NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/24/11

June 24, 2011

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Death by Roo Roo

An epic improv battle for $10,000 to fund a short comedy film will be waged tonight by genius troupe Death by Roo Roo...

Jason Mantzoukas and Ed Herbstman

...equally genius duo Jason Mantzoukas & Ed Herbstman as The Mantzoukas Brothers...

Big Black Car and Doppelganger

...Big Black Car (which sometimes includes rising superstar Kristen Schaal), Doppelganger (a new group with a rep for toppling champs)...

Standards & Practices improv

...and Toronto troupe Standards & Practices at "The Friars Club Second Annual Improv Competition"

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups start at 5:30 pm) at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine and Annie Lederman: The Shinebox

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: A wonderful—and free!—outdoor concert at Brooklyn’s Red Hook Park with star Reggie Watts (musical improv comedy genius; Comedy Central special; Jimmy FallonElectric Company; Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited tour; for video samples, please clickhere), famed DJ Stormin’ Norman, and more. Please note the F/G train’s Smith & 9th Street Station is very inconveniently closed, but you can take the F/G to Carroll Street and then walk a whole bunch to be rewarded with Reggie Watts at Red Hook Park

7:00 pm ($8): Award-winning improv duo Lucas Kavner and Bradford Jordan make stuff up with “a celebrity guest improvisor’ at Swords, while all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from two friends who, by a wild coincidence, have the same name: We’re Matt Weir: Universe Drugs

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm-10:30 pm ($12): Five improv troupes—Death by Roo Roo (UCBT-NYC), The Mantzoukas Brothers (The Magnet-NYC), Doppelganger (UCBT-NYC), Big Black Car (The PIT-NYC), and Standards & Practices (Toronto)—try hard to make you laugh for a prize of $10,000 (to fund the making of a stellar comedy short film) in this second annual contest sponsored by the Friars Club:The Friars Club Improv Competition

[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 ($53 & 2-drink min.) Former co-host of The Man Show and Loveline, and now host of one of the most popular comedy podcasts on the Net, headlining tonight at the Carolines Comedy Club: Adam Carolla

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: TV & movie star TJ Miller (David LettermanOpie & Anthony; co-stared in ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-starred in such hit as movies Cloverfield and She’s Out of My League; member of awesome sketch troupe Heavyweight, which blew the roof off at SketchFest NYC 2011), Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents), Ryan Hamilton, Dan Soder, Justy Dodge, and Jeff Wesselschmidt performing stand-up at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue) hosted by Mark Normand: Hot Soup

8:00 pm ($5): Comics Jon Bander and Dave Thunder vow to lose weight (in real life) while performing sketch scenes in this show over the next month: M4: Comedy’s Biggest Losers

[FREE] 8:00 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

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s appeared on NBC, MTV, Showtime, and a Comedy Central Presents special, and performed an award-winning one man show at last year’s FringeNYC, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jim David

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

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): Stand-up and sketch comedy guests hosted by improv troupe Bad Luck Rising

11:00 pm ($10): Typically disturbing and semi-obscene sketches from troupe FUCT

11:30 pm ($5): Before the show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

Midnight ($5): Sketch comedy troupes Hammerkatz NYU and Skit Job compete for audience laughs and votes, with troupe Sidecar hosting, in Backyard Brawl

[$] 12:30 am ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining through Sunday at Carolines: Paul Mooney

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.