Hoffman, Nick Naney, and Carmen Christopher performing stand-up or music at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Yedoye Travis & Farah Brook: Rent Party

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Come enjoy an intimate evening, and no drink minimum, with Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) as he practices a long stand-up set for his headlining show on 9/27 at Carolines; plus an opening set by Chris Cafero (HBO’s The Night Of, Showtime’s Billions, CBS’ As the World Turns, The Awesome 80’s Prom), all at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Gianmarco Soresi: Is This Funny?

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

9:00 pm ($10): Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%), Gary Levitt, Billy Procida, Johnny MacDonald, Dylan Palladino, and Anoush Froundjian tell tales about losing their virginity at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) guest-hosted by Wilson McDermut: My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Storytellers share true tales hosted by Jenna Marucci & Aileen Clark at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Jenna & Aileen Think You’re Great

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.

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 Tuesday 9/19/17

September 19, 2017

Melissa Villasenor and Julio TorresMelissa Villaseñor (star cast member of Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live; force-of-nature voiceover artist who’s performed characters for Family Guy, Scooby Doo, and many other shows), Julio Torres (marvelously nuanced, outside-the-box stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Ali Macofsky (Kill Tony podcast; host of weekly LA stand-up show My Brother’s House), Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness), and more perform in the Lower East Side hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, LES’ The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)…

Dulce Sloan and Frank Conniff…or see Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic who’s the newest correspondent of The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Corinne Fisher (co-host of popular podcast Guys We Fucked), and Kevin Barnett (NBC’s The Carmichael Show, MTV’s Guy Code, #FAIL Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor) perform stand-up for this free weekly show at a Brooklyn pizza shop hosted by Lucas Connolly, David Piccolomini, and/or Jake Fromm: Ambush Comedy (8:00 pm; Free!, plus Free Draft Beer 8:00-8:30 pm!; Brooklyn’s Two Boots Pizza Williamsburg at 558 Driggs Avenue)…

Ana Fabrega and Patti Harrison…or enjoy a semi-scripted insider’s look at a New England elite intellectual women’s college, with a great cast of Ana Fabrega (Portlandia, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show, host of Sundays with Ana), Patti Harrison (Jimmy Fallon, Broad City, TBS’ Search Party), Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely, one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Joanna Hausmann (Bill Nye Saves the World), Kady Ruth Ashcraft (Funny or Die), and Lorelei Ramirez at the UCB East theatre hosted by Becky Chicoine, Sudi Green, and/or Sam Reece: Theme Party: Women’s College (9:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7; SOLD OUT, but you might be able to get in if you arrive early on the stand-by line and are okay with standing): Matthew Broussard, Blair Socci, Girls with Brown Hair, and more perform a roast of Harry Potter in which “Harry, Hermione, Dumbledore, Voldemort, and more hit the dais to roast, burn, and incendio each other with brutal jokes so tasteless, they’d make a Dementor blush. Muggles welcome” at the UCB East theatre hosted by Eddie Furth & Ryan Pigg: Corporate Retreat: Harry Potter and the Fictional Roast

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with stand-ups Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View), Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane), and Dan Naturman (David Letterman, Jay Leno), plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa

8:00 pm ($10): Jill Kargman (author of Momzillas, which became her Bravo series Odd Mom Out) is interviewed on this podcast taping at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Rachel Wenitsky & Nicole Silverberg (editors of Reductress): Reductress Presents Mouth Time

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jessica Kirson (The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone) and Frank Liotti (HBO’s High Maintenance, FOX’s Gotham and Blue Bloods; voiceovers for Wendy’s, State Farm,Grand Theft Auto V; copywriter for Manhattan Mini) do their podcast about food addiction (closet eating, binging, diets, shame, etc.) live on stage at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Fat Pig Podcast Live

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

9:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a Jane Austin novel on the spot based on an audience suggestion at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Being Jane Austin

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show that books comics from the same original area (i.e., outside of NYC) to perform long sets at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Trey Galyon: I’m Not From Here

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:30 pm (Free! using online code COMP; no min.): Stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness by veteran comics such as Big Jay Oakerson, Rich Vos, and Michael Che at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters

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.

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 Monday 9/18/17

September 18, 2017

Whoopi Goldberg and Neil deGrasse TysonThe final show of the spectacular 10th Anniversary Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival for which tickets are still available (Tuesday night’s finale is sold out) consists of hosts Eugene Mirman & Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewing star guests Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Ian Black: StarTalk LIve! (8:00 pm, $35-$55, Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre at 1027 Flatbush Avenue)…

Josie Long…or come see Josie Long, a witty, honest, irresistible UK star who The New York Times has called “a gem,” and Time Out NY lauded for “her blend of sunny enthusiasm and intellect”—I once saw Josie advise “If you’re ever short on funds and have to choose between food and a book, always buy the book.” Josie is briefly visiting NYC, and tonight both performs stand-up and hosts other comics she likes, including Maeve Higgins, Jonny Donahoe, Patti Harrison, and Alex Edelman: Josie Long and Some Friends (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): A monthly event that showcases physical comedy and “the weird, the beautiful, the gross, and, ultimately, the human” tonight features comics Nika Lomazzo, Suraiyah Ortiz, Ruby Mccollister, Reggie Conquest, and Katie Fay Behrmann at UCB East hosted by hosted by Arti Gollapudi: Yourself, Your Body

7:30 pm ($7): Talented comedy groups The Nitro GIrls and Chico Splits perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Bassem Youssef (“the Jon Stewart of the Arab World”), Ali Macofsky (Kill Tony podcast), Joanna Briley, and Ahir Shah perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (star of TBS’ Friends of Earth; former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter): Night Train

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Sean Patton, Dan Soder, Jon Fisch, Matt Ruby, and more trying out new stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

8:00 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals begins a 10-show run tonight 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] 9:00 pm ($5): Terrific character comics perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted & directed by Michael Hartney plus 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show) performs 30 minutes of stand-up, with a 30-minute opener by 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), all at The Magnet theatre: Matt Koff & Adam Wade

9:30 ($7): House sketch groups Pretty Boys and Cha-Cha try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Dan Soder (cast member on Showtime’s Billions; film Trainwreck; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and more perform stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:00 pm ($15): Stand-ups who call Texas home perform to raise funds for recovery efforts at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by San Antonio’s Melissa Rocha: Texas Forever: A Benefit For Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—push boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Andy Sandford: Permission to Fail

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

NYC 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.

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 Sunday 9/17/17

September 17, 2017

It’s Day #3 of a beloved Brooklyn comedy festival celebrating its 10th Anniversary, running through Tuesday at Brooklyn’s The Bell House and Union Hall. Today’s four shows are:

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"[TOP PICK] 2:00 pm ($20): Michael Showalter, Roy Wood Jr., and Sarah Kay demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): You’re the Expert

Eugene Mirman's "Hold On"[TOP PICK] 4:30 pm ($25): Ira Glass, Michael Showalter, and Caroline Rhea tell stories at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) while periodically being interrupted by Eugene Mirman asking them questions to elicit funny details for this live taping of Eugene’s podcast: Hold On

Wyatt Cenac and Sarah Vowell[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($25): Wyatt Cenac & Sarah Vowell (above) host an incredible lineup of Daniel Kitson, T.J. Miller, Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, and more at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) for this benefit for 826NYC (an nonprofit that helps students ages 6-18 with their writing): Please Help the Next Salman Rushdie Who is Only 9 Years Old and Currently Writes Like a Slightly Drunk John Grisham

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Seth Herzog brings his legendary LES show to Brooklyn for one night only, with T.J. Miller, Brett Davis, Greg Barris, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): Sweet

To explore the complete list of festival shows, and/or to buy tickets for subsequent nights before they sell out, please click Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017

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] [$] 7:00 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Nimesh Patel (exceptionally sharp stand-up; Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy) headlines a stand-up show at the West Village’s Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): The Darjeeling Limited

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, co-host of Battlicious), Jules Posner, Maria Heinegg, and Jess Salomon 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 Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing): 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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), and more perform stand-up for this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

9:30 pm ($7): Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Adult Swim, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%), and more perform stand-up at The PIT Underground: hosted by Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh

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.

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 Saturday 9/16/17

September 16, 2017

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017It’s Day #2 of a beloved Brooklyn comedy festival celebrating its 10th Anniversary (and which is being marketed as its final year, but who knows what the future will hold…), running through Tuesday at Brooklyn’s The Bell House and Union Hall. Today’s three shows not yet sold out are:

Picture This![MEGA-TOP PICK] 5:00 pm ($15): In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Plus the comics don’t know what the animators are drawing and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of Reggie Watts, Sean Patton, Clare O’Kane, Matteo Lane, Mehran Khaghani, and Dulcé Sloan performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This!

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($20): A reverse roast battle, in which comics compete to deliver the best compliments to their opponent, with an incredible lineup of Daniel Kitson, Scott Adsit, Eugene Mirman, Jean Grae, Elna Baker, and Matt Koff, plus music from DJ WIll Winner, all performing at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Kyle Ayers: Boast Battle

8:00 pm ($15): Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Phoebe Angle, Cole Escola, and Sarah Lazarus perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV): Yikes! Most Of These Comedians Were Born After Police Academy 2 Was In Theaters

There’s also a 9:00 pm show at Bell House, but it’s sold out.

To explore the complete list of festival shows, and/or to buy tickets for subsequent nights before they sell out, please click Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] Noon-MIdnight ($11 or $16 per show, or $31 for an all-you-can-see pass): For 12 hours, The PIT Mainstage and The PIT Underground host scores of comedy shows, all starring female comics. For the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of these festival shows, please click here; and then come enjoy the She Makes Me Laugh Femme Fest

[TOP PICK] [$] 2:00 pm ($20; typically includes free brownies baked by the multi-talented Carl himself): David Carl (hilarious, charismatic co-star of Point Break Live) is best known for his solo show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl), which nabbed raves and awards during its debut in the 2014 FringeNYC Festival and subsequent international tour (for my review, please click here). Three years later, Carl has created this second solo show as a weird sort of meta-sequel. For my full review, please click here. David Carl is a special comic, and this show at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) is worth experiencing: Trump Lear

[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] 7:30 pm ($10): Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Lauren Maul (comic & musician), and Jackson Sturkey (singer, actor, and writer) perform at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

8:00 pm ($7): Monday PIT house improv group The Department (which includes the superb Dana Shulman) shifts gears with this show devoted to sketch comedy based on the theme Sabotage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Department of Sabotage

[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] 9:30 pm ($10): Brilliant comic Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups The Community Players, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov) and Tamara Young host 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 & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show

9:30 pm ($10): Storytellers share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and therapy experts, who then give advice, with tonight’s guests Jake Fromm, Tiana Miller, and Wilson McDermut at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: Relationshit

[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

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

11:30 ($7): Dan Lee & Alex Song host a variety show that aims to feature especially notable Asian comics from NYC and LA at the UCB East theatre: Asian AF

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.

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 Friday 9/15/17

September 15, 2017

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017A beloved annual comedy festival that began as a one-time joke kicks off its 10th Anniversary, running today through Tuesday at Brooklyn’s The Bell House and Union Hall. Tonight’s shows are:

• 7:00 pm ($15): Hosts Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, TheNewYorker.com) & Madelyn Freed (The Annoyance) give a comedic lecture on a scientific topic, aided by tonight’s guests Harris Mayersohn, Jaboukie Young-White, and Bennett Ferris, and then bring on stage an actual scientist who will point out all the things they got wrong at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): The Scientists

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($20): Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children, with tonight’s cruel jokesters H. Jon Benjamin (hilarious star comic; FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, FX’s Archer, Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Dr. Katz, Home Movies), Emily Flake (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), Ben Schwartz (written for David Letterman, The Oscars, The New Yorker), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV), and Eugene Mirman (if you don’t know, you’re at the wrong festival) performing at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Sh!tshow

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($15): A showcase for superb stand-ups with unique approaches to comedy, featuring 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), Julio Torres (marvelously nuanced, outside-the-box stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Tanael Joachim performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) with stellar host Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out): These Comics Will Be The Stars Of Some Weird, Helmet-Based VR Platform

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($25): An all-star lineup of top comics, including Reggie Watts, Gary Gulman, Jo Firestone, Josie Long, Charlie Pickering, Janelle James, and Eugene Mirman performing at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by comedy genius Chris Gethard: These Comedians Would Rather Buy a New Air Conditioner Than Repair Their Old One

For explore the complete list of festival shows, and/or to buy tickets for subsequent nights, please click Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2017

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"…or come see a superb solo show by Jamie Aderski that provides exceptionally honest and funny tales of what it was like for Jamie to become a mom (for a trailer, place click here): Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (7:00 pm; $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg: "How to Break Up By Text"…and while you’re at The PIT, enjoy dynamite comedy duo Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg (just back in NYC after conquering LA; producers & stars of Blogologues) share audience break-up texts, plus screen shots of their favorite relationship dumps found on the Net, in this fast-paced and hilarious interactive show: How to Break Up By Text (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): A play co-written & performed by Elana Fishbein & Elena Skopetosunique, and co-written & directed by Peter McNerney, about a family’s reluctant reunion received a rave from The New York Times’ Elise Czajkowski, and is being briefly revived for three Saturdays this month at The Magnet theatre: Sisters Three

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): One of the very best shows at UCB Chelsea is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (on a double-bill with Obama Daughters)

7:30 pm ($7): Lend your laughter to Will Abeles recording 30 minutes of stand-up for an upcoming comedy album, with an opening set by Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), at The PIT Underground hosted by Caitlin Peluffo: Will Abeles Album Recording

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A historical period or major event is explored comedically via stand-up, sketch, trivia contests, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Auslaender & Lindsay Boling: Annal Revue

[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 Phoebe Tyers and Sebastian Conelli: The Friday Night Sh*w

[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] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “When a very famous New York Times theatre critic writes a scathing review of New Team Honeybear’s latest play, calling it, “Not a play at all,” Jeff and Anthony are forced to question everything. Is it a play? Can they work together to prove the critic wrong? Will their friendship survive?” by sketch duo Jeff Mondoro & Anthony Jackson directed by Kevin Laibson at The PIT Underground: That’s Not a Play: A Play by New Team Honeybear

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A comedic play written and starring Ian Lockwood & Sophie Zucker, and directed by Philip Markle, in which “Baby Jessica was the first child to fall down a well, thereby capturing the nation’s attention and becoming America’s sweetheart overnight. Baby Ian will be the second” at The PIT Mainstage: Baby Ian Falls Down a Well

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically 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

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): In this unique spin on musical improv, comedy duo Maggie Lalley & Jillian Vitko ask the audience to suggest a location, a victim, and a crime, and then make up a musical that tells the story of that felony at The PIT Mainstage: True Crime: The Musical

11:00 pm ($10): 1995 video game movie Mortal Kombat is screened and mercilessly savaged by comics Brian McGuinness, Derek Humphrey, Peter Bandyk, and FreddyG at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersback: Movies R Dumb: Mortal Kombat

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): 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!” at UCB East hosted by Carly Ann Filbin: Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: If you’re looking for something different: Former porn star Alia Janine hosts this show featuring sex workers ranging from dancers to strip club bouncers performing stand-up, plus more conventional comics, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Hardcore Comedy Show

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.

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.