NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/6/11

May 6, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

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.

Joe Bill

Two of the greatest improvisors alive—each visiting from Chicago—are coincidentally both performing tonight: Joe Bill at "Lights Out, Shirley!"...

Blaine Swen

...and Blaine Swen at "The Improvised Shakespeare Company"

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): “Ever wonder how you become a writer for an Emmy winning TV show? So does J. D. Durkin. Since no one has told him, here is his one-man show performing all original material to become a writer for The Colbert Report. Durkin channels Colbert live on stage to present political punditry as only The PIT could do it…and only The PIT, since he was escorted off the Comedy Central premises:” Stephen Colbert: Hire Me

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($20 online or at the door with discount code ISCFRIEND): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is actually sold out, but it’s not too late to grab tickets for the final performance on Saturday of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Andrea Rosen is already famed as a comic—in fact, she recently won the prestigious 2011 ECNY Award for Best Stand-Up—but what’s not as well-known is that Andrea’s among the finest comedic storytellers in the country. This new one-woman show should fix that. It offers smart, fearless, hilarious material ranging from fast food you should avoid to the medicinal power of a boyfriend’s penis. It also provides one of the sharpest comedic performances that will grace NYC this year (for which kudos are also deserved by the show’s superb director, John Flynn). Plus if you sit in the first few rows, expect free home-baked cookies. Don’t miss Andrea’s unique blend of dark comedy and silliness: Ding Dong Meow

 …and in the other half of this double-bill, Jordan Klepper and Laura Grey perform an acclaimed sketch show in which “they’re bringing their baggage to the stage and dumping it all on you” in Baggage

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A stand-up who’s performed on NBC, BBC,Comedy Central Presents, and The Howard Stern Show, and has twice won Time Out New York’sBest Comedy Performance of the Year award, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV; for reenactment of Dan’s breakup, please click here), Phoebe Robinson (host of Case of the Mondays Comedy), and more performing atO’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Mark Normand: Hot Soup

[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

[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

8:00 pm ($5; includes copious homemade treats): Fine NYC stand-ups Dan St. Germain, Kevin McCaffrey, Raquel D’Aprice, and Sean Donnelly performing at Karma Lounge (51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with hosts Aalap Patel, Matt Maragno, and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, College Humor): It’s Not That Serious

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy about the past year from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name, and tonight plan on performing a movie sequel: We’re Matt Weir: Thor 2

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($20 with discount code TODDB, plus 2-drink min.): One of the finest stand-ups in the country, with appearance on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central PresentsThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature filmsThe Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead, headlining through Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Todd Barry

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

9:00 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

[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

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

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Jenny Slate (Saturday Night Live, HBO’s Bored to Death) and Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), plus wonderful musical guest Corn Mo, performing at this monthly comedy talk show hosted by the Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC, Hot Tub Variety): Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[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 previous show I caught 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!

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A comedic freestyle rap contest featuring some of the funniest & sharpest comics in NYC—who tonight include Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Seth Herzog’s mom, Peter Gwinn (Baby Wants Candy), Billy Eichner (Bravo, Creation Nation), and Carla Rhodes (rock n roll ventriloquist)—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and the wonderful Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown

 For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

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.