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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:
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Michelle Markowirz (Failing Our Twenties) and Zach Dressler guest-host this weekly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress (while usual host John Flynn entertains Hong Kong): Oh, Hey Guys!
[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving two minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—Fran Gillespie, Michael Kayne, Amber Petty, Tim Martin, Ashley Ward, Morgan Phillips, and Winston Noel—making up a musical on the spot (formerly named Diamond Lion): KOSMOS Musical Improv
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15 at the door or $18.88 in advance online): Arden Myrin (Conan O’Brien, Mad TV, numerous other TV shows & films; for Mad TV samples, please click here and here and here) and Lisa deLarios (Comedy Central) host this delightful monthly mix of stand-up and sketch, with tonight’s holiday blowout featuring TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and Manhattan Cable Access’ The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of new bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Jon Glaser (star of Adult Swim’s Delocated; long-time writer/performer for Conan O’Brien), Adira Amram (fresh, hilarious rising star singer/songwriter; co-star with Kurt Braunohler of Night of the Living; winner of the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Musical Act), and more performing at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street, between Second and Third Avenues): The Party Machine
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A former roommate & drinking buddy of such comedy giants as David Cross and Marc Maron performs a one-man show that was such a hit at August’s FringeNYC it’s been extended indefinitely. Please read my review by clicking here, and Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review by clicking here; and then come share an intimate hour with Matt Graham at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club so he can explain life and meaning and why This Too Shall Suck
[$] 8:00 pm ($41 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon
8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes Featherweight, Junior Varsity, The Boss, and Hello Laser performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by The Narrator (a storyteller tells a tale, based on audience suggestions, which other improvisors then turn into a musical on the spot), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component), tonight featuring a wild three-way battle between Upstate, Brick, and Eaglefox: The Magnet’s Night Out
[FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly show features “a swarthy selection of fine stand-up comics and mildly entertaining recurring segments” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre, hosted by Jim Tews & Brendan Eyre: Chest Hair
[$] 8:00 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on HBO, ABC, NBC, and Comedy Central headlining through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Mario Cantone
[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
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp rising star stand-up; HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CD The Depression Auction), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV), Matt Ruby (MTV; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, blog Sandpaper Suit), Kunal Arora, and Josh Rabinowitz performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover and/or Emily Heller: Fresh Out
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A. J. Daulerio (Editor-in-Chief of Gawker), Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer (Broad City), Jean Grae (rapper/hip-hop producer), and Julianne Smolinski (@boobsradley) performing and sharing insider stories at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Scott R.: Running Late with Scott Rogowsky
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($5 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a cheesy genre feature film—with tonight’s victim 1962′s KIng Kong Vs. Godzilla—at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000
[TOP PICK] 11:00 ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, hit comedy CD Vegan Mind Meld), Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central), Jason Salmon (30 Rock, and Mike Recine (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at UCB East as part of the Reddit.com online community, hosted by Nathan Anderson: /r/standup
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: If you want to know what is happening in NYC comedy on a particular day, you gotta get hip to this dude Hy Bender and his site Best New York Comedy. The site is updated daily and features a super exhaustive look at what is happening in the NYC comedy world that particular day. The site is updated religiously…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.