NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 11/3/16

November 3, 2016

Louis C.K. is performing his most recent Madison Square Garden show one more time, on Friday December 16th at 8:00 pm. I saw this show thanks to Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review, and found Jason’s observations & insights to be spot-on. Louis managed the almost miraculous feat of delivering a vulnerable, intimate performance for 18,000 people, turning them into a single delighted group mind. It was masterful, reminding us of the heights stand-up can reach; and one of the best shows I ever expect to see. (Am hoping it gets turned into an HBO special; but even if that happens, there’s nothing quite like experiencing it live…) To nab tickets, please click here.

Patton Oswalt, Tim Minchin, and Bridget EverettThis third day of the Seventh Annual New York Comedy Festival features Patton Oswalt at The Beacon, Tim Minchin at The Beacon, Bridget Everett at Town Hall, and much more. For the full schedule, please click New York Comedy Festival 2016

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): The host of Creek Cave Live tries out stand-up material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Casey James Salengo

7:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show in which “Consuelo is down on her luck, determined to finish Catholic high school and earn money to go to college. A flyer she finds for ‘Girls Who Code’ changes her life, making her determined to be the first girl in her family to get a scholarship and study Computer Science” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Consuelo Explains It All

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($15): Terrific lineup of Naomi Ekperigin, Roy Wood Jr., Michelle Buteau, Janelle James, Will Miles, Victor Varnado, and Josh Johnson performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle: New Negroes

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors remake a blockbuster film or classic story (suggested by the audience) in the style of indie filmmaker Wes Anderson at The PIT downstairs lounge: Forty Minutes in the Style of Wes Anderson: Popular Tales Retold

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Mindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; alter ego Leibya Rogers) performs a one-woman show about love and relationships at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys

[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

7:30 pm ($10): An Australian TV host & stand-up has questions at the UCB East theatre: Explain America To Me with Charlie Pickering

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comedy Central-approved comics perform sketches at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Stuck (“9 improvisors, 1 location, 0 chances of leaving”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages Phoebe Robinson, Elliott Kalan, Sean Donnelly, Alexis Coe, Gary Vider, Josiah Madigan, and Brock Mahan 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 ($10): Boston comics from group Improv Asylum and from YouTube’s Simply Unemployable perform sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): The T

8:30 pm ($16): Married couple & storytellers Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer) & Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion) tell stories about each other at The Kraine Theatre (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue): Love, Marriage & Catscans

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Andres du Bouchet (Conan O’Brien), Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for Last Week Tonight), Adam Lowitt (correspondent for The Daily Show), Josh Sharp, and Sam Jay performing stand-up at UCB East typically hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($8): Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Lance Weiss (CMT, co-host of Gandhi, Is That You?), and Carolyn Bergier performing 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 ($5): LA-based comic Rhea Butcher (Conan O’Brien, @midnight, TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything) performs stand-up at the UCB Chelsea theatre: An Evening with Rhea Butcher

[$] 9:30 pm ($20): A full-blown scripted musical about Donald Trump—”the story of our greatest American, and his rise from humble reality star/heir to the classiest candidate in American history”—at The PIT upstairs theatre: In Trump We Trust

9:30 pm ($5): A rock opera about an ornithologist who falls in love with a bird at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Me and My Birdie!

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; HBO, Comedy Central, NPR, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Dave Hill and Jacqueline Novak

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20): James Adomian (hilarious, super-charged character comic/impressionist; Trump Vs. Bernie, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, The Embassy) headlines, with opening stand-up sets by Matteo Lane, Alex English, and Kiran Deol, all at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle: James Adomian

10:00 pm: A featured stand-up (not announced) performs a 30-minute set, with a 15-minute opening from another stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jenn Welch & Tom Lisi: The Half-Hour Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Musical improv champion Rumpleteaser, with 4 big wins in a row, tonight competes with improv troupe The St. Louis Rams for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

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

11:00 pm ($10): A group of six comedic actors performs sketch at The PIT upstairs theatre: Uncle Function

11:00 pm ($5): A variety show that encourages comics to perform whatever they’re most passionate about at the UCB East theatre hosted by Nicole Pasquale: WOKE AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show

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

5:45 pm-8:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Weekly walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 4-5 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 Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

[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

7:30 pm ($6): All-gal stand-up, with 3 booked comics—who tonight are Wanjiko Eke, Kaity Neagle, and Chrissie Mayr—and 4-minute open mic spots for 13 additional female comics on a first come, first serve basis at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Caitlin McKee: Saw Her Stand Up There

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Friday 11/9/12

November 9, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Patton Oswalt and Aziz Ansari

Patton Oswalt, Aziz Ansari, and Pete Holmes are among the stars performing tonight as part of the New York Comedy Festival

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] November 7th-11th: Among the stellar events at this year’s New York Comedy Festival are shows by comedy titans Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, Bill Maher, Pete Holmes, Colin Quinn, Kevin Hart, Brian Regan, the Wayans Brothers, and lots more, as well as interviews with such giants as Ricky Gervais and Robin Williams. For the complete massive schedule, please click: New York Comedy Festival

[TOP PICK]  [DISCOUNTED] November 7th-12th ($7 off most shows if you use discount code FANS online): A gathering of most of NYC’s best storytelling shows—which tonight are Oh Hey Guys and The Liar Show—packed into five evenings at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): The First Annual Gotham Storytelling Festival

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

7:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy at The Magnet in which “A young businessman makes a startling confession to his potential employer, a flash-in-the-pan movie star reveals to the world what he is really like in person, and God learns a valuable lesson: not everyone is perfect—not even Himself:” Citizen Models

7:00 pm ($10): A stand-up who’s appeared on Jimmy Fallon headlines tonight at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: NIck Turner

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Nate Dern and Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Mic

[$] 7:30 pm ($15): A stand-up who’s performed at the Just For Laughs festival does an hour tonight at UCB Chelsea as part of the New York Comedy Festival: Hobo Apocalypse: An Evening with Ben Roy

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($15): Comedy giant Pete Holmes (one of the very best stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, Ugly Americans, VH1’s Best Week Ever, podcast You Made It Weird, staff writer for NBC’s Outsourced, The New Yorker; co-star of the hilarious Front Page Films) in a too-rare NYC appearance, plus Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller with notable bangs; Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another), Hari Kondabolu (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, , FX’s Totally Biased), Jane Borden (former Comedy Editor of Time Out New York, author of I Totally Meant to Do That), and Michael Che (IFC’s Bunk, Comedy Central), performing stand-up, and musical group Summer & Eve, at UCB East hosted by Time Out New York Comedy Editor Matthew Love: Time Out Live

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Joe Zimmerman (Rooftop Comedy), Dave Stone (Adult Swim’s Squidbillies), Andy Sanford (TBS), and TJ Young “deliver an original brand of humor that’s deeply rooted in stand-up and lightly blended with avant-garde elements of music, sketch and improv.” This bearded quartet’s credits include the album Cardio Mix from Comedy Central Records; and tonight they perform at The PIT upstairs lounge: The Beards of Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($65): This isn’t pure comedy, but an enchanting hodgepodge of original tall tales fueled by laughs. The 2-hour play from the wonderful guys of PigPen blends shadow puppetry, songs, inventive staging, and more to create living dreams. For my review of PigPen’s two previous shows at FringeNYC, please click here and here. This newest work is their most ambitious, and that sometimes results in the story feeling too slow or padded; but it also yields a deeper emotional payoff. And even though not all the bits hit the mark, so many of them do that you’re likely to feel satisfied—and missing PigPen’s world after the show is over. The production is at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street) through November 26th: The Old Man and the Moon

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.) The co-stars of In Living Color and The Wayans Bros. headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Marlon and Shawn Wayans

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City downstairs lounge: Mic and Cheese

8:30 pm ($7): Long-form improv at The Magnet from troupe Brick

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from comedy geniuses Chris Gethard and Shannon O’Neill, plus stellar comics Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—Fran Gillespie, Michael Kayne, Amber Petty, Tim Martin, Ashley Ward, Morgan Phillips, and Winston Noel—making up a musical on the spot (formerly named Diamond Lion): KOSMOS Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 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): Great lineup of TV & movie stars Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), Todd Barry, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm: Joe Pera (very funny deadpan comic; I recently saw him sing beautifully and then smash three dozen plates to pieces; for reasons to hire Joe, please click here), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), RG Daniels (host of Sunday Night Stand-Up), and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Fort Useless (36 Ditmars Street) hosted by George Flanagan: Spit Take Friday

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!, host of Nearly Naked Lady Comedy Hour), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Joe List (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Ben Roy, and Jason Kanter performing stand-up at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Say Anything

10:00 pm ($10): A comedy group that makes up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre after a friendly greeting: Hello

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Matt Fisher, Craig Rowin, Nate Lang, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($8): Sketches from young and forlorn comics at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Meredith Hackman: The Saddest Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): 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 Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Terrific comics Matt Koff, Reid Faylor, Erik Bergstrom, Emmy Blotnick, Paul Oddo, and Jake Young debating various topics, mixed with stand-up from Mike Lawrence and Michael Che at UCB East hosted by Michael Shawki, Jeff Wesselschimdt, and/or Dan Licata: The Great Debate

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Plus it’s hosted by members of Maude troupe Fambly, typically including such wonderful talents as Nicole Byer and Veronica Osorio: Liquid Courage

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 11/8/12

November 8, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt and…

Aziz Ansari

…Aziz Ansari are among the stars at this year’s New York Comedy Festival

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] November 7th-11th: Among the stellar events at this year’s New York Comedy Festival are shows by comedy titans Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, Bill Maher, Pete Holmes, Colin Quinn, Kevin Hart, Brian Regan, the Wayans Brothers, and lots more, as well as interviews with such giants as Ricky Gervais and Robin Williams. For the complete massive schedule, please click: New York Comedy Festival

[TOP PICK]  [DISCOUNTED] November 7th-12th ($7 off most shows if you use discount code FANS online): A gathering of most of NYC’s best storytelling shows—which tonight are The Soundtrack Series, Told, and Bare—packed into five evenings at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): The First Annual Gotham Storytelling Festival

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCB East hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

6:00 pm ($5): Two shows I know nothing about, Gentlemen Thieves and Rewrite Movie Night, audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage: Spank

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran musical improvisors at The PIT mix with novices on-stage at Pitch

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

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hot Diner and THEM

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): A beloved show that brings dead celebrities back to life at UCB East, with magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, Dirty Movie) hosting tonight as Amy Winehouse, Emily Dickinson, Marie Antoinette, Judy Garland, Lisa Left Eye Lopes from TLC, Truman Capote, and Janis Joplin, with wonderful singer/songwriter Corn Mo, Carla Rhodes (“rock’n’roll ventriloquist;” for shout-out from David Letterman, please click here; for act with “Keith Richards,” please click here), sketch troupe Supereasy, Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1), Laura Anderson (burlesque star), and Kelly Hudson: Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.) The co-stars of In Living Color and The Wayans Bros. headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Marlon and Shawn Wayans

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Rory Scovel (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central) performs a one-man stand-up show at UCB Chelsea: Zizzle Zazzles: An Evening with Rory Scovel

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A former roommate & drinking buddy of such comedy giants as David Cross and Marc Maron performs a one-man show that was such a hit at August’s FringeNYC it’s been extended indefinitely. Please read my review by clicking here, and Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review by clicking here; and then come share an intimate hour with Matt Graham at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club so he can explain life and meaning and why This Too Shall Suck

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($65): This isn’t pure comedy, but an enchanting hodgepodge of original tall tales fueled by laughs. The 2-hour play from the wonderful guys of PigPen blends shadow puppetry, songs, inventive staging, and more to create living dreams. For my review of PigPen’s two previous shows at FringeNYC, please click here and here. This newest work is their most ambitious, and that sometimes results in the story feeling too slow or padded; but it also yields a deeper emotional payoff. And even though not all the bits hit the mark, so many of them do that you’re likely to feel satisfied—and missing PigPen’s world after the show is over. The production is at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street) through November 26th: The Old Man and the Moon

8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: The East Side Orphan Riot and Harvey

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes Junior Varsity, Hello Laser, Flower Girl, and The Boss performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Medusa (all improvisers stay on stage at all times, and alternate between speaking roles and playing inanimate objects), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) featuring Horses vs. Wanda: The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10 at the door or $12.75 in advance online): Three of the hottest rising star nerds of stand-up perform at Brooklyn’s Union Hall—Jared Logan (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, host of ComedyJuice), Mike Lawrence (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), and Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1): The Dark Lords of Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, one hour special & CD/DVD New in Town, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim, Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show; films Pluto Nash, End of Days, A Guy Thing), Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedy and Stripped Stories), Brooks Wheelan, Sean Keane, Drennon Davis, and Matt Fulchiron performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover & Emily Heller: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced by 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Hannibal Buress (former staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, host of Comedy Night, one-hour Comedy Central special Animal Furnace), Gary Gulman (Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), and more performing stand-up at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Cody Hess & Jessica Gross: Cookies!

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Improv genius John Lutz (John & Scott; 30 Rock; previously spent six years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live) and Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials) perform two-man improv as 2 Square

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): Rob Barnett (CEO of My Damn Channel), Streeter Seidell and Jeff Rubin of College Humor, and more at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Scott Rogowsky (The Onion): Running Late with Scott Rogowsky

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Justin Williams: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): The first round of a beloved annual November tradition at UCB Chelsea—Pat Baer’s 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

11:00 pm ($5): Interns at UCB Chelsea show off their improv and sketch chops at Mop it Like It’s Hot: The UCB Intern Showcase

11:00 pm ($5): Sketch and improv by puppets at The PIT downstairs lounge: Puppet

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 9/25/11

September 25, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series, please click here.

Patton Oswalt

Stand-up legend Patton Oswalt is slated to drop in at the Gotham Comedy Club...

8th Annual NY Arab-American Comedy Festival

...and the 8th Annual NY Arab-American Comedy Festival kicks off with sketch at The PIT

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

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (for details, please click here) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Showcase

[$] 6:30 pm & 8:30 pm ($20): The 8th Annual NY Arab-American Comedy Festival kicks off tonight with sketch, both live and via film clips, from Arab-American actors who’ve appeared on HBO, NBC, MTV, and CNN, and in such films as The Visitor, House of Saddam, You Don’t Mess with Zohan, The Interpreter, and Sex in the City 2, “bringing the comedy revolution from the Middle East to The PIT; it’s actually more funny than sketchy:” Sketchy Arabs

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, director/co-writer of Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Dan McCoy (The Daily Show), and Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon) participate in “a weekly podcast that assembles a new panel of comedians and weird characters to give funny advice, or at the very least relate to the people’s problems with their own stories” at UCB East 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B) hosted by Andy Rocco: Here to Help

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCBwest’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes stars in the improv world, and sometimes even TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($5): Sketch duo Two Fun Men, and Ray Munoz telling true stories about growing up in NYC, in a double-bill at UCB East (155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B): Two Fun Men and Off the Cuff

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Sketch, improv, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City from comedy troupe Froduce

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Rory Scovel (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, co-host of podcast You Had to Be There), Nore Davis, and Kate Berlant performing at RG Daniels’ free weekly show at the Three of Cups East Village lounge: Sunday Night Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($7): Typically stellar stand-ups (not announced this week) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for comedy giant Eugene Mirman’s Pretty Good Friends

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sketch troupes The Weirs, Jamaal Sedayao, Paul Barker, Russ Armstrong, and/or Good Morning Ladies performing new material at The Magnet: Ripe Sketch Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT’s downstairs lounge for a free weekly show typically hosted by Chris Grace: Cold Soda Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($20 & 2-drink min.): Comedy legend Patton Oswalt, and NYC fave Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, director/co-writer of Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, host of top NYC comedy showWhiplash), are opening tonight for a show headlined by Eddie Pepitone (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central) at the Gotham Comedy Club: Patton Oswalt, Leo Allen, and Eddie Pepitone

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Music from the unforgettable dark comedy group The Cowmen and more at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Murderfist’s Holden McNeely & Ed Larson: Stage Fright

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): James Adomian (talented impressionist; finalist on last summer’s Last Comic Standing), Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon), Trevor Williams, and Michael Che performing stand-up at UCB East (155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B) hosted by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Andy Haynes, and/or David Cope: Hot Soup

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors team up with poets at The Magnet’s Kiss*Punch*Poem

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Maureen Langan (Jay Leno, Joy Behar), Emily Epstein, and Adam Lehman performing at this free weekly gay-themed show at Therapy hosted by Brad Loekle: Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 4 minutes per comic, at The PIT’s downstairs lounge hosted by Rob Stern: Vicious Cycle

11:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes not associated with a particular comedy theatre: Indie Improv Showcase

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/7/09

November 7, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Patton Oswalt 3

Patton Oswalt performs at Town Hall tonight as part of The New York Comedy Festival

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] 6:30 pm – midnight ($10, $15, and $15): An entire night of comedic musical improvisation in 90-minute slots, with the highlight being the 8:30-11:00 show (for $15) starring comedy genius Blaine Swen (Improvised Shakespeare) performing a one-man musical, and superb & surreal troupe Centralia: The Magnet’s Musical Improv Festival

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Star improvisation from writers & performers at 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, Conan O’Brien, and more joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($32.50-$35.00): One of the smartest and funniest stand-ups in the biz performing at Town Hall as part of The New York Comedy Festival: Patton Oswalt

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($32 & 2-item min.): A stand-up acclaimed for shocking comments who’s hosted Comedy Central’s The Man Show, performed a Comedy Central Presents half-hour special, and performed the Showtime special No Refunds headlining at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A comedy icon who’s performed on David Letterman over 40 times and The Tonight Show over 10 times, and did the acclaimed HBO comedy special This’ll Take About An Hour, headlining at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jake Johannsen

8:00 pm ($10): In this unique monthly show, stand-up comics perform in the buff. A reviewer from The Boston Globe observed, “The dynamic of nude comedian and clothed audience added an extra dimension to self-deprecating material.” For a New York Magazine review, please click here; or simply come see for yourself The Naked Comedy Showcase

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): The gutsiest comedy troupe in NYC, genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here): The Harvard Sailing Team

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King: Reuben Williams

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:30 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount code BECKYD, otherwise $20): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award this August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

12:00 am ($5): Andy Rocco’s extravaganza of sketch comedy, music, dancing, free t-shirts, and special guests—who tonight include stand-up Tony Camin and musical guest Jason Anderson: The Hipster Show

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 2/22/09

February 22, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

See tonight's Oscars with comics at a free Comix extravaganza

See tonight's Oscars and laugh at a free Comix Comedy Club extravaganza

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] an evening of Oscar-watching at the gorgeous Comix Comedy Club hosted by the luminous Kambri Crews, with free admission & chances for prizes, at Oscar Night 2009 (6:30 pm),

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

[TOP PICK] [$] a brilliant comedy superstar concluding his headlining run at Carolines: Patton Oswalt (8:00 pm),

sharp comics Jon Benjamin, Hannibal Buress, and Adam Lowitt joining comedy giants Eugene Mirman & Michael Showalter—winners of the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Hosts—for their weekly shindig at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Tearing the Veil of Maya (8:00 pm),

typically superb stand-ups at what’s often among the funniest free productions in NYC from hosts Greg Johnson and Jacqueline Novak: President Johnson (8:00 pm),

and brilliant, lightning-quick stand-up Pete Holmes (Comedy Central, VH1, The New Yorker, Videos of the Month), plus sharp NYC comics Jess Wood, Matt Ruby, Charlie Gaeta, and Andy Haynes at RG Daniels’ free Sunday Night Stand-Up (8:00 pm).

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 2/21/09

February 21, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Marc Maron

Marc Maron

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] one of the best and most respected stand-up comics in the biz performing a passionate one-man show about his recent second divorce: Marc Maron: Scorching the Earth (7:00 pm),

stand-ups and sketch comics at Sean Donnelly’s Lil Seany Boy (7:00 pm),

an exciting new NYC show developed at Chicago’s legendary iO theatre in which veteran improvisors create a play on the spot based on audience suggestions: New Play (7:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] [$] a star stand-up comic who’s performed on David Letterman, Jay Leno, and his own HBO special, has been called one of the best joke writers in America, and is headlining tonight at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Emo Philips (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] [$] a brilliant comedy superstar headlining at Carolines tonight and Sunday: Patton Oswalt (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm),

sharp NYC comics—tonight including Carolyn Castiglia—at a free stand-up comedy show hosted by star sketch/improv troupe Derrick in Queens’ Long Island City: This Is New York (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] stellar comics Kristen Schaal, Andres DuBouchet, Baron Vaughn, Rob Gorden, and more—plus free beer!—at Tom Shillue’s acclaimed Moonwork (9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] star improvisation from writers & performers at 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show who joyously declare Let’s Have a Ball (9:00 pm),

organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track! (9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] inventive & hilarious sketch comedy from The Harvard Sailing Team (9:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] improvised furious action from world-class troupe Reuben Williams (10:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] [$] Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, quick-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer (10:30 pm),

and a dozen NYC comedic performers, including Mindy Raf, Carolyn Castiglia, Rob Lathan, Shawn Hollenbach, and show creators Ilana & Eliot Glazer performing highly unusual acts at High School Talent Show (midnight).

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.