NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 2/24/12

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Kevin Pollack

Kevin Pollack continues his headlining run at Carolines...

Molly Lloyd

...and Molly Lloyd is among the stellar cast members of Stone Cold Fox: Crisistown

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 5:30 pm: Comics perform solo sketches, monologues, etc. as characters at The PIT upstairs theatre: It’s a Character Thing

[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

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 ($7): Improv at The Magnet 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

[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’s earned this slot because its cast is one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough for potential stardom; and, at their best, the troupe’s writers sizzle too. Both strengths are evident inCrisistown, an interactive sketch show in which the audience is periodically asked to choose which of two paths it wants to go down next. This highly playful approach puts you in charge; and it also tempts you to see the show repeatedly (just as you might return to a favorite improv group week after week), because each performance is a never-to-be-repeated event. The down side is a vast amount of writing is needed to cover every possible audience-driven scenario…which means select scenes can end up sloppy and dull. That actually was a huge problem on opening night, following a “Kevin Costner” storyline. But now that the production’s had time to mature, it’s delivering gold (though you might consider playing it safe and voting for the “giant mice” story just in case the Costner material hasn’t been entirely cleaned up…). A vibrant, brilliant cast and mostly terrific comedy writing—plus what was probably a near-superhuman directorial effort by comedy giant Shannon O’Neil—equals a wonderful 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?

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 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

[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 ($7): Veteran improv duo Megan Gray & Louis Kornfeld are joined at The Magnet by improv star Christina Gausas (Conan O’Brien, The Colbert Report, Let’s Have a Ball) for this monthly event: Gausas & MegaLou

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15):Actor/storyteller John Grady (Blue Man Group; one-man showSpalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell; NPR; Moth champion) performs a one-man show at The Kraine Theatre (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) about “the peculiar and misguided true adventures of a man and his therapy dog; a tale of true love and overcoming obstacles, while staring fear in the face:” Fear Factor: Canine Edition

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.):A TV movie star who was a cast member of Mad TV,and has also performed on NBC and HBO, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Aries Spears

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

9:00 pm ($10): The writers and correspondents of Web site performing at UCB East, with this month’s theme The Sweetheart Special

[$] [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): DC Benny, Mike Yard, Dan Soder, and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village:Eastville Comedy Club

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

9:30 pm ($5): A comedy variety show featuring stand-up, improv, character scenes, music, and more from a variety of NYC comic at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Michael Newman:Minority Report

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The 2012 debut of an annual comedy tournment featuring 40 improv groups…only one of which will survive. Tonight four improv troupes batlle for superiority, pride, and glory at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella:The Arena 2012 Premiere

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, Matt Fisher, Craig Rowin, Nate Lang, 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 ($10): 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] 11:00 pm ($5): “Jack Dishel is best known as a songwriter and musician, touring all over the world performing as Only Son and also playing lead guitar in The Moldy Peaches. This year he’s exploded onto the comedy scene, doing a two-month run of hour-long shows at the Sidewalk Cafe—without ever repeating material. It’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes dark, but always interesting. Whether speaking as one of his many characters or in his own voice, his ideas come through loud and clear, and it’s a fast hour. Let’s see what happens when Dishel brings the drunken night club insanity into The PIT downstairs lounge:” Jack Dishel: Party of One

11:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Danny Jolles: Danny’s Funhouse

[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

[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: 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

 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:

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