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Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:
[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour
[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($15, which includes 1 drink; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are James Flames (Rebel Bingo), Blaise Allysen Kearsley (How I Learned storytelling series), Peter Lubell (IFC), and Gail Thomas (voiceover artist). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam Champion) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): “Stories of all sizes that define our place in the universe,” hosted at UCB East by Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 17-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Real Tales of College and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), and featuring Julie Klausner (razor-sharp comic & storyteller, and author of I Don’t Care About Your Band), Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon, The Rejection Show), and Ted Travelstead: Tales of the Cosmos
7:00 pm ($7): Sketches, improv scenes, and videos from a small army of female comics at The PIT upstairs theatre that answer such questions as “Why can’t you touch a black girl’s hair? Why do some of us burn our cheating man’s clothes in his car and can’t wait to exhale? How did Foxy Brown know how to get down? Why can two play that game? Why do mad black women write so many diaries?” and more: Mrs Jones
[FREE] 7:00 pm: Comedic solo performances—storytelling, sketch, and whatever else isn’t stand-up or improv—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Bill Stiteler & Adam Schwartz: Wank
[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
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 & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who starred in his own Comedy Central Presents 1/2-hour special, was host of Oxygen’s Love Games, and performed on ABC and Showtime headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Bret Ernst
[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Want to see your favorite stand-up comics get slapped by Satan himself? He only hosts bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: See You in Hell
8:30 pm ($10): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller), and stand-ups including Adrienne Iapalucci (Last Comic Standing), Kevin McCaffrey (David Letterman, TruTV), JC Coccoli , Yannis Pappas, and Jason Saenz performing at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk: If You Build It
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Aaron Berg, and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club
9:30 pm ($15): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now enjoying a long run at The PIT upstairs theatre: Political Subversities
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount code SBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come to the Soho Playhouse tonight to see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy
[TOP PICK] [$] 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): Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, D’Arcy Carden, 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
[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A freestyle rap contest at UCB East that includes superb NYC comics Jessica Delfino, Kevin Barnett, Chemda Khalili, Pat Cassels, and John F. O’Donnell —plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by genius human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central) at one of my favorite monthly shows: The BEATdown
[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Genius comics John Gemberling & Anthony Atamanuik playing a ventriloquist and his unsettling dummy, stand-ups Matt Koff (Onion News Network, WitStream, 9 Am Meeting), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central), and Rob Stern, and musical guest Hardcore Boris performing at UCB Chelsea with host Andy Rocco at Underground Americana
[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
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