NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 10/3/12

October 3, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

2012 Presidential Debates

Enjoy tonight’s debate with razor-sharp comics including Sean Patton and Seth Herzog at Sweet…

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

…and the smartest & funniest comedy improv troupe in the world will perform tonight through Friday at NYC’s Theatre 80 St. Marks for a spectacular run that must not be missed: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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 at The PIT—starting downstairs at 6:00, then upstairs from 7:00 on—for PIT 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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: An evening of unabashed support for President Obama from Ben Lerman, Carolyn Castiglia, The Reformed Whores, Selena Coppock, Leah Bonnema, Amy Alpert, George Gordon, and more at The PIT downstairs lounge: Stand Up for Obama

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Nintendo, Dr. Champagne, Horses, Featherweight, The Wrath, Chet Watkins, Bloomer, and Brick performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show 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 Graceland and Spooky Ghost: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Brent Sullivan presents fake profiles he used to communicate via social networks with people he’d normally be terrified to contact at Profiles in Cowardice

…and in the other half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, wonderful writer/improvisor/sketch comic DC Pierson (Derrick, Mystery Team, author of The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To) briefly returns to NYC to try to prove DC Pierson is Good at Stand-Up

[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): Tonight’s Presidential debate will be screened and mocked by Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Barry Rothbart (Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), and Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness) at Ella (9 Avenue A) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon30 Rock, VH1): Sweet: Presidential Debate Mocking

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman, host of Entertaining the Bartender), Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here), Kendra Cunningham (SNL sketches), Geno Bisconte (FOX’s Red Eye), and Ray Gootz 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?

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Rising stars Mamrie Hart and Amber Nelson, plus Kevin Barnett, Joe Machi, Nimesh Patel, David Smithyman, Bryson Turner, and Jeff Dye, performing at The Studio at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues) hosted by Seaton Smith: MTV Comedy Showcase

9:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors—and actual brothers—Will Hines and Kevin Hines make use of their intimate knowledge of each other to gracefully invent scenes (hopefully without any fighting) at UCB East performing as duo The Brothers Hines

[TOP PICK] 9:30 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

…and in the second half of this double-bill, red-hot rising star Mamrie Hart, plus a bunch of guys, perform a variety show extolling the wonders of nectar at UCB Chelsea written by & starring Colin Elzie, Pat O’Brien, and Ben Wietmarschen: The Honeymen: A Salute to Honey

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($22.73 online with discount code ISCFBOOK):Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the first of a three-night NYC run, with every evening utterly different from the last. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[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: 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 stellar scheduled guests include Ben Lerman, Amber Nelson, and Violet Krumbein; for the full 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: 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

[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

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 1/8/12

January 8, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Chris Gethard has a new book. It’s great, and you should buy it here.

Amy Schumer

Tonight's your last chance to see Amy Schumer headline at the Carolines Comedy Club...

Improvised Shakespeare

...or to experience the best improv troupe in the world: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected writer/performers alive. This is a rare opportunity to spend an intimate 90 minutes with a true genius of both stand-up and storytelling. This show is the latter—a carefully constructed, detail-packed theatrical tale of two people and the small, quiet moments that make up their lives. Daniel says it’s “about everything and nothing,” and that’s precisely right. After you see it, you may find it hard to not consider all the small moments lived by any person you pass by…and what the moments of your own life add up to. This one-man show played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is now running every day except Mondays through January 29th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later

[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

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): Matt Little (David Letterman), Seth Lind (This American Life), Jeremy Bent (Very Good Kiss), Christopher Scott (Against All Odds), and John Robert Wilson participate in “aweekly podcast that assembles a new panel of comedians and weird characters to give funny advice, or at the very least relate to the people’s problems with their own stories” at UCB East hosted by Andy Rocco: Here to Help

[FREE] 6:00 pm: At this monthly show, “three improv teams swap two performers each, pick a long-form style out of a hat, and then perform with their new rosters” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Yankee Swap

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: NYC treasure Kurt Braunohler is the producer and host of this comedic “anti-game-show” game show aimed at becoming a TV series. It  involves three comedic contestants being asked ridiculous questions so they can provide even more ridiculous answers. The winner, judged by Kurt, is then awarded points—which are meaningless, because no one ultimately wins and there are no prizes. Being taped at The Magnet, it’s Pointless Live

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 & Ryan 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] [$] 8:00 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A red-hot rising star whose Comedy Central Presents special was among the most popular of the series; has performed on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, NBC’s 30 RockJimmy Fallon, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, Last Comic Standing,Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, FUSE, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show; and has interviewed such celebs as Sarah Silverman (to watch, please click here), headlining one more night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Amy Schumer

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Arden Myrin (Conan O’Brien, Mad TVChelsea Lately, host of The Party Machine; for Mad TV samples, please click here and here and here), Matt Ruby (co-host of Hot Soup andWe’re All Friends Here, blog Sandpaper Suit), George Gordon, Cameron Esposito, and Boris Khaykin performing at RG Daniels’ free weekly show at the Three of Cups lounge (83 First Avenue at 5th Street): Sunday Night Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($5): A unique show in which everyone on the lineup performs something inspired by a song—be it stand-up, a story, sketch, or what have you—and then sings that song karaoke-style. Tonight’s comics are Michael Kupperman, Brian Raftery Rachel Shukert, and Matt Oberg performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Steve Heisler, Steve Jacobs, and Margaret Lyons: The Jukebox

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT downstairs lounge for a free weekly show typically hosted by Chris Grace: Cold Soda Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Jessi Klein (fresh, unique, deliciously organic comic who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; former staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, VH1, NBC, CNN, Adult Swim), Jay Pharoah (cast member on Saturday Night Live), 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), Nore Davis, AG White, and Teddy Smith performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) guest-hosted by Seaton Smith: Comedy Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), Mike Racine (Comedy Central), and Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon; co-host of Too Cool For School and If You Build It) performing at UCB East hosted by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Andy Haynes, and/or David Cope: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Marina Franklin (developing into one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with an uncommonly gentle, graceful style that’s pure joy; Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend) and Joe DeRosa (HBO’s Bored to Deathand Down and DirtyComedy Central Presents, co-host of Righteous Kill, comedy CD The Depression Auction) performing stand-up sets at The PIT, and then improv troupe Before the Accident making up scenes springboarding off the material: Daws of Jeath

9:30 pm ($5): Jarret Berenstein performs a one-man show at The Magnet that mixes stand-up, sketch, and poorly executed animation: Boosh. Kla-Klau.

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with four minutes per comic, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Rob Stern: Vicious Cycle

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($20 online with discount code FBKISC): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. The shows for Friday and Saturday sold out before this weekend run even began, but there are still some tickets left for Sunday at 10:00 pm. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[$] 10:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining tonight at the Carolines Comedy Club: Paul Mooney

[FREE] 10:00 pm: All-gal stand-ups Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller with notable bangs; VH1, Showtime, host of TV pilot of The Liar Show), Kate Hendricks, and Harriet Halloway performing at this free weekly gay-themed show at Therapy hosted by Brad Loekle: Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

11:00 pm ($5): A hybrid stand-up show that’s an open-mic for 10 comics selected at random plus a showcase for experienced booked comics, all at UCB East hosted by Steve Cronin: Curses in Cursive

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 1/7/12

January 7, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Chris Gethard has a new book. It’s great, and you should buy it here.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Don't miss my favorite improv troupe, which sold out its Friday & Saturday shows before even starting its run but has a few tickets left for Sunday: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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 at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by RG Daniels & Jared Fried: It Starts at 4

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes The Bear Project , The Storks, and Honey at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): “Stories of all sizes that define our place in the universe,” hosted at UCB East by Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Real Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), and featuring storytellers Adam Lowitt (The Daily Show), Matt Mercier (The Moth), and phenom musical guest Adira Amram Adira Amram (fresh, hilarious rising star singer/songwriter; winner of the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Musical Act): Tales of the Cosmos

7:00 pm ($7): Sketches, improv scenes, and videos from a small army of female comics at The PITupstairs theatre that answer such questions as “Why can’t you touch a black girl’s hair? Why do some of us burn our cheating man’s clothes in his car and can’t wait to exhale? How did Foxy Brown know how to get down? Why can two play that game? Why do mad black women write so many diaries?” and more: Mrs Jones

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Comedic solo performances—storytelling, sketch, and whatever else isn’t stand-up or improv—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Bill Stiteler & Adam Schwartz: Wank

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft at The Magnetmaking up a play on the spot: Theory of Everything

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] Sunday at 10:00 pm ($20 online with discount code FBKISC):Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. The shows for yesterday and tonight sold out before the run even began, but I’m listing this because there are still some tickets left for Sunday at 10:00 pm. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilledImprovised Shakespeare Company

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected writer/performers alive. This is a rare opportunity to spend an intimate 90 minutes with a true genius of both stand-up and storytelling. This show is the latter—a carefully constructed, detail-packed theatrical tale of two people and the small, quiet moments that make up their lives. Daniel says it’s “about everything and nothing,” and that’s precisely right. After you see it, you may find it hard to not consider all the small moments lived by any person you pass by…and what the moments of your own life add up to. This one-man show played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is now running every day except Mondays through January 29th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A red-hot rising star whose Comedy Central Presents special was among the most popular of the series; has performed on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, NBC’s 30 RockJimmy Fallon, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, Last Comic Standing,Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, FUSE, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show; and has interviewed such celebs as Sarah Silverman (to watch, please click here), headlining tonight through Sunday at theCarolines Comedy Club: Amy Schumer

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed three Comedy Central specials, has appeared on Chappelle’s Show and The Today Show, and is co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?, and as a political pundit might have some fun things to say about this election year, headlining one more night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Christian Finnegan

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: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] 8:15ish pm ($8 at the door or $10.70 in advance online): Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent for The Daily Show), Gabe Liedman (co-host of Big Terrific), pianist Pete Drungle, and “special guests we can’t announce” performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for a show hosted by Greg Barris: Heart of Darkness

8:30 pm ($10): Helen Hong (Logo’s Setup Squad, Comedy Central, TLC), Seth Herzog (staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central, CBS, VH1, film actor; host of Sweet), Ron Babcock (Last Comic Standing, HBO), Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedyand Stripped Stories), and Max Silvestri (co-host of Big Terrific) performing stand-up at UCB Easthosted 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): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Dean Edwards (HBO, Saturday Night Live), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): A sharp Magnet musical improv troupe makes up stories with song and dance based on an audience suggestion: Choral Rage

9:00 pm ($8): Sharp improvisors from a sharp comedy town beyond NYC and Chicago performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: ImprovBoston Mainstage

9:30 pm ($5): Hip hop musical improv from Nick Brown, Don Romaniello, and Michael Short pretending to be NYC police officers at The PIT downstairs lounge: Rap Crimes Division

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come to the Soho Playhouse tonight to see why BWC won aFringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy

[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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Ben Rodgers, Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, and/or other stellar improvisors at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then create an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here

10:30 pm ($10): UCBT Harold Night improv troupe Airwolf makes stuff up at UCB EastAirwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

10:30 pm ($7): Vibrant improv at The Magnet from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney as comedy duoTrike

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Along the lines of Mystery Science Theater 3000, NYC comics make comments about a terrible movie at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Big Fat Scary Saturday

[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

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A freestyle rap contest at UCB East that includes superb NYC comics—unfortunately, not yet announced this time, but previous winners have included Dave Hill and Myq Kaplan—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central) at one of my favorite monthly shows:The BEATdown

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV, VH1; for reenactment of Dan’s breakup, please click here), 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), Alan Starzinski (Sandino), Michael Che, and Walking for Pennies performing at UCB Chelseat with host Andy Rocco at Underground Americana

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/7/11

May 7, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Tonight is the final chance this season for New Yorkers to catch the smartest & funniest improv comedy troupe in the world: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 4:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($35.50 with discount code BOX): Mike Birbiglia has long been one of the finest stand-up comics in the country, with credits including the hour-long Comedy Central special What I Should Have Said is Nothing; two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien; and the comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live. But what puts Mike in a class all his own is a unique style he’s developed that mixes the razor-sharp hilarity of the finest stand-up with the depth of emotionally moving theatre. Mike pioneered this approach with his previous off-Broadway hit Sleepwalk with Me (which he then turned into a New York Times bestselling book, Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories); but he’s raised his game to a whole new level with this show, which is regularly selling out—for good reason. The $35.50 (discounted via code BOX) price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($15, which includes 1 drink; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzasReal Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; Manhattan Monologue Slam Champ, Sideshow Goshko), Tracy Rowland (TV writer/producer), and Colin Dempsey (Comedyland). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam Champion) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Christina Gausas, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, and more—plus a rotating cast of stellar visitors who’ve included writers & performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show—all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft making up a play on the spot in Theory of Everything

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A stand-up who’s performed on NBC, BBC,Comedy Central Presents, and The Howard Stern Show, and has twice won Time Out New York’sBest Comedy Performance of the Year award, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($20 with discount code TODDB, plus 2-drink min.): One of the finest stand-ups in the country, with appearances on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central PresentsThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead, headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Todd Barry

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: The 3rd Anniversary of this “comedy chat show with boundary issues” that has stand-ups perform sets and then be interviewed about their personal lives, with tonight’s guests Dan Soder, Jesse Popp, and Yannis Pappas at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby: We’re All Friends Here

[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: A variety show of stand-up, storytelling, and sketch that’s not only free, but promises to give each of the first 25 audience members who arrive a free beer! Unfortunately, the lineup hasn’t been announced; but if you’d care to take a chance, join hosts Ray Combs Jr., Evan Jacobs, and Aalap Patel as they provide you a drink On the House

[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—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($7): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($20 online or at the door with discount codeISCFRIEND): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight ends ISC’s brief May visit to NYC; don’t miss this chance to experience the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching tonight’s edition of Baby Wants Candy

[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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King interviews an audience member about where he or she grew up and then creates an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here

10:30 pm ($7): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) and Leslie Korein as comedy trio Trike

11:00 pm ($10): “Have you ever wondered what would happen in a porno movie if there was no sex? Would the repairman fix the washing machine and be on his way? Would the teacher help Johnny raise his SAT scores? Would the delivery boy tell the nice, scantily clad lady she can pay him later? This show is the best parts of adult films: the character work, the blocking and the acting—oh, the acting! Improv troupe Borealis screens the opening scenes of random porn movies and then makes up what happens next” in Who Ordered Pepperoni?: Porn-Inspired Improv

[FREE] 11:45 pm: A weekly chance for you to shine, 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

Midnight ($5): John Flynn (superb storyteller; The Nights of Our Lives), Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Dan Gurewitch (College Humor), Thunder God Thor (played by Rob Stern), and more performing at host Andy Rocco’s Underground Americana

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/6/11

May 6, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

Joe Bill

Two of the greatest improvisors alive—each visiting from Chicago—are coincidentally both performing tonight: Joe Bill at "Lights Out, Shirley!"...

Blaine Swen

...and Blaine Swen at "The Improvised Shakespeare Company"

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:

7:00 pm ($8): “Ever wonder how you become a writer for an Emmy winning TV show? So does J. D. Durkin. Since no one has told him, here is his one-man show performing all original material to become a writer for The Colbert Report. Durkin channels Colbert live on stage to present political punditry as only The PIT could do it…and only The PIT, since he was escorted off the Comedy Central premises:” Stephen Colbert: Hire Me

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($20 online or at the door with discount code ISCFRIEND): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is actually sold out, but it’s not too late to grab tickets for the final performance on Saturday of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Andrea Rosen is already famed as a comic—in fact, she recently won the prestigious 2011 ECNY Award for Best Stand-Up—but what’s not as well-known is that Andrea’s among the finest comedic storytellers in the country. This new one-woman show should fix that. It offers smart, fearless, hilarious material ranging from fast food you should avoid to the medicinal power of a boyfriend’s penis. It also provides one of the sharpest comedic performances that will grace NYC this year (for which kudos are also deserved by the show’s superb director, John Flynn). Plus if you sit in the first few rows, expect free home-baked cookies. Don’t miss Andrea’s unique blend of dark comedy and silliness: Ding Dong Meow

 …and in the other half of this double-bill, Jordan Klepper and Laura Grey perform an acclaimed sketch show in which “they’re bringing their baggage to the stage and dumping it all on you” in Baggage

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A stand-up who’s performed on NBC, BBC,Comedy Central Presents, and The Howard Stern Show, and has twice won Time Out New York’sBest Comedy Performance of the Year award, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV; for reenactment of Dan’s breakup, please click here), Phoebe Robinson (host of Case of the Mondays Comedy), and more performing atO’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Mark Normand: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing with a three-piece rock ensemble: Centralia

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($35.50 with discount code BOX): Mike Birbiglia has long been one of the finest stand-up comics in the country, with credits including the hour-long Comedy Central special What I Should Have Said is Nothing; two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; multiple appearances on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien; and the comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live. But what puts Mike in a class all his own is a unique style he’s developed that mixes the razor-sharp hilarity of the finest stand-up with the depth of emotionally moving theatre. Mike pioneered this approach with his previous off-Broadway hitSleepwalk with Me (which he then turned into a New York Times bestselling book, Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories); but he’s raised his game to a whole new level with this show, which is regularly selling out—for good reason. The $35.50 (discounted via code BOX) price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

8:00 pm ($5; includes copious homemade treats): Fine NYC stand-ups Dan St. Germain, Kevin McCaffrey, Raquel D’Aprice, and Sean Donnelly performing at Karma Lounge (51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with hosts Aalap Patel, Matt Maragno, and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, College Humor): It’s Not That Serious

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy about the past year from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name, and tonight plan on performing a movie sequel: We’re Matt Weir: Thor 2

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($20 with discount code TODDB, plus 2-drink min.): One of the finest stand-ups in the country, with appearance on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central PresentsThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature filmsThe Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead, headlining through Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Todd Barry

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers

9:00 pm ($7): “In March of 2009 a gaggle of performers were born. Some died, some wandered off into the woods, others went to work in the private sector. Those that remained grew strong by feeding on the nectar of specific choices and the gruel of strong character work. The 2-year-old terror that exists today is akin to watching a Tsunami of hair and teeth attack a baby Blue Whale and destroy it with the will of a thousand hungry Burnese Mountain Dogs. What does it all mean? We don’t know.” In other words, improv from Chet Watkins

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here) delivering a brand new collection of sketches: The Harvard Sailing Team

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors who use an interview with a n audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Thomas Middleditch (when he’s not in LA), Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Fran Gillespie Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Jenny Slate (Saturday Night Live, HBO’s Bored to Death) and Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), plus wonderful musical guest Corn Mo, performing at this monthly comedy talk show hosted by the Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC, Hot Tub Variety): Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): One of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) spearheads a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who’ll blow the roof off at this spectacular monthly show that offers lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other players are Jodi Lennon (Comedy Central’s Exit 57), Ari Voukydis (UCB instructor, VH!’s Best Week Ever), Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, UCB), Rick Andrews (Magnet performer), Mark Grenier (Magnet instructor), Jen Sanders (Magnet performer), and Chet Siegel (Magnet performer). The previous show I caught was one of the finest comedy hours I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience (but no pressure, Joe; am just sayin’….). You don’t want to miss Lights Out, Shirley!

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A comedic freestyle rap contest featuring some of the funniest & sharpest comics in NYC—who tonight include Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Seth Herzog’s mom, Peter Gwinn (Baby Wants Candy), Billy Eichner (Bravo, Creation Nation), and Carla Rhodes (rock n roll ventriloquist)—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and the wonderful Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown

 For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 1/8/11

January 8, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For my all-time favorite oddball comedy videos, please click here.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Tonight kicks off a four-night run of the smartest & funniest improv troupe in the world: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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 ($10): Brilliant improvisor Thomas Middleditch (Improvised Shakespeare Company, Baby Wants Candy, The Law Firm) and Matt Oberg (Big Black Car) team up for one night only as improv duo Bergditch

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Becky Drysdale, and more—plus a rotating cast of stellar visitors who’ve included writers & performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show—all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($30 & 2-item min.): A TV & movie star known for his wry, smart observations headlining tonight at the Comix Comedy Club: Larry Miller

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($28 online using discount code TMANIA): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected comics alive. I’ll be catching his life-affirming show about suicide and more on 1/12, but sight unseen am reasonably sure it’s amazing. It’s running every day except Mondays through January 30th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Seth Herzog, Carmen Lynch, Pat Stango, Luke Cunningham, Kevin Mcaffery, Michael Che, and Alene Latimer performing stand-up at The Triple Crown Alehouse

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—and the Cage Match Champion for two years in a row!—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($7): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last year for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching tonight’s edition of Baby Wants Candy

[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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($17 online or at the door with discount codeT80ISC): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the first of a four-night NYC run, with every evening utterly different from the last. Don’t miss this relatively rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King: Reuben Williams

10:30 pm ($5): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) and Leslie Korein as comedy trio Trike

[TOP PICK] 11:00 ($8): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which doesn’t always ht the mark but provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy—and won last year’s ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group: Murderfist: Late and Dirty

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Anthony Atamanuik (genius improvisor & storyteller; 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives), Matt Koff (The Onion), stand-up Neal Stastny, and more “celebrating the seedy and urbane life in America; think of us as The Prairie Home Companion, just a little more fucked up” at Andy Rocco’s Underground Americana

[$] 12:30 am ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining through Sunday at Carolines: Paul Mooney

For my all-time favorite oddball comedy videos, please click here.

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/17/10

December 17, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Blaine Swen and Kate McKinnon

Two incredible midnight shows tonight (don't know how to choose, but for goodness sakes see one of them): Blaine Swen doing improv at Tony Wayne and Kate McKinnon performing sketch at Neil Casey's Sentimental Irish Christmas

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): Comedy veterans Laura Krafft (former writer for The Colbert Report), Jodi Lennon (Exit 57), and Miriam Tolan (The Daily Show) perform an improvised play in What a Year!

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Brilliantly funny writer/singer Jessica Delfino (enjoys singing songs about her vagina, as demonstrated by her CD Dirty Folk Rock; created the hilarious and wildly popular YouTube animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; has a cool MySpace page, and an even coolerblog; to get a feel for Jessica’s amazing range and talent, please click here), stand-ups Leighann Lord (Fox News, Huffington Post) and Jane Galvin-Lewis, illusionist Lee Alan Barrett, and band The Summer Replacements performing at Otto’s Shrunken Head (538 East 14th Street, between Avenues A and B) hosted by Eric Vetter: No Name and A Bag O’ Chips

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): A delightful tale of heartbreak by Leslie Meisel—who manages the impressive feat of being adorable, sexy, and hilarious all at the same time, and is a sharp comedic talent very much worth keeping an eye on—quite ably abetted by co-writer Megan Neuringer in one of the smartest theatrical shows to grace UCBT this year: Love Can Suck a Dick…and So Can I

plus for the second half of this double bill, young talents perform a loud and mildly amusing sketch show about cops in The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Sara Benincasa (Comedy Central, YouTube star, upcoming author), Luke Cunningham (Comedy Central’s new Norm Macdonald Show), Barry Rothbart (Comedy Central, Men of a Certain Age), Kara Klenk (Spike TV), Sean Donnelly (Lil’ Seany Boy), DTMT sketch troupe Steve Bossous, Gregg Zehentner, and Roger Hailes, and musical group Fortress of Attitude—followed by “a drunken, makeout-filled dance party”—performing at Karma Lounge with hosts Pat Stango & Blaine Perry for this endearingly oddball monthly comedy show: Don’t Touch Me There

[$] 8:00 pm pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A Curb Your Enthusiasm star and superb stand-up headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Susie Essman

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($51.27 online if you use code PLAYBILL, plus 2-item minimum): Ray Romano’s big brother on the eternal classic sitcom Everybody Loves Raymondproving he also has stand-up chops by headlining tonight and Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Brad Garrett

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here) delivering a brand new collection of sketches titled Ms. Larsen’s ClassThe Harvard Sailing Team

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

10:30 pm ($10): Jonathan Gabrus, Sue Galloway, and other fine improvisors make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Kate McKinnon is one of the funniest sketch comics alive. Tonight Kate joins one of the best deadpan comics in the biz, Neil Casey, and terrific improv/sketch performer Nate Lang, for “an evening of whiskey-soaked sketch comedy, music, and poorly remembered stories recounted slurringly in celebration of the anniversary of the Incarnation of the Child Christ,” written by Neil Casey, Michael Trapp, and David White, and directed by Neil’s wonderful Krompf improv partner Ryan Karels: Neil Casey’s Sentimental Irish Christmas

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Genius improvisor Blaine Swen—founder & head of my favorite improv troupe in the universe, The Improvised Shakespeare Company—and Blaine’s childhood friend Jeff Lepine perform duo improv as Tony Wayne

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/31/10

July 31, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Blaine Swen

Blaine Swen's one-man improvised musical BASH was among the highlights at Day 1; be sure to catch as much as possible of the Del Close Improv Marathon

Tonight’s recommendation for the best in New York City comedy is:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] All Day Today and Sunday ($25): One of the most magical events in NYC, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from 4:30 pm yesterday until after midnight on Sunday, August 1st. Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Montreal, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are a mere $25 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. As in past years, the only down side will be way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by three additional venues just a couple of blocks from UCBT: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. This is one of the finest comedy events in the country, always magical, and flat-out should not be missed.

Highlights from the 12 hours I spent at the festival yesterday included:

The Improvised Shakespeare Company taking the suggestion hope” to craft a play about royal serial killing, unending senseless war, and the highest body count of the Marathon…for which the audience rewarded the troupe with a standing ovation.

ISC’s founder Blaine Swen demonstrating he can do anything by performing a one-man improvised musical with an inventiveness, skillfulness, and depth that was breathtaking…and garnered the only other standing ovation of the Marathon.

The wonderful Bobby Moynihan (cast member of Saturday Night Live) tap-dancing on a talk show hosted by the also wonderful Horatio Sanz.

Many of the finest improvisors at UCBT—led by rising star John Gemberling—wearing nothing but diapers to perform as whiny babies.

Another group of top NYC improvisors pretending to be Bostonians who continually cursed the Yankees, drank beer, and sprayed copious amounts of beer on the audience.

Several shows that didn’t pan out but tickled us with their concepts, including Jane Austen-era improvisors, hillbilly improvisors, and a small army of Jay Leno impersonator improvisors.

The guys of the Upright Citizens Brigade—Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh—announcing that they and Artistic Director Anthony King will be opening a new NYC theatre in January 2011 named UCB-EAST—on 3rd Street off Avenue A (where the Two Boots indie film theater used to be)—and that its focus will be on stand-up to complement the Chelsea theatre’s focus on improv.

There are other comedy events happening tonight; but they pale in comparison.

Come experience the awe, mystery, and hilarity of The 12th Annual Del Close Marathon

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 7/29/10

July 29, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

There are just three NYC performances left this year of the greatest improv troupe in the world: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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] 6:00 pm ($5): Hosts John Frusciante and Will Hines tape their podcast live on stage, with tonight’s guest a living legend: UCBT Podcast with Matt Walsh

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($12): A news-based show with comedy games and funny conversation hosted by by Faith Salie (CBS Sunday Morning) with writer/producer Gideon Evans (The Daily Show), writer/commentator Alison Rosen (McSweeney’s, podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend), and more: The News Distillery

7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors directed by James Eason “take an audience suggestion and break it into a million funny pieces,” and veteran improvisors play with “elements of monoscene, deconstruction, and La Ronde,” in the double-bill The Deconstruction and Sleepover

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): UCBT-LA’s late night sketch/music variety show performing for one evening only here in NYC. Come catch a small army of young talent at The Midnight Show

[$] 8:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Color headlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Tommy Davidson

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($12): Top stand-ups Todd Barry and Myq Kaplan (it’s more than worth the price of admission if Todd spends even a minute dissecting Myq’s current starring role on Last Comic Standing), and more performing at 92Y Tribeca’s Comedy Below Canal

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door—but buy in advance, because every performance will sell out): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. There are three NYC performances left—tonight at the Hudson Guild Theatre, Friday at 7:00 pm atFIT, and Saturday at 7:15 pm as part of the spectacular Del Close Improv Marathon—with each evening utterly different from the last. Try to catch every single performance of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The wonderful Matt Besser, who’s a founding member of the world-renowned and enormously influential Upright Citizens Brigade, is joined by such equally brilliant comics as Horatio Sanz (SNL, ABC) and Chris Gethard (star of Comedy Central’s upcoming Big Lake) for a very special annual show in which top comics live out their roadie fantasies by impersonating favorite musicians and performing their songs at The Greatest Concert Ever

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the UCBT stage with improv veterans, hosted by troupe Badman: Jammin’ with Ralph

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 7/27/10

July 27, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Blaine Swen

Comedy genius Blaine Swen performs tonight through Thursday at the Hudson Guild Theatre with his all-star Improvised Shakespeare Company

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12 marked with $) include:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door—but buy in advance, because every performance will sell out): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight begins a week-long NYC run, with every evening utterly different from the last. Try to catch every single performance of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Two of the finest improv troupes in NYC performing back to back: The Stepfathers and The Law Firm

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Some of the finest stand-ups in the country—Ted Alexandro (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials), Myq Kaplan (kicking ass on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Christian Finnegan (three Comedy Central specials, commentator on MNBC’s Countdown with Keith Oberman and VH1’s Best Week Ever; Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Tom Shillue (Comedy Central Presents; host of Tell), and DC Benny (Comedy Central Presents)—performing at Cellar 58 (58 Second Avenue) alongside delightful host Abbi Crutchfield and comedic rapster Andrew Singer: Positively Awesome

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comics industry pros join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Comic Book Club

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Rory Scovel (Comedy Central), Lisa Delarios (Comedy Central), Greg Stone (Opie & Anthony), Liam McEneaney (host of Tell Your Friends), and Andy Haynes performing at Brooklyn’s Bell House Front Lounge guest-hosted by the gorgeous Brooke Van Poppelen: Get Off Your Knees

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two of the finest improv troupes in NYC performing back to back: Death by Roo Roo and Reuben Williams

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv veterans welcome UCBT students at all levels to perform with them at The Lottery

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Free open-mic stand-up show that’s seldom much fun for audience members but is a nice opportunity if you want 4-5 minutes to test out your comedy material on stage: Bring It

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


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