NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 5/7/17

May 7, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear" David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live) has a new one-man show, this time “about a fictional solo performer named Carl David who receives critical acclaim playing President Trump doing King Lear by himself. President Trump hears about Carl’s parody and requests Mr. David’s presence.” Considering a series of bizarre events eventually led David to change the title of his award-winning one-man show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet, this show just might be inspired by actual events (albeit that have nothing to do with Trump…). Come judge for yourself at Trump Lear (2:00 pm, $20, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[$] 2:00 pm ($20): This musical with puppets is a family-friendly and interactive reinvention of the fairy tale The Three Billy Goats that urges the audience to work at improving the environment. Today’s performance at The PIT Mainstage is the NYC premiere of Gruff!

[$] 5:00 pm ($15): Peter Michael Marino improvises a soul-baring one-man show inspired by interactions with the audience (and with the help of stellar director Michole Biancosino) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Show Up

6:00 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 Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, and Brian Urreta of improv group The Mannequin Room: Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ryan Hamilton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with consistently fresh ideas and great crafting of language; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime) performs a rare NYC solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Ryan Hamilton Doing His Hour

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Solo character bits by Laura Shepard, David Bluvband, James III, Christine Piñeiro, Liz Leimkuhler, and Sarah Smallwood at The PIT Mainstage: Avocado Toast: A Character Show

[$] 7:00 pm ($15): In this musical written & directed by Elias Rubin, the 3rd graders of TV series The Magic Schoolbus have grown up and are enjoying their last day of high school…when their former teacher Ms. Frizzle abruptly reappears to take them on an out-of-this-world adventure at The PIT Mainstage: The Edge of the Universe: A Magic School Bus Musical Parody

7:00 pm ($5): Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Courtenay Fearrington perform stand-up, plus improv from group Snapshirt, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle: The Dream Team Variety Hour

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($25): Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Caroline Rhea Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Comedy Central; feature films Man in the Moon, Christmas With the Kranks, The Perfect Man), and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): 4th Annual Grist Comedy Extravaganza

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A highly popular NYC stand-up who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel; starred in his own Comedy Central Presents half-hour special; and was a writer and correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Hari Kondabolu

[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 five shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) 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

7:30 pm ($7): Keith Alberstadt (David Letterman, Seth Meyers, VH1, contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Saurin Choksi, Alyssa Wolff, Kristal Adams, and Tamer Kattan perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

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

7:30 pm ($7): Improv from two groups at The Magnet theatre: Lack Lobster and Gyre

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm ($14.80 online using discount code BOX!2, otherwise $18): My favorite FringeNYC 2016 show (out of over 60 seen) was a production taking place entirely inside a box, written & performed by breathtakingly talented sketch comic/actress/writer/singer Dominique Salerno (for my review, please click here). This amazing production is now enjoying a revival running Sundays at 8:30 pm at The PIT Mainstage through June 11th. Take advantage of this wonderful chance to experience The Box Show

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a brand new play in the style of William Shakespeare at The PIT Underground: As You Will: Shakespearean Improv

[$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jared Freid (Comedy Central) and Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy) each perform a headlining stand-up set at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Jared Freid and Nimesh Patel

8:30 pm ($5): Musicians and/or comics perform and are interviewed about “that one song you’ll never forget” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): For one night only, duo improv from Magnet co-owner & master improvisor Armando Diaz and Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Diaz & Andrews

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts), Clare O’Kane (Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Maria Heinegg, Brent Gill, and Jono Zalay perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

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 ($7): Improv group Higgins looks at the Instagram photos of audience members and then uses them as springboards for comedy scenes at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: The Instagram Show

[ALMOST FREE] 10:00 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, and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!

[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

5:30 pm ($3): Email Michelle Thomas at improv10000hrs@gmail.com to improvise with experienced PIT performers at The PIT Underground: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($10, or just $1 with student ID): Students from all around the city are invited to come watch and perform improv scenes at The PIT Underground: NYC Student Improv Jam

[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] 11:00 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)

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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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 Saturday 4/1/17

April 1, 2017

David Carl: "Trump Lear"David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live) tries out a new one-man show, this time “about a fictional solo performer named Carl David who receives critical acclaim playing President Trump doing King Lear by himself. President Trump hears about Carl’s parody and requests Mr. David’s presence.” Considering a series of bizarre events eventually led David to change the title of his award-winning one-man show Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl) to David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet, this show just might be inspired by actual events. Come judge for yourself at the world debut of Trump Lear (2:00 pm, $15, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour, The BTK Band), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central), Marlene Nichols (Climate Reality Project), and Joanne Solomon. Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let these storytellers and host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

6:00 pm ($7): Graduates of Adam Wade’s storytelling class tell their polished tales at The Magnet theatre: Adam Wade’s Graduate Storytelling Show

6:00 pm ($7): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($12): Improv group Women and Men interview audience members about a weird and/or wild birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, or other social gathering and then make up scenes based on those anecdotes at the UCB East theatre: Women and Men: Party Jumpin’

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: BBC2 and The Quitters

7:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from Andy Danish, Jeremy Reyburn, Nick Wiener, Liana S. Afuni, David Eskridge, Matt Domino, Katherine Knowles, Angela Wingrove, and/or Linda Mat The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 301 Views

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A veteran stand-up who’s performed on Jimmy Fallon, Louie, Comedy Central Presents, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, and IFC, co-hosts the podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR, and stars in the stellar Comedy Central special and album Live at Webster Hall headlines tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Big Jay Oakerson

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Sopan Deb—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

7:30 pm ($5): International improvisors use their native languages & diverse backgrounds to make up scenes in unique ways at The PIT Underground: Passport

7:30 pm ($8): Tony Deyo (Conan O’Brien), Justin Flanagan (MTV), Jocelyn Chia, and Eric Bransteen performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee (MTV, VH1): Nerd is the New Black

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($7): A musical written by Noah Rauchwerk based on Louis Sachar’s story Holes and performed by Arjun Dhawan, Emily Featherman, Cole S. Fletcher, Ernest Bryant Hinnant III, Charlie Hurtt, Delia Kemph, Mahayla Laurence, Maggie McMeans, Tori Nassberg, Andrew Ricci, Elias Rubin, Andy Schumann, Tommy Prast, Taylor Turner, and Kate Anna at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): PITS! The Unauthorized Holes Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Chad Carter, and Caroline Cotter at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:30 pm ($10): Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Troy Alan, and Daniel Simonsen performing stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show) & Ben Conrad: The Dirty Show

9:30 pm ($10): Sketch and improv comics “create a brand new show in only one week, and then perform improvised sketches based off of your suggestions, just like The Second City used to do” at The PIT Mainstage: Old School Sketch Show

9:30 pm ($10): Dani Letsche, Case Watson & Alison Wien perform sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) directed by Paul Valenti: Thank You for Your Cervix

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

10:00 pm ($10): Kenny Warren invites comedians Subhah Agarwal, Neko White, Pat Brown, and Jason Scoop to his “barbershop” to get their hair cut and talk comedy at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) co-hosted by Barry Ribs & Larry Beyah: Comics Cutting Comics

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week (unusually, not announced this time) at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($7): Comics Frank Garcia-Hejl, Adrian Frimmy, Lori Strauss, Jess Sutich, and Sarah Smallwood Parsons perform stand-up, sketch, or improv at The PIT Underground: Physically Bold Comedy

11:00 pm ($10): Musical improv set within a sleepover at The PIT Mainstage: Sleepover at Kenny’s: A Musical Improv Experience

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein and hosted by Judith George: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($7): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious: A Comedy Rap Battle

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): In this acclaimed monthly show, six NYC stand-ups (not announced) each perform an 8-minute set while they “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: See You in Hell

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/28/16

April 28, 2016

Mindy Raf: No Thank YouMindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as alter ego Leibya Rogers) debuts this hour-long autobiographical stand-up & storytelling one-woman show “about anxiety, bisexuality, polyamory, social acceptance, and the importance of saying…” No Thank You (7:30 pm, $5, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer), Drew Prochaska (Moth StorySlam winner), Rory Scholl, Anna Zagerson, and irresistibly charming host Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) performing at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) featuring such magic as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($20, plus 2-item food/drink min.): This show that interviews luminaries about what it’s like to have a dreamy job tonight features Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), Suzan-Lori Parks (MacArthur & Pulitzer Winning playwright), Isaac Mizrahi (fashion icon), Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio & Rain Machine), plus music from Bodies Be Rivers, beats from MC Jelly “Andrew Bancroft” D., and more at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place) hosted by Catie Lazarus: Employee of the Month

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.): The writer/stand-up who shares the comedy news anchor desk with Michael Che at Saturday Night LIve’s Weekend Update headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Colin Jost

7:30 pm ($5): Brandon Scott Wolf, Greg Stone, Jono Zalay, Lori Palminteri, Alex Fossella, and Ryan Donahue performing stand-up or characters at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Dan Fisher, Shaun Murphy, and Mark Walton: The Three Friends Comedy Show

7:30 pm ($5): Hadiyah Robinson (The Nightly Show), Andy Ostroff (Jimmy Kimmel), Meghan Hanley, Derek Humphrey, and Gabriel Killian performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Sketches by writer/performers compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Gabe Capone & Joanna Hausmann: Battle Sketch

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central, MTV), Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Subhah Agarwal performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Sean Patton, Pete Lee, Jim Florentine, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: True stories about terrible roommates from Ginny Leise, Tim Dillon, Sharron Paul, Andre Medrano, and Sharon Spell at Astoria Coffee (30-04 30th Street) hosted by David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015): Bad Roommate Stories

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a sketch show about the NYC subway: The BEENG BOONG: The Great & Powerful MTA

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—invite you to “join Reverend Professor Ray Cordova in the year 2025 as he delivers a lesson in what really happened in black history. In our past, discover what the Underground Railroad has in common with the MTA, watch in awe as Batman meet the Black Panthers, and in our not-too-distant future, Obama is all washed up, Rick Ross sings protest anthems, and the first female president will shock you! This show is the realization of MLK’s dream…or maybe his nightmare:” Astronomy Club: A Journey Through Black History

8:00 pm ($5): A variety of comics performing songs, characters, and/or stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by sketch/improv group Martha

8:00 pm ($8): “A live staging of reality hit The Flavor of Love’s infamous episode ‘Family Flavors’ featuring a diverse cast of NYC comics” at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Chris Burns & Alise Morales: Flavor of Live

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Comics compete with on-the-spot tweets…and you decide the winner in real time using your smart phone” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shelby Taylor: Like Me

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Object Work (“the inanimate comes alive before your very eyes and the laws of the natural world are twisted, bent, and finally broken”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Selfish Green Men + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A comedic play written and starring Ian Lockwood & Sophie Zucker, and directed by Philip Markle, in which “Baby Jessica was the first child to fall down a well, thereby capturing the nation’s attention and becoming America’s sweetheart overnight. Baby Ian will be the second” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Baby Ian Falls Down a Well

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “Like a real-life Birdman, 360-degree action lands you smack dab in the middle of the entertainment industry and the drama that surrounds it. You’ll get to see the comedians puffing up their chests backstage, the club owners pimping the comedians out, the guy who cleans up your spilled beer, and what it’s like to punch a heckler in the face” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Night Club

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Andrea Allen, Veronica Garza, and Jessica Mears compete for the affections of an audience member at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Joe Welkie: Dating is Hard in NYC

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): A show celebrating a modern dating site, with Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; former co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?, former host of TV Land’s Game Time; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, History Channel’s I Love the 1880s, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Amanda Mancino-Williams, and Sarah Bitterman performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Lane Moore: Tinder Live

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups TBA performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The writers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Alfredo: Late Show Writers Improv

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Dan King: Swamp Thing

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Moody McCarthy (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Greg Stone, and more performing stand-up 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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two brilliant Improv groups, Fuck That Shit (with 11 wins in a row) and What I Did For Love (at UCB East every Saturday night at 10:00 pm) compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): I have no idea what this show is about, but it’s hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, Carmen Christopher, and Joey Dundale at the UCB East theatre: $$$

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): 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: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies 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 upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

[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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes for each audience member whose name is pulled out of a bucket to perform a true story, sketch, or characters at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by JiJi Lee & Patrick Clair: Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

[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): Thursdays After Class 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; 99-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!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/7/16

April 7, 2016

Moby AlphaA version of Moby Dick in space, with an extra twist: “the show is performed in an entirely dark theater, with the only light emanating from the duo’s custom-built million-color LED space helmets, creating a unique otherworldly aesthetic:” Moby Alpha (9:00 pm, $20, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Jim Tews (Last Comic Standing, co-host of Fresh Out) tries out stand-up material tonight, Friday, and Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Jim Tews

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.): A brilliant, unique, and Emmy Award winning staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer who’s also performed on Jimmy Fallon,Comedy Central Presents, and Ugly Americans, and starred in his hour-long the Comedy Central special White Precious, headlines for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kurt Metzger

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 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 an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors remake a blockbuster film (suggested by the audience) in the style of indie filmmaker Wes Anderson at The PIT downstairs lounge: Wes Anderson Remakes Your Favorite Movie

7:30 pm ($5): Calise Hawkins, Tony Deyo, Robert Dean, Katie Hannigan, and Sharon Spell performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): “Comics improvise scenes based on audience suggestions, and are systematically eliminated by audience votes during the show until only one player remains,” with tonight’s superb improvisors Rebecca Vigil, Evan Kaufman, Tracy Mull, Langston Belton, Rachel Rosenthal, Rory Scholl, Will Nunziata, and Josh Eakright, all at the Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street) hosted by Devin James Heater: BeerProv

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A sketch show about disabilities, and the art of theatre, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Bent But Not Broken

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a soap-operish play with a large cast: Ocean’s Lake

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT upstairs theatre—with an opening act from Greg Triggs (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical) improvising 1940’s-style tunes based on your suggestions: X Plus One

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Object Work (“the inanimate comes alive before your very eyes and the laws of the natural world are twisted, bent, and finally broken”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A new game show where three contestants get quizzed on random topics; raps, video games, different types of soda. We’ll even have a few comics drop by” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Marvin Lattimore: A Night of Thrill-Vila

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Selfish Green Men + Dim Wit

8:30 pm ($5): Improvisors springboard scenes off of actual NYC police reports of oddball crimes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Internal Investigation

8:40ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): NYC stand-ups performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Franklin Bar and Lounge (739 Franklin Street) hosted by Khalid A. Rahmaan & Mike Eltringham: It’s Sooo Up and Coming

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A comedic play written and starring Ian Lockwood & Sophie Zucker, and directed by Philip Markle, in which “Baby Jessica was the first child to fall down a well, thereby capturing the nation’s attention and becoming America’s sweetheart overnight. Baby Ian will be the second” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Baby Ian Falls Down a Well

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires

9:30 pm ($10): Comics who all met at Brown University perform scripted comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre: Rad Motel Sketch Comedy

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Christian Polanco (MTV’s Middle of the Night) performs a 30-minute set, with a 15-minute opening from Molly Austin (TruTV), at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jenn Welch & Tom Lisi: The Half-Hour Hour

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two of the finest Improv groups in the country, Fuck That Shit and Airwolf, compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for tonight’s especially awesome Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): UCB comics write & perform news-based comedy at the UCB East theatre: NY2: We’re Also the News

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

6:00 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] 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 upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

[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

[FREE] 8:00 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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

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; 99-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!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.