NYC Top Comedy Choices for 8/14/09-8/21/09

August 14, 2009

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For comprehensive FringeNYC 2009 coverage, please click here.

The magical and unforgettable Del Close Improv Marathon runs non-stop from tonight through Sunday

The magical and unforgettable Del Close Improv Marathon runs non-stop from tonight through Sunday

Recommendations for the best in New York City comedy for August 14- 20, 2009 (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] Friday August 14 – Sunday August 17: One of the most magical events in comedy, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from Friday July 14th at 4:30 pm until well after midnight on Sunday, August 17. Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Cambridge, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Raleigh, Phoenix, Austin, Wailuku, Toronto, Calgary—will be performing in more than 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for over 50 hours.

The Marathon will include most of the finest improv troupes in the country—Improvised Shakespeare Co., Baby Wants Candy, The Swarm, Scheer-McBrayer, Horatio Sanz & The Kings of Improv, Code Duello: Hamilton & Burr, and many more—as well as performers from 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, Human Giant, and the Upright Citizens Brigade.

There are other comedy shows happening this weekend.

But honestly, they’re just not the Marathon.

I couldn’t cover Del Close last year, and can’t again this year, because it’s been scheduled directly opposite the opening weekend of the equally magical FringeNYC; but to get a feel for this thoroughly wonderful and unforgettable event, please read my report on the 2007 Del Close Improv Marathon by clicking here.

If you like to laugh, go to the Del Close Improv Marathon this weekend. There’s simply nothing else like it.

[TOP PICK] Monday 8/17 at 6:30 pm ($5): Two of the sharpest & most respected comics in NYC, Kristen Schaal & Kurt Braunohler, putting the final polish on a show they’ll be performing later this week at the Edinburgh Festival: Double Down Hearts

[TOP PICK] Monday 8/17 at 8:00 pm ($5): Typically superb stand-ups performing at Lolita Bar in Liam McEneaney’s Tell Your Friends

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Monday 8/17 11:00 pm:A blowout gathering of some of the finest comics in the country—tonight including comedy superstar David Cross, brilliant stand-up Ted Alexandro, and adorable Aparna Nancherla—hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen (Saturday Night Live, HBO, Comedy Central) at Whiplash

[TOP PICK] Tuesday 8/18 at 8:00 pm ($5): Comics writer Arvid Nelson (Zero Killer, Rex Mundi), comedian & writer John Marshall (The Electric Company, Bazooka Joe comics), and musical guest Fall On Your Sword joining in on a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Comic Book Club

Tuesday 8/18 from 8:00 pm to midnight ($5): Four full hours of improv for only five bucks—tonight featuring UCBT house troupes DeCoster, Bastian, Robber Baron, Ragnaröck, and The Scam—followed by UCBT students at the top 600 level performing improv as citizens of Tiny Town, all at Harold Night

[FREE] Wednesday 8/19 from 6:00 pm to midnight: six free hours of improvisation in The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] Wednesday 8/19 at 8:00 pm ($5): Eliza Skinner and Glennis McMurray proving they’re a genius musical improv duo by making up musicals on the spot based on an audience suggestion at I Eat Pandas

[TOP PICK] [$] Wednesday 8/19 at 8:00 pm ($15 online if you order before day of show, plus 2-item min.): Brilliant Daily Show correspondents, producers, and audience warm-ups—who often include such stars as John Oliver, John Hodgman, Wyatt Cenac, Pete Holmes, and Executive Producer Rory Albanese—performing stand-up at this monthly event: The Daily Show and Friends

[FREE] 8:00 pm: sharp NYC stand-ups at a free weekly stand-up comedy show at Rodeo Bar hosted by the luminous Margie Kment & Matt Maragno: Now We’re Talking

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Jamie Lee, Dan St. Germain, Allison Castillo, Michael McMonagle, Brian Longwell, and Fariaz at a free weekly show hosted by Sharon “Mama” Spell: Shrink

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: typically superb stand-ups at a free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) hosted by Gabe Liedman & Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

Wednesday 8/19 at 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): superb comedic storytellers Charlie Sanders, Andrew Rosen, Catie Lazarus, and Micah Sherman telling dark tales of NYC at Eliot & Ilana Glazer’s Ochi’s Lounge show New York Sh*tty

[TOP PICK] Wednesday 8/19 at 9:30 pm ($5): Four of the most talented comedic storytellers in NYC—Elna Baker, Tom Shillue, Adam Wade, and David Rees—tell true tales of how stories they loved were turned down at a special edition of Jon Friedman’s The Rejection Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Wednesday 8/19 at 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) provides a mix of guests who perform 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. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show makes possible: School Night

Thursday 8/20 at 8:00 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors directed by James Eason “take an audience suggestion and break it into a million funny pieces” in The Deconstruction

Thursday 8/20 at 8:00 pm ($8): Clever wordplay, conceptual comedy, and relentless silliness—applied to a parody of the already-goofy film Con Air—from sketch troupe Elephant Larry (8:00 pm)

[TOP PICK] Thursday 8/20 at 9:30 pm ($5): Dave Hill demonstrating how smart, funny, and irresistibly loveable he is by telling stories about his musical tour in a land distinctly unlike our own: Dave Hill: Big in Japan

[TOP PICK] Thursday 8/20 at 11:00 pm ($5): Death by Roo Roo seeking to break its own historic record from last season of 17 wins in a row, tonight battling Dreadnought at improv competition Cage Match

[TOP PICK] Friday 8/21 at 6:30 pm ($5): Two stellar talents try out material in John Mulaney and Joe Mande Do Stand-Up

[FREE] Friday 8/21 at 9:00 pm: Razor-sharp and gorgeous Brooke Van Poppelen hosts a free stand-up show at Brooklyn’s Bar 4, with guests Jordan Carlos (Colbert Report, Michael & Michael Have Issues), Giulia Rozzi (VH1, Stripped Stories), Danny Leary, and more: BVP & BAR 4 Comedy

[TOP PICK] Friday 8/21 at 9:30 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers

Friday 8/21 at 10:00 pm ($5): Singing improvisors who use an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Saturday 8/22 at 12:20ish am: My favorite open-mic stand-up show, hosted by brilliant & lightning-quick Pete Holmes: Gutbucket

[$] Saturday 8/22 at 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

More broadly, to check all comedy shows in the major low-cost NYC comedy venues, please visit these Web sites:

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

The Peoples Improv Theater

Ochi’s Lounge at Comix

The Magnet

The Creek and the Cave (Queens LIC)

Union Hall (Brooklyn)

And for comedy clubs, please visit:


Carolines Comedy Club Discounts

For full details, please visit

For comprehensive FringeNYC 2009 coverage, please click here.