NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 10/30/13

October 30, 2013

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Monday-Thursday at midnight on TBS: The Pete Holmes Show

Steve Soroka

Before they leave NYC, a Halloween roast of Steve Soroka at The PIT…

Melanie Hamlett

…and a final appearance (for a while) at The Nights of Our Lives by Melanie Hamlett

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] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for SNL’s Mike O’Brien, Chris Gethard, Christina Gausas, Tami Sagher, and/or Aidy Bryant: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Four free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre, followed tonight at 11:00 by a roast of Steve Soroka who’s leaving NYC: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm ($5): Comedy duo Paul Logston & Mike Lane (MegaChill) perform sketch comedy “that is as terrifying as it is fun. Expect to see blood, murderers, actual ghosts, funny dancing, and DAEMONS” at The PIT downstairs lounge: MegaHell: A Sketch Comedy Horror Show

7:00 pm to 12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Five and a half hours of improv from eight groups 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 Apollo and Detroit: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Jim Santangeli and Nate Smith try to determine Who’s More Awesome?

…and in the other half of this double-bill, “Aaron & Brian lead their lonely friend Erik on a surreal, nightmarish odyssey to ‘get his dick wet.’ Elderly lesbians, impromptu Fosse numbers, dueling Katherine Hepburns, and the ominous Old Valley are all pit-stops on this journey to happiness, or at least maybe getting laid,” written by and starring Aaron Jackson, Erik Dies, and Brian Glidewell: Erik Dies, You’re Stupid and We Hate You

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Meggie Spellman (UCBT’s The Prom) and Anne Clark (The PITs Totally, Yes!) perform duo sketch comedy at The PIT downstairs lounge—and tonight give out free candy and more: Black Magic Lab Variety Show

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($7.25 online using discount code SCARY; no min.): 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), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Aaron Berg, and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Mike Lawrence, Big Jay Oakerson, Aaron Berg, and More

[FREE] 8:00 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), Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedy podcast and Too Much Information on; “I was kind of a tomboy growing up. Like, I had Barbies, but only because my Ninja Turtles needed bitches;” for dark bio video, please click here), RG Daniels (blogger for MTV’s Guy Code and TruTV, host of Sunday Night Stand-Up), and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by comic Liz Miele and singer/songwriter Emily Miele: The Miele Sisters Variety Show

[FREE] 8:00 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors—and actual brothers—Will Hines and Kevin Hines perform color commentary on an improv set by other top improvisors at UCB East for this monthly event: The Brothers Hines: Play by Play

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code), Kevin McCaffrey (TruTV’s World’s Dumbest), Kendra Cunningham (Jimmy Fallon), Scott Schendlinger, Pete Kuempel, and Scott Sharp performing at this free weekly comedy show at Lucky Jack’s Bar (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which brilliant writer/performers—who tonight are Melanie Hamlett (in her last appearance on the show before moving for a long while to Taos), Adam Wade, Peter Aguero, Nate Smith, and wonderful host Dave Martin—tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious, with tonight’s Halloween-themed topic Creepiest Night, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Scary Halloween-themed stories from comics Joe Pera, Aaron Jackson, Eliot Glazer, Abra Tabak, Tim Racine, Rosie Whalen, Alex French, Molly Gaebe, and Julio Julio Julio—told completely in the dark!—at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Jo Firestone: Late Night Scary Stories

[TOP PICK] 10:00 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] 10:00: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City as part of the online community, hosted by Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, The Daily Show) and/or Nathan Anderson (Uncoolio): /r/standup

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Charla Lauriston and guest host Justin Perez wrangle 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 at UCB Chelsea (tonight’s scheduled guests include Nicole Byer and Stratton & Coker; for the full list, please click here): School Night

11:00 pm ($8): Nick Carrillo, Langston Belton, and Devin James Heater perform a post-apocalyptic improvised comedy—exploring the relationship of three men trapped in a Generic Underground Shelter—at The PIT upstairs theatre: G.U.S.

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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open-mic for both stand-up and sketch, with sign-up starting at 5:30 and ending at 5:55, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Brian Frange & Rob Stern: Frange & Stern’s Stand-Up and Sketch Open Mic

[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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing 5 minutes per comic at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Benel Germosen: Cracking It

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

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

[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] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with group Brick: 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.)

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.

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/1/11

April 1, 2011

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.

Jake Johannsen

Star stand-up Jake Johannsen headlines tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club...

...and Mamrie Hart & Steve Soroka continue their hit sketch comedy show "BoF: It's Pronounced 'Boaf'!"

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:

7:00 pm ($10): An NYC improv troupe, headed by Duncan Murdoch, making up scenes following not only an audience suggestion but the riffs of an instrumental jazz quartet: FACE

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Mamrie Hart is a rising star who somehow manages to be razor-sharp yet immensely warm & accessible at the same time. Don’t miss this rare talent, who seems to be getting better every month, with her comedy partner Stephen Soroka performing as Best of Friendsin their new sketch show which educates you about how to effectively promote it when you tell all your pals to see it: BoF: It’s Pronounced ‘Boaf’!; and in the other half of this double-bill, Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) “takes you through a journey of your first day at Camp Kweebec” inWelcome to Camp!

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A writer/comic who’s currently playing Leon Black on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has performed on Saturday Night Live, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, The Chris Rock Show, and such feature films as Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds,headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: JB Smoove

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing with a three-piece rock ensemble: Centralia

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($49.50): One of the finest comics in the country, Mike Birbiglia’s credits include the hour-long Comedy Central special What I Should Have Said is Nothing; two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live; the book Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories; and his hit off-Broadway show Sleepwalk with Me. Mike’s now returned to the stage, once again creating his unique blend of stand-up and storytelling, for an all-new one-man show at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop) slated to run through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Nikki Glazer (Jay Leno), Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), Adam Lowitt (Producer for The Daily Show), and Bryson Turner (deemed Funniest Person in Austin), plus musical guest The Cowmen, performing at Brooklyn’s Red Star Bar (37 Greenpoint Avenue) for hosts Nick Turner’s & Jason Saenz’s Too Cool for School

8:00 pm ($5; includes copious homemade treats): NYC stand-ups Jeffrey Joseph (HBO, Jay Leno), Lisa Delarios (Comedy Central), Stone & Stone (Last Comic Standing), Jessie Geller, and chris Lamberth performing at Karma Lounge (51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with hosts Aalap Patel and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, College Humor): It’s Not That Serious

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Alex Koll (Comedy Central), David Cope (Last Comic Standing), Emily Heller (visiting from San Francisco), Josh DiDonato (visiting from LA), and Erik Bergstrom performing at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Matt Ruby: Hot Soup

8:00 pm ($7): “In March of 2009 a gaggle of performers were born. Some died, some wandered off into the woods, others went to work in the private sector. Those that remained grew strong by feeding on the nectar of specific choices and the gruel of strong character work. The 2-year-old terror that exists today is akin to watching a Tsunami of hair and teeth attack a baby Blue Whale and destroy it with the will of a thousand hungry Burnese Mountain Dogs. What does it all mean? We don’t know.” In other words, improv from Chet Watkins

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A mix of stand-up, sketch, and more at this free show hosted by Billy Keenly & John Milhiser: Stampede

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A comedy icon who’s performed on David Lettermanover 40 times and The Tonight Show over 10 times, and did the acclaimed HBO comedy specialThis’ll Take About An Hour and Showtime special I Love You, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jake Johannsen

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members ofThe Stepfathers

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy about the past year from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name: We’re Matt Weir: 2010

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): 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) delivering a brand new collection of sketches titled Ms. Larsen’s ClassThe Harvard Sailing Team

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 online or at the door using code MOON): Star comedic storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, winner of the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) performing a smart, engaging, and often hilarious one-man show at PS 122 (150 First Avenue off 9th Street ) running through April 9th: Tom Shillue isSupernormal

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

10:30 pm ($10): Jonathan Gabrus, Sue Galloway, and other fine improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

11:00 pm ($5): An improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): A spectacular collection of veteran improvisors from Chicago and New York performing for one night only—including Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre), Jodi Lennon (Comedy Central’s Exit 57), Ari Voukydis (UCB instructor, VH!’s Best Week Ever), Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, UCB), Rick Andrews (Magnet performer), Mark Grenier (Magnet instructor), Jen Sanders (Magnet performer), and Chet Siegel (Magnet performer)— Lights Out, Shirley!

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A comedic freestyle rap contest featuring some of the funniest & sharpest comics in NYC—who tonight include Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien), Adam Lustick (Harvard Sailing Team), Mindy Raf (Leibya Rogers), Jermaine Fowler (Rooftop Comedy), Luke Meginsky (The Future Mrs. Goldman), and King Supernuts (Crazytown)—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and genius musical improvisor Eliza Skinner (Baby Wants Candy) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown

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 Thursday 11/11/10

November 11, 2010

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Mamrie Hart and Steve Soroka of BoF

The irresistible Mamrie Hart & best friend Steve Soroka audition their all-new sketch show tonight: "BoF: It's Pronounced Boaf"

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:

6:30 pm ($5): Utterly delightful sketch comic comic Mamrie Hart says, “Come on out and see a brand new BoF show! This is our audition show to get a second run at UCB, so we would love your support! It’s only $5 and we are paired up with the hilarious Two Fun Men, who are all three of those things. Oh, I hope you will! There will be dancing, giveaways, all new sketches, and Steve has a monochromatic outfit.” How can you even think of saying no to this almost-free double-bill of BoF: It’s Pronounced Boaf and Two Fun Men

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): Top comics and comedic storytellers—who tonight include a blowout lineup of Dave Hill, Melanie Hamlett, and Sara Barron—joining brilliant sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to share tales on tonight’s theme “Friendship” at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Marc Bonnée, member of acclaimed sketch troupe Drop Six, goes solo with this show consisting of character bits and one-man sketches loosely tied to the theme of excess: Too…

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show from the hilarious Pam Murphy about breast cancer, and an indescribable multimedia sketch show from Peter Blomquist and Jeff Wiens, in the double-bill Pam Murphy: The C Word and Franco & Billy: Diamonds of Fire

8:00 pm ($8): The Magnet’s co-owner Armando Diaz performs monologues on the spot and improvisors then act out scenes based on them at The Armando Diaz Experience

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Typically terrific NYC stand-ups performing stand-up on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killerset on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1): Comedy as a Second Language

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A.D. Miles (head writer for Jimmy Fallon), Laura Krafft (writer for NBC’sThe Marriage Ref and former writer for The Colbert Report), Matt Higgins (superb improv/sketch troupe Centralia), and “a special surprise guest” joining delightful hosts Andrea Rosen and Shonali Bhowmik of Variety SHAC

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Round 1 of a beloved annual November tradition—Pat Baer’s 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

For full details, please visit