NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/16/11

December 16, 2011

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Jake Johannsen and Natasha Leggero

Wonderful stand-ups Jake Johannsen (headlining at Gotham) and Natasha Leggero (headlining at Carolines)...

Amy Schumer and Ted Alexandro

...and wonderful stand-ups Amy Schumer & Ted Alexandro (headlining at Eastville)

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups start at 5:30 pm) at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine and Annie Lederman: The Shinebox

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): A delightful comedic singing duo (according to Molly, “really smart, funny, talented, awesome people with great bods; Molly is bitter, heavily medicated and she reads poetry”) performing at 92Y Tribeca for an intimate hour of music and more: Mel & El: Our Time of the Month

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): “For 25 years, Chicago alderman Ed Tomczak has welcomed constituents to his famous Christmas open house, where carols are sung, favors are dispensed, and bribes are received. Last month, he lost the election; but he’s swallowing his anger and throwing the party anyway…” This political satire is written & co-stars Justin Peters, and also includes such wonderful Magnet performers as Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman show Our Condolences at last year’s FringeNYC, improv group Dunk), Matt B. Weir (We’re Matt Weir), and Kelly Buttermore: A 54th Ward Christmas

7:00 pm ($5): PIT improviser and instructor Scott Eckert (Big Black Car, The Faculty) debuts a one-man show at The PIT downstairs lounge featuring a mix of storytelling, stand-up, and blaming his spouse if it all goes horribly wrong: Scott Eckert’s Wife is Making Him do a One-Man Show

7:00 pm ($5): Nate Starkey and Chris Grace performing improv at The PIT upstairs theatre as duo Starkey & Grace

[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 ($5): Gavin McInnes (author of The Death of Cool), ace storyteller Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedy and Stripped Stories), and Bradford Scobie joining star storyteller & host Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) performing for this monthly showat UCB EastTom Shillue’s

[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 & 10:30 pm ($29 & 2-drink min.) A razor-sharp and irresistible star who was the stand-out judge on the most recent Last Comic Standing; who’s performed on Jay Leno,Chelsea LatelyThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and FX, and is slated to star in aComedy Central Presents special; and who loves music, dark comedy, and mercilessly parodying the rich, performing not-to-be-missed headlining sets tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Natasha Leggero

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): J Hobart and Grace Helbig welcome NYC talents for a pretend TV Christmas special—that is actually happening at The PIT upstairs theatre—with Jason Trachtenburg’s acclaimed jazz/pop musical group The Pendulum Swings, Shonali Bhowmik (host of Variety SHAC; leader of musical group Tigers & Monkeys), Carla Rhodes (“rock’n’roll ventriloquist;” for shout-out from David Letterman, please click here; for act with “Keith Richards,” please click here), raunchy sketch comedy troupe FUCT, and more: The 38th J Hobart Christmas Spectacular

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: At this unique show, comics play videos they’ve made about themselves and then perform sets, with tonight’s guests Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Dave Waite (Comedy Central), Jamie Lee (Last Comic Standing), Anton Shuford, and Jermaine Fowler performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Charlie Kasov & Gabe Pacheco: Anecdotal Evidence

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Ilana Glazer (Broad City), Hilary Schwartz (Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad), Emily Heller, Bryan Bruner, Troy Bynum, and Josh Gondelman performing at Karma Lounge(51 First Avenue, off 3rd Street) with host Evan Morgenstern: SNC Hot Blooded

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 9:00 pm ($20 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount codeBOOK): 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 theSoho 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 & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A comedy icon who’s performed on David Letterman over 40 times and The Tonight Show over 10 times, and did the acclaimed HBO comedy special This’ll Take About An Hour and Showtime special I Love You, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jake Johannsen

[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

[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): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Amy Schumer (red-hot rising star; Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Fallon), Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriac drug user, please click here), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A one-hour monthly show at UCB East featuring “a compilation of my favorite stories and home videos that I’ve been working on for the past two years” from storytelling giant 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): Adam Wade’s Big Heart

…plus in the other half of this double-bill, Ray Munoz tells true stories about growing up in NYC and having a run-in with the law at Off the Cuff

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from UCB Chelsea’s all-star members of The Stepfathers

9:30 pm ($5): “Where there is a stage and a piano, she will be there. Where there are strangers with embarrassing stories, she will be there. Where there is a group of people willing to sit and watch someone make up songs, she will be there. A one-woman musical improv journey through the lives of the audience. You tell the story, Rebecca Vigil sings the soundtrack” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Vigilante

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A sketch & interview show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Zach Sims: Too Late With Zachary Sims

[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

11:00 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($5): Six stand-ups you might not have heard of and and three judges who may or may not be well-known in a competition at The PIT—which is a theatre that isn’t really associated with stand-up. So this is a show I don’t quite understand, but maybe you’ll have fun anyway: The PIT Stand-Up Competition

11:30 pm ($10): improvisers Bianca Casusöl as Madam Ant, Nina Klemow as Fanny Price, and Alex Marino as Larry Lazlo use burlesque dancing at The Magnet to tell a story “and titillate the audience with some seductively fun choreographed burlesque numbers:” Whisky Tango Foxtrot: Burlesque Improv Revue

[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 might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigiousUCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage

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