NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 7/31/12

July 31, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

Steve Rannazzisi

Steve Rannazzisi of FX’s “The League,” Al Madrigal, Christian Finnegan…

Kurt Metzger

…and Kurt Metzger are among the stand-ups at tonight’s ComedyJuice

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] 6:30 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Chesley Calloway (co-host of renowned Comedy as a Second Language): The Ches Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-Midnight ($7 for the whole evening): In this 5-hour extravaganza, each of four of The Magnet’s singing improv troupes make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: Atticus and Mint Condition at 7:00 and BEEES! and The Montels at 8:30; followed at 10:15 by a free show that lets audience members join in with musical improv troupe The Montels to make up stories in song on the spot: Magnet Tuesday Musical Megawatt

7:30 pm-9:15 pm ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes Hoops, Kinsey, and GoodGirl at this first half (see 9:15 pm for more) of Harold Night

8:00 pm ($8): Head writer & director Jen Curran (Harvard Sailing Team, The Baldwins, Jen & Steve) and a dozen other talents perform brand new sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre: Big Business

8:00 pm ($5): Young improvisors at The PIT downstairs lounge make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Shady Bunch

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly show features “a swarthy selection of fine stand-up comics and mildly entertaining recurring segments” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre, hosted by Jim Tews & Brendan Eyre: Chest Hair

9:00 pm (no cover, one drink min.): John Roy (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central), Emily Heller (Comedy Central; staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Kara Klenk (host of If You Build It), Harrison Greenbaum (writer for Mad Magazine; head writer of Tu Nite con Lorenzo Parro on NBCU/Telemundo; winner of the 2010 Andy Kaufman Award), and “a special guest” performing stand-up for this weekly show at Sidewalk NYC (94 Avenue A) with tonight’s host Josh Gondelman: The Afterlife: Eulogy

9:15 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes Spooky Ghost, Graceland, and The Pox—plus at 11:00 pm advanced improv students make up scenes based on “the news and the fears of today” in a form called The Current—at this second half (continued from 7:30 pm) of Harold Night

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VHI, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), and Tony Zaret perform at UCB East hosted by Anthony Atamanuik (Death by Roo Roo, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, The Nights of Our Lives) who’ll perform a dark mix of improv and sketch that’s uniquely The Tony Show

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Chris Grace: Cold Soda Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15 & 2-drink min.): Al Madrigal (correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno), Steve Rannazzisi (creator/co-star of FX’s The League; Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Louie, Ugly Americans, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing), Brendon Walsh (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel), and Ari Shaffir (HBO’s Down and Dirty) performing at the Gotham Comedy Club hosted by Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central): ComedyJuice

10:00 pm ($8): “Improvising from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong, kicking ass, and hoping each time that the next kick ass jump will be the kick ass jump home” from troupe IRTE at The PIT downstairs lounge: IRTE: That Kick Ass Time Jump Show

[FREE] 11:00 pm: 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: Open-mic stand-up at UCB East hosted by Boris Khaykin, John Trowbridge, and/or Katie East: Tuesday Night Open Mic

 For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 7/30/12

July 30, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

Sara Schaefer

Sara Schaefer performs at The Big Shrink and Broken Comedy…

Kristen Schaal

…and Kristen Schaal bids adieu to her long-running weekly sketch/stand-up show Hot Tub Variety

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: Open-mic storytelling show, with audience members chosen from a bucket of names getting to tell tales for 8 minutes each at The PIT downstairs lounge along with host Jake Hart and a guest storyteller (not announced this week): The Dump

6:00 pm ($5 cover & $5 drink min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4 1/2 minutes per set and 20 comics crammed into 2 hours—at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street) for John Morrison’s Village Motel

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show running about 90 minutes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Chris Gaynor: Open Mic Mondays

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at One and One Bar’s Downstairs Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm (online sales SOLD OUT; there might be a few standby tickets for $8 at the door): Kristen Schaal’s last show as co-host, with Janeane Garofalo, Eugene Mirman, Leo Allen, “a special guest,” co-host Kurt Braunohler, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street); if I can stay awake for 24 hours straight, I’ll be there too…: Hot Tub Variety

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5):Broadway & off-Broadway stars mixing it up with genius improvisors John Lutz & Scott Adsit (30 Rock, John & Scott), Rachel Dratch (SNL), Becky Drysdale, and Michael Delaney as they crash improv into classic theatre scenes played by wonderful Broadway, off-Broadway, and TV actors Julie Sharbutt, Amy Rutberg, Oliver Chris, Cristin Milioti, and Jemima Rooper at UCB Chelsea for actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), comedy duo Coker & Stratton, and more performing at UCB East hosted by Sharon Spell and featuring the Shrink Dancers: The Big Shrink

8:00 pm ($8): Improv performed by talented duos at The PIT upstairs theatre: Ampers&nd

[DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($11.34 [vs. $21.69] online using discount code LLED10): NYC stand-ups specializing in political humor make fun of our current election cycle at The Playroom Theater (151 West 46th Street); take advantage of discount code LLED10 to see this off-Broadway show for under $12: Laughing Liberally: Electile Dysfunction

8:00 pm ($10): Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Ben Asher, Jerry Shack, and more performing stand-up at this monthly show at The PIT, hosted by twins Todd & Adam Stone: Stone and Stone Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel, FX’s Totally Biased), Tyler Fischer (host of Fresh Fisch), Jess Wood, Kevin Avery, and Dwayne Kennedy performing at this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Bar Matchless back room (557 Manhattan Avenue, near the G subway’s Nassau Avenue stop) hosted by Mike Denny, Michael Che, and Nimesh Patel, and often featuring free beer: Broken Comedy

9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch troupes try out fresh material: Charlemagne (which includes such talents as Daily Show writer Zhubin Parang) and Beige: Maude Night: Beige & Charlemagne

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Following a club format, hosts Nore Davis & Andrew Short perform stand-up throughout for a total of 25 minutes, two comics each perform a 15-minute set, and then a seasoned headliner closes out the show with a 20-minute set, all at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: On the Road

9:30 pm ($5): The debut of the only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

10:00 pm ($5): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens” at The Magnet hosted by Megan Gray: We Might Just Kiss

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Keith Huang: Base Jam

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Karaoke plus Mad Libs—in which the audience chooses a list of words to swap into a popular song—at the UCB East Bar hosted by karaoke experts Alan Starzinski and Amy Jo Jackson, plus live keyboard accompaniment by Joe McGinty: Karaoke Night at the Hot Chicks Room

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who are no longer being announced in advance, but it’s virtually always a great lineup—at UCB Chelsea hosted by someone wonderful (while Leo Allen is in LA): Whiplash

[FREE] 11:00 pm: If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should be Whiplash! night (see listing above). If you’re a comic who couldn’t get booked on UCBT’s all-star show, though, you can opt to instead practice your skills at this exceptionally supportive stand-up open-mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jared Reed: Fresh

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7; SOLD OUT, but there’ll be a waiting list for tickets unclaimed 10 minutes prior to showtime): Jason Mantzoukas (film/TV star; We Used to Go Out, Mother, Baby Mama) and Ed Herbstman (national TV commercial star and stellar comedic actor; co-founder of the Magnet Theater) are improv masters—as they demonstrated by easily winning the $10,000 Friars Club competition for Best Improv Troupe last year. Come see the height of improv as these breathtakingly quick-witted and skillful guys create pure magic during one of the rare evenings when Jason (who now lives in LA) is visiting NYC—and as they then engage in an unusually intimate, and potentially awkward, debriefing session with the audience that can be as much fun as the formal part of the show: The Mantzoukas Brothers

 For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/29/12

July 29, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

Christian Finnegan and Joselyn Hughes

Christian Finnegan performs at Comedy at the Beauty Bar, and Joselyn Hughes performs at Sunday Night Stand-Up

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 walk-in open-mic stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Showcase

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An improv show that asks you to drop written suggestions into a box before it begins and then dips into the collection of suggestions throughout to propel new scenes: The Drop Box

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCBwest’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes stars in the improv world, and sometimes even TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($5): Improv troupes not affiliated with any comedy school compete at UCB East for audience laughs and votes—and the privilege to go on to perform at the primary Cage Match show at UCB Chelsea—in this show hosted by the delightful Amey Goerlich & R an Karels (Krompf): Indie Cage Match

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Sketch, improv, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City from comedy troupe Froduce

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Joselyn Hughes (delightful stand-up; writer for MTV’s Epic Fail, former staff writer/performer for Tosh.0; BFF & occasional sketch comedy partner of Brooke Van Poppelen), Justy Dodge (co-host of Too Much Information on comicalradio.com; “I was kind of a tomboy growing up. Like, I had Barbies, but only because my Ninja Turtles needed bitches;” for dark bio video, please click here), Jim Tews, George Gordon, and Jake Young performing at RG’s free weekly show at the Three of Cups lounge (83 First Avenue at 5th Street): Sunday Night Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($5): Short-form improv at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Sunday ShortForm Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe North Coast clobbered some of the best improv troupes in NYC earlier this year at UCBT’s Cage Match. Tonight come see this troupe perform on its own for a full hour at The Magnet: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central’s Indecision 2012),Phoebe Robinson (100 TV Shows To See Before You Die), and Scotland Green performing in the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at the Beauty Bar

9:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

9:30 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from top Magnet sketch troupes and more at Sketch Sundays

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with four minutes per comic, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Molly Austin & Mike Brown: Vicious Cycle

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller with notable bangs; Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another), Hilary Schwartz, and Damien Bellino performing at this free weekly gay-themed show at Therapy guest hosted tonight by Adam Lehman (who originally created this show): Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

10:00 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/28/12

July 28, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

Birdermic: Shock and Terror

Improv troupe Birds provides commentary on a 2010 film reviewers have called “unrelentingly bad in every aspect..the perfect storm of badness” at The PIT’s Midnight Movie at Montoya’s Presents: Birdemic…

Keisha Zollar

…Keisha Zollar performs at The Magnet’s Ladies Night and co-hosts UCB East’s The Soul Glo Project…

Carmen Lynch

…and Carmen Lynch performs stand-up at If You Build It

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 (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Stand-ups perform a tight set, then tell more jokes based on suggestions from the audience at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Andy Rocco: Rocco’s Playground

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes The Establishment, Mike Brown, and Espiritu de 76 at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-1:00 am ($10 for the whole night): A special all-gal evening at The Magnet, with an hour of femaie improv, poetry, and sketch at 7:00; an hour of stellar gal improvisors, including Christina Gausas, Keisha Zollar, Jen Sanders, and Kelly Buttermore at 8:00; an all-female version of Kiss*Punch*Poem at 9:00; an all-gal sketch show at 10:30; and an open jam at midnight: Ladies Night

7:00 pm ($5): All-gal improv troupe Gypsy hosts ace storyteller Ophira Eisenberg, stand-up Naomi Ekperigin, jazz band Urban Bourbon, and improv from themselves at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Mélange

7:00 pm ($8): At this PIT double-bill, Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell “bring more than five years of improv collaboration to stage for an evening of bold, committed characters and probably a fart joke for good measure” as Hodapp & Rothwell, and then all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

7:30 pm ($10): Talented improvisors at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Nimesh Patel, Andy Hendrickson, and Barry Sobel participate in 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): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill—and occasionally with comedy giants Kristen Schaal and/or Kurt Braunohler participating—at the upstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

8:30 pm ($10): Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller with notable bangs; Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another), Carmen Lynch (Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel, FX’s Totally Biased), Matt Koff (Onion News Network, WitStream, 9 Am Meeting), Team Submarine, and Scotland Green performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk: If You Build It

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

[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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), Mike Yard (Comedy Central), Harris Stanton (SNL, Comedy Central, BET), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($5): “A monthly show featuring long form improv of three diverse schools of thought and culminating in a cross-team closing” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sharif Ali and Kelly Ann Rockwell: World’s Fair

9:30 pm ($15): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now enjoying a long run at The PIT upstairs theatre: 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: NYC comics performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this talk & stand-up show hosted by Sarah Tollemache: Last Night

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Improv troupe Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—promises to “take your stories of the tragic and depraved and scatter them into laughter” at this newest UCB Chelsea show to be honored with a weekend time slot—and which is currently kicking ass at Cage Match: Grandma’s Ashes Gets Dark

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): UCBT Harold Night improv troupe Airwolf—which in a phenomenal run has crushed 12 improv troupes in a row so far at Cage Match—makes stuff up at UCB East for an entire hour: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

10:30 pm ($7): Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney perform at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

11:00 pm ($8): Improv troupe Maybe Sherman makes up scenes involving mobsters, plus additional entertainment from comedic guests (not announced), at The PIT upstairs theatre: MafiaProv

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: This free show at The PIT upstairs theatre does a great job of describing itself: “Bad movies. We can’t stop watching them. Is it because the plot is so enjoyably paper-thin? Or maybe the acting is so deliciously cheesy? Whatever the reason may be, Oscar Montoya (Local 154, Aquarius) is inviting you to his house to watch all of his favorite so-bad-they’re-awesome movies.” Joining him is improv troupe Birds (which includes the lovely Julie Sharbutt) to comment on “one of the most recent best worst movies” (released in 2010, and scoring an exceptionally low 2.0 on IMDB): Midnight Movie at Montoya’s Presents: Birdemic

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): ” It’s revenge. It’s vengeance. It’s hot comedy wrestling action as only the UCBW can bring you. Don’t miss a night of hilarious characters beating the shit out of each other. Get your tickets NOW! Only 14,000 seats available!:” UCBW: Revengeance

Midnight ($5): Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger) and Poupak Sepehri (runs UCB’s Difference Blog) host a variety show at UCB East that’s a mix of stand-up, sketch, improv, dance, music, and video: The Soul Glo Project

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, 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 more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/27/12

July 27, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

Leah Rudick

Leah Ruddick of sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting…

Sara Benincasa

…and Sara Benincasa are among the comics posing as tots for your entertainment in Crown That Sexy Baby

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:

Michael Delaney, and Connor Ratliff—every Friday deliver a genius hour of improv

[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 hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

7:00 pm ($7): Improv at The Magnet that flows from moment to moment, with no sweeps or tag outs—”each exit starts a new scene, while performers use devices ranging from monologues to in-scene questions to break into characters and relationships quicker and deeper:” Scoresby; plus in the second half of this double-bill, an improv troupe specializing in “intimate scene work and special edits:” Honey

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): A critically acclaimed show described as “Two Men. One Chain. Fully Improvised,” with Dion Flynn (Jimmy Fallon, Matador) & Nate Starkey (Big Black Car, Starkey and Grace) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Shackled

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It’s earned this slot because its cast is one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough for potential stardom. As for its writers, they sizzle when at their best; but at the moment I’d call their newest show, offering the benefit of the doubt, “a work in progress.” The “this show is about you” gimmick has zero resonance—it’s really not about you, or about anyone else; and the mix between improv and sketch is so confusing that I wasn’t sure whether a number of scenes were mediocre improv or flat-out bad scripting. Still, the cast is so strong—Fran Gillespie, John Murray, Brandon Scott Jones, Molly Lloyd, D’Arcy Carden, and Johnathan Fernandez—that you’ll have a fun time regardless. (Honestly, the scary faces Molly Lloyd makes are worth the trip all by themselves…) Directed by ace improvisor Ryan Karels—who I’m expecting to make this show increasingly fine as it goes along: Stone Cold Fox: You Probably Think This Show Is About You

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Abra Tabak (Grandma’s Ashes), and more perform improv at UCB East springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love

[$] [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?

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up, pastry buns, and jello shots at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jonathan Powley: Buns and Puns

[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

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Two of the most respected improvisors in the country, Magnet co-owner Armando DIaz and Christina Gausas, team up for one night only: Diaz & Gausas

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from comedy geniuses Chris Gethard and Shannon O’Neill, plus stellar comics Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—Amber Petty, Ashley Ward, Morgan Phillips, Michael Kayne, and Winston Noel—making up a musical on the spot: Diamond Lion

[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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), Mike Yard (Comedy Central), Harris Stanton (SNL, Comedy Central, BET), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

9:30 pm ($5): D&D-style epic fantasy improv, plus nerdy stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Eric Grundhauserled as your Dungeon Master

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe North Coast recently clobbered some of the best improv groups in NYC at UCBT’s Cage Match. Tonight come see it perform without the pressure of competition at The PIT upstairs theatre, and also catch an improv group that includes Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): North Coast and Nobody’s Token

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Long-form improv from troupe CSO at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Casual Sex Offenders

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

10:30 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): This show begins with a delightful concept—Top Gun performed as if written by William Shakespeare—and then executes it with the joyful craft only a sharp, tight theatrical ensemble can create. Everyone in the cast is terrific, but among the most memorable are Dan Hartley as Maverick, and Vayu O’Donnell who steals every scene he appears in with his hilariously deadpan delivery as Iceman. While this is playing at The PIT upstairs theatre for a mere $10, it’s really legit Fringe theatre, and I hope it eventually makes its way to FringeNYC or Edinburgh—or better yet, develops more songs and gets a commercial run as a musical. Meanwhile, don’t miss this opportunity to see a way fun parody of a cult classic for about half of what you oughta be paying: Jester’s Dead

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): In preparation for their gala August FringeNYC show, wonderful sketch duo Leah Rudick & Katie Hartman host “a late night sexy baby pageant where performers put on their sparkly crowns and pink dresses and show their hottest moves for your entertainment and horror,” with Sara Benincasa (NBC’s Today Show, The Joy Behar Show, CNN, MTV, The Sarah Palin Vlogs, Sex and Other Human Activities podcast, host of Family Hour, author of Agorafabulous), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, VH1), Jackie Zebrowski, Team Submarine, Amy Albert, and Chris Aurilio performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting: Crown That Sexy Baby

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, top Maude sketch troupe Gramp’s, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

Midnight ($5): A three-person improv competition at UCB East hosted by Brian Glidewell, Josh Patten, and Ben Rameaka: Three for All

[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. Plus it’s hosted by members of Maude troupe Fambly, typically including such wonderful talents as Nicole Byer and Veronica Osorio: Liquid Courage

 For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 7/26/12

July 26, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

The Cowmen

Mind-blowing musical dark comedy group The Cowmen perform at Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

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] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Lisa L. Kirchner (writer for The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Bust Magazine, Salon.com; host of The Next Chapter) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, atUCB East hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran musical improvisors at The PIT mix with novices on-stage at Pitch

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

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT downstairs lounge: Hot Diner and THEM

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): A show that brings dead celebrities back to life has itself been resurrected at UCB East, with magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’BrienLaw & OrderDirty Movie) hosting tonight as blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield. Joining the party will be The Cowmen (jaw-dropping dark comedy group, with members of Murderfist), Todd Hanson (Adult Swim’s Squidbillies, original head writer for The Onion), and Carla Rhodes (“rock’n’roll ventriloquist;” for shout-out from David Letterman, please click here; for act with “Keith Richards,” please click here): Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Ira Glass (host/producer of This American Life), Claywoman, musical group The One, and surprises from host Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper; new book Tasteful Nudes) at The Dave Hill Explosion

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Bob Dorough (Miles Davis, Allen Ginsberg, Schoolhouse Rock) plays music to inspire made-up scenes by superb improvisors from The Story Pirates, UCB, FringeNYC, etc.—plus a monologue from Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There)—plus a monologue from Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There)—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Beauty Love Truth

8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT downstairs lounge: The East Side Orphan Riot and Harvey

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv troupes Hello Laser, Junior Varsity, The Boss, and Phooka performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Alex Marino directing Events (improv that explores a single event through flashbacks, dashes, and other time-bending techniques), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component), featuring Aquarius vs. That Annoying Couple: The Magnet’s Night Out

[$] [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?

[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!

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Mike Yard (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free 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): John Roy (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel, FX’s Totally Biased), Matt McCarthy (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death, host of AMC’s Action Pack, Comedy Central, hilarious shorts with Pete Holmes for Front Page Films, national TV ads as Verizon FIOS guy, feature film The Other Guys, host of Marking Out), Kara Klenk (host of If You Build It), George Gordon, and Adam Sokoll performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Jen Nails (superb storyteller and teacher; author of Next To Mexico), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central), Michael Martin (Thin Skin Jonny), and Britt Genelin performing atThe PIT upstairs theatre to share tales on tonight’s theme The Spirit at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of CollegeHumor.com, you can see the folks behind it on the UCB Chelsea stage—along with stand-ups Susanna Wolff, Jeff Rosenberg, Brian Murphy, and more—at CollegeHumor Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Truly great improv troupe Grandma’s Ashes was finally toppled by one of the finest troupes in the country, Doppelganger, in a clear win of 115-55. There aren’t many groups around that can best Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar, so the crown will probably be worn by this trio until they’re ready to relinquish it. Tonight they’ll be teaching humility to troupe Graceland in this competition for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): “Secret movie screenings of movies you probably haven’t seen and/or should see again” at UCB East (which used to be a movie theatre) hosted by Ryan Karels (Grandma’s Ashes, Krompf), Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers), JD Amato (Harold Night), and Mike Roth (Two Boots Video): Secret Movie Show Presented by Two Boots Video

 For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/25/12

July 25, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Kate McKinnon and Jon Benjamin

One of the all-time great sketch comics, Saturday Night Live cast member & comedy genius Kate McKinnon; utterly unique TV star & comedy genius Jon Benjamin…

Julie Klausner, Cintra Wilson, and Josh Rubin

…and storyteller/wit Julie Klausner, author/critic Cintra Wilson, College Humor actor/director Josh Rubin…

Elna Baker and Kevin Townley

…plus red-hot hosts, genius author/storyteller Elna Baker & actor/singer/writer Kevin Townley: The Talent Show

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 to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation The PIT upstairs theatre for Super Free Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): “Jonathan Blank and Samara Doucette say what everyone else thinks on dates, but never says… so join them and guest comedians as they divulge all of their wildest and most embarrassing dating stories! This monthly storytelling show contains the truth and nothing but the truth. However, most of the stories are more surreal than if David Lynch directed romantic comedies. Everything from wild hookups to emotional breakups are on the table” at The PIT downstairs lounge: This is Awkward

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes The Party Lions, Silver Fox, Millions of Hugs, Brick, The Wrath, Chet Watkins, Leviathan, and Horses performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with The Party Lions at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features troupes Hoops and Kinsey: Lloyd Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5 at the door, or $6.39 in advance online—the latter is highly recommended because this show usually sells out): Killer lineup includes a now-rare stage appearance by newest Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon (comedy genius and one of the most hilarious sketch comics ever), Jon Benjamin (unique off-the-wall comedy genius; FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, FX’s Archer, Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Adult Swim, MTV’s Human Giant), Julie Klausner (razor-sharp comic & storyteller; host of How Was Your Week podcast; author of I Don’t Care About Your Band), Joan Juliet Buck (Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue 1994-2001), Cintra Wilson (New York TImes “Critical Shopper” columnist, author of several books including A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease), Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), and more performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with hosts movie & TV actor Kevin Townley (Men in Black III, The Sitter, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Law & Order) and comedy jewel Elna Baker (NPR’s This American Life, author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance): The Talent Show: TED Talks

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Wow—the two best sketch shows currently at UCB Chelsea are on a double-bill tonight, and are yours for an absurdly low five bucks. First up is a delightful dark musical about the rich consuming the poor—literally. Witty songs from Brian Glidewell, Marcy Jarreau, and Kevin Carter, a uniformly strong cast (Megan Maes, Aaron Jackson, Michael Martin, Katie Schorr, Dan Hodapp, Brian Glidewell, and Stephanie Streisand), and sharp direction from Christopher Gladysz and Lauren Conlin Adams make this 30-minute surreal parody of Newsies a winner as a UCBT comedy, and recommended. That said, right now the story is paper-thin and the characters cardboard. While the latter is turned into an asset (e.g., a leg-injured character is hilariously named “Cripply”), I’m hoping the creators consider making all the elements deeper and more nuanced, and expanding the production to a 90-minute legit theatre length. Meanwhile, enjoy this remarkably compact version that delivers a quick, sharp punch to the gut you’re likely to remember: Newsadoozies: A Man-Eating Musical

…and then 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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Abbi Crutchfield (co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), Michael Che (Comedy Central), Matt Koff (Onion News Network, WitStream, 9 Am Meeting), and Matt Wayne performing at the Niagra Bar (112 Avenue A & 7th Street) for this biweekly show hosted by Charla Lauriston & Sean Kleier: Fun Comedy Good Times Why Not?!

[FREE] 8:00 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’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Typically terrific NYC comics (not announced) performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) typically hosted by Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman, and/or Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB East as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which brilliant writer/performers —who tonight are Adam Wade, Melanie Hamlett, Christian Capazzoli, Jon Gabrus, and host Dave Martin—tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious at UCB Chelsea, with tonight’s theme Virgins: The Nights of Our Lives

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) bringing their A-game—because their sets are captured at this new monthly show as audition tapes—performing at The PIT basement lounge: The Grass Route: Built from the Underground Up

[TOP PICK] 10:00 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, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (ace improv troupe Doppelganger) hosts as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. (Tonight’s scheduled performers include Katey Healy-Wurzburg and Adam Newman; for the complete lineup, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


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