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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] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups start at 5:30 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine (Comedy Central) and Annie Lederman (Comedy Central): The Shinebox
[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, podcast You Had to Be There), Streeter Seidell (College Humor, Jimmy Kimmel, MTV), Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report, MTV, VH1), Josh Carter, Aminah Imani, and Corey Rodrigues performing at Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street) for this biweekly stand-up show hosted by Peter Ostrovski & Ilya Gofshteyn: Beautiful Comedy
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It’s earned this slot because its cast is one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough for potential stardom; and, at their best, the troupe’s writers sizzle too. Both strengths are evident in Crisistown, an interactive sketch show in which the audience is periodically asked to choose which of two paths it wants to go down next. This highly playful approach puts you in charge; and it also tempts you to see the show repeatedly (just as you might return to a favorite improv group week after week), because each performance is a never-to-be-repeated event. A vibrant, brilliant cast and mostly terrific comedy writing—plus what was probably a near-superhuman directorial effort by comedy giant Shannon O’Neil—equals a wonderful way to kick off your Friday evening: Stone Cold Fox: Crisistown
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up veteran who’s appeared on David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Last Comic Standing; hosted the HBO stand-up showcase Down and Dirty; was a cast member of the wonderful though short-lived HBO sitcom Lucky Louie, and performed his own HBO half-hour One Night Stand special; has appeared in such hit films as Spider-Man; is a regular on XM Satellite Radio’s The Opie & Anthony Show; and is the author of the book Happy Endings, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jim Norton
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($30): An award-winning sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar situations & rituals on their head (for a video about how boys will be girls, please click here): The Harvard Sailing Team
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe North Coast recently clobbered some of the best improv groups in NYC at UCBT’s Cage Match. Tonight come see it perform without the pressure of competition at The PIT upstairs theatre, and also catch an improv group that includes Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): North Coast and Nobody’s Token
[$] [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: 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): Magnet Artistic Director Megan Gray and improv veteran Louis Kornfeld are joined by improv star Christina Gausas (Conan O’Brien, The Colbert Report, Let’s Have a Ball) for this monthly event: Gausas & MegaLou
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Improv troupe Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—promises to “take your stories of the tragic and depraved and scatter them into laughter” as this UCB Chelsea show: Grandma’s Ashes Gets Dark
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The BTK Band and The Majestic Sword team up to bring you an epic tale: “Atop a mountain in Scotland, a bolt of lightning split in two and simultaneously struck a group of traveling misfit improvisors and a band whose van had stalled on the side of the road. The groups merged to form an unholy alliance of heavy metal, righteous licks, kick ass beats, and down home dirty improv. The BTK Band and The Majestic Sword will create a fully realized rock opera before your eyes that you will never, ever forget” at The PIT downstairs lounge: An Improvised Rock Opera
[FREE] 10:00 pm: The third annual comedy tournament featuring 40 improv groups…only one of which will survive. Tonight four improv troupes battle for superiority, pride, and glory at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: The Arena, Round 3
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Matt Fisher, Craig Rowin, Nate Lang, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder
[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): This Magnet improv show makes clever use of the Web: “Give us a topic, a name, a question on any subject and the cast—including ace improvisors Alex Marino and Jesse Falcon—will answer it using the full power of the Internet and the combined mental acumen of five intellectual juggernauts. Also, maybe some improv. What you will learn cannot be unlearned! What do you want to know?”: Search Engine
[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail
Midnight ($5): 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 downstairs lounge: Mixed Nuts: An Improvised Character Jamboree
[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to try out sketches for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage
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