FringeNYC 2018 Coverage for October: Last Updated Monday 10/15

October 15, 2018

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please enjoy my new podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Lisa Bettencourt & Katie Emerson: "Pretty Sad White Girls"

Lisa Bettencourt & Katie Emerson are singing comedy duo Pretty Sad White Girls, with a show tonight at 7:15 pm

The following are the FringeNYC 2018 shows I’ve seen from beginning to end. (Shows that I walk out of mid-stream—sometimes just because time is exceptionally short for me this month, but sometimes to avoid tearing my head off—aren’t mentioned.)

The shows are listed in rough order of personal preference, with each production assigned one to four stars using the following rating system:

**** = Transcendently Great
*** = Solid & Worth Seeing
** = Unless Your Relatives Are in the Cast, Think Twice
* = “I Wanted to Kill Myself”

I’ll be updating the list often, so please make a habit of checking this page frequently.

Please also note that I very seldom rate a show four stars. (For example, during FringeNYC 2016 I gave only 5 productions **** out of 58.)

All that said, what follows are the 5 FringeNYC 2018 shows I’ve seen to date from beginning to end, listed in rough order of preference:

Pretty Sad White Girls ***
When I’m not reviewing FringeNYC, I cover comedy; and one of my most joyful discoveries on that beat this year was Pretty Sad White Girls. Back in March I wrote “Lisa Bettencourt & Jillian Schiralli are a comedic musical duo who deserve your attention. They combine witty original lyrics with beautiful harmonies, hitting notes that may make you happy for days afterward. If you love Garfunkel and Oates, then you’ll probably also adore these superb artists working a similar folk comedy vein.” While the songs—both the music & lyrics are written by wondrously talented rising star Lisa Bettencourt—are still top-notch, Jillian recently got married and dropped out of the group. Her brand new replacement, Katie Emerson, is a skilled theatrical actress with a beautiful voice, but—to my eye—is still in the process of figuring out how she “fits” as half of a comedy singing duo. Also, the banter between songs doesn’t always quite hit the mark; and at 50 minutes, the show feels too short. (Then again, “it left me wanting more” is as much a compliment as a knock…) So I absolutely recommend this show. I just feel that, with further development, it could rise to a **** rating; and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if it becomes increasingly greater as the festival goes on.

Hillary Clinton’s Song Cycle: Witness **½
Random songs about the heartbreak of Hillary’s 2016 election loss can’t help but come across as dated, especially a month before the 2018 midterms. That said, this is well-intentioned, and a few of the songs are especially memorable, such as the lovely Walk in the Woods (click to listen) and the musical plea to President Trump “Please, Won’t You Come to an Unfortunate End?” Also, keyboardist and co-singer Deidre Rodman Struck is superb—frankly, outshining the writer & lead singer who plays Hillary—and is reason enough to come experience this folk cabaret. Here’s hoping Struck goes on from this to create her own show.

OPIE **½
Chicago-based sketch duo Olivia Nielsen & Patriac Coakley are skilled performers who understand both comedy and darkness. I wanted to 100% love this, but the writing was simply too hit-or-miss. That said, the sketches that hit the bullseye—such as the “deer in the headlights” bit, or the encounter between the mom and the teen boy who likes conversation—are as fine as anything in the fest. Also, Olivia Nielsen’s expressive face and disciplined character portraits are well worth catching, particularly if you’re a casting director seeking fresh talent.

Grand Rounds **½
The term grand rounds refers to a formal meeting at which physicians share information about patient care and hone clinical reasoning skills. In this show, terrifically organic actress Caroline Luft gives just such a medical lecture…except it takes increasingly odd turns as it veers from the medical to the personal. The script by Chris Adrian has an impressively Aaron Sorkin-like density & pacing—you can actually read it by clicking here. For me, the material starts out strong but doesn’t quite come together. However, you may well feel differently, so please feel encouraged to skim the script and then decide if you’d enjoy having it expertly performed by Luft.

Turing Test **
This science fiction drama started out well, with a really interesting analysis of a sonnet. But then, inexplicably, the writing seemed to lose direction and imagination, with action slowing to a crawl and story logic falling apart. Also, the “surprise twist” is not only evident in minutes, it’s explicit in the show’s title (if you don’t already know, Google it). The only reason I’m not rating this lower is my fondness for the first 25 minutes (out of 100), and the solid performances of all four actors. Still, there are better ways to spend your time.

FringeNYC 2018

Friday 10/12-Sunday 10/28 (plus outer borough shows 10/1-10/31): My favorite annual NYC event is the New York International Fringe Festival, which has grown to become a major force in New York theatre…and an absolutely wonderful experience for anyone who loves vibrant live shows. The largest multi-arts festival in North America, this 21st annual FringeNYC offers around 80 productions running from October 12th through October 28th at its primary hub in the West Village. In addition, venues in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island will be hosting FringeNYC-affiliated shows during the entire month of October. FringeNYC productions run the gamut, including theatrical comedy, theatrical drama, musical, opera, sketch, improv, dance, solo, puppetry, clowning, performance art, and children’s. I won’t be doing my usual comprehensive coverage this go-round (am juggling a lot of professional balls right now), but will provide some guidance as the fest goes on: FringeNYC 2018

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/W 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—moving to Union Square this summer; 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
moving to Brooklyn in June 2018, please stay tuned; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

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; author of How to be Alone; 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.


FringeNYC 2018 Coverage for October: Last Updated Sunday 10/14

October 14, 2018

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please enjoy my new podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

The following are the FringeNYC 2018 shows I’ve seen from beginning to end. (Shows that I walk out of mid-stream—sometimes just because time is exceptionally short for me this month, but sometimes to avoid tearing my head off—aren’t mentioned.)

The shows are listed in rough order of personal preference, with each production assigned one to four stars using the following rating system:

**** = Transcendently Great
*** = Solid & Worth Seeing
** = Unless Your Relatives Are in the Cast, Think Twice
* = “I Wanted to Kill Myself”

I’ll be updating the list often, so please make a habit of checking this page frequently.

Please also note that I very seldom rate a show four stars. (For example, during FringeNYC 2016 I gave only 5 productions **** out of 58.)

All that said, what follows are the 3 FringeNYC 2018 shows I’ve seen to date from beginning to end, listed in rough order of preference:

Hillary Clinton’s Song Cycle: Witness **½
Random songs about the heartbreak of Hillary’s 2016 election loss can’t help but come across as dated, especially a month before the 2018 midterms. That said, this is well-intentioned, and a few of the songs are especially memorable, such as the lovely Walk in the Woods (click to listen) and the musical plea to President Trump “Please, Won’t You Come to an Unfortunate End?” Also, keyboardist and co-singer Deidre Rodman Struck is superb—frankly, outshining the writer & lead singer who plays Hillary—and is reason enough to come experience this folk cabaret. Here’s hoping Struck goes on from this to create her own show.

OPIE **½
Chicago-based sketch duo Olivia Nielsen & Patriac Coakley are skilled performers who understand both comedy and darkness. I wanted to 100% love this, but the writing was simply too hit-or-miss. That said, the sketches that hit the bullseye—such as the “deer in the headlights” bit, or the encounter between the mom and the teen boy who likes conversation—are as fine as anything in the fest. Also, Olivia Nielsen’s expressive face and disciplined character portraits are well worth catching, particularly if you’re a casting director seeking fresh talent.

Turing Test **
This science fiction drama started out well, with a really interesting analysis of a sonnet. But then, inexplicably, the writing seemed to lose direction and imagination, with action slowing to a crawl and story logic falling apart. Also, the “surprise twist” is not only evident in minutes, it’s explicit in the show’s title (if you don’t already know, Google it). The only reason I’m not rating this lower is my fondness for the first 25 minutes (out of 100), and the solid performances of all four actors. Still, there are better ways to spend your time.

FringeNYC 2018

Friday 10/12-Sunday 10/28 (plus outer borough shows 10/1-10/31): My favorite annual NYC event is the New York International Fringe Festival, which has grown to become a major force in New York theatre…and an absolutely wonderful experience for anyone who loves vibrant live shows. The largest multi-arts festival in North America, this 21st annual FringeNYC offers around 80 productions running from October 12th through October 28th at its primary hub in the West Village. In addition, venues in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island will be hosting FringeNYC-affiliated shows during the entire month of October. FringeNYC productions run the gamut, including theatrical comedy, theatrical drama, musical, opera, sketch, improv, dance, solo, puppetry, clowning, performance art, and children’s. I won’t be doing my usual comprehensive coverage this go-round (am juggling a lot of professional balls right now), but will provide some guidance as the fest goes on: FringeNYC 2018

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/W 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—moving to Union Square this summer; 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
moving to Brooklyn in June 2018, please stay tuned; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

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; author of How to be Alone; 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 October 2018: Last Updated Saturday 10/13

October 13, 2018

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please enjoy my new podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently (unless I’m overwhelmed with book writing and media producing work, which is the case in October). The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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.

I’m going to provide (limited) coverage of FringeNYC—including its many comedy shows—for the rest of October, but plan to resume focus on our NYC live comedy scene next month:

FringeNYC 2018

Friday 10/12-Sunday 10/28 (plus outer borough shows 10/1-10/31): My favorite annual NYC event is the New York International Fringe Festival, which has grown to become a major force in New York theatre…and an absolutely wonderful experience for anyone who loves vibrant live shows. The largest multi-arts festival in North America, this 21st annual FringeNYC offers around 80 productions running from October 12th through October 28th at its primary hub in the West Village. In addition, venues in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island will be hosting FringeNYC-affiliated shows during the entire month of October. FringeNYC productions run the gamut, including theatrical comedy, theatrical drama, musical, opera, sketch, improv, dance, solo, puppetry, clowning, performance art, and children’s. I won’t be doing my usual comprehensive coverage this go-round (am juggling a lot of professional balls right now), but will provide some guidance as the fest goes on: FringeNYC 2018

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/W 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—moving to Union Square this summer; 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
moving to Brooklyn in June 2018, please stay tuned; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

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; author of How to be Alone; 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 Wednesday 8/24/16

August 24, 2016

For ratings & rankings of the 42 FringeNYC 2016 shows I’ve seen to date, please click here.

Scott Adsit and John LutzScott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teams up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live, and currently writes & performs for Seth Meyers) to form a breathtakingly super-smart, artful, and hilarious star duo that’s become one of the finest teams in the history of improv. This monthly show—which should cost around $30, but is a mere $5—should not be missed: John & Scott (9:30 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

Andrea Alton as Molly "Equality" Dykeman…and at FringeNYC, Andrea Alton is hilarious as Molly “Equality” Dykeman, “the loveable but barely lucid security guard at PS 339 who dabbles in a bit of poetry, a bit of Percocet, and a lot of drink” co-starring with Allen Warnock in A Microwaved Buritto Filled with E. Coli (8:00 pm, $18, the West Village’s Soho Playhouse’s Huron Club at 15 Vandam Street)

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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): 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), Josh Gondelman (writer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker), Hadiyah Robinson (The Nightly Show), and Adam Mamalawa performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Evan Kaufman & Chris Duffy: The Sensible Show

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

7:00 pm ($5): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) The PIT downstairs lounge: Show Up

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

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

7:30 pm ($10): Evan Williams, Chelsea Hood, Rojo Perez, Calvin Cato, and Chelsea Condren performing stand-up for a fundraiser at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle: The Pat McCrory Comedy Hour: An Anti-HB2 Fundraiser

7:30 pm ($5): Storytelling from comic book fan Pete LePage (co-host of Comic Book Club) at The PIT upstairs theatre: A Special Evening with Pete LePage

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Two of my favorite comics, Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) and Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Premium Celebrity Comedy: Jo Firestone and Joe Pera

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which sharp writer/performers—who tonight are Jim O’Grady, Connor Ratliff, Adam Wade, Silvija Ozols, and host Dave Martin—tell tales about Summer that are honest and hilarious at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Storytellers Mary Archbold, Giulia Rozzi, Mark Redmond, Jamie Brickhouse, and Victor Varnado tell tales revolving around a monthly theme at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) for one of the finest storytelling shows in the country hosted by Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, owner of The Story Studio): Risk!

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

8:30 pm ($10): 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 + Selfish Green Men

8:30 pm ($5): Chris Roberti hosts sketch, improv, and/or more at The PIT downstairs lounge: Chris Roberti Presents

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing for this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($8): Music from Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), plus stand-up from Greg Stone, Luke Mones, Ariel Elias, and Christian Polanco performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1, comedy album He Has Friends): Scrambled Sets with Jon Fisch

9:00 pm ($5): Three indie improv troupes perform for 20 minutes each, plus a final set by host group New Greta, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): New Greta Has Friends: Indie Improv

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

9:30 pm ($10): Comics Aaron Nemo, Alyssa Limperis, Matt Decaro, May Wilkerson, Mike Breen, Orli Matlow, and Rob Haze performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Dylan Evans: Business Casual

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): This super-affordable weekly club stand-up show features a great lineup of Sean Patton, Dan Soder, Dan St. Germain, Nick DiPaolo, Amy Miller, and Jourdain Fisher performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies at The Stand

10:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy group Math, Science, and the Humanities (Heather Potts, Matt Laud, Martin Nolan, and Zach Kohn) performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: Vote for Hillary Clinton! A Non-Political Sketch Comedy Show by Math, Science and the Humanities

[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’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live) hosts this takeoff on a talk show at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Night Late

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Four booked NYC stand-ups, plus one open spot for an audience member whose name is pulled from a bucket, plus drop-in spots for up to five TV-credited comics who care to walk in! Spots are at least 5 minutes each, but go up by a minute per comic for every TV-credited drop-in spot that isn’t filled (e.g., if no drop-ins appear, every comic will receive up to 10 minutes per set). It all happens at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Daniel Ahrens: Drop-In/The Bucket

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

7:30 pm ($5): Open mic for storytellers, with names pulled from a bucket and 5 minutes of stage time for each selected yarn-spinner, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Molly Cameron & Sharon Spell: Gems

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

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

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

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans: The Improv Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 8/22/16

August 22, 2016

For ratings & rankings of the 36 FringeNYC 2016 shows I’ve seen to date, please click here.

At the Crossroads: Music for FaustAmong today’s FringeNYC 2016 treats: A visually stunning F.W. Murnau 1926 silent film about a deal with the Devil is provided a modern soundtrack, played live on stage, in At the Crossroads: Music for Faust

W.E.B. Du Bois: A Man for All Times…and a Civil Rights hero is brought to vibrant life by actor Brian Richardson and writer/director Alexa Kelly in W.E.B. Du Bois: A Man for All Times

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

7:00 pm ($5): Improv group Trophy Wives and friends make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Trophy Wives Presents The Honeymoon Phase

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

7:30 pm ($5): Improv group Florida Man makes up scenes and performs sketches revolving around news from the strangest state in the US at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Florida Man

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Dan Soder, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, LIza Treyger, Sean Donnelly, and Jared Freid trying out fresh material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke City

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): 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), Monroe Martin (finalist on Last Comic Standing), Janelle James, Katie Hannigan, Omar Shaukat, and Ify Nwadiwe performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) guest-hosted by Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre,”Bob Eimicke, a 62 year old lawyer and father who has zero comedy experience, converted from Catholicism to Judaism in order to marry his Jewish wife…and his son is making him talk about it on stage. Everyone’s going to have a great time, except for Bob:” My Dad Dumped Jesus

…and in the second half of this double-bill, four-woman sketch group Lucille—Abby Holland, Julie Rosing, Molly Gaebe, and Jenn Roman—attempt to delve into the minds of men, directed by the fabulous Leslie Meisel: Balls Deep

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Pundits and comics chug two beers on stage and talk politics at the UCB East theatre hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In

8:00 pm ($5): A staged reading of a musical in which “When a washed-up reality TV producer is fresh out of ideas on how to get back in the game, he decides to reunite the horrible reality TV family that originally brought him fame and discover the secret that split them apart years ago. He decides to get them to confess the only way he knows how: under duress. After reuniting the family for what they think is a one-night special, the producer stages an attack on Beverly Hills by ISIS” at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Blatantly Blaine

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

8:30 pm ($6): A safe place to try out new material, with tonight’s comics CJ Hunt and Kaitlin Fontana (writers for A&E’s Black And White), and more performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show): New Release Day with Christian Finnegan

9:00 pm ($5): A notable improvisor (not announced) is interviewed by Patrick Fleury, plus various improv groups perform, all at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Really Important Improv People

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Sketch groups deemed worthy by Comedy Central perform at the UCB East theatre: Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch Sketch Showcase

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

9:30 pm ($10): A group of actors and improvisors attempt to duplicate the success of UCBT’s Gravid Water by putting improvisors in the middle of classic theatre scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre. UCBT uses top Broadway and improv talent for its show, making it extraordinary. The participants of this show aren’t quite at that level, but the format is so strong that this might work anyway, despite the awful title: The Actor’s Worst Nightmare

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Improvisors & stand-ups perform a show based entirely around the oddball Twitter comments of superstar musician Kanye West at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brian Mitchell & Jose Acevedo: Kanye Confidential: Improvised Kanye Tweets

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; 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), Nikki Glaser (host of Comedy Central’s Not Safe; former co-host of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Amy Miller, Petey DeAbreu, Josh Carter, Ariel Elias, Gibran Saleem, and Rob Haze performing stand-up at one of best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no cost to you (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to) for 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: Dan Soder, Nikki Glaser, and More

10:30 pm ($7): Nine-person comedy group The Executives performs its best musical sketch bits at The Magnet theatre: Now That’s What I Call The Executives! Volume 23: A Musical Sketch Show

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

Monday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

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

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

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

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 8/15/16

August 15, 2016

FlightFringeNYC show Flight is an endlessly inventive three-person acrobatic musical/dance fable springboarding off classic children’s book The Little Prince. Written by Ezra LeBank, choreographed & directed by Olivia Treviño, and starring Ezra LeBank, Taylor Casas, and Cynthia Price, the show is magic, with a heart as big as the ocean and perspectives that might stay with you for a lifetime. Flight has four remaining performances, including today at 4:30 pm—followed by a talkback with the cast—at Venue #6, The Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street, off First Avenue), and has my highest recommendation. To explore all 200 shows at this essential theatre & multi-arts fest, which is running through August 28th, please click here.

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation, including at 7:00 pm improv group Lovers (includes the spectacular Dana Krashin and Tracy Mull) and musical improv group Vern (includes the remarkable Julie A. Feltman), all at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

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

7:00 pm ($5): A two-person play by Marina & Nicco about a man and woman in a hospital waiting room at The PIT upstairs theatre: Standing By

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

7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes with the lights turned off, using everyday objects to add layers of sound—like a radio play created on the spot—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) : Dim-Prov: Improv in the Dark

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch group OSFUG performs its best bits in ‘The Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group One Idiot performs a parody of series such as Serial and Making a Murderer: This Murder A Real Murder

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Ryan Hamilton, Seaton Smith, and more trying out fresh material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

8:00 pm ($5): Comics perform character bits at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour), Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code, host of Chemistry), Theo Von, Ramon Rivas II, Rob Haze, and Marcia Belsky performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) guest-hosted by Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories, comedy album True Love): Night Train

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

8:00 pm ($5): A staged reading of a play written by Krista Knight at The PIT upstairs theatre: Moscow, Utah

8:30 pm ($5): Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party), Casey James Salengo, Tim Duffy, Calvin Cato, John Field, and Brandon Ream each place three of their joke set-ups in a bucket and then fish out the bits of their fellow comics, forcing each stand-up to make up a set on the spot based on a colleague’s premises at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ben Conrad & Patrick J. Reilly: Multiverse

9:00 pm ($5): Musical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) from group Good Catch

9:00 pm ($5): A new television network, live on stage, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Hyve

9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: Maude Night: Nipsy and Charles

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Carmen Lagala asks audience members to select from among her numerous wigs (she owns 40), and then assigns comics to wear those wigs and create comedic characters on the spot at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Wigging Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Your chance to experience one of the best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no charge (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to), with a different stand-up lineup every Monday—tonight featuring 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; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Monroe Martin (finalist on Last Comic Standing), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Christi Chiello (Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Tim Dillon, Alex Pavone, Candice Thompson, and Anthony Zenhauser—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: Sean Patton, Monroe Martin, Pete Lee, and More

10:30 pm ($7): Short form improv (vs. long forms such as The Harold) at The Magnet theatre: The Short Form Show

10:30 pm ($5): Cory Willis & Mark Levy perform a duo improv monoscene at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Carky Does an Hour

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

Monday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 8/14/16

August 14, 2016

Pucker Up and BlowIt may be premature after just two days of FringeNYC, but am guessing the funniest and best-written comedic play at the festival is Pucker Up and Blow, a brilliant exploration of power in show business penned by Daniel Reitz, directed by Paul Schnee, and starring delightfully nuanced actor Will Dagger. There are four performances left, including tonight at 7:15 pm at Venue #13, The Players Theatre (115 Macdougal Street). To explore all 200 shows at this essential theatre & multi-arts fest, which is running through August 28th, please click here.

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

5:30 pm ($5): Improvisors who cut across all regions and schools come together for one evening at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Supernova

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): A guest monologist—who tonight is Beth Newell (Reductress)—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by 10 female improvisor—including Megan Gray—at the Magnet theatre: That’s What She Said

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows—An Inconvenient Truth 2, Camp Madrigal, and Flower Power Hour—for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Groups are provided with the titles of improv forms that don’t actually exist and have 24 hours to create that form so they can perform it tonight at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Pluto Presents Fake Forms

[FREE] 7:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Missy Baker, Joel Walkowski, Mehran Khaghani, Eric Monical, and Ronnie Fleming performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Dan Fisher, Shaun Murphy, and Mark Walton: Any Given Sunday

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

[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 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 ($15; no min.): 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; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Christian Finnegan (co-star of A&E’s Black and White; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Luis J. Gomez, and Sarah Tollemache performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Sunday: Sean Patton, Joe List, Pete Lee, and More

7:30 pm ($5): Comics find new takes on popular songs via “staged readings, dramatic recitations, updated lyrics, mimed interpretations, covers of classics…they sky’s the limit” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Matt Zambrano (Fly You Fools!, The Story Pirates).: Lyric Nouveau

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch from a nine-person comedy group at the Magnet theatre: Stuck

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Krashin and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT downstairs lounge: Student Driver Indie Road

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Julio Torres (inventive experimental stand-up/sketch comic), Nore Davis (Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Boardwalk Empire, Comedy Central’s Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, MTV), Emma Willmann (Bravo, Oxygen, AxisTV’s Live at Gotham), Jess Salomon, and Jake Adams performing music or stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

8:30 pm ($5): This themed improv show is based on the premise that “The human body is 70% water. The other 30% is a potent mixture of blood, shit, piss, and cum. Come hear real stories about the most disgusting things humans and the surrounding world are capable of, and then watch as they are brought to life on stage” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Annoyance Presents Improv: Blood Shit Piss Cum

…and in the second half of this double-bill, improvisors make up scenes based off of a Spotify playlist that the audience creates:” The Annoyance Presents Improv: The Annoyance Radio 111.1

8:30 pm ($5): Each stand-up screens a movie clip he or she loves before performing a set—with tonight’s comics Liz Barrett, Jill Weiner, Emil DeRosa, and Kevin Seamon—at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Justin Angermeyer & Caitlin Mckee: Roll Credits

8:30 pm ($5): Students of Gary Austin, the founder of The Groundlings, performing improv at The PIT downstairs lounge: Gary Austin’s The Classroom

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Group Medusa turns a calamity selected by the an audience member into an improvised documentary live on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Medusa Presents Improv Against Humanity

[TOP PICK] [FREE—plus FREE FOOD!] 9:30 pm to grab a seat and eat, 10:00 pm for screening: Come watch a new episode of the excellent second season of The Jim Gaffigan Show (Episode #4, dealing with the NYC comedy scene, is especially hilarious) with an audience—and possibly have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards of someone involved with the show. Plus, free food—probably pizza! (“Yes. Free. Food. It’s what Jim would want.”) It all happens at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Jim Gaffigan Show Official Watch Party

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket, drawings every half hour), providing 4 minutes per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Intestinal Fortitude

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic

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

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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

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