NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 12/8/11

December 8, 2011

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Megan Neuringer

Stellar storytellers Megan Neuringer (above), Adam Wade, and Anthony Atamanuik perform at John Flynn's "Oh, Hey Guys," one of the "Best Of" shows tonight at UCB East

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] [FREE] 6:00 pm: 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 Tales of the Cosmos and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives, The Tony and Johnny Show), and Megan Neuringer (HBO’s Flight Of The Conchords, Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy, FOX’s Fringe, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV; freelance writer forJimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, Bravo, VH1, MTV, Spike) tell stories on this weekly show that’s normally open-mic but tonight is getting in these stellar guests for a special videotaped edition at UCB East hosted by John Flynn (The Nights of Our Lives): Oh, Hey Guys!

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Charmingly silly & very funny performer Brandon Gulya tries his hand at also being a charming & very funny writer with this audition for a one-man show he’s hoping will make his career: Brandon Gulya Will Be Famous Soonplus a parody of The Bachelor written by Leila Cohan-Miccio & Caitlin Bitzegaio and directed by Beth Appel: The Final Rose, all at this funUCB Chelsea showcase: Spank

[FREE] 6:30 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv troupe Junior Varsity to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

7:00 pm ($5): Kelli Porterfield performs a one-woman show about five residents of Joplin, MO atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Mirror Mirror On The Wall

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—tonight featuring guests Fran Gillespie (Stone Cold Fox, The Law Firm), Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers), and Ari Scott (Thunder Gulch), and improv pianist supreme Frank Spitznagel—making up a musical on the spot: Diamond Lion

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($14.45 online using discount code LAUGHTRACK): One of my favorite theatre duos, Rachel Buethe & James Presson, have come out with a new play that updates Hedda Gabler to the world of network TV. It’s a fresh, ambitious work that pushes at the borders between art and 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 sitcom. For my full review, please click here. If you’re open to something different, don’t miss the too-brief run (ending December 18th) 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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a troupe specializing in meta-comedy—that is, comedy about the process of making comedy—performs their most meta show yet, which is billed as a “best of” show but actually is a series of internal spats that delay any of the promised sketches from being performed. It’s smart and clever, and all four members of the group are highly appealing. But it’s such a purely “from the head, not the heart” show that it feels increasingly repetitive and one-note as it goes on. I wish the guys had been less concerned with the purity of their one-joke idea and more with creating an emotional rollercoaster experience for the audience. (The reason their best sketch ever is a spelling bee for fart jokes is because it’s a perfect blend of their conceptual approach with laugh-out-loud funny. Sadly, no such sketch is in this show…) If you like concept comedy, though, these guys are great at it; and you’re likely to enjoy at least the first 10 minutes before the novelty wears off from Pangea 3000: 12 Years of Hard Work

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Sue Galloway debuts a one-woman sketch show directed by UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern about women’s magazines and “how to live the perfect life:” Pose

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15): This acclaimed 10-year-and-counting sketch troupe has “amassed a cultish following and a cast who blindly throw themselves into the most questionable of onstage situations, bless their black little hearts….join them for a hilariously unsettling look at growing older, having children, killing your dreams, and settling.” For examples of the troupe’s work, please clickhere and here, and then come to The PIT upstairs theatre to see Spurn

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet co-owner helming The Armando Diaz Experience, plus house troupes Phooka, Junior Varsity, The Boss, and Hello Laser performing improv, followed at 11:00 pm by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with agame-like challenge component) with Level One Students pitted against The Owners—which I’m hoping means Magnet owners & improv geniuses Armando Diaz & Ed Herbstman: The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (for tonight’s lineup, please click here) performing at The Creek’supstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City accompanied by banjo music from Doug Goldstein and hosted by Andy Kleinman: Happy Sounds Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: The screening of a 32-minute new documentary about the challenges of modern local farming that isn’t all all comedic, but I’m listing it here just in case you see it on the schedule for The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City and think it’s a comedy show, because it’s not; but it sounds cool and may be worth your time anyway: Working Landscapes

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): A sampling of some of UCBT’s wonderful talent, both established and on the rise, performing at UCB East with hosts Nicole Byer & Stephen Soroka: UCBT 2011 Year-End Showcase

9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim, Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show; films Pluto Nash, End of Days, A Guy Thing), Romany Malco (Showtime’s Weeds), Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon, MTV, Second City), Jermaine Fowler, and more performing at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for a weekly comedy show with hosts Dan Wllber & Sean Crespo and producer Carol Hartsell: Lasers in the Jungle

[FREE—plus FREE BROOKLYN BEER] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Emily Heller, Mara Herron, Annie Lederman, and John F. O’Donnell performing at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s Sandbox Underground (257 Grand Street, near the L subway’s Bedford stop) hosted by Mike Denny, Michael Che, and Nimesh Patel, and featuring free beer: Broken Comedy

[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Please note this weekly comedy show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge is not happening tonight due to electrical problems at Kabin Bar. Please come by next week to enjoy Chesley Calloway and/or comedy genius Sean Patton host NYC stand-ups at Comedy as a Second Language

9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Joanna Bradley performs a one-woman show in which she proves that she’s neither dumb nor boring, but might need a bit more discipline in creating a consistently entertaining journey for the audience. Digressions include singing a song she warns us won’t be funny, and then it really isn’t—and so shouldn’t have been included; and taking most of her clothes off and telling us there’s no reason for her doing so, and this is once again true (aside from it being a signature move for her director, the wonderful Becky Drysdale; but Becky always uses this to make the performer vulnerable and open up, while Joanna defeats that by continuing to hide behind sarcasm…). Bradley is appealing as a performer, though, and that might be reason enough to experience Everybody’s Dumb and Boring

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a new one-woman show by Sue Smith about anger, directed by the always inventive and delightful Laura Grey: Minimum Rage

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors (not announced) make up one-act plays on the spot at The PITdownstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7; or FREE COVER if you show up 30-60 minutes early and buy $7 worth of snacks/drinks): Mystery Science Theater 3000 goes blaxploitation in this delightful new series by Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent for The Daily Show) and Donwill (hip-hop group Tanya Morgan) in which the boys watch a black cinema cult classic and yell comments at it throughout. It all happens at Brooklyn’s reRun (147 Front Street, between Pearl & Jay Streets), with tonight’s film a happy surprise: Shouting at the Screen

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (lineup not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Justin Williams: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two of UCBT’s prestigious weekend improv troupes, The Law Firm and The Curfew, compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): About a dozen NYC stand-ups, including comedy genius Chris Gethard, and rising stars Dan St. Germain and Jon Friedman, performing performing at UCB East for a show being videotaped for with hosts Amber Nelson & Rob Stern: UCBT Stand-Up Showcase

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