NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/3/11

December 3, 2011

For full details, please visit

Janeane Garofalo

TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo performs at the Eastville Comedy Club...

Richard Lewis

...and TV & movie star Richard Lewis headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm ($13.37 online): One of my all-time favorite theatre duos is Rachel Buethe and James Presson, who co-run the stellar theatrical company Less Than Rent. Buethe has previously done phenomenal work as an actress, writer, and producer, and Presson is a genius director. For this new show, though, they’ve switched roles; Buethe is the director and Presson is the playwright. For Buethe, it’s an unqualified home run; she clearly applied loving care to every detail of the production, from the carefully thought-out set, to the clever staging, to the spot-on casting, pitch-perfect timing, and blend of over-the-top and nuanced performances. (There are even such lovely little touches as a humble placard on the wall—that only audience members studying the stage during intermission will ever notice—offering advice eerily resonant for the play: “To deal with worry, work is better than whiskey.”) For Presson, the results are a bit more mixed (e.g., while Hedda Gabler was the inspiration, I’d recommend recognizing this is its own story and invent an entirely different ending); but the positives strongly outweigh the structural issues. This is a fresh, ambitious work that pushes at the borders between art, reality, entertainment, and meaning. And while it’s not a comedy—in some ways, it’s actually an anti-comedy—at its core is a TV sitcom. If you’re open to something different, don’t miss the two-week run of this vibrant show at Walkerspace (46 Walker Street, near the Canal Street stops of the A/E/C/N/R/1/2/3/6 subways): Friends Don’t Let Friends

[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

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): “Stories of all sizes that define our place in the universe,” hosted at UCB East by Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Real Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), and featuring storytellers Bob Powers (author of The Werewolf’s Guide to Life), Sarah Rainone, and Jeff Simmermon): Tales of the Cosmos

7:00 pm ($7): Sketches, improv scenes, and videos from a small army of female comics at The PIT upstairs theatre that answer such questions as “Why can’t you touch a black girl’s hair? Why do some of us burn our cheating man’s clothes in his car and can’t wait to exhale? How did Foxy Brown know how to get down? Why can two play that game? Why do mad black women write so many diaries?” and more: Mrs Jones

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Comedic solo performances—storytelling, sketch, and whatever else isn’t stand-up or improv—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Bill Stiteler & Adam Schwartz: Wank

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.)  A comedy star who’s snared just about every major credit a comic can—and is a long-time cast member of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm—headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Richard Lewis

[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 performing at UCB Chelsea while 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] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Sharp NYC stand-ups are invited to perform anything except stand-up—e.g., sketch, storytelling, improv, songs, dance, puppetry, and things we can’t even imagine—atThe Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Kelly Fastuca, Reid Faylor, and Andrew Short: Underbelly

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

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Showtime, and his own hour-long Comedy Central special headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Sebastian Maniscalco

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Seth Herzog (staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central, CBS, VH1, film actor; host of Sweet), James Harris, and Lance Weiss performing stand-up at One and One (76 East 1st Street, corner of First Avenue), plus host Sean Donnelly & friends performing sketches, at Lil’ Seany Boy

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, star of The King of Miami, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Dave Hill Explosion), Ben Lerman (nuanced raunchy comedic singer/songwriter; Logo TV’s NewNowNext, Sirius Radio’s Frank DeCaro Show), 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), Katina Corrao (HBO, VH1, Logo), and John F. O’Donnell (co-host of 50 First Jokes) 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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Christian Finnegan (co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Gary Gulman (Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($10): NYC sketch comedy duo Jamaal Sedayao and Brian Lisi at The Magnet providing “unfamiliar, often absurd stories full of unexpected laughs:” Turboner Bigoté

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics”atThe PIT upstairs theatre following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: 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] 10:30 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 ($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 at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A freestyle rap contest at UCB East that includes superb NYC comics—unfortunately, not yet announced this time, but previous winners have included Dave Hill and Myq Kaplan—plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Jared Logan (hilarious angry rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, co-host of Righteous Kill), Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives, The Tony and Johnny Show), Seth Herzog (staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central, CBS, VH1, film actor; host of Sweet), and Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report, MTV) performing at UCB Chelsea with host Andy Rocco at Underground Americana

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Along the lines of Mystery Science Theater 3000, NYC comics make comments about a terrible movie at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Big Fat Scary Saturday

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

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:

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.