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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: 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
6:30 pm ($5): Two shows I know nothing about—The Knuckleboys and The Last Double Date—audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. At $2.50 per show, it’s hard to go wrong with Spank
7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Dr. Champagne, Bloomer, Flower Girl, Brick, Horses, Featherweight, Nintendo, and The Wrath performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Nintendo at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): 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…
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Storyteller Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion, FringeNYC, co-host of The Standard Issues) debuts a one-man show at Brooklyn’s Coney Istand’s Sideshows by the Seashore (1208 Surf Avenue) in which he “relives the horrors of his growing up so you can laugh at his pain:” Childhood; A Guide to Weapons and Tactics
[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): A weekly wild experiment in dark comedy, blending sketch and improv, from brilliant and innovative Anthony Atamanuik (Death by Roo Roo, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, The Nights of Our Lives) at UCB East with tonight’s guests Nimesh Patel (co-host of Broken Comedy) and Josh Rabinowitz, plus producer Andy Rocco: The Tony Show
[FREE] 9:00 pm: Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Ryan Conner (writer for SNL’s Weekend Update), Amanda Baramki, Joe Harrington, and Brian Jian performing stand-up at this free weekly comedy show at Lucky Jack’s Bar (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?
[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, Michelle Markowitz, Halle Kiefer, Jon Gabrus, and host Dave Martin—tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious at UCB Chelsea, with tonight’s theme School: The Nights of Our Lives
[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
[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform along with side-show attractions such as jugglers, contortionists, and fire eaters at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this unusual carny experience: Abigoliah’s Bizzarre Bazaar
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (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 Brandon Gulya and “Goofy Bitches;” 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
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