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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
[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
[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 Fallon, 30 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: 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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