NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/2/17

June 2, 2017

Norm MacdonaldIt’s NYC night #2 of hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald, who got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. (Norm is also famous for telling this Moth joke on Conan.) Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. In addition, Norm has written for Roseanne, acted on such prime-time sitcoms as ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and NBC’s NewsRadio, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. But what Norm may be proudest of is his stand-up, and this razor-sharp comic is well worth catching. Headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm tonight & Saturday, 7:30 pm at Sunday; $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

Chuck Nice, Clara de Soto, and Ryan Polgar…and Chuck Nice (above left; co-host of Playing with Science and of Star Talk Radio with Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson; frequent guest on The Today Show; TED Talks; VH1’s Best Week Ever, TruTV), Clara de Soto (above middle; co-founder of Reply.ai, editor at ChatbotsWeekly), TJ Allard (NBC Emmy Award winning producer), and Rebecca B. Carton (writer/producer/actor for Living Thru The Lens) discuss the latest technology trends with hosts David Ryan Polgar (above right; tech ethicist) & Joe Leonardo (ESPN, NPR): Funny As Tech (10:30 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A sketch comedy double-bill from Dinosaur Jones, a group that’s “part adventure, part absurdity, and all comedy” and The Executives, a tie-wearing group that leverages physical comedy, all at The Magnet theatre: Dinosaur Jones and The Executives: CoasterVille, USA

[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 ($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 7:30, 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

7:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a documentary based on an audience member’s suggestion at The PIT Mainstage: Observer Effect: An Improvised Documentary

7:00 pm ($7): Improvisors Irene Carroll, Stephen Thornton, and Scotty Watson aim to create a story via “organic discovery and character work” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 3.14 (pi)

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Join gay-ass hosts Dave Mizzoni & Matt Rogers as they gay up the straights through games and trivia. Life lines include one woke woman and a wise queer. Come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck!” at the UCB East theatre: GAYme Show

7:30 pm ($10): Married couple Jordan & Amanda Hirsch perform a comedic play about their everyday lives at The PIT Underground: Til Death

[$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($10): Eight New York comics—tonight including Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants)—tell stories of where they came from (San Francisco, Baltimore, Nebraska, etc.) and the journey that led them to NYC performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Katie Boyle (who’s from Ireland): Transplants

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott perform with guest Chris Griggs (Big Black Car) at at The PIT Mainstage: Centralia

8:00 pm ($7): Improv duo Matt Vita & Megan Miles open during the encore of a music concert, obtain a song title suggestion from the audience, and then make up the song to kick off an evening that mixes musical improv and theatrical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): One More Song

8:00 pm ($5): “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Late Night Snack

[TOP PICK] 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, Silvija Ozols, Alexandra Dickson, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($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

9:00 pm ($10): NYC sketch comedy groups High Noon and Candy Ass perform at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

9:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups and improvisors performing at The PIT Underground hosted by Matt Catanzano & Richie Moriarty: Simply Unemployable Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure at The PIT Mainstage: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera

[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

10:00 pm ($10): Kenny Warren invites comedians Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World), Ayanna Dookie (co-host of King Hippo Comedy), Jatty Robinson, Reg Thomas, and KC Arora and to his “barbershop” to get their hair cut and talk comedy at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) co-hosted by Barry Ribs & Larry Beyah: Comics Cutting Comics

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($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

[$] 10:30 pm ($12): Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Jason Kanter (Travel Channel), and Rohan Padhye perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($7): Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party), Anthony Moore (Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), Tanael Joachim, and Justin Flanagan perform stand-up at The PIT Underground hosted by Derek Humphrey & Anne Victoria Clark: Up and Coming: Stand-Up Comics to Know

11:00 pm ($7): Improv groups who are independent (not affiliated with a particular theatre or school) Mashed Taters, Batteries Not Included, Destiny’s Chili, and Gregory Hall make up scenes at The PIT Underground: Super Indie Takeover

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): Brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) invites you to “join filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick sidekick (Griffin Newman) as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with guests TBA (they’re usually terrific) at the UCB East theatre: The George Lucas Talk Show

Midnight ($7): Improv groups who are independent (not affiliated with a particular theatre or school) make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by improv troupe The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

Friday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

6:00 pm ($5): A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Friday Night Mics

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A weekly walk-in stand-up open mic (drop your name in the bucket by 6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Hamilton: Scatterbrain

6:30 pm ($3): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at The PIT Underground for Happy Hour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Littlefield
(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!)

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 6/1/17

June 1, 2017

Catch a fresh episode of one of the best shows on TV, Anthony Atamanuik’s brilliant The President Show, at 11:30 pm on Comedy Central

Norm MacdonaldHilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. (Norm is also famous for telling this Moth joke on Conan.) Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. In addition, Norm has written for Roseanne, acted on such prime-time sitcoms as ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and NBC’s NewsRadio, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. But what Norm may be proudest of is his stand-up, and this razor-sharp comic is well worth catching. Headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald (7:30 pm & 9:30 pm, $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

The Judy Garland Show…and superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman (musical improv group Vern, musical parody series Unauthorized!) hosts a sketch & cabaret show as Judy Garland, joined by ace singer/impersonators Matt Giroveanu (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, Vern) as Frank Sinatra and Jay Malsky (above right; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) as Elaine Stritch, with Jody Shelton (co-writer of hit parody 50 Shades: The Musical; renowned musical improv group Baby Wants Candy) on piano: The Judy Garland Show (9:00, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

7:00 pm ($7): Suburban New Jersey sketch group Kiss on the Lips performs in this monthly show at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Kiss on the Lips

7:00 pm ($7): Improv group Rebel 5 performs and hosts other indie improv groups at The PIT Mainstage : Rebel 5 Indie Rally

[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 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Billy on the Street), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, VICE’s Flophouse, comedy album Glass Gutter), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), Gordon Baker-Bone, and Hannah Boone perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($7): Improv groups Coffee N Cream and Rebel 5 play a challenging Groundhog Day game: Perform a monoscene, then repeat it over and over with less time on the clock—specifically, first 5 minutes, then 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, and finally 15 seconds. Team members switch roles and try to hit all the same beats and moments in each rendition of the same scene. It all happens at The PIT Underground, plus an opening set from stand-up Gregory W. Hall: Improv Groundhog Day

7:30 pm ($7): Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), Wendi Starling (Fuse.TV, Playboy Radio, co-produces GlamourPuss), Alia Janine, and this show’s producer Kaytlin Bailey perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ceyenne Doroshow, with ticket sales benefiting the Sex Worker Project at the Urban Justice Center: Sex Workers Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($30): Award-winning Australian sketch trio Aunty DonnaMark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane—perform “surreal fast-paced little plays, clever dances, and goofy characters” (click for video samples) one last night in Brooklyn as part of its world tour:at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Aunty Donna: New Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch gals Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece are hilarious playing 13-year-old boys who are “the Internet’s most viral, most teenage, and most white hip hop duo:” Famous Male Duo

…and in the second other of this double bill, gal duo Amanda Giobbi & Kelley Quinn perform a Top 40 music-driven sketch show: Power Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A classic play by Pulitzer & Tony Award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley is performed by Alexis Di Gregorio, Nicholas Thomas, and George Walsh with direction by Patrick McCartney at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Dreamer Examines His Pillow

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Junk Food (embracing pure absurdity and silliness, making you laugh without thinking), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages Emmy Blotnick (rising star; staff writer & warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s spectacular The President Show; 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), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), plus regulars Josiah Madigan & Brock Mahan, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Kevin McCaffrey: Serious Matters

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jackknife Comedy

8:00 pm ($7): Trio improv group Unicorn Women (Mary Bridget Welch, Virginia Hamilton, and Christine Lawless) host a show about embracing diversity at The PIT Mainstage: We Accept You: A Uni Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts a great lineup of Gary Gulman, Joe Machi, Liza Treyger, Nimesh Patel, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live), Ramy Youssef (Stephen Colbert), and Scott Dooley (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) perform stand-up at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out and Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) & Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code): Fresh Out

9:00 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, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Lauren Maul, Chewy May, and Suzanne Lea Shepherd perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Liz Simons & Jenn Wehrung: Laugh It Up, Astoria

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Dynamite musical improvisors including Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Lauren Adams, Josh Sharp, Jeff Hiller, and/or more destroyed 10 improv groups in a row this year at Cage Match. Come see why audiences can’t resist how these superb comics make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[$] 9:30 pm ($15): Comics who are immigrants, naturalized citizens, or first generation Americans share their stories, and improvisors then use the tales as springboards to make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Undocumented: Immigrant Stories

10:00 pm ($7): A one-woman show by Malú Huacuja del Toro described as “a politically incorrect monologue on how to be a Mexican feminist in 15 minutes” at The PIT Underground: Quixota in the Time of Trump

[FREE] 10:00 pm: In between the sets of NYC stand-ups (not announced), host Abby Feldman (Netflix, Redacted Tonight) provides advice to audience members…while lounging in a bathtub! It all happens at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Moist

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Improv group Funky Hard Beats has indeed been hard to beat, having won five times in a row, including last week’s 92-69 triumph against team Snapshirt. Tonight FHB defends against UCB Harold improv group Women & Men, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): 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;), Sudi Green (writer for Saturday Night Live), Rhonda Hansome (Louie), Carmen Christopher (Comedy Central), and William Martinez do stand-up or something else comedic for this show that encourages them to perform whatever they’re most passionate about at the UCB East theatre hosted by Nicole Pasquale: WOKE AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show

11:00 pm ($7): Improv with feedback at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

11:00 pm ($7): Improvisors make up scenes revolving around the fact there’s a dead body in the story at The PIT Underground: Dead Body

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

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

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

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

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

6:00 pm ($5 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

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

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

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

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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A recorded-for-podcast walk-in open mic providing 5 minutes on stage for whatever you want to perform—stand-up, sketch, song—with names drawn from a bucket at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Mercadal & Will Watkins: Unsung Heroes

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in open mic that’s mostly stand-up—but any act is welcome—with signup at 10:00 pm at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: Jake & Amy’s Golden Monkey Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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!)

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 12/7/14

December 7, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Brad Lawrence

Storyteller Brad Lawrence shares his youthful quest for porn in Girls on Film

Norm Macdonald

…and Norm Macdonald concludes his headlining run at Carolines

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

5:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): NYC stand-ups (not announced) sit in the audience and “shout out funny questions, comments, or even noises to the host onstage and to each other whenever they feel like it,” effectively becoming their own hecklers, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Will Thilly: Noise Factory

[FREE] 5:30 pm: A smorgasbord of of stand-up, comedic music, comedic dance, sketch, and more at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Fiorito: The Mishmash Mashup

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): “Seven people, each of whom somehow ended up watching the 1997 children’s movieGood Burger on Christmas, gradually realize that even the stupidest, most forgettable mass market crap can lead to moments of hope and transcendence” written & directed by Justin Peters at The Magnet theatre: A Good Burger Christmas

7:00 pm ($5): An improvised game show “teaming four short-form performers with two special guest contestants ready to ‘yes and’ anything to win” at The PIT upstairs theatre: ShortGameShow

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($54.50 & 2-drink min.): Hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. In addition, Norm has written for Roseanne, acted on such prime-time sitcoms as ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and NBC’s NewsRadio, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. Norm is also a razor-sharp and acclaimed stand-up comic, and well worth catching. He’s headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Ryan Hamilton (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime), Mark DeMayo (retired NYC cop with great stories; MTV’sGuy Code), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental,documentary A Universal Language), and Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls,Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim) performing stand-up for this fundraiser for the Interactive Drama for Education and Awareness in the Schools (IDEAS) at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street):Judah Friedlander, Ryan Hamilton, Mark DeMayo, Christian Finnegan, and More

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy groups Baby Shoes and Wendigo perform new material at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy albumSadamantium), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), George Gordon, Josh Rabinowitz, Noah Gardenswartz, Drew Michael, and Alexis Guerreros performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It: Mike Lawrence, Carmen Lynch, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Michael Che, Marina Franklin, and Allan Havey at the 8:00 show; Michael Che, Jeff Ross, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, and Carmen Lynch at the 9:45 show; and Todd Barry, Big Jay Oakerson, Kyle Dunnigan, Joe List, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

8:00 pm ($10): A one-hour play in which “Karen is throwing a party, Ellen’s bringing Alec, Merv is the wild card, and Lisa’s on her way. These lovely people who seem to have it all gather for wine, cheese, small tragedies, and the mysteries of Kansas” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Lisa and Her Things

8:00 pm ($5): Stand-up from Ben Rosen and Chrissie Mayr, character comedy from Chelsea Davison, comedic counseling from “Viviana Cortez” (Ali Levin), and more at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Ali Levin: Sunday Sessions

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Brad Lawrence (superb and often raunchy storyteller; Moth GrandSlam Champion) “takes you back to a time before the Internet, when a young boy had to be part Indiana Jones and part Ninja to see porn. In the 1980s the endless quest to see a bare breast could change a lot about a young man’s life. For Brad, it changes everything from his standing at school to his religion, to the number of people at his next family reunion. And that is just what happens before his parents get cable. It is a bumpy bus ride through a coming of age that was decidedlyFreaks & Geeks but wanting desperately to be The Red Shoe Diaries” at LES’ The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street): Girls on Film

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy written by Matt Antonucci and performed by him and five of his friends at The Magnettheatre: Noonch & Friends

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: NYC stand-ups Nore Davis, Brendan Eyre, Sean Crespo, Marcia Belsky, and Michael Joyce performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at Beauty Bar

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: NYC stand-ups Kendra Cunningham, Gonzalo Cordova, Trey Galyon, Doug Smith, and Sam Evans performing at Brooklyn’s The Great Georgiana Bar (248 Dekalb Avenue) for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Undercover Comedy

9:30 pm ($5): A house sketch group performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: National Scandal

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim) performing stand-up atThe Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Christian Finnegan, Damien Lemon, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: “Bringing comedy back to its vaudeville and cabaret roots, a no holds barred strictly R-rated comedy show featuring filthy stand-up and storytelling sandwiched between some of the hottest burlesque acts in the city” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Charles Stunning and Freddie Heinemann: Raunchy Risque

11:30 pm ($7): “What happens when two men-children refuse to grow up and attempt to host a demented kid’s show from their apartment,” starring Alan Fessenden (improv groups The Weave and Hello Laser) and Louie Pearlman (The Story Pirates), and featuring five additional comics at The Magnet theatre: Apt. 33

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

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

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

6:00 pm ($5): Open-mic stand-up that includes professional feedback on each comic’s 5-minute set at Queens LIC’sLaughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Mic-Shop: Open Mic Workshop

[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 upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Christi Chiello:Lance Bass Space Mic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/6/14

December 6, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: James Franco hosts Saturday Night Live at 11:29 pm on NBC

Keisha Zollar

Keisha Zollar hosts a panel at noon and 2:30 pm at The PIT for An Uncomfortable Conversation About Race

Norm Macdonald

…and Norm Macdonald headlines tonight and Sunday at Carolines

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

[$] Noon and 2:30 pm ($30 per show): Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger) moderates “a fast-paced panel discussion about race and related issues…incorporating humor and truthful discussion into a butt-clenching, cocktail party killing, and tense subject for many Americans. We will invite questions from the Internet, audience members, family, friends and strangers too” at The PIT upstairs theatre: An Uncomfortable Conversation About Race

1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 7:00 pm ($10 per show): College improvisors from Yale, NYU, Sarah Lawrence, Fordham, and more compete in three rounds at The Magnet theatre: Chicago Improv Festival: College Improv Tournament

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are John Grady (Blue Man Group), Tara Clancy (The Paris Review), Ryan Britt (Nerve.com), and Steven Berkowitz (Scientific American). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Allan Havey, Robert Kelly, and Zainab Johnson at the 7:00 show; Jeff Ross, Greer Barnes, Allan Havey, Robert Kelly, and Lenny Marcus at the 7:15 show; Todd Barry, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Robert Kelly, Jermaine Fowler, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Ted Alexandro, Greer Barnes, Kyle Dunnigan, Allan Havey, Carmen Lynch, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Ari Shaffir, Trevor Noah, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Rachel Feinstein, Allan Havey, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($5): Duo sketch comedy from Chris Aurilio and Anik Sood performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: PulpRiot

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($54.50 & 2-drink min.): Hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. In addition, Norm has written for Roseanne, acted on such prime-time sitcoms as ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and NBC’s NewsRadio, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. Norm is also a razor-sharp and acclaimed stand-up comic, and well worth catching. He’s headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Norm Macdonald

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) and The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman Brigid Boyle, and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Gary Gulman, Dan St. Germain, Jessica Kirson, Christian Finnegan, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

8:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This show-and-tell event encourages you to “bring your weird family photos, demonstrate how many flips you can do in a row, reveal the tattoo your uncle gave you at last year’s family retreat—share anything crazy, kooky, strange or insane; the best of the best will win prizes and bragging rights,” plus stand-up from Lukas Kaiser (Chappelle’s Show), Charlie Kasov, Anthony Appruzzese, Gonzolo Cordova, Marcia Belsky, Jimmy LeChase, and Jordan Temple, all at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) produced by Lukas Kaiser and hosted by Lizzie Martinez: Showcasey Jones

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Improvisors make up a religion based on an audience suggestion—e.g., The Church of the Carrot, The Church of Crime—and then make up hymns, readings, sermons, sacraments, and more on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Fake Church

9:30 pm ($10): “A monthly show featuring long form improv of three diverse schools of thought and culminating in a cross-team closing” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sharif Ali and/or Kelly Ann Rockwell: World’s Fair

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—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] [$] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Gary Gulman, Dan St. Germain, Jessica Kirson, Christian Finnegan, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Hilarious, organic show in which stand-ups perform anything except stand-up—e.g., sketch, storytelling, improv, songs, dance, puppetry, and things we can’t even imagine—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Reid Faylor, Kelly Fastuca, and/or Andrew Short: Underbelly

[$] 10:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): 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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

11:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy revolving around outer space from a troupe born in a Boston college and tonight performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Astronaut Theatre

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone, new comedy album Bangs!), Josh Rabinowitz (TruTV’s Friends of the People), and more performing at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Glaser: Midnight Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($15; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), James Mattern, and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Dan St. Germain, Monroe Martin, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: An eclectic monthly talk show hosted by Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), with guests TBA at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Aftermirth

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evanshost: The Amateur Hour

5:30 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic, with sign-up at 5:15 pm and each stand-up performing for 5 minutes, at the Comedy Village Comedy Club (107 MacDougal Street): Comedy Village

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 5/10/09

May 10, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Norm MacDonald

Norm MacDonald

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] UCBT’s playground for celebrities and ace improvisors, ASSSSCAT 3000 (paid show at 7:30 pm, free show at 9:30 pm),

[FREE] typically stellar stand-ups at a free weekly LES show hosted by Greg Johnson: The Comedians (7:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] [$] a famously sarcastic and quick-witted TV comedy star who’s also a superb stand-up delivering a deliciously long set on this last night of his NYC run: Norm MacDonald Headlining at Carolines (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] some of the best comics in the country—Marc Maron (passionate comic’s comic; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, HBO special, two Comedy Central specials, co-hosted Air America Radio, off-Broadway show Scorching the Earth), Pete Holmes (one of the quickest & sharpest minds in comedy; VH1’s Best Week Ever, Comedy Central, The New Yorker, host of Gutbucket and co-host of Punch Up Your Life), and Hannibal Burress (Comedy Central, Craig Ferguson)—joining tonight’s guest-host Dave Hill (brilliant alt comic; HBO, VH1, Spike TV, The New York Times) for a blowout comedy shindig at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Tearing the Veil of Maya (8:00 pm),

[FREE] razor-sharp and delightfully dark stand-up Jena Friedman (host of Entertaining the Bartender), Rob O’Reilly (Jay Leno, Comedy Central), Yannis Pappas (VH1’s Best Week Ever),and more and more at RG Daniels’ free Sunday Night Stand-Up (8:00 pm),

[FREE] typically sharp NYC stand-ups at Vince Averill’s & Jesse Popp’s free show Beauty Bar Comedy (9:00 pm),

[FREE] brilliant comedic storyteller Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), and sharp stand-up comics Leah Dubie (Comedy Central; co-host of NYC live comedy show Dykes on Mics), Adrienne Iapalucci (Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham), and Rachel Parenta at an all-gals evening of free gay-themed comedy hosted by Brad Loekle: Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour (10:00 pm).

[$] and a provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining at Carolines: Paul Mooney (10:00 pm).

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/8/09

May 8, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Kimmy Gatewood

Kimmy Gatewood

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

[TOP PICK] [$] the revival of an acclaimed comedic play, directed by the super-talented Kimmy Gatewood, about an Internet phenomenon: Kidnapped by Craigslist (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] [$] a famously sarcastic and quick-witted TV comedy star who’s also a superb stand-up, delivering a deliciously long set tonight through Sunday: Norm MacDonald Headlining at Carolines (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm),

[FREE] NYC stand-up comics RG Daniels, C.H.R.I.S. the Robot (Brad Steuernagel), Giulia Rozzi, Pat Stango, Jesse Popp, and Matt Maragno celebrating Nick Turner’s 29th birthday at this free weekly show in Brooklyn hosted by Cassidy Henehan and Nick: Too Cool for School (8:00 pm),

stand-up comics David Hodorowski, Garry Hannon, Scott Ryan, and more at a gay-themed comedy show hosted by Jenny Rubin: The Back Room (9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers (9:30 pm),

clever, inventive sketch from two talented groups on a comedy double-bill: Chocolate Cake City and The Chris and Paul Show (9:30),

singing improvisors who use an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical (10:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] genius stand-up Pete Holmes (Comedy Central, VH1’s Best Week Ever, The New Yorker), popular sketch/improv comedy group Audience of Two, and more joining ace sketch troupe Olde English to perform all-new material for a show that’s Very Fresh (11:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] [FREE] UCBT’s free monthly open-mic stand-up show, where deliciously odd things tend to happen around 1:30 am, hosted by lightning-quick & hilarious Pete Holmes (Comedy Central, VH1; one of the finest comics in the country) at Gutbucket (12:20ish am),

[$] and a provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining at Carolines: Paul Mooney (12:30 am).

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.