NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/17/12

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Judah Friedlander

Judah Friedlander headlines at the Eastville Comedy Club...

Fran Gillespie

...while Fran Gillespie and other top comics create an interactive adventure at "Crisistown"

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Adam Newman (MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses), Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker), Frank Liotti (Law & Order, FOX), and Phil Hanley (Craig Ferguson) performing at Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street) for this biweekly stand-up show hosted by Peter Ostrovski and tonight’s guest-host Josh Carter (College Humor): Beautiful Comedy

7:00 pm ($7): Improv that flows from moment to moment, with no sweeps or tag outs—”each exit starts a new scene, while performers use devices ranging from monologues to in-scene questions to break into characters and relationships quicker and deeper:” Scoresby

7:00 pm ($5): PIT improvisors Nate Starkey & Chris Grace makes stuff up as Starkey & Grace

[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. In this second show, Crisistown, the cast has developed into one of the finest in comedy, with every single performer demonstrating star potential. Unfortunately, the writing wasn’t up to the same standards on opening night; but in the hope the script has evolved since then I’ll be catching the production again tonight. The idea is definitely fun: “A scripted interactive comedy show that puts you, the audience, in charge. You get to vote on what happens next.” It’s an approach designed to tempt you to see the show repeatedly (just as people will return to a favorite improv group week after week). So whether you’ve already experienced it or are a Crisistownvirgin, come join me tonight in checking how the show’s progressed—and for the love of god, ignore the Kevin Costner option and vote for investigating the giant mice: Stone Cold Fox:Crisistown

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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, FOX), Seaton Smith, Allison Castillo, Mike Brown, Pat Rigby, Tom Steffen, Nathan Rand, and James Oakes celebrating the One Year Anniversary of this show at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) with hosts Calvin S. Cato & Justin Murray: The Pregame Comedy Show

[$] [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: NYC stand-ups delivering their A game—since they’re being videotaped as they perform sets—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, with a different host each week: Mixed Tape

[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 stand-up who’s toured with Jerry Seinfeld for 10 years—and who Jerry hired to host The Marriage Ref—and has appeared numerous times on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, CBS, and Comedy Central headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Tom Papa

8:30 pm ($5): Sketch troupe Shelby Company performs oddball bits for this Magnet sketch show show that in the past has included two-timing monsters and presidential ninjasEphemerama

[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] [$] [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), Greer Barnes (Comedy Central; for problems he’d have being a black Batman, please click here), Andrew Schultz (MTV2’s Guy Code), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Unique and relentlessly silly performer Brandon Gulya does a one-man sketch show that’s at times hilarious (the restaurant bit, which is an instant classic) and other times settles too quickly for the lightweight (the “does she like me” diary). A lot more hard, disciplined work is needed before his show’s title comes true; but this is a promising start from a comic with a memorable style, genuine potential, and the faith that Brandon Gulya Will Be Famous Soon

…and in the other half of this UCB East double-bill, genius voice artist Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan supplies the improv “beats” while Patrick Noth makes stuff up in rap for MC Harold

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here), Joe List (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and the Lucas Brothers participate in this “comedy chat show with boundary issues” that has stand-ups perform sets and then be 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): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, 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

11:00 pm ($8): Comics make up character monologues on the spot—a feat that can be breathtaking when done by geniuses such as Ian Roberts and Daniel Kitson. Come see if tonight’s performers rise to the challenge at The PIT upstairs theatre: Mixed Nuts: An Improvised Character Jamboree

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—not announced—performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City—with the host also not announced…but how far wrong can you go with free midnight stand-up?: Fridays at The Creek

[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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