NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/23/12

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Kevin Pollak

A movie star & killer great impressionist headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Kevin Pollak...

Dave Hill, Chris Gethard, and Leslie Goshko

...and genius comedic storytellers Dave Hill & Chris Gethard perform for the wonderful Leslie Goshko's Sideshow Goshko

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Seth Lind (NPR’s This American Life, host of Told) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCB East hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

6:00 pm ($5): Three shows about which I know nothing audition for a regular spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea schedule: The State vs. Josh: The Trial of the Millenials, Murder Abbey, and The Spin: Improvised Political. These might be great or awful; but at $1.66 per show, you can’t go far wrong either way. That’s part of the fun of Spank

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($12): Two of the finest storytellers in the world, Chris Gethard and Dave Hill, are among the performers joining host Leslie Goshko (delightful storyteller/stand-up; WNYC, Sirius XM, Manhattan Monologue champion) for this unique storytelling show at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson Street) that features such charms as accordion playing by Dr. Michelle-Leona Godin: Sideshow Goshko

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Hot Diner and THEM

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv troupe Hello Laser to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): “If you were alive in the 70’s, you may have attended some ‘Key Parties’ where you were randomly paired with someone to go home with and engage in free spirited coitus. (Today we either stay at home alone or congregate at an improv theater.) Key Party combines the 70’s arrangement with modern anxiety, exploring the rich moments leading up to that act of coupling and the fallout that follows” at UCB East with stellar comics Jordan Klepper (awesome Chicago-style improv show Lights Out, Shirley!), Laura Grey (delightful old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm), and guest improvisors: Key Party; plus in the second half of this double-bill, improv based on the iPods, CDs, and mp3 players provided by audience members, executed by superb performers Fran Gillespie, Ryan Karels, Megan Neuringer, Jesse Falcon, Silvija Ozols, Doug Moe, Lou Perez, Sue Galloway, and Emily Axford: Soundtrack USA

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sketch comics Mary Grill, Team Submarine, and Todd Womack join terrific sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (Leah Rudick and Katie Hartman) performing at The PIT basement lounge: Daddy’s Basement: A Comedy Variety Freakshow

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teaming up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer forSaturday Night Live) to form a super-smart and hilarious star improv duo that’s become one of the very best attractions at UCB Chelsea and should not be missed: John & Scott

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($35 & 2-item min.): A razor-sharp comic and pitch-perfect impressionist who’s also a movie star in such classics as The Usual Suspects headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Pollak

[$] 8:00 pm ($15…because it’s a fundraiser for Gilda’s Club): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT upstairs theatre: Frogmen and Harvey

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A stand-up comedy showcase and baking competition—come to eat or come to compete” at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Cody Hess & Jessica Gross: Cookies!

[$] [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?

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Junior Varsity, Hello Laser, and Phooka performing improv, followed at 10:00 pm by the brilliant Ed Herbstman directing improvisors to perform in the style of a feature film for The Director Series: The Movie, and then at 11:00 pm improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Jessi Klein (fresh, unique, deliciously organic comic who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; former staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, VH1, NBC, CNN, Adult Swim), Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing), and Alex Koll (Comedy Central) performing at UCB East with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author of Look At This F*cking Hipster): Totally J/K

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced by 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Nick Vatterott (Jimmy Fallon, MTV, Second City), Phoebe Robinson, Rob O’Reilly, and Eli Grober performing stand-up at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for this weekly comedy show hosted by Sean Crespo & Dan Wilbur and produced by Carol Hartsell: Lasers in the Jungle

9:00 pm ($10): Scott Rogowsky (writer for The Onion, co-host of 12 Angry Mascots) hosts “a unique talk show experience that needs to be experienced to be experienced. There will be plenty of bits, skits, chits and chats, and maybe that pretty girl you saw on the 6 train last night will be in the audience! It’s a big city, but you run into people,” including tonight’s guests Charlie Todd (ImprovEverywhere), Al Jacobs, Joe Moses, and Matt Koff performing at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson Street): Running Late with Scott Rogowsky

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Top comics and comedic storytellers (unusually, not announced) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre to share tales on tonight’s theme Betrayal at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of, you can see the folks behind it on the UCB Weststage—along with stand-ups Streeter Seidell, Adam Newman, Aaron Glaser, David Cope, and more—at CollegeHumor Live

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors (not announced) make up one-act plays on the spot at The PITdownstairs lounge for The Scene

[FREE] 9:30 pm: The debut of a variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Chris O’Neil & Anna Suzuki: All Aboard the Holland America

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv troupe Fuck That Shit has steamrolled over four challengers in a row—which is especially impressive since the latter have included some powerhouse talents. Tonight’s likely victim of FTS is improv troupe North Coast, as they compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Amber Nelson and Rob Stern: Late Night Stand

11:00 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

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