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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 $) include:
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): My #1 pick for the 2007 FringeNYC Festival, this wonderful group of actresses/improvisors portray characters as if they were in a play, but improvise everything they say and do. The luminous performers include Katharine Heller, Brenna Palughi, Lynne Rosenberg, Lauren Seikaly, and Molly Knefel, each of whom is immensely appealing and quick-witted. Further, they have an intimate, lovely chemistry with each other; and they’ve all committed to baring their personal lives, thinly disguised via their characters (hence the title’s Naked). As a result, this is one of the most honest & nuanced improvised shows you’ll ever see. Tonight is the next-to-last show of the season at the elegant Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, near the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop): Naked in a Fishbowl
[FREE] 7:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Chris Lamberth, Phillip Burke, Jim VanBlaricum, Dan Frigolette, and Nathan Macintosh performing at a free weekly show in the Manchester Pub hosted by Phoebe Robinson: Case of the Mondays Comedy
7:00 pm & 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4 minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2 hours—with an early show hosted by Sean Donnelly & Blaine Perry at 7:00 pm, and an entirely different group of stand-ups hosted by Dan Cartwright & Dave Greek at 9:00 pm—at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for John Morrison’s Motel Luca
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Top comics Julie Klausner (razor-sharp sketch writer/performer & storyteller, and author of I Don’t Care About Your Band), Gabe & Jenny (SNL’s Jenny Slate & Gabe Liedman), Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy 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), Mike Lawrence (shrewdly funny curmudgeon; Comedy Central), and Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel) performing at UCB Eastfor this biweekly show whose lineups have the official Comedy Central seal of approval: Comedy Central Corporate Retreat
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8.50 online or $8 at the door): The Birdmann (surreal & silly Australian comic Trent Baumann, who was a huge hit at the Glastonbury Festival), Griffen Newman (College Humor), Max Silvestri (The Onion’s AV Club, co-host of BIg Terrific), and musical guest Brittain Ashford performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with sketches and more from a duo who between them won four 2011 ECNY Awards—including Best Variety Show and Best Hosts—Kristen Schaal (unless Kristen doesn’t get back to NYC in time) and Kurt Braunohler (for sure): Hot Tub Variety with Kurt & Kristen
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Harrison Greenbaum (writer for Mad Magazine; head writer of Tu Nite con Lorenzo Parro on NBCU/Telemundo), Kate Hendricks (Bravo TV), and Brendan Eyre performing at the One and One Bar (1st Street & First Avenue) for this brand new weekly stand-up show hosted by Louis Katz, Tim Dimond, and J. F. Harris: Raw Guts
[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:30 pm ($15, which includes 1 drink, if you mention HyReviews.com[otherwise $20]; call 212.989.9319 to reserve seats because this will sell out): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchordsand Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, director/co-writer of Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, host of top NYC comedy showWhiplash), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV, VH1; for reenactment of Dan’s breakup, please click here), Mike Lawrence (shrewdly funny curmudgeon; Comedy Central), Helen Hong (Comedy Central, TLC), and John Knefel (co-host ofJohn & Molly Get Along) performing stand-up at the Cornelia Street Cafe for John Morrison’s Morrison Motel
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($18): The winning team that created Pope!: An Epic Musical (a big hit at last year’s FringeNYC) and The Spidey Project (a media sensation) is now developing a pirate musical at The Magnet about “the dashing young hero Declan as he seeks out the vicious Martin La Foe, the second most famous pirate ever,” with book and lyrics by Justin Moran & Jon Roufaeal, and music by Adam & Matt Podd: Nightfall on Mirango Island
[$] 8:30 pm ($21.78, plus 2-drink min. or $20 unlimited nonalcoholic drinks): Marina Franklin (developing into one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with an uncommonly gentle, graceful style that’s pure joy; Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend), Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Brian Scott McFadden (Conan O’Brien, MTV), Jim David (Comedy Central Presents, FringeNYC), Michelle Balan, Mike Burton, Brian Scolaro, Ryan Reiss, Tom Van Horn, and host DF Sweedler performing stand-up at the Comic Strip Live Comedy Club (1568 2nd Avenue off 81st Street): Franklin, Mecurio, and More at Comic Strip Live
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: PIT owner Ali Farahnakian and the school’s razor-sharp instructors perform improv at The PIT downstairs lounge in The Faculty Part 2: Electric Boogaloo; plus improv troupe Technicolor
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): UCB Chelsea has developed several terrific in-house sketch comedy troupes, but one of them has risen above the rest to rival the finest groups in the country: Stone Cold Fox, which is performing a stellar “best of” show virtually every Friday at 7:30 pm (and which you should definitely go see—and then go see again with cherished friends, who will thank you for it). Tonight is slated to be Stone Cold Fox’s last Maude Night performance; after this the group will laser-focus on Friday, as it’s the first sketch troupe to ever be given a prestigious permanent weekend time slot at UCBT. Also on this double-bill is house troupe Arbuckle, which isn’t in the same league, but includes such notable performers as Violet Krumbein (currently in a national TV ad for an investment firm, and soon to be on 30 Rock)—all at Maude Night
[FREE] 9:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Luke Thayer (co-host of The Living Room), Kimmie Dee, Nate Rand, Diane DeLuna, Victor Pleacoff, Joe Pontillo, Boris Khaykin, and Matt Nagin performing at Pat O’Shea’s free biweekly Brooklyn showcase at Freddy’s Backroom (627 5th Avenue): Ed Sullivan on Acid
[FREE] 9:30 pm: “In moments of exhaustion, in the space of a hesitation, when a faltering spirit looms large, the sixth man comes off the bench and sparks a revolt against complacency and routine. The sixth man powers the team and washes over that faltering spirit with a cleansing energy. A show in which awesome teams are made even greater with the addition of a special guest improviser. Tag-ins, walk-ons, lay-ons, swinging doors, all manner of support work is allowed and encouraged” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Andy Beckerman and Cory Palmer: Sixth Man
10:00 pm ($5): A new monthly show featuring NYC comics performing characters, sketch scenes, stand-up, and more at The Magnet, tonight featuring the wonderful Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman show Our Condolences at last year’s FringeNYC; sketch troupe Good Morning, Ladies), Dave Thunder, Matt Koff, Louis Kornfeld, Corey Grimes, Karsten Cross, and Arthur Meyer with host Jon Bander: What’s to Get?
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who haven’t yet been announced, but you can check for an update by clicking here—hosted at UCB Chelsea by the wonderful Leo Allen (HBO, Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central): Whiplash
[FREE] 11:00 pm: If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should beWhiplash! night (see listing above). If you’re a comic who couldn’t get booked on UCBT’s all-star show, though, you can opt to instead practice your skills at this stand-up open-mic at The PITupstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Wolf and the hilarious Erin Lennox (for a sample of Erin’s dynamite Seriously Sports show, please click here): Fresh
For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.