NYC Top Comedy Choices for May 2018: Last Updated Saturday 5/19

May 19, 2018

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

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for May 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

You Get a SpoonSaturday 5/19: Guests Justin Ellis (staff writer for HBO’s Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas),Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Tokyo Driftwood (band formed by Ryan Dieringer & Sam McDougle) perform stand-up, songs, characters, and/or more, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm; $13.71 online, $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Saturday 5/19: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). Tonight will be extra special, as the show is celebrating its Fourth Year Anniversary. I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $16.89 in advance online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Tracy MorganSaturday 5/19: Star Tracy Morgan is interviewed by Vulture TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, plus an episode of Tracy’s new TBS show The Last O.G. is screened, sponsored by pop culture site Vulture as part of its two-day festival: Tracy Morgan in Conversation (8:00 pm, $32.66, Milk Studios AT&T Studio at 450 West 15th Street)

Picture This!Saturday 5/19: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Josh Gondelman, Hari Kondabolu, Kate Willett, Nore Davis, Molly Ruben-Long, and Nina Tarr to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang: "Las Culturistas Live"Saturday 5/19: A live taping of the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast hosted by Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang interviewing “a special guest” sponsored by pop culture site Vulture as part of its two-day festival: Las Culturistas Live (8:30 pm, $21.66, Milk Studios Penthouse at 450 West 15th Street)

Betty BoopSaturday 5/19: Comics offer oddball information on topics selected in alphabetical order, with tonight’s subjects Betty Boop, Biological nightmares, and more, plus monthly game “Name That Demon,” expounded upon by guests Lorelei Ramirez, Gary Pascal, Megan Henricks, Joanna Rothkopf, Shannon Odell, and Jordan Mendoza: Encyclopedia Commedia: Vol. II (Av-Br) (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Vulture Festival Comedy ShowSunday 5/20: Killer lineup of Wyatt Cenac, Josh Gondelman, Julio Torres, John Reynolds, Ana Fabrega, Matteo Lane, Sasheer Zamata, and Emma Willmann perform stand-up for this event curated & sponsored by pop culture site Vulture as part of its two-day festival: Vulture Festival Comedy Show (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street—take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Barry FernsTuesday 5/22: UK-based comic Barry Ferns (BBC) gives a rare NYC stand-up performance, with openers Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, and The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland; feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America) and Caitlin Cook (singer/songwriter): Barry Ferns Loves You, Co-Starring Sean Patton and Caitlin Cook (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Hodgman and Jean GraeWednesday 5/23: John Hodgman & Jean Grae have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

David CrossThursday 5/24: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; please note previous performances of this show have consistently sold out, so nabbing tickets in advance ASAP is recommended)

Risk!Thursday 5/24: Comedic storytellers TBA join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 5/25: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street; see also Friday’s North Coast show)

The Break with Michelle WolfSunday 5/27: Michelle Wolf (star stand-up; previously the finest writer/correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers; stellar HBO hour-long special Nice Lady; shocked attendees at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner by bluntly telling the truth) debuts her weekly Sunday Netflix show tonight! For a trailer, please click here; and don’t forget to watch The Break with Michelle Wolf

Mike Drucker's "My Obituary Show"Sunday 5/27: In this new show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are Sean Crespo and Nicole Silverberg (like Mike, staff writers for Samantha Bee), Jess Dweck (executive story editor for Showtime’s SMILF; long-time former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Evan Waite (staff writer for The President Show), and Dina Hashem (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle): My Obituary Show (8:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

I'm a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-DiagnosisSunday 5/27: Storytellers Andrea Hickey (illustrator for Buzzfeed), Jesse Lee (Broad City), and Brad Einstein tell DIY healthcare tales, ranging from homeopathic cures for yeast infections to at-home surgery, and are then judged by comic & registered nurse John St. Denis: I’m a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-Diagnosis (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dan St. GermainMonday 5/28: Dan St. Germain (above; 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), Molly Austin (TruTV’s Late Night Snack), Daniel Simonsen, Whitmer Thomas, and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kevin Geeks Out About DetectivesThursday 5/31: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher (Emmy-nominated writer whose work has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, and AMC; former host of AMC’s The Sci-Fi Dept.), this month focusing on detectives (for a trailer, please click here), with scheduled guests Adam Howard (Associate Producer of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Emily Intravia (co-host of The Feminine Critique podcast), Chico Leo (co-host of the Scream Squad podcast), Nick Nadel (host of the Movies My Friends Have Never Seen podcast), Gena Radcliffe (co-host of the Kill By Kill podcast), and Mike Schuster (writer-producer of Super Deluxe and Rifftrax): Kevin Geeks Out About Detectives (9:30 pm; $16—buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas often sells out; Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue—take the L to Bedford)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 8/18/17

August 18, 2017

Tracy MorganThe star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tracy Morgan (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm tonight and Saturday, 7:30 pm Sunday; $65.50 early show, $65.50 late show, plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

Roy Wood Jr., Jo Firestone, and Janelle James…or check out this monthly show that tonight features Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Jenny Zigrino (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; movie Bad Santa 2), Calvin Evans (Showtime’s Shameless), and Alex English hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show): Camouflage: A Comedy Show (9:00 pm; $5-$10, depending on how early you arrive—includes Free Pizza!; Brooklyn’s Big Irv’s at 381 Hooper Street)…

Road House…famously silly 1989 Patrick Swayze movie Road House about “a tough bouncer hired to tame a dirty bar” is screened and made fun of by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on MST3K), Jenn Wehrung (host of Laugh it Up, Astoria), Freddy G (NPR), and Bob Hansen hosted by Chris Gersbeck: Road House Screening & Mocking by Frank Conniff and More (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($15 cover for FBPL shows, $24 cover for CC & VU shows, 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 Friday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Top improvisors Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Brandon Scott Jones, and Molly Thomas “talk to one person for less than 10 minutes and let them know how they die 45 minutes later” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: We Know How You Die

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Patrick McCartney, Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott make up scenes at The PIT Underground: Centralia

7:30 pm ($7): A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Calvin Cato, Ayanna Dookie, and John Fields at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Maggie Seymour & Olivia Atwood revive their acclaimed FringeNYC 2016 two-woman production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, tackling 15 characters in a wacky condensed version running just an hour that reportedly includes puppets, nerf guns, rap, song & dance, breaking the fourth wall, and lots of energy and comedic timing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 15 Villainous Fools

8:00 pm ($17 online or $20 at the door): Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio) hosts a diverse group of storytellers—Carl Yard, Marc Abbott, Melissa Slaughter, Ames Beckerman, and Abbas Mousa—sharing tales about “how they value their unique identity and, through it, find the power to affect change in their own lives, the lives of others, and the larger world” at The Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B) as part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival: In It Together: Stories of Strength in Diversity

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Michael Delaney, and/or Silvija Ozols forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

9:30 pm ($17 online or $20 at the door): Seena Jon (co-host of Pivot TV’s TakePart Live, host of self-help podcast The Brighter Side) performs an autobiographical show about moments “that range from joyful childhood ignorance to sex, drugs, and anger filled adolescence to self-reflective empathy-addicted adulthood; by the end, you may even feel okay with being other too” at The Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B), with an opening tale from immigration reform activist group Fwd.Us, all as part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival: Seena Jon: I Am Other

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show; breakthrough star performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; Netflix special Homecoming King) tries out a new solo stand-up show via midnight performances tonight and Saturday night at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): Superstar pro wrestler Dolph Ziggler (former WWE World Heavyweight Champion…and also stand-up comic) will be an extra special guest at this oddball blend of sketch comedy and comedic wrestling that describes itself as follows: “It’s revenge. It’s vengeance. It’s hot comedy wrestling action as only the UCBW can bring you. Don’t miss a night of hilarious characters beating the shit out of each other. Get your tickets NOW! Only 14,000 seats available!” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBW: Revengeance

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/19/17

Emmy Blotnick, Christine Nangle, and Lane Moore: "Tinder Live"A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (bottom; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guests, Emmy Blotnick (top left; rising star; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever) and Christine Nangle (top right; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Inside Amy Schumer and Kroll Show). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Cait Elliott: "Good at Cults"…or if you like storytelling shows, take in a bunch on this next-to-last day of the Speak Up, Rise Up Festival. They start at 1:30 pm with Cait Elliott performing an autobiographical one-woman show about “joining a cult in 2014, falling in love with its leader, and life on the other side; a meditation on spirituality, sexuality, abuse of power, and the basic human drive to seek something more:” Good at Cults (1:30 pm; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Leslie Goshko: "Slightly Feral"…and experience stories about being slightly animalistic by Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of Sideshow Goshko and The Real Housewives of Columbo), Aasif Mandvi (former correspondent for The Daily Show; appearances in numerous movies & TV shows), Andrew Bancroft (ace hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme), and Catie Lazarus (host of Employee of the Month): Slightly Feral (6:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Aparna Nancherla…and enjoy storytelling by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), who “has always been unsure of herself. In fact, she has spent a good deal of her life trying to figure out why exactly other people aren’t. Spend an evening with her, aided by some extraordinary cohorts, as she bumbles her way through a show that offers no answers, but does raise more questions. The only guarantee is no guarantee, no warranty, no problem. Sound intriguing? If so, please lower your expectations and come on down:” A Night of Subjective Comedy with Aparna ‘N Friends (9:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[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] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Killy Dwyer (wild singing comic), Ray DeVito (Comedy Central), and Tracy Carnazzo (host of Hashtag Comedy) perform at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): What may be your last chance to see Maggie Seymour & Olivia Atwood revive their acclaimed FringeNYC 2016 two-woman production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, tackling 15 characters in a wacky condensed version running just an hour that reportedly includes puppets, nerf guns, rap, song & dance, breaking the fourth wall, and lots of energy and comedic timing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 15 Villainous Fools

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

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[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), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—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 ($5): Comics compete in freestyle rap games and battles, with the prize being stage time, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage with DJ Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

[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 at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

11:00 pm ($7): “A feminist exploration of Tentacle Erotica, this show delves into the world of female sexuality through the lens of one slimy genre of pornography at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tentacles

11:30 pm ($7): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show; breakthrough star performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; Netflix special Homecoming King) tries out a new solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: A monthly lip synch contest judged by you and your audience, taking into account costume, choreography, and lip synching perfection, with this month’s theme 90s hip-hop and R&B, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Christina Galston: What That Mouth Do

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/20/17

Picture This!In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special), Josh Johnson (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special; Comedy Central’s Hart of the City and @midnight; former writer/performer for Jimmy Fallon), Greg Fitzsimmons (host of The Greg Fitzsimmons Show on Howard 101 radio; former writer for Lucky Louie, Politically Incorrect, Chelsea Handler, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show—for which he won four Daytime Emmy Awards), Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; TruTV, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), and Chloe Hilliard (The Nightly Show, Last Comic Standing, MTV, TruTV), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Robin Bady…and go out earlier to experience the issues of the day addressed by five female storytellers—Robin Bady (host of BADYHouse Storytelling Concerts), Nicole Ferraro (The New York Times), Valentina Ortiz (author/musician), Angel Yau, Megan Hicks, and Michele Carlo—in this final show of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival: “No, We Won’t Shut Up” (3:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door, The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Sunday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 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 four 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 ($7): Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature rising star cast member on Saturday Night Live), Lisa Curry, Matty Ryan, Alex Kumin, Brian Mitchell, and Eman El-Husseini 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 Alison Leiby (sharp, fresh, likeable stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Typically terrific stand-ups (TBA here) performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and/or Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Stand-ups challenge each other’s and the audience’s dumbest assumptions at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK): Let’s Say You’re Right

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/21/17

Sex HouseToday kicks off the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival, running every night through August 26th. Among the vibrant choices is this world premiere screening of a unified cut of The Onion’s entire 2012 webseries Sex House satirizing America’s reality show culture (for a trailer, please click here), followed by a Q&A with the director and writers of the series hosted by Sean Joseph Patrick Carney (host of Humor and the Abject podcast) and Darcie Wilder (author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person): Sex House (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Bob the Drag Queen: "Queen for the People"…and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival is this stand-up show starring Bob the Drag Queen (winner of Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), plus performances by Alotta McGriddles, Lady Bearica Andrews, Papusa Smear, and host Sandy Devastation, with music by DJ Ten Yards: Bob the Drag Queen: Queen for the People (7:30 pm & 10:30 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival show starring extreme character comic Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) with guests Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Lorelei Ramirez (host of Do Something), Bardia Salimi (host of Hell House), Andrew Tisher, Steve Whalen, and Sebastian Dinatale: The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Nicki Wright: "Panel of Thrones"…and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, check out this free weekly show in which comics Christian Finnegan, Michael Lewis, Samantha Bednarz, and Jeremy Kaplowitz discuss the final episodes of this spectacular season of GoT hosted by Nicki Wright: Panel of Thrones (7:30 pm, Free!, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 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): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Janelle James, Jeffrey Joseph, Tim Dillon, Katie Hannigan, Noah Garfinkel, and Calvin Evans perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Joe List, and other stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

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-$12

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-$12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

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 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 6/2/16

June 2, 2016

Tracy Morgan

Tracy MorganA former star of 30 Rock who’s one of the most hilarious guys in the biz headlining tonight through Saturday at Carolines—but all performances are already sold out except for tonight at 10:00 pm: Tracy Morgan (10:00 pm, $65.50 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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] 7:30 pm ($5): Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Julio Torres (inventive experimental stand-up/sketch comic), and Kyle Ayers performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Mark Normand, Ophira Eisenberg, Sean Donnelly, Julio Torres, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors remake a blockbuster film or classic story (suggested by the audience) in the style of indie filmmaker Wes Anderson at The PIT downstairs lounge: Forty Minutes in the Style of Wes Anderson: Popular Tales Retold

[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 ($5): Stand-ups tell stories which are then turned into TV movies at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Catherine Cypher, Emily Duke, and Christina Sirabian: Live or Die

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, “after receiving a signal from outer space, two scientists beam their innermost thoughts to an approaching extraterrestrial:” It Came From The Uncanny Valley

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a hospital drama parody: Dr. Brothers

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Uncivilians (“follows realistic characters and situations to their unpredictable extremes”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($5): Pop tunes with new lyrics revolving around technology performed by a dozen talented comics, including Jay Malsky and Emily Essig, at The PIT upstairs theatre: Now That’s What I Call Parody: Tech Obsessed

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jackknife Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Two 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 + Gun Club

8:30 pm [$] ($18): John Early performs and hosts Liza Treyger, Hamm Samwich, and the Gates Family Band at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): John Early: Literally Me

8:30 pm ($5): A monthly anthology series of speculative fiction in the vein of The Twilight Zone at The PIT downstairs lounge: Lucid State

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 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

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

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show revolving around the theme of acting auditions—including a monologue from a genuine actor—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Audition: A Comedy Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Peggy O’Leary, Neko White, Pete Mutino, and more performing at the Revision Lounge (219 Avenue B, between 13th & 14th Streets) hosted by Josh Roen: Revision Comedy

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing in Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Liz Simons & Jenn Wehrung: Laugh It Up, Astoria

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a one-man show about letting go of integrity: Sellout

…and in the second half of this double bill, a sketch show written by Zack Philips that includes such superb comics as Langan Kingsley and Jim Santangeli: Fuck Nostalgia

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

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): In a major upset, last week The Curfew beat Fuck That Shit (which had won 14 matches in a row) by the narrow margin of 90-82 votes. The new champion will tonight face Improv group The Cocky Nobodies, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous 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

7:30 pm ($6): All-gal stand-up, with 3 booked comics—who tonight are (Michelle Slonim, Erin O’Connor, and Chanel Ali—and 4-minute open mic spots for 13 additional female comics on a first come, first serve basis at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro: Saw Her Stand Up There

[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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 5/25/14

May 25, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan headlines one last night at Carolines

Micah Sherman

…and wonderful improvisors Micah Sherman (above), Julie Sharbutt, David Carl, and more make up plays at Act One

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal improv group Pin-Up Squirrels performs and hosts other improv groups Griffey, Soft Spot, and Sauvignon Blanc at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Play Date With the Pin-Up Squirrels

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Chris Gethard, and occasionally network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.): A former co-star of 30 Rock who’s one of the most hilarious guys in the biz headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tracy Morgan

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00, 8:45, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Kevin Brennan, and Matt Lamp at the 7:00 show; Neal Brennan, Greer Barnes, Kevin Brennan, Marina Franklin, and Lenny Marcus at the 8:45 show; Todd Barry, Ryan Hamilton, Kevin Brennan, and Vic Henley at the 10:30 show; and Mark Normand, Nikki Glaser, Kevin Brennan, Big Jay Oakerson, and Wil Sylvince at the 12:15 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb guest improvisors Micah Sherman, Julie Sharbutt, and Steve Siddell, guest improv groups Postrophe and Tickle Party Improv, and host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl), make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

8:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, hit comedy CDs Vegan Mind Meld and Meat Robot), Greg Warren (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing), Josh Rabinowitz, and more performing at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Mike Britt, Monroe Martin, Jon Laster, and hosts Amanda Seales (VH1) & Marc Lamont Hill performing stand-at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Smart, Funny, and Black

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Typically terrific stand-ups (not announced) performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) typically hosted by the wonderful Hannibal Buress (former staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, host of Comedy Night, one-hour Comedy Central specials Animal Furnace and Live From Chicago): Comedy Night

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Alison Leiby, Zach Sims, Ross Hyzer, and Eric Grundhauser performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at Beauty Bar

[TOP PICK][$] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Strong lineup of Neal Brennan (razor-sharp, edgy comedy veteran; HBO, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, comedy album Women and Black Dudes), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and Mike Recine performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Neal Brennan, Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Emmy Blotnick, Matt Nedostup, and/or Sachi Ezurafor: Sledgehammer

6:00 pm ($5): Open-mic stand-up that includes professional feedback on each comic’s 5-minute set at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Mic-Shop: Open Mic Workshop

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 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

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-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

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

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/24/14

May 24, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Ali Wong is among the comics at Dave Attell’s
Comedy Underground at 1:00 am on Comedy Central.

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan continues headlining at Carolines

Mike Birbiglia

…and Mike Birbiglia performs at Comedy Cellar

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] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include MIke Birbiglia, Greer Barnes, Ryan Hamilton, and Kevin Brennan at the 7:15 show; MIke Birbiglia, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, and Kevin Brennan at the 8:45 show; MIke Birbiglia, Gary Gulman, and Kevin Brennan at the 9:15 show; Neal Brennan, MIke Birbiglia, Dan Soder, and Kevin Brennan at the 10:30 show; and Neal Brennan, Nikki Glaser, Kevin Brennan, Lenny Marcus, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 12:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15 and 9:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): Superb storyteller Julia Wiedeman (host of UCB East’s Happy Hour Story Hour) performs a one-woman show about abuse at The PIT downstairs lounge: I’ll Show You Mine

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Improvisors make up scenes revolving around their heroes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Nicholas Feitel: The Hero Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.): A former co-star of 30 Rock who’s one of the most hilarious guys in the biz headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tracy Morgan

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, and more 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 ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) and The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman Brigid Boyle, and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC and The Baldwins

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Politically incorrect stand-ups compete in this unique show for which each comic performs a set and then has to provide biting commentary on a popular online video. The audience then votes on who was the most savagely funny and has won the right to return the following month. It all happens at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Feeney: On the Offensive

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) hosted by Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here): Comedy at Irish Exit

[TOP PICK]9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

9:30 pm ($10): “Six improvisors make up scenes until someone yells ‘Stop!’ What happens next? Will they go through Door A, B, or C? Each door dictates the next leg of the story, but only the audience can decide their fate. Will there be glory? Will one of them find their missing cat? Or is death in their future? Come find out as you choose your own adventure” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Choose Your Own Adventure

[TOP PICK]10:00 pm ($10): UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Aaron Jackson (Newsadoozies), and more form an improv troupe at UCB East that won this year’s prestigious Cage Match championship by springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, and Marcus Parks of Cave Comedy Radio’s Last Podcast On The Left “explore the dark recesses of humanity, both real and imagined, via short films, clips from favorite features, and audio spookiness” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Last Podcast on the Left Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): 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] 11:00 ($10): This variety show hosted by Ben Kissel and sketch group Murderfist features other sketch groups and solo character bits at The PIT downstairs lounge: Murderfist Presents Piñata

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney perform sharp improv at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Missy Baker, Jared Freid, Alyssa Wolff, and Anthony Devito share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

[FREE] Midnight: Two sketch troupes (not announced) each perform for 30 minutes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kokomo: Sketch Show

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Walk-in open mic comedy show—stand-up, character, or funny story—providing 5 minutes per comic at The Fifth Estate Bar (506 5th Avenue, off 12th Street) hosted by Meghan O’Keefe: Open Mic-hael Douglas

5:30 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic, with sign-up at 5:15 pm and each stand-up performing for 5 minutes, at the Comedy Village Comedy Club (107 MacDougal Street): Comedy Village

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-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/23/14

May 23, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Sasheer Zamata

Sasheer Zamata performs at Characters Welcome and Totally Requesty

Tracy Morgan

…and Tracy Morgan headlines through Sunday at Carolines

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, HBO half hour special) at every show; plus Greer Barnes, Ryan Hamilton, and Lenny Marcus at the 8:00 show; Gary Gulman and Greer Barnes at the 8:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Ryan Hamilton, and Dov Davidoff at the 10:30 show; and Neal Brennan, Greer Barnes, Mark Normand, Dov Davidoff, and Big Jay Oakerson at 12:15, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($7): Long form improv that takes the suggestion of a genre and then improvises an entire show in that genre at The Magnet theatre: Genus

[FREE] 7:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mark DeMayo (retired NYC cop with great stories), Ben Rosen, Nick Leftley, Andrew Bayroff, Tim Alexander, Alyssa Wolff, Michelle McGill, and Dr. Fritz Galette performing at Saloon NYC (1584 York Avenue, off 84th Street) hosted by Sten Ulfsson: Stand-Up at Saloon

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Don Fanelli (30 Rock, The Stepfathers), John Early (30 Rock), Joanna Bradley (VH1’s Best Week Ever), Matt Starr (ace sketch group Legs for Days), and Chelsea Davison performing character bits at UCB East hosted by Justin Tyler and Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Storytellers Julia Wiedeman (host of UCB East’s Happy Hour Story Hour), Jack Hart (host of The Dump), Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), Anne McDermott, and Brian Szabo tackle this month’s theme of One Too Many: Stories of When We went Too Far at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Avenue; take R subway to Prospect Avenue) hosted by Asher Novek: So What Happened Was…

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.): A former co-star of 30 Rock who’s one of the most hilarious guys in the biz headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tracy Morgan

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK]8:00 pm ($20; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

8:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jenny Jaffe (former staff writer for MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live): Camp Time

8:00 pm ($5): Improvisors play outside their comfort zones at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Dan Pozmanter: Fear Corner

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups aiming to slay audiences at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Phil Burke: Destroy All Humans

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK]9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Jordan Klepper, Connor Ratliff, Don Fanelli, Will Hines, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “Have you ever witnessed something truly miraculous or beyond rational explanation? Ever had an out-of-body experience, felt the presence of a divine agency, or seen a real-life unicorn? Been touched by the transcendent or religious? Raised in a cult? Come share your experiences and have improvisors use them to create hilarious scenes” at the UCB East theatre: Namaste: The Light Within

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive Comedy and Stripped Stories), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV, TruTV), Greg Stone, Adam Pateman, and Andrew Short performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

9:30 pm ($8): Gretchen Poole & Kaitlin Fontana perform duo sketch comedy “about a friendship that bends time, space, and sanity” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Cagey: Sketch for the Learn-ed

[TOP PICK]10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Nikki Glaser, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-nigh-only team at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

[TOP PICK]10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): Jamie Kilstein (Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, and Showtime, writes for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts Citizen Radio), Brendan Fitzgibbons, and Kenny DeForest performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($12): A stand-up edition of this monthly show featuring Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Mark Normand (rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Cipha Sounds (Hot 97), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey’s upcoming NBC series Tooken; MTV; host of School Night), and Corinne Fisher performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Justin Perez & Nicole Pasquale: Totally Requesty

11:00 pm ($10): A young all-guy improv troupe making stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Ace gal improvisors Megan Gray, Lauren Olson, and more create a terrible Lifetime TV movie based on an audience suggestion at The Magnet theatre: Lifetime Unoriginal Movies

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): MC Chris (nerd rapper, cartoonist, and voice actor; Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, improv group What I Did For Love, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Asie Mohtarez (CNN), and more performing at UCB East hosted by Sharon Spell and possibly featuring Jill the Shrink Dancer: The Big Shrink

Friday 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 (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Attend to perform improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge, with a weekly rotating selection of formats and hosts: Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage hosted by members of Maude troupe Moriarty: Liquid Courage

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-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

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

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

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.