NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/5/16

November 5, 2016

Last night at Carnegie Hall, Marc Maron shared that his childhood was shaped by such relatives as the man whose reaction to his wife being diagnosed with cancer was “Why do terrible things always happen to me?” Take advantage of the incredible stars gracing us with their best during the New York Comedy Festival.

Tig Notaro, TJ Miller,  and Tracy MorganThis fifth day of the Seventh Annual New York Comedy Festival features Tig Notaro at Carnegie Hall, TJ Miller at Town Hall, Tracy Morgan at Carnegie Hall, and much more. For the full schedule, please click New York Comedy Festival 2016

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

[FREE] 2:00 pm: A rare daytime stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Late Late Breakfast

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Ben Conrad, Lizzy Mazzucchelli, Will Carey, and Will Watkins each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in April at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and/or more make up stories with songs at the UCB East theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 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 upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

7:00 pm ($5): Married couple Jordan and Amanda Hirsch perform a comedic play about their everyday lives at The PIT downstairs lounge: Til Death

7:00 pm ($5): The host of Creek Cave Live tries out stand-up material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Casey James Salengo

7:00 pm ($5): Mary Houlihan & Sam Taggart perform duo improv, and group Monogamous performs one long 30-minute scene, all at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Mary & Sam Do Two-Prov and Monogamous

[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. Guest monologists—who tonight are Beth Newell & Sarah Pappalardo—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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): 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

7:30 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:30 pm ($8): Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Bravo, Oxygen, Sirius XM), Chelsea Hood, Charles McBee, Martin Urbano, and Adam Alexander Hamilton performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee: 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 upstairs theatre: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A four-person comedic play in which “Attendees of this mandatory interactive theatrical seminar will learn valuable office skills that will optimize their performance in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Refreshments will be not provided. You will come” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Dingleberry Theater Foundation Presents Mandatory Seminar

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “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 in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

8:00 pm ($10): Improvisors Katie Hammond & Daniel Tepper create a musical on the spot based on a location invented by an audience member at The PIT downstairs lounge: What Town? (The Musical)

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott, plus guest improvisor Chris Griggs, performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Centralia

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): A comic who’s performed on Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, starred in a Comedy Central Half Hour, and was a staff writer on TBS’ Ground Floor performs stand-up for an hour at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Andy Haynes: Live from the Sunset Strip

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Nick Kanellis, Hannah Chase, and Federico Garduno make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy trio Trike

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan Steakhouse

9:30 pm ($10): Emily Winter, Tyler Fischer, Nick Mullen, and David Piccolomini 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) produced by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show

[$] 9:30 pm ($20): A well-intentioned but less than stellar musical about Donald Trump at The PIT upstairs theatre: In Trump We Trust

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), 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

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine—with tonight’s guests including Justy Dodge, Christie Chielo, and Andy Haynes—at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman: Dark Spots

[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—which tonight is Cartoon—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Cartoon Edition

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($15): 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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe that includes Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore and is directed by the brilliant Ellena Chimielewski performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel

10:30 pm ($5): A new comedic play every month written and directed by Caitlin Dullea & Thomas Fricilone at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Love Ain’t Never Gonna

10:30 pm ($10): Non-comics (booked in advance, this isn’t an open mic) try performing stand-up for the very first time at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Cherry Poppin’ Standies

[$] 11:00 pm ($18): “When a washed-up reality TV producer is fresh out of ideas on how to get back in the game, he decides to reunite the horrible reality TV family that originally brought him fame and discover the secret that split them apart years ago. He decides to get them to confess the only way he knows how: under duress. After reuniting the family for what they think is a one-night special, the producer stages an attack on Beverly Hills by ISIS” at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Blatantly Blaine: A New “Family” Musical

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

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): 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

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($10): “Real-life lovers Diana Kolsky & Murf Meyer bring you the live counterpart to their saucy podcast, a fun, ballsy, raucous variety show about the audience” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Menage a Trois Radio After Dark

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 2:00-5:00 pm: “After a nice brunch with your best and brightest gal pals, come on over to QED for some second-hand clothing and first time jokes. The clothing swap begins at 2:00 pm and the mic starts at 3:00 pm” at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lauren Hope Krass: Ladies’ Open Mic & Clothing Swap

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] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Put your name in a bucket for this open mic for stand-up, sketch, music, or anything else you want to work out on stage at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Bates & Brian Pisano: Make Out Party: An Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

 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.

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 11/6/14

November 6, 2014

Want to be on an NBC prime time show?
America’s Got Talent is holding NYC auditions; details here.

TV Alert: Whoopi Goldberg is on David Letterman:
Geena Davis is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Rob RIggle is on Seth Meyers;
Andrea Martin is on Conan O’Brien;
Jim Norton, Kurt Metzger, and Jesse Joyce are on @midnight

Tig Notaro, Sasheer Zamata, and Pete Holmes

Tig Notaro headlines at Town Hall in Boyish Girl Interrupted; Sasheer Zamata & friends at UCB Chelsea declare it’s Party Time!; and Pete Holmes headlines at Brooklyn’s Bell House

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

[TOP PICK] [$] (11/5-11/9) The New York Comedy Festival features some of the best stand-ups in the world performing headlining sets in such major NYC venues as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, the Beacon, the NYU Skirball Center, Carolines, and The Stand during November 5-9. Among the stars performing this year are Amy Schumer, Maria Bamford, Marc Maron, Bill Cosby, Bill Burr, Bill Maher, Pete Holmes, Tig Notaro, Dave Hill, Kurt Metzger, Mark Normand, Hannibal Buress, Sasheer Zamata, Aparna Nancherla, Eric Andre, Sommore, Paula Poundstone, and Dane Cook; plus there’ll be interviews with such giants as Jim Gaffigan, and the teams creating TV series Inside Amy Schumer (including Amy), Broad City (including Executive Producer Amy Poehler), and the writers of The Late Show with David Letterman. To explore the entire schedule, please click New York Comedy Festival

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Michelle Wolf (staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Matt Fisher & John Murray (hosts of Low Standards), and Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased) performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre: Splitsider Live: Michelle Wolf, Jena Friedman, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm (SOLD OUT online; you can try for a standby line): Elliott Forrest interviews Jim Gaffigan, a comedy superstar who delights in observational humor about food (his Hot Pockets routine is a classic) and mundane things we take for granted (“I like escalators because they can never break, only become stairs”). As accessible as any mainstream performer alive, while simultaneously a sharp deconstructionist who can work any alternative comedy room with ease, Jim’s appeal is deep and universal. He’s appeared over a dozen times on David Letterman, over two dozen times on Conan O’Brien (for which he created the animated series Pale Force), performed his own Comedy Central Presents special, created a Beyond the Pale comedy album that’s been certified Platinum (the CD and DVD versions have each sold over 150,000 copies), recently released mega-selling book Food: A Love Story, and is filming TV series The Gaffigan Show for TV Land. So there’ll be lots to chat about at The Jerome L. Greene Space (44 Charlton Street): Jim Gaffigan in Conversation

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15 at the door or online): Storyteller David Crabb tells the tale of how he “just found $1,800 in cash. With a little detective work I might be able to find its rightful owner. But will I? Why should I? What bad could possibly happen if I holds onto it for a little while? A lot.” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): $1800

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone) and her storytelling, stand-up, and musical friends Andy Christie, Micaela Blei, Leah Bonnema, and Julian Velard celebrate the release of Ophira’s comedy album Bangs! at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Bangs! Comedy Album Release Party

[$] 7:45, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, and Dane Cook, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Lightning-fast & thoroughly hilarious star Pete Holmes (one of the very best stand-ups in the country; The Pete Holmes Show, You Made It Weird podcast, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, Ugly Americans, VH1’s Best Week Ever, staff writer for NBC’s Outsourced, The New Yorker) headlines at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street, between Second and Third Avenues; take the R to 9th Street or the F to 4th Avenue): Pete Holmes

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($40-$70, depending on seat location): Tig Notaro (hilarious deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program, Last Comic Standing; for stand-up video about Tig’s name, please click here) performs at Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue & Broadway): Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Ari Shaffir hosts this spectacular show featuring Jim Norton, Mark Normand, Mike Lawrence, and Bridget Everett at the Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): This Is Not Happening

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Brian McCann (writer & performer for Conan O’Brien for 17 years) performs a one-man show at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Brian McCann’s Leisure Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Dave Hill, Phoebe Robinson, Brooks Whelan, and Alex Castle performing at this show for stand-up plus sketch at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor for FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, Adult Swim’s Assy McGee and Home Movies, and numerous other shows) and/or Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Love Story (improv that begins with a significant moment in a romantic relationship and explores the characters and relationships in their lives), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from storyteller Rob Penty at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A live comedy game show hosted by Keith & The Girl at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City : You Can’t Say That

8:00 pm ($10): Amy Marcs performs a one-woman show about her experiences with breast cancer at The PIT upstairs theatre: Nice T!Ts

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15 at the door or online): Sara Benincasa, Caitlin Brodnick, Justin Cameron, and Ben Lillie tell tales related to science at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Erin Barker: The Story Collider

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): “Super secret” stand-up guests for this New York Comedy Festival edition at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($25): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There) interviews guests—who have to lie about everything—at The Jerome L. Greene Space (44 Charlton Street): Lies with Sara Schaefer

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live) hosts a party with gal-pal stand-ups Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom) and Nicole Byer, fearless dark sketch comedy duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (Leah Rudick & Katie Hartman; Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FringeNYC), and music by Handjob Academy, all performing at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Sasheer Zamata Party Time!

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Sabrina Jalees (delightful dynamo stand-up; Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy) & Liza Treyger conduct an oddball and way fun content of asking questions, with tonight’s answerers Aparna Nancherla, Bridget Everett, Michelle Buteau, Chris Distefano, Matteo Lane, Megan Gailey, Hamm Samwich, and Josh Zepps at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: How Many Questions Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($15): Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents) performs a long set at the UCB East theatre: Nate Bargatze

[TOP PICK] [$] 11:00 pm ($12): Mark DeMayo was an NYC cop for 20 years—who then retired to pursue his true passion, comedy. Mark blends stand-up and storytelling in this engaging and funny one-man show about his time on the force at The PIT upstairs theatre directed by Peter Michael Marino: 20 & Out

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv groups My Privacy and TourCo compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

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

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Joe Galan hosts a clowning workshop & open stage: “Clowns have only one true directive: To play! This is part workshop, part playground where we will use exercises geared towards exploring new voices, bodies and games. Either show off a piece in progress or jump onstage blind and ready to follow your sense of fun. Whether you’re interested in learning more about clown technique and physical comedy or just overcoming coulrophobia, this jam is a fun and safe environment to explore your onstage instincts” at The PIT upstairs theatre: No Make-Up: A Clown Jam

[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

[FREE] 7:00 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: Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

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 (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv group Junior Varsity to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

9:30 pm (free for audience members, $5 or 1 drink min. for stand-ups wanting to perform): Open mic stand-up providing 7 minutes per comic (and a free recording of your set!), with order determined raffle-style. Sign up by emailing info@oldmanhustle.com or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at the Old Man Hustle Bar (39 Essex Street) hosted by Solomon Chehebar: Peep Show Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3-5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open stage for indie improv groups—and if you’re not in a group, that’s also fine, you’ll simply be added to one—at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Darcy Burke & Donna Lobello: New Team Lunacy

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)

This Theater
(154 West 29th Street; new venue that, at its best, features shows comparable to UCB & PIT; free-$12)

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: 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 2/9/10

February 9, 2010

For the best of John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, please click here.

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Tig Notaro hosts brilliant stand-up guests Kristen Schaal and Jessi Klein tonight at the Comix Comedy Club

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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($5 online if you use code VIPFEB [otherwise $10], plus 2-item minimum): Tig Notaro (hilarious deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program, Last Comic Standing; for stand-up video about Tig’s name, please click here) hosts a show with movie & TV star Kristen Schaal (one of the funniest women alive) and Jessi Klein (fresh, unique, deliciously organic stand-up) at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Tig Notaro and Friends

7:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Hilary Schwartz and Rachael Parenta hosting an Eat My Feelings Valentines Day Special Edition of their intriguing show at Ochi’s Lounge described as “emotionally inappropriate comedy:” Please, Someone Kill Me

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Zane Grant (IDW’s We Will Bury You), and Grace Randolph (Marvel’s Her-Oes, Nation X) joining super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Comic Book Club

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm (no cover, one drink min.): Tom Shillue (world-class comedic storyteller; Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show), Matt Goldich (Comedy Central, VH1), Hadiyah Robinson, and Vladimir Caamano performing at Cellar 58 (58 Second Avenue) with delightful host Abbi Crutchfield and comedic rapster Andrew Singer: Positively Awesome

8:00 pm to midnight ($5): Four full hours of improv for only five bucks—tonight featuring UCBT house troupes Badman, The Bishop, DeCoster, The Law Firm, and Scootch,
followed at 11:00 pm by superb improv troupes Outlook of the Poet and (again) The Law Firm —all at Harold Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm ($5): Super lineup including Brooke Van Poppelen, Kevin Allison, Matt McCarthy, Katie Crown, and Iliza Schlesinger performing stand-up at the Housingworks Bookstore Cafe for a free weekly show tonight guest-hosted by Joe Derosa: Punch Up Your Life

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; recent killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central), Tig Notaro (hilarious deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program, Last Comic Standing; for stand-up video about Tig’s name, please click here), Iliza Shlesinger (LA-based winner of sixth season of Last Comic Standing), Craig Baldo (Conan O’Brien) , and more performing at The Slipper Room for the LES weekly show hosted by the wonderful Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet

9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Delightful stand-ups Leah Dubie, Amy Beckerman, and Gloria Bigelow hosting guest stand-ups Jamie Lee, RG Daniels, and Cara Kilduff performing in Ochi’s Lounge at Dykes on Mics

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:30 pm ($15 online if you use code VIPFEB [otherwise $20], plus 2-item minimum): Jessi Klein hosts her fellow Saturday Night Live staff writer Hannibal Buress, plus razor-sharp comic Joe Mande, on a headling double-bill at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Hannibal Buress and Joe Mande

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Free open-mic stand-up show that’s seldom much fun for audience members but is a nice opportunity if you want 4-5 minutes to test out your comedy material on stage: Bring It

For the best of John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, please click here.

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.