NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/23/11

December 23, 2011

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Neil Casey

Comedy genius Neil Casey and a mob of UCBT talent performs a one-night-only sketch show you don't want to miss...

Neil Casey's Sentimental Irish Christmas

...Neil Casey's Sentimental Irish Christmas

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 (Comedy Central) and Annie Lederman (Comedy Central): The Shinebox

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): One of the best shows at UCB Chelsea last year was a one-night-only affair in which comedy genius Neil Casey co-wrote & co-starred in “an evening of whiskey-soaked sketch, music, and poorly remembered stories recounted slurringly in celebration of the anniversary of the Incarnation of the Child Christ.” Neil’s essay retracting “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was one of the funniest to ever grace any comedy stage—and I’d encourage him to do it again tonight, and every year. Either way, come for the new magic spun by writers Neil Casey, Michael Trapp, and David White and some of UCBT’s finest performers, all directed by Neil’s wonderful Krompf improv partner Ryan Karels: Neil Casey’s Sentimental Irish Christmas

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors at UCB East making up a musical on the spot: Diamond Lion

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($24.50 & 2-drink min.)  A unique comedy star headlining one more night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Gilbert Gottfried

[$] [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: A celebration of the winners and runner-ups of this year’s improv team tournament at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by James Ferrarella: The Arena

[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] 8:00 pm doors, 8:15ish pm show ($8): Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer sets onJimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant stand-up, writer, and storyteller; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VHI, documentary Metaphyiscal GraffitiHigh Times), and Barry Rothbart (Jay Leno, Comedy Central, IFC) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall with host Caroline Creaghead: Creaghead & Company Mandatory Office Party

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s appeared on Jon Fisch Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1, and The Apprentice headlining tonight at the Gotham Comedy Club: Jon Fisch

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

9:00 pm ($10): This show claims it “will test your limits of good taste and push the boundaries of what you consider funny. Nothing is off limits and no punchline is ‘too soon.'” I’m not sure how that makes it different from any other downtown comedy show, but I’m just reporting… Tonight’s guests are John Milhiser, Nick Turner, Julian Kross, Paul Hooper, and more performing at UCB East hosted by Chris Wilkes (Thunder Gulch): After Dark

[$] [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): Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, podcast You Had to Be There), Mike Yard, Aaron Berg, and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($8): Improvised scenes by duos based on an infamous relationships section of Craigslist at The PIT upstairs theatre: Missed Connections

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) bringing their A-game—because their sets are captured at this new monthly show as audition tapes—performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Grass Route

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Barry Rothbart (Jay Leno, Comedy Central, IFC), Pat Stango (co-host of Don’t Touch Me There), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon; co-host of Too Cool For School and If You Build It), Tony Zaret (USA Network; Channel 101), Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry (Last Comic Standing), and half-man/half-turkey Turkey Claus (genetic holiday freak) performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by rock band Fortress of Attitude: A Very FOA Christmas Eve Eve

[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

[$] 10:30 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.) Utilizing its network of expert talent scouts, the Carolines Comedy Club has managed to locate a few Jewish comedians in New York City. The results are on stage tonight and Saturday celebrating the Festival of Lights: The Chosen Ones

11:00 pm ($5): Four sketch troupes compete for audience approval at The PIT, hosted by Bleak Comedy: Iron Sketch

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

[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

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