NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 1/21/12

January 21, 2012

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Sara Benincasa

Sara Benincasa & friends share their tales of relatives at Family Hour...

Nick DiPaolo

Nick DiPaolo headlines at Carolines...

Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon

...and a memorably terrible martial arts film is dissected at Midnight Movie at Montoya’s: Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon

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] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by RG Daniels & Jared Fried: It Starts at 4

[FREE] 5:30 pm: New improv teams experimenting with new forms at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Andy Rocco and Jon Monje: Anybody Vs. Everybody: An Improv Show for You

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Orange Augustus, Mr. Gorsky, and Honey at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8; includes free cookies): Emily Heller (staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Steve Heisler (writer for The Onion, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out Chicago), and Carmel Lobello (writer/editor for Death+Taxes) telling funny, poignant, and at times unforgettable tales about their relatives at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Sara Benincasa (NBC’s Today Show, The Joy Behar Show, CNN, MTV, The Sarah Palin Vlogs, Sex and Other Human Activities podcast, upcoming book Agorafabulous): Family Hour

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Todd Bieber (Commercial Interruption, Director of Content & Production for hosts this monthly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East that at the end selects a favorite from the audience tales to be turned into an animated short film premiering the following month. Tonight’s special guests are Chris Kelly (writer for Saturday Night Live) and Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, 30 Rock): Animated Stories

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Joe Bill, Ed Herbstman, Becky Drysdale, Kay Cannon, Christina Gausas, Brandon Gardner, Jed Resnik, and/or other stellar performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and legendary Chicago improv institutions at UCB Chelsea all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft at The Magnetmaking up a play on the spot: Theory of Everything

[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 both stand-up and storytelling. This show is the latter—a carefully constructed, detail-packed theatrical tale of two people and the small, quiet moments that make up their lives. Daniel says it’s “about everything and nothing,” and that’s precisely right. After you see it, you may find it hard to not consider all the small moments lived by any person you pass by…and what the moments of your own life add up to. This one-man show played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is now running every day except Mondays through January 29th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street). Read the review from The New York Times, and the grab tickets for It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.): A star stand-up who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jay Leno; performed three of his own Comedy Central Presentshalf-hour specials; was a regular on Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Shorties Watchin’ Shorties; is a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show and the Opie and Anthony radio show; hosted his own radio program on NYC’s 92.3 Free FM; creates periodic Web-based free audio shows for Blog Talk Radio; and has acted on such TV shows as HBO’s The Sopranos andLucky Louie, and was nominated twice for an Emmy award for his writing on The Chris Rock Show, headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Nick DiPaolo

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who performed the Comedy Central hour-long special The Things We Do For Love, and on David Letterman and Jay Leno, headlining one more night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Pete Correale

8:00 pm ($10): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill—and occasionally with comedy giants Kristen Schaal and/or Kurt Braunohler participating: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): Two-person improv at The PIT downstairs lounge featuring Ashley Ward & Nate Starkey (married), Kevin Hines & Will Hines (brothers), and Matt B. Weir & Matt J. Weir (not related), with hosts Max & Michael Newman (don’t ask): Newman & Newman and Friends

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Jena Friedman (staff writer for David Letterman), Jordan Carlos (Comedy Central), Neal Stastny (Beers Comedy Show), Calvin Cato (Game Show Network), and many more performing stand-up at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tom Steffen (CBC TV) : Shoot the Shite

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): 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), Kurt Metzger (Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans), Stuckey & Murray (Last Comic Standing, MTV, VH1, E!), and  more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk: If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Come celebrate the lovely Erin Lennox’s birthday along with sharp stand-ups Jared Logan, Dan Soder, Mike Recine, Sean Donnelly, Kevin Barnett, Scott Chaplain, and co-host Michelle Wolf performing at Brooklyn’s Belleville (330 5th Street), plus customized songs about each performer from adorable gal trio The Bandana Splits: Erin Lennox’s I Like You Too Show

[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): Judah Friedlander (30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Andrew Schulz, Mike Britt, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Musical improv from one of The Magnet’s best troupes: Choral Rage

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($25): An award-winning sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar situations & rituals on their head (for a video about how boys will be girls, please click here): The Harvard Sailing Team

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come to the Soho Playhouse tonight to see why BWC won aFringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics performing as characters at The PIT downstairs lounge, with tonight’s packed show featuring Adam Newman (College Humor), Henry Zebrowski (Comedy Central, Murderfist), Micah Sherman (Second City), Andrew Law (30 Rock), Jamie Lee (Last Comic Standing), Patrick Shepherd (The Baldwins), Annie Lederman (Mustache Party), Dave Bluvband, Shaun Diston, Alison Rich, and Alex Farlow, hosted by Rob Stern: Overload the Machine

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Ben Rodgers, Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, and/or other stellar improvisors at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then create an entire show based on the mini-bio: The Curfew: Not From Around Here

10:30 pm ($7): Vibrant improv at The Magnet from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney as comedy duoTrike

10:30 pm ($10): UCBT Harold Night improv troupe Airwolf makes stuff up at UCB EastAirwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: This free show at The PIT upstairs theatre does a great job of describing itself: “Bad movies. We can’t stop watching them. Is it because the plot is so enjoyably paper-thin? Or maybe the acting is so deliciously cheesy? Whatever the reason may be, Oscar Montoya (Local 154, Aquarius) is inviting you to his house to watch all of his favorite so-bad-they’re-awesome movies.” Joining him is Lucas Hazlett (Stranger).Tonight’s feature is a famously silly martial arts film: Midnight Movie at Montoya’s Presents: Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level. This new monthly UCB Chelsea event is helmed by the wonderful Shannon O’Neill (The Stepfathers): The Lady Jam

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, with hosts Andy Haynes & Nick Turner promising “a rowdy late night comedy melee with beers being thrown, jokes being told, partial nudity, audience participation…there’s no telling what might happen:” Midnight Run

For more, please visit

For my favorite stand-up jokes, please click here.