NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2019: Last Updated Friday 2/8

February 8, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. Alternatively, if you know someone who should have a book, please refer him or her to me; for a year, you’ll get 10% of all revenue I receive from the referral (e.g., if the client pays me $50,000, you’ll get $5,000). To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

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 February 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

Erik Bergstrom and Aparna NancherlaFriday 2/8: Aparna Nancherla (above right; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’s Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Irene Fagan, Guitler Raphael, Joanna Ross, and Tim McLaughlan perform stand-up hosted by Erik Bergstrom (above left; Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, VH1, Fuse; cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), and Max Bruno: Live From Outer Space (9:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club at 6 Wyckoff Avenue)

Jeff Simmermon, Emmy Blotnick, and Seaton SmithFriday 2/8: With just two nights left until UCB East permanently closes, every remaining show at the venue takes on a certain poignancy. Come experience nostalgia and letting go at this midnight storytelling, stand-up, and carny show that brings the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, with storytelling from Seaton Smith (above right; rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show) and host Jeff Simmermon (above left; NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying), and stand-up from Emmy Blotnick (above middle; brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in a Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head 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, VH1), Tyler Fischer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, NBC’s America’s Got Talent), and Eman El Husseini (opens for Patton Oswalt), and burlesque by Vada James and Fem Appeal: And I Am Not Lying (Midnight, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

The Heirs of HogwartsFriday 2/8 (also 2/15 & 2/22): Improvisors create new tales of Hogwarts on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Heirs of Hogwarts (6:00 pm, $15, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/8: 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, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Mike Zakarian: Saturday 2/9: Mike Zakarian performs a one-man autobiographical show about being “a cool Christian teen in New England looking forward every year to an event called Snow Camp:” Christ Kid: A Journey Through Snow Camp (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North CoastSaturday 2/9 (also 2/16 & 2/23): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Phoebe Robinson and Wyatt CenacSunday 2/10: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Ibiza; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) Wyatt Cenac (star of HBO’s Problem Areas and TBS’ Friends of Earth; former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter), and Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede) are the stellar guests at this podcast taping hosted by Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) & Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim): Adulting (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily Flake & John Hodgman: Monday 2/11: Emily Flake (above left; brilliant writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times) & Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter) host this monthly show & podcast that features wonderfully funny people sharing their nightmares, with tonight’s guests iconic star John Hodgman (above right; bestselling author of Vacationland, The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All; Humor Editor of The New York Times Magazine; former stellar correspondent of The Daily Show; former personification of a PC in Apple Mac ads), Jason Chatfield (cartoonist for The New Yorker, Mad Magazine; Australia’s most widely syndicated cartoonist), Jennifer Finney Boylan (columnist for The New York Times, author of 15 books), Carole Montgomery (Comedy Central, Oprah, ABC, Showtime, MTV, VH1, A&E, Lifetime), and Kenice Mobely (host of Person About Town): Nightmares: The Best People Tell Their Worst Dreams (6:30 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; no cover but 2-drink min.; KGB Bar’s upstairs Red Room at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue; please arrive early if you want to ensure getting in, as the room is likely to fill up fast)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/12 (also 2/19 & 2/26): Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Black GuysWednesday 2/13: The quick-witted & hilarious Tyler Richardson (ReelzChannel; host of New Bedtime Stories) & Brian Mitchell (sketch group Laser Baby) celebrate both Black History Month and Valentine’s Day with guest stand-ups Alex English, Boris Khaykin, Kelsey Caine, Kristin Manna, Stu Melton, Mackenzie Graves, Amamah Sardar, Calvin S. Cato, and Mike Guild: Black Guys (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Starr Bar at 214 Starr Street; take L subway to Jefferson Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Thursday 2/14: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman 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). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $17 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; Please Note: This Valentine’s Day edition of the show has SOLD OUT, but you can buy tickets for next month’s performance by clicking here.)

Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni: Friday 2/15: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men TBD enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It and a Wise Queer” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The NotebookSaturday 2/16: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate infamous 2004 tearjerker The Notebook, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in The Notebook but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” The Notebook…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Uncle FunctionThursday 2/21: Six comedic actors, including Gianmarco Soresi (ABC’s Deception; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%), perform sketch in this acclaimed group: Uncle Function (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Terrorbird 3Thursday 2/21: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs its oddball version of a Disney feature film: “The brave Princess Heckena and her marketably adorable sidekick Bonesy journey upwards through the kingdom of Heck for a musical adventure we’re contractually obligated to say the whole family will enjoy. Will Heckena make it to the mortal world and finally achieve her playfully ironic dream of ice skating? Or will she marry Caligula and spend the rest of her life presiding over the eternal torment of the dang-ed?”: Terrorbird: Heck—Follow Your Nightmares (9:30 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/22: 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, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jeff Ronan & Matt Bovee: Saturday 2/23: Sketch comedy duo Jeff Ronan & Matt Bovee reenact all 50+ movies nominated for Oscars this year in under an hour: The Movie Idiot’s Guide to the Oscars (9:00 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Oscars Watch Party at Caveat 2019Sunday 2/24: Watch the Oscars with a live audience, and with comics and celebrity impersonators entertaining you during the commercials, in a classy LES venue with full bar: Oscar Watch Party at Caveat (7:00 pm, $17 online or $18 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marcela Onyango & Lauren Clark: Tuesday 2/26: Celebrating Black History Month, comics Kenice Mobley, Sharon Paul, Ariel Evans, and Khalid Rahmaan share their experiences with racial profiling hosted by Marcela Onyango (host of Feel the News) & guest co-host Andrea Coleman: Profiled (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Destiny Mabry & Jamie Aderski: Thursday 2/28: Jamie Aderski (exceptionally honest & funny storyteller; stellar solo show Cry Baby) is pregnant, while Destiny Mabry (abuse conqueror; host of Triumphs, Tampons, and Tears) is single and often sexless. Both share memorable tales blending storytelling and stand-up: Celibate and Pregnant (7:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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/W 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.

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
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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 Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

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.

Advertisements

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/15/11

September 15, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series, please click here.

Chris Gethard

Chris Gethard headlines at a new show mixing tales & cartoons: Animated Stories

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: Weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCBeast (UCB East, 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B) hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics drawing names from a bucket, with each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

[FREE] 6:30 pm: In this free show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with veteran improv talents to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and genius comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and UCBT’s The Chris Gethard ShowMagic Box of Stories, The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of book Weird New York; winner of 2011 ECNY Award for Best Tweeter) headlines at a show that also lets audience members tell their stories, with the best tale turned into an animated premiering the following month. It all happens at UCBeast (UCB East, 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B), hosted by Todd Bieber: Animated Stories

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): A rotating cast of veteran improvisors make up scenes based on the improvised monologues of the co-owner of the Magnet Theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): At UCB West, a smart troupe consisting of writers for The Onion perform their best sketches: Pangea 3000: 12 Years of Hard Work

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Joanna Bradley performs a one-woman show about how awful people are, directed by the wonderful Becky Drysdale: Everybody’s Dumb and Boring

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Typically terrific NYC stand-ups performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night LiveConan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Julian McCullough (fiercely funny rising star; Comedy Central Presents, MTV, VH1), Heather Lawless (fresh, hilarious, unique stand-up; member of Variety SHAC), Gabe Delahaye (Senior Editor of Videogum.com), and a “secret special guest” performing at UCBeast (UCB East, 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B) with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author ofLook At This F*cking Hipster) at Totally J/K

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A fine storyteller who yesterday performed a funny and poignant one-man show about how the martial arts changed his life tonight tells a variety of personal anecdotes at The PIT (123 East 24th Street): Dylan Brody

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): TV &  movie star Janeane Garofalo, Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim, Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show; films Pluto Nash, End of Days, A Guy Thing), and more performing stand-up at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for Sean Crespo’s & Carol Hartsell’s weekly comedy show Lasers in the Jungle

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors (not announced) make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT’s basement lounger for The Scene

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Stellar improv troupes Rogue Elephant and The Shucks compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB West (307 West 26th Street) for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Magnet improv troupes Brick and The Kicks compete for audience laughs and votes—yes, like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component—at Inspirado

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly open-mic stand-up show, with each comic given five minutes, at UCBeast (UCB East, 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B) hosted by Rob Stern & Amber Nelson: Gutbucket

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 9/10/11

September 10, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series, please click here.

TJ Miller

TJ Miller tells jokes and sings at UCBeast...

Nick DiPaolo

...Nick DiPaolo headlines at the Gotham Comedy Club...

Sean Patton and Adira Amram

...and Sean Patton & Adira Amram perform in Brooklyn's Union Hall for Greg Barris' "Heart of Darkness"

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] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by RG Daniels & Jared Fried: It Starts at 4

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Sharp NYC comics tell tales of “the role that got away” in these behind-the-scenes audience of broken dreams at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Jen Kwok: Role Call

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Joe Bill, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, Kay Cannon, Christina Gausas, and other stellar performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and legendary Chicago improv institutions—at UCBwest all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft making up a play on the spot at The Magnet: Theory of Everything

7:30 pm ($10): UCBT Harold Night improv troupe Airwolf makes stuff up at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B): Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Julian McCullough (fiercely funny rising star; Comedy Central Presents, MTV, VH1), Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, director/co-writer of Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon), and Rob O’Reilly (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Karma Lounge (51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with guest host Adam Mamawala: If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Gary Gulman (Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Kevin McCaffrey (David Letterman, MTV), and Josh Rabinowitz at this “comedy chat show with boundary issues” that has stand-ups perform sets and then be interviewed about their personal lives: at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Matt Ruby & Mark Normand (who says “all these guys were hand-picked because they’re funny and have some serious problems; when you read this lineup you’re gonna be like “oh yeah, that guy is a mess”): We’re All Friends Here

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A comic’s comic who’s performed on David Letterman, Jay Leno, HBO, FX’s Louie, and three Comedy Central specials headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Nick DiPaolo

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Sean Donnelly, Sharon Spell, Kendra Cunningham, Erik Bergstrom, Danny Lobell, and Ash Louis performing at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Liz Simons & Evan Morgenstern: SNC: Hot Blooded

[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: A variety show of stand-up, storytelling, and sketch that’s not only free, but promises to give each of the first 25 audience members who arrive a free beer! Unfortunately, the lineup hasn’t been announced; but if you’d care to take a chance, join hosts Ray Combs Jr., Evan Jacobs, and Aalap Patel at The PIT’s downstairs lounge as they provide you a drink On the House

[TOP PICK]  8:00 pm doors, show is probably 8:15-8:30 pm ($8 at the door or $10.70 in advanceonline): Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Adira Amram (fresh, hilarious rising star singer/songwriter; winner of the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Musical Act), Adira’s dad & ace musician David Amram, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for a show hosted by Greg Barris: Heart of Darkness

[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—UCBwest’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “This ridiculous music album is TJ’s first, last, and latest installment of his trilogy Music: Who Even Cared?. Please join him for standup comedy, and live performance of only two or three of the songs from the album” at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B): The Extended Play E.P. Music Album Release Party with TJ Miller

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 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): Christian Finnegan (co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club’s A-List

9:00 pm ($7): Two tough guys from the 1930s explaining the ins and outs of Hollywood at improv show Listen Kid!

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now at The PIT: Political Subversities

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A sketch show and birthday celebration with a small army of comics participating, taped for posterity, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Too Late With Zachary Sims

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($8): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy—and won last year’s ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group—performing this monthly show at The PIT’s downstairs lounge: Murderfist

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Ben Rodgers, Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, and other stellar improvisors interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then create an entire show based on the mini-bio at UCBwest’s The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7): A sharp musical improv troupe makes up stories with song and dance based on an audience suggestion at The Magnet’s Choral Rage

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Rob Lathan as hilarious hip version of Jeff Foxworthy, Jeff Rubin (College Humor), Lang Fisher (The Onion), Riley Soloner (UCBT improv troupe Mr. Crime), Frank Hejl (Dance Break, UCBT improv troupe Onassis), and Marshall Stratton & Shalyah Elizabeth Evans (Casual Sex Offenders) “celebrate the seedy and urbane life in America; think of us as The Prairie Home Companion, just a little more fucked up” at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B): Andy Rocco’s Underground Americana

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Top improvisors pair up for one night only: Neil Casey (Death By Roo Roo) and Connor Ratliff (Dance Break), Jim Santangeli (The Curfew) and Tim Martin (Airwolf), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers) and Aaron Jackson (Sandino), and Fran Gillespie (The Law Firm) and an audience member—plus musical guest Casey Blac and host Don Fanelli, at UCBwest’s Couples Skate

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups in a late-night talk show format at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Michael Che: Michael Che’s Community Service

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

 For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 9/9/11

September 9, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series, please click here.

Stone Cold Fox

UCBT sketch troupe Stone Cold Fox debuts a mini-play about a Brooklyn performance project in "This Is Not Art"...

...and Sean Patton performs at UCB's wonderful new East Village comedy theatre UCBeast

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: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups start at 5:30 pm) at The Creekdownstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine and Annie Lederman: The Shinebox

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

7:00 pm ($8): Award-winning improv duo Lucas Kavner and Bradford Jordan make stuff up with “a celebrity guest improvisor’ at Swords, while all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): UCBT house sketch troupe Stone Cold Fox “invites you to an extremely Important Theater located in an abandoned asbestos factory in Brooklyn’s Chicken Plucking District. Project Space is devoted to Art, not entertainment. But we do need money, so we’ll be presenting a preview of our upcoming season, complete with many Important Art Scenes, which are definitely not comedy sketches. Comedy sketches are not Art. Please join us for an excruciatingly important night at the theater. And please bring your checkbook” directed by Neil Casey at UCBT: Stone Cold Fox: This Is Not Art

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors—including Fran Gillespie, Mike Still, Craig Rowin, Amber Petty, and Ashley Ward, and tonight’s guest Christina Gausas—making up a musical on the spot at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B): Diamond Lion

8:00 pm ($10): An improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Mike Dobbins (unique stream of consciousness comic), Chesley Calloway (co-host of Comedy as a Second Language), Leah Bonnema, and Josh Rabinowitz performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Postmark Cafe (326 6th Street, between Fourth & Fifth Avenues) at this free biweekly show hosted by Abbi Crutchfield & Luke Thayer:  The Living Room

[FREE] 8:00 pm:Three sketch teams compete, with the winner decided by combining audience votes with that of a panel of judges. And while the votes are being tallied, a well-known sketch troupe outside of the competition will perform. Tonight’s show is part of a 15-team sketch tournament at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Arena Sketch League Semi-Final, Round One

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A comic’s comic who’s performed on David Letterman, Jay Leno, HBO, FX’s Louie, and three Comedy Central specials headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Nick DiPaolo

8:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy interwoven with a live band: Citizen Models

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

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 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): Christian Finnegan (co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Nate Bargatze, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club’s A-List

9:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host ofDive comedy and Stripped Stories), Greg Johnson (Sirius Radio host), and Brent Sullivan (Comedy Central; for video about crying while reading The Giving Tree, please click here) performing at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B), hosted by Caroline Creaghead: Creaghead & Company

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Award-winning sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar situations & rituals on their head (for a video about how boys will be girls, please click here): The Harvard Sailing Team

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: “Improv comedy that’s all like, ‘Have you been drinking tonight, sir?’ but then is all like, ‘Lemme get a sip'” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Teenage Cop

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Jon Gabrus, Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Fran Gillespie Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Smart, fun sketch comedy in the format of a comedy talk show from host/creator Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC, Hot Tub Variety), with tonight’s guests Tom Scharpling (The Best Show, WFMU), Lisa Delarios, and musical guest Jeffrey Lewis, plus awesome house band Adira Amram and the Experience: Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), improv/sketch troupe The Beatles (Jim Santangeli, Mike Still, Achilles Stamatelaky, and Dan Klein), sketch troupe Two Fun Men (Arthur Meyer & John Haskell), Morgan Phillips as “first heckler at UCB East,” and more performing at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B): Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): One of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) spearheads a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who’ll blow the roof off with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. Chicago-based Joe visits NYC only once a month; if he’s at this performance, upgrade it to “MEGA-TOP PICK.” Either way, the other superb players are Jordan Klepper (Klepper & Grey, iO, ), Jodi Lennon (Comedy Central’s Exit 57), Ari Voukydis (UCB instructor, VH!’s Best Week Ever), Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, UCB), Rick Andrews (Magnet performer), Mark Grenier (Magnet instructor), Jen Sanders (Magnet performer), and Chet Siegel (Magnet performer), all declaring Lights Out, Shirley!

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

[FREE] Midnight: This show typically isn’t much fun for audience members—which is why it hasn’t been on the UCBT schedule for a long time—but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCBT stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

<span style=”color:#660000″>[TOP PICK]</span>&nbsp;


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/8/11

September 8, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series, please click here.

Adam Wade and Vanessa Bayer

Stellar storyteller Adam Wade (Big Heart), SNL jewel Vanessa Bayer (Totally J/K)...

Kate McKinnon on Ice

...and your last chance to see Kate McKinnon perform one of the best shows of the year: "Kate McKinnon on Ice"

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: New weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, off Avenue A) hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics drawing names from a bucket, with each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

[FREE] 6:30 pm: In this free show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with veteran improv talents to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

7:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Kristen Lucas about “a small town in Oklahoma and all its infamous stereotypes, Including but not limited to Pecos Bill, men with small genital syndrome, and a fat lady stuck on her toilet seat:” Oklahoma! A Tornado Tour Through a Tiny Town

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): New one-hour show featuring “a compilation of my favorite stories and home videos that I’ve been working on for the past two years” from storytelling giant Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Real Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here) happening every other Thursday at the new UCBT-East (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, off Avenue A): Adam Wade’s Big Heart

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): A rotating cast of veteran improvisors make up scenes based on the improvised monologues of the co-owner of the Magnet Theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy genius Kate McKinnon concluding the run of her smash one-woman show, which features “Singing! Dancing! Ice Skating! Hoarders! Conjoined Twins! Temple Grandin!” This inventive, dynamic production is among the very best to grace the UCBT stage this year. (And if you don’t want to take my word alone, check out Jane Borden’s Time Out New York review.) Kate is the most precious of diamonds in our NYC comedy community; come see why in Kate McKinnon on Ice 

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a mini-play that pleased the college-age audience I saw it with, but that I wish wasn’t written to be so calculating and by-the-numbers (e.g., the ending was dead obvious within the first few minutes)…but is probably worth seeing if only for the genuinely fresh & funny tailor scene: Brad Sacks Gets a Handjob

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: An all-musical comedy night with rock god Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, star of The King of Miami, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Dave Hill Explosion), rock siren Jessica Delfino (enjoys singing songs about her vagina, as demonstrated by her CD Dirty Folk Rock; created the hilarious and wildly popular YouTube animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; has a cool blog; to get a feel for Jessica’s amazing range and talent, please click here), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, VH1; wrote a new song with Ben Lerman just for this show), and Dan Licata performing at The Creek’s upstairstheatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Now That’s What I Call Musical Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): In Megan Kellie’s one-woman oddity, “a horrible sketch show morphs into a puppet and foam driven romp that borrows prisoners but gives them back.” This hit at SketchFest NYC 2011 involves audience participation and a certain amount of improv, so every performance is different. Time Out Chicago called it “an exuberant and exciting piece of experimental theater…it sounds strange and it was:” The Pyramid Shew

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Typically terrific NYC stand-ups performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Vanessa Bayer (cast member on Saturday Night Live), Eugene Mirman (Conan O’BrienComedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, VH1, Adult Swim; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Greg Johnson, and rap group Das Racist performing at at the new UCBT-East (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, off Avenue A) with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author of Look At This F*cking Hipster) at Totally J/K

9:30 ($5): Three NYC sketch troupes—Dan Hirshon, Lynn Lynn, and “a secret surprise guest”—each performing one of their most popular bits and one of their personal favorites in a sketch revue hosted by Aaron Kheifets: A-Side/B-Side

9:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): NYC stand-ups Jamie Kilstein, Jen Kwok, Jason Good, Allison Castillo, and Matt Koff performing stand-up at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for Sean Crespo’s & Carol Hartsell’s weekly comedy show Lasers in the Jungle

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors (not announced) make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT’s basement lounger for The Scene

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes The Shucks and Tesla compete for audience laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Magnet improv troupes Brick and Double Date compete for audience laughs and votes—yes, like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component—at Inspirado

[FREE] 11:00 pm: New weekly open-mic stand-up show, with each comic given five minutes, at the new UCBeast (Upright Citizens Brigade East Village Theatre at 155 East 3rd Street, off Avenue A) hosted by Rob Stern & Amber Nelson: Gutbucket

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.