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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:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: The PIT is aiming to begin a proud tradition tonight with its first annual improv festival. Will it be competitive with UCB’s legendary summer Del Close Marathon? Read about the new festival here, check out its entire schedule here—tonight’s shows are all free—and then come out to explore The PIT’s First Annual NYC Improv Festival
[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West
7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Grappler, Leviathan, The Surge, The Wrath, Chet Watkins, Brick, Horses, and Featherweight performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Grappler at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
7:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller and sharp, likeable stand-up with notable bangs; VH1, Showtime, host of TV pilot of The Liar Show), Matt Ruby (co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, blog Sandpaper Suit), Will Hines (ace improv troupe The Stepfathers, treasured UCBT comedy Jacqueline Novak, and Erika Wasser performing at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) with hosts Selena Coppock, Dan Cartwright, and Emily Epstein: Connotation
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): For this double-bill at UCB East, Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar are first up as the fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger; and then genius improvisors Gavin Speiller of Death By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers of The Curfew, and Jonathan Gabrus of The Law Firm) perform as Outlook of the Poet
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, first up is a sketch play about the opening of a trendy restaurant that serves nothing but pig (including “bacon-infused martinis”), written with wit and bite by Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox), directed with style by Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN), and performed superbly by comedic actress Lauren Conlin Adams (keep an eye out for her Aurora, a hot and hilariously bubble-headed waitress): Pig: A Restaurant…
…and in the second half of this double-bill, the debut of a detective mini-play with a star-studded cast—John Murray, Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Cody Lindquist, Eddie Dunn, Don Fanelli, and Zachary Broussard—written and directed by Michael Trapp: Death Wears Stilettos
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($15 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BBOX): 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 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] 8:30 pm: Typically terrific NYC comics (not announced) performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) typically hosted by Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman, and/or Max Silvestri: Big Terrific
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer created Broad City as a Web series, which was then picked up for development as a TV series for FX…and now it’s also a live monthly show atUCB Chelsea! Tonight’s theme is Bucket List, with new videos, stand-up, character pieces, and “a delicately crafted hour of fun:” Broad City Live
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Tonight’s scheduled lineup includes delightful rising star Sasheer Zamata (Doppelganger, The Prom) as host, plus such guests as fiercely talented Nicole Byer (Doppelganger, The Bachelor); for the complete list, please click here. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night
[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets
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