NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/12/11

November 12, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Nate Dern, Megan Gray, and Jeff Lepine

UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Magnet Artistic Director Megan Gray, and PIT Artistic Director Jeff Lepine have a semi-serious discussion about the state of comedy beyond stand-up at "Inside NYC Improv and Sketch"

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] November 12th-13th: Among the stellar events at this year’s New York Comedy Festival are shows by Louis C.K. (11/12 at the Beacon Theatre), Sarah Silverman (11/12 at BAM), Bill Maher (11/12 at the Beacon Theatre), Norm MacDonald (11/12 at Town Hall), and Kathy Griffin (11/12 at Carnegie Hall); three panels on the art of comedy writing & performing (11/12 at UCB East), plus a panel discussion with the writers of Saturday Night Live (11/13 at the Paley Center); and a leisurely chat with Ricky Gervais (11/13 at the 92nd Street Y). For the complete massive schedule, please click: New York Comedy Festival

[TOP PICK] 1:30 pm ($5): As part of the New York Comedy Festival, a panel discussion at UCB Eastabout comedy on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and more, with the superb participants including Mark Douglas (creator & star of The Key of Awesome) and Julie Klausner (host of How Was Your Week): Comedy in the Digital Space

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($35 using discount code FTBBOX online or at the box office): One of my favorite FringeNYC shows (for my 2006 review, please click here) is finally enjoying a commercial run. The mostly-true tale of a man who became the toast of Paris by making music with his ass is playing at Sofia’s Downstairs Theater (221 West 46th Street): The Fartiste

[TOP PICK] 3:00 pm ($5): As part of the New York Comedy Festival, a panel discussion at UCB Eastabout the current state of improv & sketch, with the star participants including new UCBT artistic director Nate Dern, new Magnet artistic director Megan Gray, PIT artistic director Jeff Lepine, and thoroughly original & wonderful writer/performer Shannon O’Neill : Inside NYC Improv and Sketch

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by RG Daniels & Jared Fried: It Starts at 4

[TOP PICK] 4:30 pm ($5): As part of the New York Comedy Festival, a panel discussion at UCB Eastabout the craft of comedic storytellling, with stellar participants including Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller), Catherine Burns (Artistic Director of The Moth), Jane Borden (treasured Comedy Editor of Time Out New York), John Flynn (The Nights of Our Lives, host of storytelling show Oh, Hey Guys!), Seth Lind (NPR’s This American Life, Told), and Todd Bieber (host of Animated Stories—which comes on following this show at 7:00 pm): The Craft of Comedy Storytelling

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes The Storks, Swartzlander, and Scoresby at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A “sacrificial” improv team performs a quick set, then is split up among three other waiting improv troupes, each of which then performs a full set. This ritual letting go for the good of the whole takes place at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Sacrifice

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives) headlines at this monthly UCB East show that also lets audience members tell their stories, with the best tale turned into an animated short film premiering the following month. Hosted by Todd Bieber, it’s Animated Stories

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Drawing from his ongoing series of podcasts, Sam Dingman performs a one-man storytelling show at The PIT downstairs lounge offering “true tales from his days as a taxi driver in New York City, complete with toothless convicts, frozen embryos, murderous city buses, mobbed-up body shops, and much more. Along the way, he finds that no matter how many insane things he sees on the pothole-ridden streets of New York, the craziest one of all may be himself:” The Taxi Tapes

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Joe Bill, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, Kay Cannon, Christina Gausas, and/or other stellar performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and legendary Chicago improv institutions, at UCB West all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft at The Magnetmaking up a play on the spot: Theory of Everything

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 in advance online, $15 at the door): Christian Finnegan, Victor Varnado, Mike Lawrence, Lauren Hennessy, Yannis Pappas, and more participate in a live version of Match Game at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Keith and the Girl and Ben Lerman: Keith and the Girl: Match Game Live

8:00 pm ($10): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill—and occasionally with comedy giants Kristen Schaal and/or Kurt Braunohler participating: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

[FREE] 8:00 pm: From the producers of The Scene, improvisors at The PIT downstairs lounge make up one-act plays on the spot: Act One

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night LiveComedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, director/co-writer of Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, podcast You Had to Be There), Carmen Lynch (Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony), and Danny Solomon (soon moving to LA; for stand-up video about the price of NYC drinks, please click here), performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk and Nick Turner: If You Build It

[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—UCB West’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, and more (but do you even need more?) performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($7): A young improv troupe that includes the wonderful Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman show Our Condolences at last year’s FringeNYC; sketch troupe Good Morning, Ladies) performs at The Magnet in a show whose title promises playfulness: The Messaround

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 and now enjoying a long run at The PIT upstairs theatre: 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

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Stand-up and burlesque are weirdly blended together—with scheduled guests including Jared Logan, Mark Normand, Matt McCarthy, Matt Ruby, Nick Turner, and more atThe Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents): Pat Dixon’s (Nearly) Naked Lady Hour: Now with Bacon Bar

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($8): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy—and won last year’s ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group—performing this monthly show at The PIT downstairs lounge: Murderfist

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Ben Rodgers, Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, and/or other stellar improvisors at UCB West interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then create an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here

10:30 pm ($10): UCBT Harold Night improv troupe Airwolf makes stuff up at UCB EastAirwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

10:30 pm ($7): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney as comedy duo Trike

11:00 pm ($8): NYC stand-ups Bonnie McFarlane, DC Benny, Ray Ellen, and Katy Olson performing at The PIT upstairs theatre for a podcast that’s designed to provide free therapy for host Joe Matarese: Fixing Joe

Midnight ($5): Writers & performers at UCB East—tonight including stellar talents Ben Rodgers, Violet Krumbein, and John Frusciante—attempt to combine the organic energy of improv with the consistency of scripted comedy by putting on a sketch show written & rehearsed in a single day: Sketch Cram

Midnight ($5): Young improvisors at UCB West make up scenes about Armageddon with the stellar directorial help of Will Hines: End of the World

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups in a late-night talk show format at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Michael Che: Michael Che’s Community Service

Midnight ($10): Typically disturbing and semi-obscene sketches at The PIT downstairs lounge from troupe FUCT

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, 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

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my latest book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.