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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:
7:00 pm ($8): Award-winning improv duo Lucas Kavner and Bradford Jordan make stuff up with “a celebrity guest improvisor’ at Swords, while all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Mamrie Hart is a rising star who somehow manages to be razor-sharp and immensely warm & accessible at the same time—and is always worth catching. Her show tonight with sketch partner Stephen Soroka is more sweet & silly than hilarious, but come to have luminous Mamrie make you smile at BoF: It’s Pronounced ‘Boaf’!; and in the other half of this double-bill, a sketch show from duo Two Fun Men
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($49.50): 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 $49.50 price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
[$] 8:00 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A veteran comedic actor in both TV and feature films headlining through Sunday at Carolines: John Witherspoon
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
8:00 pm ($8): An improv troupe that spins its scenes out of music and dance: Borealis
[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Where there is a stage and a piano, she will be there. Where there are strangers with embarrassing stories, she will be there. Where there is a group of people willing to sit and watch someone make up songs, she will be there. A one-woman musical improv journey through the lives of the audience. You tell the story, Rebecca Vigil sings the soundtrack:” The Vigilante
[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups Emma Willmann, Josh Guarino, Dan Russell, Meghan Hanley, Carrie Gravenson, and more performing at Brooklyn’s The Royal Oak (594 Union Avenue) with hosts Calvin S. Cato, Justin Murray, and Chad Plaines: The Pregame Comedy Show
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Ace improvisors who are married—some to each other—including such world-class talents as Ed Herbstman and Doug Mo: The Mamas and the Papas
[TOP PICK] [$] 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
[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
11:00 pm ($5): Improvised scenes based on the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist at Missed Connections Two-Prov
[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 show I caught last month 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!
Midnight ($5): Three NYC sketch troupes—Patrick & Adam of College Humor, Free Love Forum, and duo Rue Brutalia—each performing one of their most popular bits and one of their personal favorites in a sketch revue hosted by Aaron Kheifets: A-Side/B-Side
[$] 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 full details, please visit HyReviews.com.