NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 9/18/16

September 18, 2016

Rory ScovelA stand-up who’s performed on Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, NBC’s Undateable, and TBS’ Ground Floor, and in the films The House, The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, and Dean headlines for one night only in Brooklyn, with openers Greg Barris and Zach Martina: Rory Scovel (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Bell House at 149 7th Street in Brooklyn; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

4:30 pm ($5): A sketch show about the private lives of city cats at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Domesticated

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

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this show, pet owners perform improv along with their real-life pets at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Pet Prov

6:00 pm ($7): Sketch performed by comedy duo Ashley Glicken & Kyle Gordon and written by a variety of talents at The Magnet theatre: The Ashley & Kyle Project

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

7:00 pm ($10): A comedic play with bite about the Hollywood experience for minorities, in which “four black actors in Room 4 have just realized they’re stuck in a time loop, auditioning for the same role of ‘Drug Dealer #2’ over and over. What once felt like a messed-up metaphor has become a literal existential nightmare. Get them out of there” at The PIT upstairs theatre written by Marina & Nicco, and with an eight-man cast…one of whom plays a literal Magical Negro: Room 4

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows—Shakspen & Marlboro, Choo Choo Boogie, and Welcome to My Lighthouse—for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nine-person improv group The Internet Disagrees makes stuff up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Internet Disagrees

7:00 pm ($5): Duo improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Kevin Scott & Patrick McCartney Improvise

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

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

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from a variety of comics at The Magnet theatre: Ringers

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Jon Rudnitsky (Saturday Night Live, The Groundlings), Emily Maya Mills (Key & Peele), Jacob Williams (Adam Devine’s House Party, America’s Got Talent), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine), Danielle Perez, and Al Park performing stand-up at UCB East guest-hosted by Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers): If You Build It

8:30 pm ($5): A group of 18 improvisors is divided into two 9-person teams—who then fiercely compete for your laughs, with prizes awarded at the end. Come judge them at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Annoyance Presents Improv: Goons

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

9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Rick Andrews and a guest (not yet announced) at The Magnet theatre: Andrews & Friend

[FREE] 9:00 pm: “Bringing all the excitement and passion of professional wrestling to stand-up comedy, your clueless announcers Kelsey Caine & Jack Comstock invite you to get up and throw down for comics entering the ring for glory! Who will survive? Who will be there? Who actually cares about wrestling? Come on out and get Ready 2 Crumble” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Ready 2 Crumble

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv groups make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ian Herrin: The Ian Herrin Improv Hour

9:30 pm ($6): A one-man show by Ben Palmer in which he projects stock photographs on a screen and “narrates the action in each stock photo with a twisted perspective” at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): Picture Show

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

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 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)

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:

The Stand

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible…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

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 9/26/11

September 26, 2011

For full details, please visit

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

Jackie Hoffman and Julie Sharbutt

Jackie Hoffman and Julie Sharbutt are among the luminous theatre stars at tonight's "Gravid Water"...

Erin Lennox and Leslie Goshko

...Erin Lennox hosts her very special monthly stand-up show "I Like You Too;" Leslie Goshko (above) and Ophira Eisenberg are among the wonderful storytellers at Adam Wade's "Whatever Happened to the Nerds?"...

Rory Scovel

..and Rory Scovel debuts a promising oddball show at The Creek with Scott Moran: "Memories From a Happy House"

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show running about 90 minutes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Chris Gaynor: Open Mic Mondays

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:30 pm ($10): The 8th Annual NY Arab-American Comedy Festival kicks off its second night at The PIT with personal storytelling about being Arab-American in 2011—which is likely to be fascinating, despite the title some dunderhead gave the show: Tales From the Funnyside

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): World-class storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of The Adam Wade Show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here) hosts a show at The Magnet that’s “like watching the characters of The Wonder Years and Freaks & Geeks all grown up and telling coming-of-age tales of love, lost, regret, and redemption,” with tonight’s guests Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; Manhattan Monologue Slam Champ, host of Sideshow Goshko), Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller with notable bangs; VH1, Showtime, host of TV pilot of The Liar Show), David Smithyman (Kids ‘n Comedy), and Sasha Borovinsky: Adam Wade’s Whatever Happened to the Nerds?

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Rory Scovel (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon; host of Monsters, co-host of Too Cool For School and If You Build It), Calvin Cato (host ofThe Pre-Game Show), Thomas Dale, and Michael Cho Young performing stand-up at a free weekly show in the Manchester Pub hosted by Phoebe Robinson: Case of the Mondays Comedy

7:00 pm & 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4 minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2 hours—with an early show hosted by Sean Donnelly & Blaine Perry at 7:00 pm, and an entirely different group of stand-ups hosted by Dan Cartwright & Dave Greek at 9:00 pm—at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for John Morrison’s Motel Luca

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before atThe Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Film, and Broadway & off-Broadway stars Cristin Milioti (30 Rock;Coram Boy, Lieutenant of Inishmore on Broadway), Stephen Ruddy (Skype Duet, Chekhov’s Gun), Sandy Rustin (Improv Everywhere; Fat Pig on Broadway), Julie Sharbutt (Shakespeare in the Park: Twelfth Night, Maladies), and Amy Warren (Adding Machine, August Osage County on Broadway) mixing it up with some of the greatest  improvisors in the world—Scott Adsit (30 Rock, Moral Orel, John & Scott), Michael Delaney (Conan O’Brien, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Stepfathers), Jackie Hoffman (The Second City; Hairspray, Xanadu, The Addams Family on Broadway), and John Lutz (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, John & Scott)—as they crash improv into classic theatre scenes at actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($6.50 online or $8 at the door): Puppetry to Melt Your Face Off, Alie & Georgia (LA mixologists behind The McNuggetini), Jeff Kreisler, and musical guest Genghis Barbie performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with sketches and more from a duo who between them won four 2011 ECNY Awards—including Best Variety Show and Best Hosts—Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler: Hot Tub Variety with Kurt & Kristen

[$] 8:00 pm ($20): The 8th Annual NY Arab-American Comedy Festival continues its second night 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

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Abbi Crutchfield (co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), Adam Newman (College Humor), Trevor Williams (College Humor), Selena Coppock (FOX), and Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon; host of Monsters, co-host of Too Cool For School and If You Build It) performing at UCB East (155 East 3rd Street) hosted by ace improvisor and aspiring stand-up Will Hines: Wheelhouse

8:30 pm ($5): A one-man show about “being part of a different world that has its own language and alphabet and style of beard…There are things I really need to show you, just so you know what’s going on, or where I’m coming from, or where Armenia actually is” at The Magnet: Openly Armenian

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: James Adomian (talented impressionist; finalist on last summer’s Last Comic Standing), Andy Haynes (Jimmy Fallon), Sean Donnelly (host of Lil’ Seany Boy), Alice Wetterlund, Kevin Barnett, and Andrew Short performing stand-up at the 11th Street Bar (510 East 11th Street, off Avenue A) for this monthly extravaganza hosted by the razor-sharp & delightful Erin Lennox (co-host of Fresh; for a sample of Erin’s dynamite Seriously Sports show, please click here), which includes customized songs about each performer: Erin Lennox’s I Like You Too Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of UCBT’s finest in-house sketch comedy troupes Fambly(spearheaded by rising star Mamrie Hart, who’s snared nearly 185,000 visits to date with her Harry Potter YouTube viral video), plus in-house troupe Neighbor Boy (which isn’t in the same league, but features such appealing performers as Kate Hess and Tim Dunn), trying out new bits at Maude Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Rory Scovel (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central) and Scott Moran debut an hour-long show they describe as “PeeWee’s Playhouse hosts stand-up on acid directed by David Lynch; step into a time machine that doesn’t exist and be transported to a warehouse in the middle of your mind where escaped mental patients are putting on their hit TV special—except the patients are so mental, they aren’t even mental patients at all” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Memories From a Happy House

10:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner & Chelsea Clarke hosting a show with guest improvisors at UCB East (155 East 3rd Street): Improv Nerds

10:00 pm ($5): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray: We Might Just Kiss

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—Reggie Watts (musical improv comedy genius; Comedy Central special; Jimmy FallonElectric Company; Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited tour; for video samples, please click here), Anthony Jeselnik (one of my all-time favorite stand-ups; former writer/performer for Jimmy FallonConan O’Brien, HBO,Comedy Central Presents; debut comedy CD Shakespeare), Eddie Pepitone (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents)—hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen (HBO, Saturday Night LiveConan O’Brien,Comedy Central) at UCB West’s Whiplash

[FREE] 11:00 pm: If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should beWhiplash! night (see listing above). If you’re a comic who couldn’t get booked on UCBT’s all-star show, though, you can opt to instead practice your skills at this stand-up open-mic hosted by Michelle Wolf and the hilarious Erin Lennox (for a sample of Erin’s dynamite Seriously Sports show, please click here): Fresh

For full details, please visit

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 Wednesday 9/29/10

September 29, 2010

For full details, please visit

Rory Scovel

Rory Scovel performs stand-up tonight at Molly Gets Along

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation in The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Universal Record Database, Ben Curtis (the Dell Dude), and Serious Lunch (Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon) share their tales of material being turned down at Jon Friedman’s wonderful The Rejection Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Molly Knefel (newest member of superb theatrical improv troupe Naked in a Fishbowl) hosts this monthly comedy show, with tonight’s guests Rory Scovel (Comedy Central), Susan Prekel (Comedy Central), NIck Turner (co-host of Too Cool for School), and John F. O’Donnell performing stand-up at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street, off Thompson Street):Molly Gets Along

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Storyteller Brad Lawrence, and stand-ups Keith Alberstadt, Kristeen von Hagen, Rachael Parenta, and Kat Herskovic, performing at this free weekly show hosted by Sharon Spell:Shrink

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Treasured Time Out New York Comedy Editor Jane Borden, master sketch comic Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central; co-creator & co-star of UK TV series Penelope: Princess of Pets), Ryan Hamilton (Last Comic Standing), James Harris (Adult Swim), NIck Turner (co-host ofToo Cool for School), Kara Klenk (Spike TV), and more performing at the East Village’s Angels and Kings with delightful dark humor host Jena Friedman: Entertaining the Bartender

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Dave Hill, Jeff Ross, Jordan Rubin, and more celebrate a legendary NYC weekly comedy show debuting at a new night and venue—Wednesdays at Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton Street)—hosted by the wonderful Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Jaw-droppingly bad commercials are the springboard for improv from UCBT house troupes Badman, Bastian, and Ragnarock, hosted by sketch troupe Sidecar, at Night of 1000 Bad Commercials

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) providing as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

For full details, please visit