NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 1/21/11

January 21, 2011

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Aziz Ansari and Pamela Murphy

Aziz Ansari returns to UCBT—and brings along comedy super-stars—at "The Super Secret Stand-Up Show;" and Pam Murphy (above) & Leslie Meisel perform the best double-bill you'll see anywhere: "The C Word" and "Love Can Suck a Dick"

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] 6:30 pm ($5): Fearless and hilarious stand-up/storyteller Andrea Rosen tests out a one-woman show that’s sure to be special because Andrea is: Ding Dong Meow

[FREE] 7:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Hilary Schwartz, Pat O’Shea, Jenn Palumbo, Fariaz Rabbani, and Miguel Dalmau 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

7:00 pm ($8): Award-winning improv duo Lucas Kavner and Bradford Jordan make stuff up with “a celebrity guest improvisor’ at Swords

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Pamela Murphy proves herself to be a star in this not-to-be-missed autobiographical show that’s the best-scripted one-act to grace UCBT in the past year, performed with wit, grace, and pitch-perfect comedic timing (for video samples of Pam’s work, please click here). Don’t miss Jane Borden of Time Out New York‘s pick for Best Solo Show of 2010Pamela Murphy: The C Word

…and for the other half of this double-bill, 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 past year: Love Can Suck a Dick…and So Can I

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever), Matt McCarthy (Comedy Central, AMC, Verizon FIOS guy, Front Page Films, The Other Guys, comedy CD Come Clean), Mike Lawrence (hilarious sharp-witted stand-up; John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show), plus the usual sketch comedy gang, and musical band Fortress of Solitude, all performing at Karma Lounge with hosts Pat Stango & Blaine Perry for this endearingly oddball monthly comedy show: Don’t Touch Me There

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($28 online using discount code TMANIA): 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 comedy. Please note this is a sprawling, detail-packed theatrical show, not stand-up…and not for every taste. But whether you’re ultimately grabbed by the story or not, it’s worth experiencing if only for Daniel’s lightning-quick flashes of humor. For example, at the performance I attended a woman sitting in the front row had the incredible gall to start reading. Daniel sweetly responded, “Ooh, that’s a subtle yet effective form of criticism. I’m certainly not cross with you, just too nosy about what you’re reading to plow on. Look, you’re still reading. What a lack of faith you have in live entertainment.” Place your faith in Daniel, check out write-ups in The New York Times by clicking here andhere, and catch this show running every day except Mondays through January 30th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.)  An energetic regular on Chelsea Lately who’s also appeared on Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, VH1, and his own Comedy Central special headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jo Koy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show), Dan St. Germain (rising star; MTV, FUSE), Adrienne Iapalucci, Ben Kissel, and Harry Terjanian performing at Brooklyn’s Coco 66 for hosts Nick Turner’s & Jason Saenz’s Too Cool for School

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant stand-up, writer, and storyteller; blogger for trutV; TLC’s American Chopper, Maxim and Cosmo Radio, So-Low Show; popular and RockBottom; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central), Matt Ruby, Zach Sims, and Nate Fernald performing at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by David Cope: Hot Soup

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A comic’s comic who’s performed on David Letterman, Jay Leno, HBO, FX’s Louie, and three Comedy Central specials headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Nick DiPaolo

[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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm:”In 2005, Oprah Winfrey invited Cicely Tyson to her house for lunch, but forgot to invite Ruby Dee. Then she forgot to invite Della Reese, Maya Angelou, and Phylicia Rashad, so she decided, instead, to do something only Oprah would: invited, like, a million famous black ladies to her California estate for a three-day weekend that included a luncheon, a black-tie gala, and a gospel brunch. All of it—from the excessive preparation to the actual ceremonies—was captured on camera for a two-hour special that is some of the most insane television you will ever see, featuring bad poetry, an Oprah trolley, and Ashanti trying to speak eloquently. Join comedian and blogger Eliot Glazer as he presents the footage live with commentary, special guests, surprises, and Oprah-style giveaways” at Brooklyn’s Union HallOprah’s Legends Ball: The Deconstruction

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Aziz Ansari put together a stand-up line-up so spectacular that I’m not even allowed to tell you who’ll be on it. Which means this is not to be missed: The Super Secret Stand-up Show

11:00 pm ($5): “Actors enter with cell phones, not knowing what the night will hold. Their job: To speak aloud whatever they hear through their earpieces. The phones start to ring and the real-time adventure begins. Spontaneous conversations, narrated journeys, and unique experiences overlap as the night’s theme sporadically emerges: Line One

11:30 pm ($5): Five women performing an improvised, and possibly tipsy, parody of The View atFocus

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Sean Fennessey (Vibe, Spin, is among tonight’s guests joining “opinionated audiophile John Frusciante hosting a revolving panel of music-loving comedians, writers, and musicians for a live monthly discussion about the state of music past and present, what you should and shouldn’t be listening to, and why KISS sucks so much. It is a guarantee that your favorite band will at some point be brought up, dissected, and either praised to the rafters or dismissed with the wave of a hand that knows how to properly handle vinyl:” Break Up Your Band

[$] 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