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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: Ben Lerman (nuanced raunchy comedic singer/songwriter; Logo TV’s NewNowNext, Sirius Radio’s Frank DeCaro Show) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCB East hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Leslie Goshko (delightful storyteller/stand-up; WNYC, Manhattan Monologue champion, Dirty Minds) hosts this monthly storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue), with tonight’s guests John Flynn (The Nights of Our Lives, host of storytelling show Oh, Hey Guys!), Caitlin Brodnick (co-host of Shut Up: An All-Female Storytelling Show), and Evan Morgenstern (producer of Switzerland Neutral Comedy), plus accordion playing by Dr. Michelle-Leona Godin: Sideshow Goshko
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): A beloved show that brings dead celebrities back to life has itself been resurrected at UCB East, with magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, Dirty Movie) hosting tonight as TLC’s Lisa Left Eye Lopes. Joining the party will be Baron Vaughn (Jimmy Fallon; co-star of USA’s Fairly Legal and Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show, MTV, VH1), Kelly Hudson (UCBT sketch team Beige, The Onion News Network, College Humor), and sketch troupe Mediocre Models: Livia’s Castle of Enchantment
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7.61 online with code RUNNINGLATE, $8 at the door): TV & movie star Amber Tamblyn, David Cross (in a rare NYC appearance, one of the most respected guys in the biz; credits as writer, actor, and comic include HBO’s Mr. Show, FOX’s Arrested Development, Comedy Central’s Freak Show, Adult Swim’s Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show…and scores of other TV and feature film roles), and more are interviewed at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Scott Rogowsky (writer for The Onion, co-host of 12 Angry Mascots) for “a unique talk show experience that needs to be experienced to be experienced. There will be plenty of bits, skits, chits and chats, and maybe that pretty girl you saw on the 6 train last night will be in the audience! It’s a big city, but you run into people:” Running Late with Scott Rogowsky
8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Hello Laser, Phooka, and Junior Varsity performing improv, followed at 10:00 pm by Christina Gausas directing The Subject (improvised scenes that focus on one character who never leaves the stage, while other characters from the past, present, and future come and go), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) with troupes Upstate and Pumpkin battling for laughs & votes: The Magnet’s Night Out
[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A stand-up comedy showcase and baking competition—come to eat or come to compete” at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Cody Hess & Jessica Gross: Cookies!
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($15 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BBOX): Telly Savalas returns to life to entertain you and provide life guidance in this 50-minute show that was a hit at FringeNYC 2011 and is now enjoying an open-ended Friday night run at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club. The script is at times very smart, especially in its choices of hilarious video clips and music tracks from the real Savalas…who, in his more intense moments, apparently rivaled William Shatner at his silliest. But even when Hunter Nelson’s writing isn’t consistent, actor Tom DiMenna—who is a professional comic with great timing and skill at engaging an audience—will keep you entertained: Who Loves You, Baby?
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced by 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) 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
9:00 pm ($5): Typically superb comics (not announced this week) performing at UCB East with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (writer for Adult Swim’s Delocated; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, VH1; author of Look at This F*cking Hipster): Totally J/K
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of the comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; writer for Glamour, Elle; NPR’s This American Life; co-host of red-hot The Talent Show), Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central; creator & host of IFC game show Bunk; co-creator & co-star of UK TV series Penelope: Princess of Pets; co-host of Hot Tub Variety; triple 2011 ECNY Award winner), Miles Kahn (producer for The Daily Show), and Jennifer Palmer (Reality San) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre to share tales on tonight’s theme Childlike at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, one of the very best sketch shows of 2012. It’s a noir mini-play written & directed with immense wit by Michael Trapp (Stone Cold Fox), who with this script demonstrates he’s a rising star with a surefire career in the biz. And beyond the pages, Michael’s put together an all-star cast, including John Murray (simultaneously gripping and hilarious as a hardboiled detective with an absurdly short attention span), Brandon Scott Jones (who delivers an unforgettable scene with John that’s worth the trip all by itself), and D’Arcy Carden (who abandons her usual laid-back persona here to be smoking hot). These are all total pros who are virtually assured careers in TV and film. Catch them while they’re honing their craft and waiting to be noticed in one of the most consistently fun shows in NYC: Death Wears Stilettos…
…and in the second half of this double-bill, a parody of The Bachelor written by UCBT faves Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN, writer or director of numerous UCBT sketch shows) and Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox, Pig: A Restaurant), and worth catching if only to experience the delicious comedic performances of standouts Morgan Grace Jarrett (Big Fish, Love Liza, Buffy fan) and Nicole Byer (Doppelganger)—who are especially fun when they turn into an unlikely a comedy duo…: The Bachelor: Romance, Roses, and Romance
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week improv troupe Airwolf annihilated the threat of contagion with an overpowering win of 119-27 against challenger The Pox. With nine victories in a row, Airwolf may be feeling pretty confident; but tonight it faces one of UCBT’s most popular and long-running improv groups, The Stepfathers. The Heavens will shake as these two giants compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match
11:00 ($5): A screening of a 2010 feature film by the Upright Citizens Brigade written, co-directed, and co-starring Matt Besser, and also briefly featuring Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts (Ian almost steals the movie by simply delivering a doctor’s diagnosis…) at UCB East—which is a perfect venue for films because it used to be an indie movie theatre: Freak Dance
P.S. If you can’t make this screening, you can also see the movie at UCB East on Friday May 25th at midnight (at which point the run will probably be eligible for a New York Times review…). You can also pay to see the movie for a brief time online via various streaming film sites and/or buy its soundtrack to enjoy anytime via iTunes.
For more, please visit HyReviews.com.