NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/3/11

June 3, 2011

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The Axis of Awesome and Tom Papa

Musical YouTube stars Axis of Awesome perform one night only at UCBT, while Tom Papa headlines tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club

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

7:00 pm ($7): A new sketch troupe—consisting of popular comedy teams such as We’re Matt Weir and Good Morning Ladies—delivering brand new material every week: Ripe Sketch Comedy

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): A musical trio who created one of the most popular YouTube videos ever—to watch it, please click here—performing their set of comedic songs for one night only at UCBT: Axis of Awesome

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($49.50): Mike Birbiglia performing a unique blend of stand-up and storytelling that’s one of the best theatrical shows in NYC. For my more detailed write-up, please click here; and then grab tickets at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop) for Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($49 & 2-drink min.) A TV and movie star who first earned fame onChappelle’s Show headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Charlie Murphy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Matt McCarthy (Comedy Central, AMC, hilarious shorts with Pete Holmes for Front Page Films, national TV ads as Verizon FIOS guy, feature film The Other Guys), Ben Lerman (gently raunchy singer/songwriter), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central), RG Daniels (host of Sunday Night Stand-Up), and Thomas Dale performing stand-up at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Mark Normand: Hot Soup

8:00 pm ($5): “Six comedy writers get one month to geek out in private, then share it in public. Come hear about neuro-linguistics, Lady Di’s dresses, and more:” The Geek Out

8:00 pm ($10): An improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

8:00 pm ($5; includes copious homemade treats): NYC stand-ups Team Submarine, Michael Che, Rae Sanni, Brendan Fitzgibbons, and “surprise guests” 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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Craig Baldo, Henry Zebrowski, Roger Hailes, Patrick Keane, and Josh Rabinowitz, plus musical group Ronald Reagan 80’s, performing at Brooklyn’s Red Star Bar(37 Greenpoint Avenue) for host Nick Turner’s & Jason Saenz’s Too Cool for School

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s toured with Jerry Seinfeld for nine years—and who Jerry hired to host The Marriage Ref—and has appeared numerous times on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, CBS, and Comedy Central headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Tom Papa

[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: Arden Myrin (Conan O’Brien, Mad TV, numerous other TV shows & films; for Mad TVsamples, please click here and here and here), Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever), Alice Wetterlund, Robbie Collier, Joe Cocozzello, and musical guests Chaz Kangas & DJ Milkmoney performing at Brooklyn’s Fort Useless (36 Ditmars Street) hosted by George Flanagan: Spit Take Friday

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 how boys will be girls, please click here) delivering a brand new collection of sketches: The Harvard Sailing Team

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

10:00 pm ($5): LA-based comedy duo Meg Swertlow & Rebecca Leib performing an oddball punk cabaret in The PIT downstairs lounge “with magic tricks, hula hoops, costume changes, a sexy raffle, and a bevy of original songs such as Bubonic Disco Plague, Sex Horse, and Let’s Go to the Aquarium and Have a Blood Bath:” Mustaches and Mai Tais

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

11:00 pm ($5): Hobos, folk music from the Road Sisters, and more in The PIT’s downstairs lounge at Hobo Joe’s Boxcar Sideshow

[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 Jordan Klepper (Klepper & Grey, iO, ), 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 Josh Segarra (The Electric Company), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Heather Fink (Comedy Death Ray), Alan Starzinski (Sandino, Fat Penguin), John F. O’Donnell (50 First Jokes)—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central) 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.