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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 $) include:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:00 pm & 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
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Comedy veterans Laura Grey (Second City, Baggage with Jordan Klepper at UCBT), Jodi Lennon (Second City, Annoyance Theatre, iO, Exit 57), and Ari Voukydis (Conan O’Brien, VH1) performing an improvised play in What a Year!
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Joe Bill, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, Kay Cannon, Christina Gausas, and other stellar performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and legendary Chicago improv institutions—all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball
7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft making up a play on the spot in Theory of Everything
[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on HBO, ABC, NBC, and Comedy Central headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Mario Cantone
[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sara Benincasa (one-woman show & book Agoraphobia), Sue Funke, and other stand-ups with issues performing at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Chelsea White and Evan Morgenstern: Call Us Crazy
[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s been on HBO’s Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam, P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy, and a Comedy Central Presentsspecial headlining tonight at the Gotham Comedy Club: Tony Woods
[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 ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities
[TOP PICK] [$] 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
10:00 pm ($5): Nat Towsen (host of sketch-based The Moon Show), sketch troupe Casual Sexual Offenders, and Colin Summers performing at The Brooklyn Lyceum (227 Fourth Avenue) hosted by all-gal sketch troupe M.A.D. and all-guy sketch group Sidecar: Gentrify Brooklyn
10:00 pm ($5): “An onslaught of rapid-fire character comedy aimed directly at your face” at The PIT’s basement lounge, hosted by Rob Stern: Overload the Machine
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Jason Mantzoukas (rising film/TV star; (We Used to Go Out, Mother, Baby Mama) and Ed Herbstman (stellar comedic actor; co-founder of the Magnet Theater) show off how breathtakingly quick-witted and skillful they are at creating scenes from air. Time Out New York named these guys Best Improv Duo of 2006. Happily, Jason is back in NYC for a while, so take advantage of this opportunity to see these improvisation comedy stars shine—and then engage in an unusually intimate, and potentially awkward, debriefing session with the audience that can be as much fun as the formal part of the show: The Mantzoukas Brothers
[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
11:00 pm ($8): A veteran sketch troupe explores themes of liberation in City Hall: Freedom Explosion
[FREE] Midnight: 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
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