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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 ($7): This Magnet sketch show set in old-time Hollywood (based on a series ofListen, Kid! shows by Kevin Cobbs & Alessandro King) describes itself as follows: “It’s the Holiday season again at Newberg Studios, and Irv and Charlie are set to release another classic Yuletide picture. But financial problems and a pesky Irish landlord may mean another lump of coal in Charlie’s already-threadbare stocking. Will Irv have to shut down his reindeer gulag? Will Charlie have to take the next handcar back to Shacktown? It looks like it’s going to take a Tim Allen-sized Christmas miracle to save our heroes. With special mystery guests:” A Very Listen, Kid! Christmas
7:00 pm ($5): For this double-bill at The PIT upstairs theatre, award-winning improv duo Lucas Kavner and Bradford Jordan make stuff up with “a celebrity guest improvisor’ at Swords, while all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): In one of the finest scripted shows to ever grace UCB Chelsea, troupe Stone Cold Fox performs hilarious parodies of off-off-Broadway theatre, as well as some of the very best sketches it’s crafted over the years, in a tight hour-long production directed by comedy genius Neil Casey (who, after also recently directing stellar one-person shows by Kate McKinnon and Mike Still, apparently can do no wrong), featuring delightful performances by Fran Gillespie, Molly Lloyd, D’Arcy Carden (watch for these three gals playing existential Truth or Dare), John Murray, Nate Smith, Brandon Scott Jones, and Jonathan Fernandez, and the writing of Leila Cohan-Miccio, Evan Greenspoon, Brandon Gulya, Matt Hunziker, Owen Parsons, and Michael Trapp. Don’t miss one of the sharpest and funniest comedy shows of the year from the first sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCBT weekend schedule: Stone Cold Fox: This Is Not Art
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($18, plus $15 food/drink min.; if you don’t drink, either the burger or lasagna is a fine choice): One of the highlights of FringeNYC 2011 was Andrea Alton playing Molly “Equality” Dykeman, a security guard at PS 339 who writes poetry while popping Cheetos and anti-depressants and chasing after every woman she sees. While in lesser hands Molly might be offensive, Alton walks the comedy tightrope Molly requires with skill and grace. Alton’s spent years learning her craft as a razor-sharp New York sketch comic and stand-up, and as a superb comedic actress. So if you have an open mind, and love comedy and/or gay parody, you’ll probably grow to love her hilariously over-the-top lesbian character. To get a feel for Molly, click here and here; and then go see her live at the Laurie Beechman Theatre (in the West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42 Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Helping Molly out tonight will be Athena Reich (award-winning singer/songwriter/actress), BOB (downtown icon), Inma Heredia (Latin ACE Award-winning actress), and The Mollettes (dancers Victoria Smalc & Meliza Fernandez). Just be aware that if you’re a woman sitting near the front, you’ll probably be propositioned. (Repeatedly…): A Molly Jolly Christmas
[TOP PICK] [$] [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] 7:30 pm ($5): Ryan Karels (Krompf, Radio Rogue) hosts a live podcast interview show at UCB East with guests “who put the ordinary in extraordinary” (I think that’s supposed to be a compliment, somehow), with tonight’s subjects the wonderful Melanie Hamlett (brilliant storyteller/writer; Moth Grandslam Champion, Marie Claire Magazine, amazing blog, roving adventurer) and Aaron Glaser (Jimmy Fallon, Funny or Die, host of Get Loose): Radio Rogue: The Roguing
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A glorious collection of hilarious genre film clips from super-fanKevin Maher and friends at 92 Y Tribeca, which tonight is focused on holiday-themed movies, plus live segments including “Confessions of a 12-Time Macy’s Santa,”
“How He-Man Spends the Holidays,” and an exploration of one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever, as well as treats and triva prizes—and possibly a visit from Cookie Puss: Kevin Geeks Out: Holiday Grab Bag
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): This show begins with a delightful concept—Top Gun performed as if written by William Shakespeare—and then executes it with the joyful craft only a sharp, tight theatrical ensemble can create. Everyone in the cast is terrific, but especially memorable are Kate Turnbull as the love interest, Dan Hartley as Maverick, and Vayu O’Donnell who steals every scene he appears in with his hilariously deadpan delivery as Iceman. While this is playing at The PITupstairs theatre for a mere $10, it’s really legit Fringe theatre, and I hope it eventually makes its way to FringeNYC or Edinburgh—or better yet, develops more songs and gets a commercial run as a musical. Meanwhile, don’t miss this opportunity to see a way fun parody of a cult classic for about half of what you oughta be paying: Jester’s Dead
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Livestar, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($20 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BOOK): Telly Savalas returns to life to entertain you and provide life guidance in this 50-minute show that was a hit at FringeNYC 2011 and is now enjoying an open-ended Friday night run at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club. The script is at times very smart, especially in its choices of hilarious video clips and music tracks from the real Savalas…who, in his more intense moments, apparently rivaled William Shatner at his silliest. But even when Hunter Nelson’s writing isn’t consistent, actor Tom DiMenna—who is a professional comic with great timing and skill at engaging an audience—will keep you entertained: Who Loves You, Baby?
[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese
[TOP PICK] [$] 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 & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up and impressionist who’s done a one-hour Comedy Central special, and performed on Jay Leno and Mad TV, headlining through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Pablo Francisco
9:00 pm ($5): A charming monthly comedy variety show, tonight featuring Christopher Miles (storyteller), Dreadnought (improv troupe), and Naomi Ekperigin (stand-up) performing at ABC No Rio (156 Rivington Street, between Suffolk and Clinton) hosted by the wonderful Bridgid Ryan and her improv/sketch troupe Chester (Bridgid Ryan, Sunita Mani, Bryan Rucker, Zack Willis, Caitlin Steitzer, and Adam Jacobson): Don’t You Find Us Charming?
[$] [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): Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central; opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A beloved high-concept sketch troupe that delights in exploring silly ideas and wordplay (for example, demonstrating that a caveman and the Cookie Monster sound remarkably alike when saying such things as “Me have problem with subject/verb placement…”) at The PIT upstairs theatre debuting an all-new show: Elephant Larry
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: An all-musical comedy night with Mindy Raf, the Reformed Whores, Uber Luber Death Metal, and Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon, MTV, Second City) performing at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ben Lerman and Tim Dimond: Now That’s What I Call Musical Comedy
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Jon Gabrus, Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Fran Gillespie Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improvised science fiction at The PIT upstairs theatre from veteran improvisers Geoff Grimwood (Someday the Cake, iO Chicago) and Lee Eddy (Story Pirates, Whiskey Rebellion), who say “You tell us what type of planet to crash upon. We crash upon it. We go from there:” Desert Planet
[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet event, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w
[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show
[FREE] Midnight: This show typically isn’t much fun for audience members—which is why it hasn’t been on the UCBT schedule for a long time—but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage
For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.