NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/1/11

April 1, 2011

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Jake Johannsen

Star stand-up Jake Johannsen headlines tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club...

...and Mamrie Hart & Steve Soroka continue their hit sketch comedy show "BoF: It's Pronounced 'Boaf'!"

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 ($10): An NYC improv troupe, headed by Duncan Murdoch, making up scenes following not only an audience suggestion but the riffs of an instrumental jazz quartet: FACE

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Mamrie Hart is a rising star who somehow manages to be razor-sharp yet immensely warm & accessible at the same time. Don’t miss this rare talent, who seems to be getting better every month, with her comedy partner Stephen Soroka performing as Best of Friendsin their new sketch show which educates you about how to effectively promote it when you tell all your pals to see it: BoF: It’s Pronounced ‘Boaf’!; and in the other half of this double-bill, Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) “takes you through a journey of your first day at Camp Kweebec” inWelcome to Camp!

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A writer/comic who’s currently playing Leon Black on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has performed on Saturday Night Live, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, The Chris Rock Show, and such feature films as Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds,headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: JB Smoove

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($49.50): One of the finest comics in the country, Mike Birbiglia’s credits include 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; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live; the book Sleepwalk with Me & Other Painfully True Stories; and his hit off-Broadway show Sleepwalk with Me. Mike’s now returned to the stage, once again creating his unique blend of stand-up and storytelling, for an all-new one-man show at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop) slated to run through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Nikki Glazer (Jay Leno), Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), Adam Lowitt (Producer for The Daily Show), and Bryson Turner (deemed Funniest Person in Austin), plus musical guest The Cowmen, performing at Brooklyn’s Red Star Bar (37 Greenpoint Avenue) for hosts Nick Turner’s & Jason Saenz’s Too Cool for School

8:00 pm ($5; includes copious homemade treats): NYC stand-ups Jeffrey Joseph (HBO, Jay Leno), Lisa Delarios (Comedy Central), Stone & Stone (Last Comic Standing), Jessie Geller, and chris Lamberth performing at Karma Lounge (51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with hosts Aalap Patel and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, College Humor): It’s Not That Serious

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups Nate Bargatze (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Alex Koll (Comedy Central), David Cope (Last Comic Standing), Emily Heller (visiting from San Francisco), Josh DiDonato (visiting from LA), and Erik Bergstrom performing at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Matt Ruby: Hot Soup

8:00 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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A mix of stand-up, sketch, and more at this free show hosted by Billy Keenly & John Milhiser: Stampede

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A comedy icon who’s performed on David Lettermanover 40 times and The Tonight Show over 10 times, and did the acclaimed HBO comedy specialThis’ll Take About An Hour and Showtime special I Love You, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jake Johannsen

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

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy about the past year from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name: We’re Matt Weir: 2010

[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 titled Ms. Larsen’s ClassThe Harvard Sailing Team

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 online or at the door using code MOON): Star comedic storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, winner of the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) performing a smart, engaging, and often hilarious one-man show at PS 122 (150 First Avenue off 9th Street ) running through April 9th: Tom Shillue isSupernormal

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

11:00 pm ($5): An improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): A spectacular collection of veteran improvisors from Chicago and New York performing for one night only—including Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre), 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)— Lights Out, Shirley!

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A comedic freestyle rap contest featuring some of the funniest & sharpest comics in NYC—who tonight include Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien), Adam Lustick (Harvard Sailing Team), Mindy Raf (Leibya Rogers), Jermaine Fowler (Rooftop Comedy), Luke Meginsky (The Future Mrs. Goldman), and King Supernuts (Crazytown)—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and genius musical improvisor Eliza Skinner (Baby Wants Candy) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown

For full details, please visit

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.