NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 1/27/12

January 27, 2012

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Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer performs tonight and Saturday at the Eastville Comedy Club...

Ilana Glazer

...Ilana Glazer reveals herself at We're All Friends Here...

Jennifer Lopez and Mamrie Hart

...and the irresistable Mamrie Hart mourns the passing of Jennifer Lopez at tonight's Celebrity Funerall

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 Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine (Comedy Central) and Annie Lederman (Comedy Central): The Shinebox

7:00 pm ($5): At this PIT double-bill, Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell “bring more than five years of improv collaboration to stage for an evening of bold, committed characters and probably a fart joke for good measure” as Hodapp & Rothwell, and then all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

7:00 pm ($5): All-gal Improvisors who’ve previously created viral sketch videos performing at The PIT downstairs lounge (and why this venue would “pit” two rare all-gal improv troupes opposite each other—see directly above—instead of placing them back to back is beyond me, but I hope a bit more thought goes into scheduling in the future…): Candy Slice Comedy

7:00 pm ($5): A Magnet one-man show by Justin Peters about—wait for it—condiments. “Mitch ‘Packets’ Franco has demonstrated condiments at groceries, farmers’ markets, superstores, and gas stations in all 50 states; over the course of 25 minutes, he’ll give you the inside squeeze on how all your favorite condiments are marketed, shipped, distributed, and sold; how to seduce a checkout girl; how to tell a supermarket by its odor; and other lessons learned during his wild life in America’s grocery aisles:” Confessions of a Condiment Hustler

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It more than earned the slot with its first Friday effort, This is Not Art, which was one of the very best comedy shows of 2011. This month it debuted its second show, Crisistown—which so far is a mixed bag. The good news is the cast has developed into one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough to be a star on his or her own. However, the writing on opening night was often sloppy and repetitive rather than tight and sharp. Perhaps the problem is the new format: “A scripted interactive comedy show that puts you, the audience, in charge. You get to vote on what happens next.” It’s a fun approach designed to tempt audiences to see the show repeatedly (just as people will return to a favorite improv group week after week). But it means generating a lot more material than will be performed on any given show; and spreading the writing out like that has, so far, resulted in a lot of weak scenes. The up side of the open-ended structure is it’s never too late to improve the writing, and to even entirely replace dull scenes with great ones (and I’ll be attending this show again at some point on the assumption it’s evolving). But either way, between the material that’s already solid and the all-star cast, this top troupe is continuing to deliver a quite enjoyable way to kick off your Friday evening: Stone Cold Fox: Crisistown

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

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 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?

8:00 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.) A comedy star you either love or actively avoid headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tom Greene

[FREE] 8:00 pm: As a prologue to the upcoming improv tournament The Arena 2012, some of the best troupes who’ve participated in the past three years of the tournament perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by James Ferrarella: The Arena Pre-Game Show

[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 ($5): This new Magnet improv show makes clever use of the Web: “Give us a topic, a name, a question on any subject and the cast—including ace improvisors Alex Marino and Jesse Falcon—will answer it using the full power of the Internet and the combined mental acumen of five intellectual juggernauts. Also, maybe some improv. What you will learn cannot be unlearned! What do you want to know?”: Search Engine

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.):A TV & movie star who was a cast member of Mad TV headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Orlando Jones

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): The unsinkable Mamrie Hart (rising star who’s snared over 235,000 visits to date with her Harry Potter viral video) hosts eulogies at UCB East for singer/actress/almost can see your vagina fashion pioneer Jennifer Lopez, with participants Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, Steve Soroka, Carla Rhodes, Eliot Glazer, Mary Grill, and many more: Celebrity Funeral: Jennifer Lopez

[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): Amy Schumer (red-hot rising star; Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Fallon), Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The BTK Band and The Majestic Sword team up to bring you an epic tale: “Atop a mountain in Scotland, a bolt of lightning split in two and simultaneously struck a group of traveling misfit improvisors and a band whose van had stalled on the side of the road. The groups merged to form an unholy alliance of heavy metal, righteous licks, kick ass beats, and down home dirty improv. The BTK Band and The Majestic Sword will create a fully realized rock opera before your eyes that you will never, ever forget” at The PIT downstairs lounge: An Improvised Rock Opera

9:30 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from Jen Curran (Harvard Sailing Team) Clayton Early (Harvard Sailing Team), and Chris Roberti (New Excitement) at The PIT upstairs theatre, plus stand-up, music, and more: The Monster Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Jim Tews (“beaten as a kid”), Ilana Glazer (“everyone’s fuck buddy”), and Emily Heller (“not a boy”) performing sets and then being interviewed about their personal lives at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Matt Ruby & Mark Normand (who says “all these guys were hand-picked because they’re funny and have some serious problems; when you read this lineup you’re gonna be like ‘oh yeah, that guy is a mess'”): We’re All Friends Here

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

[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 ($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

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet show, 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 more, please visit

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