NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/19/11

November 19, 2011

For full details, please visit

Judah Friedlander

Judah Friedlander (above) performs with Todd Barry at the Eastville Comedy Club...

Sara Benincasa

...Sara Benincasa hosts a pre-Thanksgiving storytelling show about gatherings at Family Hour...

The Room

...and notoriously bad film "The Room" is screened and vilified at Midnight Movie at Montoya’s

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:

Noon, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 8:00 pm ($10): College improv teams compete today via four shows atThe Magnet as part of the Chicago Improv Festival’s College Improv Tournament

[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—executed by a Broadway-caliber cast, and with several memorable show-stoppers—is playing at Sofia’s Downstairs Theater (221 West 46th Street): The Fartiste

[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

[FREE] 5:30 pm: New improv teams experimenting with new forms at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Andy Rocco and Jon Monje: Anybody Vs. Everybody: An Improv Show for You

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Old Timey Radio Show, LD50, and Scoresby at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8; includes free cookies): Jared Logan (hilarious angry rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, co-host of Righteous Kill),  Emily Heller (staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Emily’s sister Marielle Heller, and stand-up Lane Moore telling funny, poignant, and at times unforgettable tales about their relatives—and, for this pre-Thanksgiving show, with a special focus on gatherings—at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Sara Benincasa (NBC’s Today Show, The Joy Behar Show, CNN, MTV, The Sarah Palin Vlogs, Sex and Other Human Activities podcast, host of Family Hour, upcoming bookAgorafabulous): Family Hour

7:00 pm ($5): Ryan Karels (KrompfRadio Rogue) hosts a live podcast interview show at UCB Eastwith guests “who put the ordinary in extraordinary” (I think that’s supposed to be a compliment, somehow), with tonight’s subjects Brooklyn DA Patrick Egan, improvisor Andrew Law, and actor B. Brian Argotsinger: Radio Rogue: The Roguing

7:00 pm ($5): An improv troupe making up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge under a name that pays homage to an extremely average MLB baseball player: Mendoza

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

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($29 & 2-drink min.) A TV star who was a cast member of MTV’s Punk’d and is now a cast member of FX’s The League headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Stephen Rannazzisi

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who hosted FX’s The X-Showand starred in Hurt Bert, and also starred in his own hour-long special for Comedy Central, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Bert Kreischer

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] 8:00ish pm: Matt McCarthy (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death, host of AMC’s Action Pack, Comedy Central, hilarious shorts with Pete Holmes for Front Page Films, national TV ads as Verizon FIOS guy, feature film The Other Guys, host of Marking Out), Jason Saenz (co-host of Too Cool for School), Matt Wayne, James Harris, and Katrin Heir performing stand-up at One and One (76 East 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) with host Sean Donnelly: Lil’ Seany Boy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-up Dan Soder (Comedy Central), Erik Bransteen (Comedy Central), Harry Terjanian (Edinburgh Festival), and Justin Williams (Comedy Death Jam) performing at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

8:00 pm ($5): Improvisors perform as duos at The PIT downstairs lounge: Couples’ Retreat

8:30 pm ($10): Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing; co-host of Hot Soup andWe’re All Friends Here), Mike Racine (Comedy Central), Jordan Carlos (Comedy Central, MTV), Lisa Delarios (Comedy Central, co-host of The Party Machine), and Cameron Esposito 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 Chelsea’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, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Judah Friedlander (30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Todd Barry (one of the finest stand-ups on the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Maddog Mattern, and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

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 at The PIT: Political Subversities

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come to the Soho Playhouse tonight to see why BWC won aFringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy

[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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Comedy from a duo that walks the line between sketch and stand-up, plus tonight’s stand-up guest Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon; co-host of Too Cool For School and If You Build It), performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Team Submarine and Friends

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics performing as characters at The PIT downstairs lounge, with tonight’s packed show featuring Mike Lawrence (shrewdly funny curmudgeon; Comedy Central), Sasheer Zamata (improv troupe Doppelganger), Emmy Blotnick (Jimmy Fallon), Matt Koff (The Onion News Network), Matt Hobby (sketch troupe New Excitement), Jermaine Fowler (Rooftop Comedy), John Milhiser (sketch troupes Serious Lunch and Dweeb), Lorraine Cink (improv troupeBorealis) Dan Black (UCBT), and Adam Bozarth (Left Handed Radio), hosted by Roger Stern: Overload the Machine

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Ben Rodgers, Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, and/or other stellar improvisors at UCB Chelsea 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 ($7): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney as comedy duo Trike

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: This free show at The PIT upstairs theatre does a great job of describing itself: “Bad movies. We can’t stop watching them. Is it because the plot is so enjoyably paper-thin? Or maybe the acting is so deliciously cheesy? Whatever the reason may be, Oscar Montoya (Local 154) is inviting you to his house to watch all of his favorite so-bad-they’re-awesome movies. Joining him is Bradford Jordan (improv troupe Stranger and all around nice guy). Tonight’s feature is The Room, an epically bad movie starring madman/genius Tommy Wiseau:” Midnight Movie at Montoya’s Presents: The Room

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A talk show at UCB East hosted by the razor-sharp writer/performers of Pangea 3000 (who also write for The Onion), with tonight’s non-standard guests Thanksgiving expert Cynthia Teflin, hair salon owner Robert Gioria, and stand-up Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon, MTV, Second City): The Night Night Show with Pangea 3000

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, with hosts Andy Haynes & Nick Turner promising “a rowdy late night comedy melee with beers being thrown, jokes being told, partial nudity, audience participation…there’s no telling what might happen:” Midnight Run

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

Midnight ($5): Two unannounced sketch comedy troupes that are typically obscure (I don’t know why, that’s just how this show is done) competing for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelseahosted by quite good and reasonably well-known sketch troupe Sidecar: Backyard Brawl

[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

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.