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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 $) include:
[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday
[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West
[$] 7:00 pm ($15): In this double-bill at The Magnet, singing improv troupes Initial Public Offeringand American Idlez each make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: IPO and and American Idlez
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): For this double-bill at UCB East, first a genius improv troupe consisting of trio Gavin Speiller (Death By Roo Roo), Ben Rodgers (The Curfew), and Jonathan Gabrus (The Law Firm) performs as Outlook of the Poet; and then Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar perform as fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($16.50, plus 2-drink min.) A shrewdly funny curmudgeon and part-time nerd who’s performed on Comedy Central and at the New York Comic Con headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Mike Lawrence
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Of all the superb comedic performers new to me at SketchFest NYC 2011, the one who most impressed was Meghan O’Neill. This exceptional actress has such a strong command of voice and movement that in one sketch she managed to convincingly evoke a dozen pop culture figures in under 30 seconds. O’Neill is also a sharp writer, bringing a groundedness and underlying meaning to even the silliest of scenarios. O’Neill is a member of the acclaimed Striking Viking Story Pirates, but is just starting to achieve the fame her talent deserves. If she’s been under your radar too, please watch her promo video by clicking here, and then come check her out tonight at Ars Nova (511 West 54th Street) performing a one-woman show with a title that belies O’Neill’s star quality: ‘Fraidy Cat
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The superb Ryan Karels (Conan O’Brien, Krompf) performs a sketch show I haven’t yet seen titled Radio Rogue; and the debut of a sketch show directed by comedy genius Neil Casey, who is currently batting 1000% with his previous direction of stellar hit sketch shows by Kate McKinnon, Mike Still, and Stone Cold Fox, so this one is worth checking out for that reason alone: This Is Not a Sketch Show
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5—which includes a free beer!): Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant stand-up, writer, and storyteller; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, FOX), Nick Cobb (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriac drug user, please click here) performing stand-up at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City for this weekly show hosted by Nick Turner & Jason Sáenz: Too Cool for School
8:00 pm ($8 at the door, $6.84 online with discount code Supermango): Conan O’Brien writers Andrés du Bouchet and Josh Comers, Tom McCaffrey (Comedy Central, VH1), Harry Terjanian (Sirius XM Radio), and “a secret guest” performing at the Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery, off Bleecker Street) with host Dan Allen: Sacapuntas!
[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stan Van Gundy (NBA coach), Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), Jenny Jaffe (staff writer for College Humor), Kate Berlant (Crime & Punishment), Calvin Cato (host of The Pregame Show), J.F. Harris (Raw Guts), Aaron Eisenberg (MTV), and Josh Edelman (BET) performing at Brooklyn bowling alley The Gutter (200 North 14th Street) hosted by Aaron Glaser and guest host Ilana Glazer (Broad City): Get Loose
[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA for first 30 people, from Artichoke Pizza!] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Sean Crespo (Onion News Network, host of Lasers in the Jungle), Chris Thayer (The Purple Onion), John F. O’Donnell (College Humor), and Dave Lester performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for Negin Farsad’s & Amy Albert’s free weekly show Comedy School Dropout
8:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Burnt Umber, Fuchsia, Grappler, Featherweight, Ocean, and Pea performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): For this double-bill at UCB East, first Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film as The Two-Man Movie; and then UCBT Harold Night house troupes Creature and Sandino make up scenes without relying on the usual long-form “Harold” rules at Cheating on Harold
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Corey Pandolph (cartoonist for The New Yorker), Cammi Climaco (co-host of Ask Me Stories), Kat Herskovic (NBC), Evan Morgenstern (co-producer of SNC and Call Us Crazy), and stellar musical guest The Pendulum Swings at this free weekly show at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink
9:00 pm ($7): Owen Smith (Everybody Hates Chris, TBS’ Are We There Yet?), Louis Katz (HBO,Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central), Brent Sullivan (Comedy Central; for video about crying while reading The Giving Tree, please click here), Kate Hendricks (VH1), and Akaash Singh (MTV) performing stand-up for this monthly show at Under St. Marks, with hosts Christian Polanco & Luke Younge: And Then What Happened?
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Conan O’Brien staff writers Brian Kiley, Todd Levin, Laurie Kilmartin, Andrés du Bouchet, Brian McCann, and Jesse Pop performing stand-up at UCB West while Conan spends a week in NYC: An Evening with The Conan Writers
[$] 9:30 pm ($22, plus 2-drink min.) A veteran stand-up who’s performed on Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, and Comedy Central headlining for one night only at the CarolinesComedy Club: Eddie Pepitone
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB West makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night
[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets
For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.