NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 5/28/14

May 28, 2014

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TV Alert: Lewis Black is on Seth Meyers

Steve Buscemi

Movie & TV star Steve Buscemi is among the guests at Brooklyn’s Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

Matt Dennie

…Matt Dennie (above) and Josh Sharp perform one of the best sketch/parody shows in NYC: GUMP

Game of Tassels

…and Cherry Pitz spearheads a burlesque tribute to the best show on TV: Game of Tassels

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] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm to 12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Five and a half hours of improv from eight groups, plus a free improv jam at 11:30, at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Slinky Dog and Astronomy Club: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp prove themselves among the finest writer/performers at UCB with a consistently charming and hilarious version of Forest Gump that covers the entire film in 30 minutes, and features a deliciously funny Jenny played by Brandon Gulya, who also directed, resulting in one of the best sketch shows currently playing on an NYC stage: GUMP

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch about our national pastime: Baseball Is America

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A burlesque tribute to Game of Thrones at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) spearheaded by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman): Hotsy Totsy Burlesque: Game of Tassels

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($6.63 in advance online or $8 at the door): Storytellers Dan Kennedy (author of Rock On, host at The Moth), Colleen Werthmann (comedy writer For The Oscars; actress in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Maggie Serota (writer for The Onion’s AV Club), Alison Leiby (host of It’s A Long Story), and Joel Kim Booster telling true tales of harsh reality at The Bowery Electric (327 Bowery, off 2nd Street) hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley: How I Learned It’s Not Like In the Movies

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($10-$14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam) hosts all shows, which include Gary Gulman and Gregg Rogell at 8:00; an all-star lineup of Neal Brennan, Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Ryan Hamilton, and Dov Davidoff at 9:45; and Mark Normand, Nikki Glaser, and Big Jay Oakerson at 11:30, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), 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 Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Nick DiPaolo, Nikki Glaser, Christian Finnegan, and Joe List

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly show in which “stand-ups throw their set lists out the window for a night of wild riffing. Comics premiere a story that they’ve never told anyone, improvise a stand-up set based on an audience suggestion, or rant off the cuff. Also expect freestyling and musical improv in an anything goes atmosphere that makes for a one-of-a-kind experience.” Tonight’s comics are Mike Dobbins (unique stream-of-consciousness stand-up), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV, TruTV), Danny Cohen (Comedy Central) , and Myka Fox (Keith and the Girl)—plus music from powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil (The Vigilante) and improv rap group North Coast—performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Carolyn Castiglia: Rifftown

8:00 pm ($8): Brilliant writer Meggie Spellman (UCBT’s The Prom), Brigid Boyle, Amanda Peck, Michelle Ciotta, and Krista Jensen are tonight’s guests at this new talk show at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Anne Victoria Clark: The Pretty Late Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Comedy Central), Subhah Agarwal, and Brendan Fitzgibbons performing stand-up, plus music from ThE DaN and The Emily Miele Band, all at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by comic Liz Miele and singer/songwriter Emily Miele: The Miele Sisters Variety Show

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($8 at the door or $9.57 online): Movie & TV star Steve Buscemi (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos, and tons of other credits), Brooks Wheelan (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Adam Resnick (David Letterman, The Larry Sanders Show), Peter Rosenberg (Hot 97), Dale Seever (host of Dale Radio), and Katie Nolan being interviewed and/or performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Scott R.: Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

[FREE] 8:30 pm: 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 album Sadamantium), Peggy O’Leary, Andrew Short, Ken Schultz, Carlos Valencia, and Chip Dwyer performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Joe Zimmerman, Jono Zalay, and Taylor Ketchum: Hot Crowd: Mike Lawrence and More

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome. Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), Reese Waters (David Letterman), Kat Timpf (FOX), Zach Sherwin (MC Mr. Napkins), Christian Polanco, Robby Slowik, and Steve Serra performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Josh Gondelman and Kevin Avery (staff writers for HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver), Megan Neuringer (HBO’s Flight Of The Conchords, Comedy Central’s Kroll Show, @midnight, FOX’s Fringe, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV; freelance writer for Jimmy Fallon), Ron Krasnow, and host Alex Brizel performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($5): Renowned comedy chameleon and sketch comic Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, VH1, feature film National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie) spearheads a multimedia sketch production with the help of a small army of writers (including Meghan O’Neill) and performers who tonight include Ann Carr and Adam Wade at the UCB East theatre: The Livia Scott Sketch Program

9:30 pm ($8): David Carl (Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet), Gina Fitch, and Keith Panzarella are the guests for this talk show at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Jamie Aderski & Cayla Merrill: Sharon and Cheryl’s Bosom Buddies Talk Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Improvisors pair up for one night only, tonight featuring superb improvisors and hosts Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell, plus Connor Ratliff & Cathryn Mudon, Christina Gausas & Rachel Rachael Mason, and Andrew Law & Allison Rich, all performing at the UCB East theatre: Couples Skate

[TOP PICK]10:00 pm ($15; no minimum): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody) performs with some friends at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander and Friends

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen comics 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. (For tonight’s lineup, hosted by Gary RIchardson, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

11:00 pm ($10): Chris Aurilio performs a one-man show at The PIT downstairs lounge: Chris Aurilishow

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

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

[FREE] 5:30 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character 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 at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open 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

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-drink min. for comics): Walk-in open mic providing 7 minutes per stand-up at the Phoenix Bar (447 East 13th Street) hosted by Lisa Harmon: Lisa’s Clubhouse

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email with subject line Phoning Wednesday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Lizzie Martinez: Comics Phoning It In

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Jake Hart : The Dump

10:30 pm ($3): Biweekly open mic stand-up, with each comic getting an unusually long 6-10 minutes, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by James III & Jamie LeeLo: Hump Day

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

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

[FREE] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Improv Mixer

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)

(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
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club, with MST3K-style movie night on Thursdays; 2-drink min.)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: If you want to know what is happening in NYC comedy on a particular day, you gotta get hip to this dude Hy Bender and his site Best New York Comedy. The site is updated daily and features a super exhaustive look at what is happening in the NYC comedy world that particular day. The site is updated religiously…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