NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday/Star Wars Day: “May the 4th Be With You”

May 4, 2018

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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for Star Wars Day include:

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialFriday 5/4: In the wise words of media critic Cyndi Freeman: “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.‘” See it screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged tonight by Christian Finnegan, Carolina Hidalgo, Jake Vevera, and FreddyG hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: The Star Wars Holiday Special (7:30 pm, $8 if you use code STARWARS online (otherwise $10), Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue; followed, for optional additional charges, by a Star Wars Drawing Class and a Star Wars Laser Light Show)

LiteratiFriday 5/4: “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast, Conversations with People Who Hate Me), Marcia Belsky (singing songs from Handmaids Tale: The Musical), Lucas Michael (TBS’ Miracle Workers), and Alex Song (Netflix) hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About Books and the Idiots Who Write Them (9:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Griffin Newman and Connor Ratliff: "The George Lucas Talk Show"Friday 5/4: Brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (right; TruTV’s The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers) transforms into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host!” He’s joined by talk show sidekick Griffin Newman (left; brilliant character/improv comic; Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, Jared Kushner on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, HBO, CBS, MTV, TBS; feature films Draft Day, Fort Tilden, Night Moves), plus guests Jordan D. White (Editor of Marvel’s X-Men, Wolverine, and Guardians of the Galaxy comics, and long-time editor of its Star Wars comics), Zach Cherry (HBO’s Crashing), and Jackie Jennings (The Chris Gethard Show), “as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema:” The George Lucas Talk Show (Midnight, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/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!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

Contact Hy

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

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 5/4/15

May 4, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: President Barack Obama and
Will Ferrell are on David Letterman;
Jeff Garlin (who’ll be headlining Thursday-Sunday at Carolines),
Jack Black, and Melissa Rivers are on Jimmy Fallon;
Lily Tomlin is on Seth Meyers;
T. J. Miller is on Conan O’Brien;
Paul F. Tompkins, Grace Helbig, and
John Hodgman are on @midnight

May the Fourth Be With You

Shows with Star Wars themes tonight include The Rebel Alliance: May The 4th Be With You, Downtown Variety Hour, and (probably) Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

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—which include group Jean Pool at 7:25 pm featuring the spectacular David Carl, Becky Krause, and Tracy Mull—at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: This monthly debate-style comedy show “sets two expert combatants from different sides of a polarizing issue against one another,”with tonight’s topic Legalizing Marijuana, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City produced by Elise Flick & Ben Kissel and moderated by Ben Kissel: Sweaty Nixon: Marijuana

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Liza Treyger (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately), Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Drew Fraser (Comedy Central, BET’sComic View), Jimmy Failla (FOX’s Kennedy Show), and Stephanie McRae performing stand-up for this monthly show at Brooklyn’s The Paper Box (17 Meadow Street) hosted & produced by sisters Kerry Overfab Coddett & Krystal Coddett: Brooklyn, Stand Up

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): World-class storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of monthly storytelling extravaganza The Adam Wade Show and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here) hosts a show at The Magnet that’s “like watching the characters ofThe Wonder Years and Freaks & Geeks all grown up and telling coming-of-age tales of love, lost, regret, and redemption,” with guest storytellers (not announced): Adam Wade’s Whatever Happened to the Nerds?

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ted Alexandro, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, and Jon Fisch (hosting) at the 7:30 show; Ryan Hamilton, Mark Normand, Nick Griffin, Carmen Lynch, and and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 9:30 show; and Todd Barry, Joe Machi, Sam Morril, and Sherrod Small at the 11:15 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy with a dash of improv asks you to “join your hosts Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles for a star-studded night of entertainment as the Rebel Alliance raises funds for the families of the victims of Death Star II” at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by TJ Del & Brennan Lee Mulligan: The Rebel Alliance: May The 4th Be With You

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5): 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), Hank Smith (Sesame Street), Gary Richardson (The Annoyance, co-host of $$$), and Mpire Comedy (a Star Wars Day presentation) performing at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen: Downtown Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with tonight’s guests including Lizz Winstead (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, Air America) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell(27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.79 online): Guy Branum (head writer/performer on G4’s X-Play; regular panelist onChelsea Lately), Tyler Fischer, Greg Warren, and Kiran Deol performing stand-up, plus DJ Donwill, at Brooklyn’sLittlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

8:00 pm ($5): Producers, writers, and other staff members of TruTV show Impractical Jokers improvise scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Impractical Jokers Staff Infection

8:00 pm ($8): Storytellers gather in hopes of being randomly selected to tell tales and compete for judging panel approval at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, The BTK Band): The Moth StorySlam

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

8:30 pm ($7): “A lot has happened since Judy Fabjance’s original one woman show Are You There, Judy? It’s Me, Cancer. She got married, she wrote a new show, and oh yeah, the cancer is back… In this new show, co-starring her newlywed wife Kelly Beeman, Judy explores modern Western medicine, searches for acting roles with no hair, and tries to spark up things in the bedroom by pushing out reality but reality seems to always creep back in. Put on your pink ribbon and get ready to laugh, cry, and wonder who really profits from your pink ribbon” at The Magnet theatre:Tales of a Stage 4 Cancer

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($12; sold out of seats, but you might be able to get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing): Star improv groups The Stepfathers, Goat, The Law Firm, What I Did For Love, Grandma’s Ashes, Airwolf, and more perform for this fundraiser at UCB East hosted by Shannon O’Neill & Langan Kingsley: Comedy Benefit Show for The Families of Second Avenue

9:30 ($5): New Maude Night groups Dangerous Woman and Lover perform sketch comedy at the UCB Chelseatheatre: Maude Night: Dangerous Woman and Lover

9:30 pm: In this unique mix of stand-up, improv, and audience participation, comics Micah Sherman, Myka Fox, and Justin Hayes perform “improvised stand-up” based on pictures provided by the audience via the Crowd Source app at The PIT upstairs theatre: hosted by John Jorif: Crowd Sourced

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), 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), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), Derek Gaines (host of Broke Ass Game Show), Ben Kissel (writer for MTV, MTV2, CMT, TLC; The Last Podcast on the Left, Roundtable of Gentlemen), Amanda Seales (VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of Smart, Funny, and Black), Nick Rutherford, and Josh Carter performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays: Mark Normand, Christian Finnegan, and More

10:15 pm ($7): Duo improv from teams The Friendship Club, Genetic Freaks, Christopher Nolan, Becca Squared, TJ & Blood, Calico, and host MegaLou (Megan Gray & Louis Kornfeld) at The Magnet theatre: The Duo Show

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by the wonderful Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; Comedy Central’s Meltdown, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing): Whiplash

Monday 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 theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage—and also allows everyone play Bingo!—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Julia Lundy & Veronica Elizabeth: Bingo Open Mic

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

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

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

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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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-$20)

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)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-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.)

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.