NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wed. 1/4/12

January 4, 2012

For full details, please visit

New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

50 First Jokes 2012

Over 50 stand-ups gather for a charming NYC comedy tradition of telling the first funny thing they wrote in the new year: "50 First Jokes"...

Todd Bieber's Commercial Interruption

...Todd Bieber screens TV ads he's less than proud of creating at one of the best solo shows of 2011: "Commercial Interruption"...

Adam Newman

...and College Humor stand-up Adam Newman headlines for one night only—with The Reformed Whores—at the Carolines Comedy Club

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 to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Grappler, Leviathan, The Surge, Horses, Brick, Featherweight, The Wrath, and Chet Watkins performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with The Wrath at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Championing chaos for comedy, a team of improvisers perform: “What form? What type of show? Fuck that shit, just come and laugh.” The experiment in anarchy takes place at UCB East starring Don Fanelli, Dru Johnston, Tim Martin, Josh Patten, Kate Riley, and Terry Withers: Fuck That Shit

…and then in the other half of this double-bill, genius improvisors Gavin Speiller of Death By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers of The Curfew, and Jonathan Gabrus of The Law Firm) perform as Outlook of the Poet

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($5 if you call the box office at 212.757.4100 and mention Adam’s name, plus 2-drink min.) A stand-up whose performances range from MTV to College Humor to The Tyra Banks Show, and who recently released his first comedy CD Not for Horses, headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club (with delightful openers The Reformed Whores): Adam Newman

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm doors, 8:00 pm show ($12.75 online, or $12 at the door…if it doesn’t sell out in advance): For the sixth year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. Expect an exuberant gathering of comedic talent…and wild partying afterwards. The scheduled lineup includes Dave Hill, Sean Patton, Myq Kaplan, Sara Schaefer, Brooke Van Poppelen, Jared Logan, Dan St. Germain, Mike Lawrence, Mark Normand, Jena Friedman, Jon Friedman, Jeffrey Joseph, Pat Dixon, Calise Hawkins, Nate Bargatze, Molly & John Knefel, Matt McCarthy, Phoebe Robinson, Mike Recine, Victor Varnado, Giulia Rozzi, Greg Barris, Erik Bergstrom…and many, many more. Don’t miss this lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community at Brooklyn’s Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by John F. O’Donnell: 50 First Jokes, 2012 Edition

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Todd Bieber, the razor-sharp Director of Content & Production for, has had his video/film work viewed over 25 million times via such sites, and But before his success, Todd spent a couple of years churning out, as he bluntly puts it, “shitty local commercials in rural Pennsylvania.” If you’re a filmmaker, a fan of ridiculously awful late-night TV ads, or someone who likes to laugh, come enjoy this fascinating and hilarious insider look at microbudget commercials and the creative process. Directed by UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, this debuted in December and was instantly one of the very best solo shows of 2011: Commercial Interruption

…and in the other half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, enormously likable ace improvisor & sketch performer Doug Moe (Conan O’Brien, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, renowned improv troupe Mother) takes a stab at doing a solo show. The writing doesn’t achieve the potential of the subject, but it’s always a pleasure to see Doug on stage, as well as enjoy video clips of his little angel of a 5-year-old daughter: Doug Moe is a Bad Dad

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected writer/performers alive. This is a rare opportunity to spend an intimate 90 minutes with a true genius of comedy. Please note this is a sprawling, detail-packed theatrical show, not stand-up…and not for every taste. But whether you’re ultimately grabbed by the story or not, it’s worth experiencing if only for Daniel’s lightning-quick flashes of humor. For example, at a performance of his previous hit show last year, a woman sitting in the front row had the incredible gall to start reading. Daniel sweetly responded, “Ooh, that’s a subtle yet effective form of criticism. I’m certainly not cross with you, just too nosy about what you’re reading to plow on. Look, you’re still reading. What a lack of faith you have in live entertainment.” Place your faith in Daniel, and catch this NYC premiere of a show that played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, now running every day except Mondays from January 3rd through January 29th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door, $6.84 online with discount code Supermango): Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being an Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Important Things, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales), Michael Somerville (Comedy Central), and “a secret guest” performing at the Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery, off Bleecker Street) with hosts Dan Allen & Ray DeVito: Sacapuntas!

[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA for first 30 people, from Artichoke Pizza!] 8:00 pm: Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Emily Heller (staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Jamie Lee (Last Comic Standing, VH1), Asie Mohtarez, Abigoliah Schamaun, and more performing stand-up at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for Negin Farsad’s & Amy Albert’s free weekly show Comedy School Dropout

8:00 pm ($5—which includes a free beer!): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this weekly show hosted by Nick Turner (soon to leave for LA) & Jason Sáenz: Too Cool for School

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Jesse Jones, David Foster, Gibran Saleem, Amanda Baramki, Andy Kleiman, Carrie Gravenson, and Chris Cal performing at the only notable weekly comedy show I know of taking place in Astoria Queens—specifically, the Astoria Brewhouse (2850 31st Street) hosted by Miguel Dalmau: Brewhouse Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB East as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, first up is a sketch play about the opening of a trendy restaurant that serves nothing but pig (including “bacon-infused martinis”), written with wit and bite by Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox), directed with style by Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN), and performed superbly by comedic actress Lauren Conlin Adams (keep an eye out for her playing Aurora, a hot and hilariously bubble-headed waitress): Pig: A Restaurant 

…and in the second half of this double-bill, the debut of a parody of a popular reality show from dynamite writing duo Caitlin Bitzegaio & Leila Cohan-Miccio that will probably be considerable fun:The Bachelor: Romance, Roses, and Romance

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. (For tonight’s lineup, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

For full details, please visit

New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.