NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/6/16

July 6, 2016

Your Love, Our MusicalWorld-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) for their phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (8:00 pm; $10, which is super cheap; this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street—take R subway to Union Street)

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Lovers, which includes the spectacular Dana Krashin and Tracy Mull at 7:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), John Early (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp), Gary Richardson (IFC), and Ian Anderson performing at the only stand-up show at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Gary Richardson: The Sensible Show

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Staged readinging of works so bad they’re good—unsellable screenplays, baffling dramatic works, hardcore fan fiction—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), hosted by Alex Estrada & Ronan Babbitt: Table Work

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, 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 Wednesday

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features three house groups making up scenes on the spot: Lloyd Night

7:30 pm ($5): Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is MJ better than Lebron? That’s the sort of thing debated by hosts Tyler Rothrock & JP Roy, along with tonight’s guest comics Josh Rosen & Bryan Yang, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Definitely Right!…Maybe!?

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, ace improvisors Connor Ratliff, Molly Lloyd, Terry Withers, and more somehow create an improvised murder mystery on the spot—with the audience helping to commit the crime: The Terry Withers Mysteries

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Pete Lee, Roy Wood, Jr., Monroe Martin, Derek Gaines, and Aaron Berg performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Wednesday: Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Young and/or struggling NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) produced by Meghan O’Malley, Adrian Davidson, and Erick Hellwig: Barely Making It

8:30 pm ($10): “In the magical town of Sparkleberry, everyone’s an artist, writer, and creative spirit. Citizens of Sparkleberry are kind, compassionate creatures, with hearts of gold, but they’re also total idiots. But that hasn’t stopped them from writing and performing their hearts out. Join me and my theater troupe as we show you select scenes from some of their greatest works” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Snippets From Sparkleberry

8:30 pm ($5): “Social media meets improv as graduates of the PIT Improv Program transform their innermost tweet- and blog-length thoughts into scene after scene, all inspired by a single suggestion” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Biscuit Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; stellar new comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, and other NYC comics “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this weekly podcast taping at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

9:00 pm ($5): Andy Sandford (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, The Beards of Comedy), Peggy O’Leary (host of Hard Lonely and Vicious and Creek Cave Live), Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired; co-host of Comedy School Dropout), and Jordan Temple performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Travis Irvine & Jessica Watkins: Homespun Comedy

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Khalid Rahmaan, Jon Laster, Ian Abramson, and Erik Monica performing stand-up for this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): Improvisors use details from audience members to make up a robbery at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Captive Audience: An Improvised Heist

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

9:30 pm ($5): Film clips, reviews, jokes, and audience games all revolving around movies at The PIT downstairs lounge: Movie Buffs

9:30 ($5): Over a dozen talented female improvisors—including Lauren Adams, Natasha Vaynblat, and Caitlin Bitzegaio—parody all-gal opinion shows such as The View, making up most of the show on the spot based on a loose outline at at the UCB Chelsea theatre. The result is often proof that “less is more,” but if you’re very patient there are worthwhile moments to be had from The Female Gaze

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Charlie Todd & Kevin Hines provide color commentary on improv sets by other top improvisors at UCB East for this monthly event: Play by Play

10:30 pm ($5): Booked comics try out stand-up, characters, songs, etc. at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Liz Noth, Jessica Morgan, Erin Bartley, and/or Casey McCormick: First Looks

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone, Connor Ratliff, David Bluvband, and other superb improvisors perform in this: “On behalf of humanity, The Academy has studied the human experience and is now prepared to impart its wisdom upon you, the audience, by utilizing the endangered art of Dramatic Improvisations. Come with an open heart, leave with an expanded mind. Do not be afraid. NOTE: THIS IS NOT A COMEDY PERFORMANCE” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: STRIFE: An Improvised Theatrical Experience

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Walk-in open mic storytelling show (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm), with each yarn-spinner getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild: Flynn’s Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Four booked NYC stand-ups, plus one open spot for an audience member whose name is pulled from a bucket, plus drop-in spots for up to five TV-credited comics who care to walk in! Spots are at least 5 minutes each, but go up by a minute per comic for every TV-credited drop-in spot that isn’t filled (e.g., if no drop-ins appear, every comic will receive up to 10 minutes per set). It all happens at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Daniel Ahrens: Drop-In/The Bucket

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: A gay-themed opportunity to perform improv—especially musical improv—on the UCB East stage: …XYZ Jam

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

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

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

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

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

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 11/24/15

November 24, 2015

Please help beloved comedy performer Dana Krashin get her dream job
by voting once a day thru 12/3 here (a quick & easy way to be a hero)

Joe MachiThe hilarious oddball breakout star of the 2014 Last Comic Standing (he wasn’t given the win, but deserved it) records his first comedy album via a long set at 8:00 pm and again at 10:00 pm. Come have your laugh immortalized at the Joe Machi CD Taping (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, no cover but 2-item min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street off Sixth Avenue)…

Your Love Our Musical…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)—at Your Love, Our Musical: ThanksSinging Edition (9:30 pm, $10 (which is super cheap; this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues), The PIT Upstairs Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)…

Myq Kaplan and Jo Firestone…and Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015), and more perform for host Jeremy Wein’s Explosion of Everything! (9:00 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A political stand-up and former comedy club owner tries out new material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Barry Crimmins

7:00 pm ($5): “A computer beeps at random intervals, might be 2 seconds, might be 10 minutes. Every time it beeps, and only when it beeps, the performers jump into a new scene. What happens when nothing you can do can make the scene go longer nor end sooner? When only this instant is guaranteed?” at The PIT downstairs lounge: /Switch/

[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 Tuesday

7:30 pm ($5): Guest storytellers tell Thanksgiving tales, plus three audience members will be randomly selected to spin yarns for 5 minutes each, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015): FastTrack: A Thanksgiving Storytelling Show & Open Mic

7:30 pm & 9:15 pm ($5 per show): House groups at UCB Chelsea perform the classic improv form The Harold at Harold Night

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This monthly game show asks roommates to answer questions testing how well they know each other (a la The Newlywed Game) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Joe Welkie: Roomie Raiders

8:00 pm ($5): “Live rock ‘n roll, stand-up, sketch, characters, and class clowning” at UCB East hosted by Bill Stiteler & Tony Zaret: School Drools

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups Wyatt Cenac and Maeve Higgins, and singers Sonnymoon and Quelle Chris, performing and/or being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by singer Jean Grae: The Show Show’s NoThanksgiving and Birthday Bash

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Sachi Ezura, Clark Jones, Robert Dean, and/or Steve O’Brien: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At this monthly game show, comics—who tonight include powerhouses Sean Patton and Christina Gausas—compete to see who can perform the best celebrity impressions at the UCB East theatre hosted by Andy Beckerman (host of podcast Beginnings, co-host of Two Comics One Stage) & Ramsey Ess: Snap Impression Live

[TOP PICK] 10:00ish pm ($7): Stand-ups Kurt Braunohler, Jordan Rubin (visiting from LA), and more performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet

10:00 pm ($5; no min.): This super-affordable weekly club show features a mix of superb and pretty good stand-ups performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies at The Stand

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you’re okay with standing): Two of the sharpest comics in the biz, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, per form at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: SNL’s Sasheer Zamata, John Early, and more performing stand-up at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Matteo Lane (Comedy Central): Chemistry

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 3:00 pm: A daytime stand-up open mic providing the opportunity for moms to get on stage before their kids return home, or to bring their babies with them, at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Mom Com Open Mic

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 (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:15 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, typically hosted by Jamie Aderski: Personality Disorder Character Jam

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

7:30 pm ($5): Guest storytellers tell Thanksgiving tales, plus three audience members will be randomly selected to spin yarns for 5 minutes each, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015): FastTrack: A Thanksgiving Storytelling Show & Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 7:30) at Brooklyn’s Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Goodbye Blue Monday

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up that’s first come, first serve (signup starts at 8:30) and provides each performer 6 minutes—or 4 minutes plus 2 minutes of feedback!—at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street): Train Wreck Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 10:15 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members can join in with an experienced musical improv group to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and/or David Frasure: Study Hall

 For tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

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:
Click Any Image That Interests You to See the Discount Offer

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

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 Friday 5/22/15

May 22, 2015

Half-price tickets for It’s Only a Play, Big Dummy,
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,
and much more via Goldstar

Cocoon Central Dance Team

A dynamite dance/music double bill at The PIT tonight, starting with Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani blending sketch comedy & performance art as Cocoon Central Dance Team

Rebecca Vigil

…and then Rebecca Vigil (above) and Evan Kaufman delivering world-class musical improv in Your Love, Our Musical

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 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 stand-ups include Colin Quinn, Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Jon Fisch, Gregg Rogell, Carmen Lynch, Russ Meneve, Keith Alberstadt, Lynne Koplitz, Jessica Kirson, Robert Kelly, Pete Davidson, Sean Donnelly, Lenny Marcus, and Dov Davidoff, with all of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[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): Ted Alexandro (one of thevery finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presentshalf-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, James Mattern, Marc Theobald, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro, Janeane Garofalo, and More

7:00 pm ($5): Improvisors make up a movie on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Movie Night

7:00 pm ($7): “It’s important to stay informed. That’s why we bring you all the news that happened this month, at the end of this month. Just your average news show, keeping you up to date with your world one month at a time” at The Magnet written & performed by Jarret Berenstein: Current Events

7:00 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team] and Royals

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nathan Macintosh (Family Channel) tries out material tonight through Saturday at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Nathan Macintosh

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, wonderfully talented performers Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp do a show that tries to make a virtue of extreme, about gay twins who sing, dance, screw each other, and screw over everyone else. The results are mixed, because a script that merely goes relentlessly over the top isn’t enough to be emotionally satisfying, but there are scattered delights—especially a tuneful, show-stopping song about never giving up that’s by itself worth the price of admission: Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharp (above) switch gears from sketch to improv, creating scenes on the spot about “the Hole-iest Hump Day on the Vatican Calendar:” Ass Wednesday

[FREE] 7:30 pm: “A conference/retreat/life-changing experience for womyn. This herstorical night of female empowerment is filled with guest speakers, womyn-centric activities, bonding, mimosas, moments that last a lifetime, and a special appearance by the legendary feminist icon Chickadee Welbourn,” featuring Jo Firestone and nearly a dozen other female comics performing at B.H.Q.F.U. (34 Avenue A on the 3rd Floor) hosted by Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez: FEMx

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($48.50 & 2-drink min.): A former cast member of The Office, and star of the upcoming NBC sitcom Mr. Robinson based on his early days as a K-9 music teacher in Chicago, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Craig Robinson

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 (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “Each stand-up will do his or her set, and then host JoAnna Ross will conduct an interview about the comic’s dating life. Questions you always wanted to know will be asked: Where do you take a first date to get laid? Do you pay? Where do you take a date to break up with them? What bathrooms have you done it in?” and much more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Undateables

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Redefining our concept of dance are a three-gal troupe consisting of Eleanore Pienta (breathtaking rising star actress who delivered one of last year’s very best performances as star of indie feature film See You Next Tuesday), Tallie Medel (star of indie feature film The Unspeakable Act), and Sunita Mani (sketch/improv group Chester). For video samples, please click here; and if you like what you see, come experience them in April and May at The PIT upstairs theatre: Cocoon Central Dance Team

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($24.75 via Goldstar [vs. $29 at the door]): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albumsComedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Jim Florentine, and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Kirson, and More

8:00 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

8:00 pm ($8): “Long, long ago, by the banks of the river Marinara, where breadstick trees grew in unlimited amounts, in the steamy valley of mozzarella, there was a sleepy little hamlet known as the town of pizza. And the people of this town were a simple, smiling folk, who loved soft drinks, and arcade games, and maintained a friendly family atmosphere. Oh, they were an eclectic bunch: a mayor with a gluttonous lust for power; a bum who tasted glory but lost it all; a fisherman desperate for one last bite. But in one house lived a man who was…a little different” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Slice of Life

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s starred on two seasons of Last Comic Standing; has performed a very popular Comedy Central Presents half-hour special; was a regular on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; was the first white comic on Def Jam; wrote for Chris Rock; played Lenny Bruce on NBC’sAmerican Dreams; was an unlikely guest on The View; and is a regular on the Opie and Anthony radio show, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club (with openers Ophira Eisenberg, Adrienne Iapalucci, and Moody McCarthy): Rich Vos

[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 Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[MEGA-TOP PICK]  9:00 pm ($10): Powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil and her elegant partner Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—often with breathtaking skill—atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Your Love, Our Musical

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

9:00 pm ($10): Josh Patten, Dru Johnston, and Ben Rameaka perform improv at the UCB East theatre as trioPahjohnka Johnk

9:30 pm ($5): Sketch groups Soap and Teen Radio, plus comic Griffin Newman, performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Soap and Teen Radio

9:30 pm ($5): This variety show features stand-up, characters, dance, improv, and/or more at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20): Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albumsComedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Jim Florentine, and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Kirson, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A whole bunch of NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Musical improv from group Tourist Trap, which consists of members from world-class group Baby Wants Candy and more, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tourist Trap: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live) and Nicole Byer (30 Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Doppelganger) perform duo improv, and also screen the latest episode of their webseriesPursuit of Sexiness, at the UCB East theatre: Pursuit of Sexiness Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Sketch/improv group Gentlemen Party tonight plays with TV tropes, presenting “adorable alien buddies, BBC period dramas, politicos talking really fast, and at least one Olive Garden commercial…and that’s just the written half! The other half is improv” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party: White Teen Lake—The Series Finale

11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre from group His Majesty, The Baby

11:30 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): In this unique one-time show, 10 stand-ups are all given the same jokes and compete to perform them in the most original, entertaining ways at UCB East hosted by Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

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 theStand 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): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[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 various Maude Night groups: 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)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-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.)

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/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

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

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