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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 $12 marked with $) include:
[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): One of the most talented and hilarious sketch comics in the biz debuts her newest one-woman show, which I’m enormously looking forward to catching: Kate McKinnon on ice; and in case that wasn’t more than enough for your $5, a fun musical trio will audition for a UCBT run: Thin Skin Johnny
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($32.75 & 2-item min.): A razor-sharp comic and pitch-perfect impressionist who’s also a movie star in such classics as The Usual Suspects headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Pollak
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): This revival of one of my all-time favorite UCBT shows involves a group of stellar comics taking an audience suggestion and, while sipping beers, telling personal tales related to it—with an emphasis on the ribald and ridiculous, just like what you’d want to hear from your friends while hanging out at a bar. The yarn spinning is great fun; but on top of that, when the performers hear a story that especially tickles them, they’ll jump up and instantly create scenes revolving around it. And because these talents are razor-sharp improvisors, the results are hilarious. My one concern is that this show used to include world-class storyteller Chris Gethard—whenever Chris opened his mouth, everyone else went dead silent as if God was about to speak. (Yes, Chris is that respected by his peers.) I don’t see Chris on the lineup tonight, so the show might be a little light on the storytelling side; but on the other hand, it includes improv geniuses such as Anthony King, Gavin Speiller, and Pam Murphy, so it’s definitely worth checking out Happy Hour
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Alicia Levy performing a one-woman rock concert, complete with a talented band. Alicia’s energy is admirable, but she needs to learn to balance that with organic nuance rather than make everything unremittingly over the top. Still, this is worth catching for Alicia’s very entertaining parodies of Tori Amos, Macy Gray, and Cyndi Lauper, and some memorable costumes: Chickapalooza
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): An hour of improv directed by Magnet Theatre co-owner Armando Diaz: Evente
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($35.50 with discount code BOX): 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 hitSleepwalk 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 $35.50 (discounted via code BOX) price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
[$] 8:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up and impressionist who’s done a one-hour Comedy Central special, and performed on Jay Leno and Mad TV, headlining through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Pablo Francisco
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($12): Superb NYC stand-ups Julian McCullough, Kurt Braunohler, Mindy Raf, Helen Hong, and Jess Wood performing at Comedy Below Canal
[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Typically terrific NYC stand-ups performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and guest-host Ben Kissel (while Sean Patton shares his gifts with other cities): Comedy as a Second Language
9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of CollegeHumor.com, you can get a behind-the-scenes peak—plus comics Streeter Seidell, Jeff Rubin, Adam Lowitt, Hallie Cantor, and more—at CollegeHumor Live
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Top comics and comedic storytellers—who tonight are Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant stand-up, writer, and storyteller; blogger for trutV; TLC; co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Marc Sam Rosenthal (stellar one-man show Blanche Survives Katrina in a Fema Trailer Named Desire), Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedy and Stripped Stories), and Bodger Millerd—joining brilliant sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to share tales on tonight’s theme Trust at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Top improvisors, including Jordan Klepper & Laura Grey, Swords, and Doppelganger make up one-act plays on the spot in The Scene
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): One of the greatest improv troupes of all time, the mighty Death by Roo Roo, competing with troupe CAPTCHA for audience laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match
For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.