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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 $) include:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 4:00 pm & 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 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 $35.50 (discounted via code BOX) price is about what you’d pay at a comedy club…and it’ll buy you one of the richest experiences you’re ever likely to receive from art. To enjoy world-class laughs while being taught how to value what’s truly important, grab tickets while you can at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop); this utterly brilliant one-man show is slated to run only through May 15th: Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($15, which includes 1 drink; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzasReal Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; Manhattan Monologue Slam Champ, Sideshow Goshko), Tracy Rowland (TV writer/producer), and Colin Dempsey (Comedyland). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam Champion) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Christina Gausas, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, and more—plus a rotating cast of stellar visitors who’ve included writers & performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show—all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball
7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft making up a play on the spot in Theory of Everything
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A stand-up who’s performed on NBC, BBC,Comedy Central Presents, and The Howard Stern Show, and has twice won Time Out New York’sBest Comedy Performance of the Year award, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Doug Stanhope
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($20 with discount code TODDB, plus 2-drink min.): One of the finest stand-ups in the country, with appearances on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, The Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead, headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Todd Barry
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: The 3rd Anniversary of this “comedy chat show with boundary issues” that has stand-ups perform sets and then be interviewed about their personal lives, with tonight’s guests Dan Soder, Jesse Popp, and Yannis Pappas at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby: We’re All Friends Here
[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: A variety show of stand-up, storytelling, and sketch that’s not only free, but promises to give each of the first 25 audience members who arrive a free beer! Unfortunately, the lineup hasn’t been announced; but if you’d care to take a chance, join hosts Ray Combs Jr., Evan Jacobs, and Aalap Patel as they provide you a drink On the House
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo
9:00 pm ($7): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!
9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($20 online or at the door with discount codeISCFRIEND): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight ends ISC’s brief May visit to NYC; don’t miss this chance to experience the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching tonight’s edition of Baby Wants Candy
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King interviews an audience member about where he or she grew up and then creates an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here
10:30 pm ($7): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) and Leslie Korein as comedy trio Trike
11:00 pm ($10): “Have you ever wondered what would happen in a porno movie if there was no sex? Would the repairman fix the washing machine and be on his way? Would the teacher help Johnny raise his SAT scores? Would the delivery boy tell the nice, scantily clad lady she can pay him later? This show is the best parts of adult films: the character work, the blocking and the acting—oh, the acting! Improv troupe Borealis screens the opening scenes of random porn movies and then makes up what happens next” in Who Ordered Pepperoni?: Porn-Inspired Improv
[FREE] 11:45 pm: A weekly chance for you to shine, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer
Midnight ($5): John Flynn (superb storyteller; The Nights of Our Lives), Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Dan Gurewitch (College Humor), Thunder God Thor (played by Rob Stern), and more performing at host Andy Rocco’s Underground Americana
For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.