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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: Andy Ross (written for Mad Magazine, The Onion News Network) 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 (memorably featured here): Oh, Hey Guys!
6:30 pm ($5): Two shows about which I know nothing audition for a regular spot on the prestigiousUCB Chelsea schedule: Five Finger Discount and Profiles in Cowardice. These might be great or awful; but at $2.50 per show, you can’t go far wrong either way. That’s part of the fun of Spank
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): A comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) are shared by their original authors before total strangers at 92Y Tribeca(200 Hudson Street): Mortified
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers top comics to tell funny stories at UCB Chelsea, with tonight’s all-star guests Jeannie Gaffigan (Jim Gaffigan’s partner in crime), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Tales of the Cosmos and The Adam Wade show; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), and Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life): Tom Shillue’s Funny Story
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): It was a sad time for me when UCBT sketch comedy genius Kate McKinnon moved late last year to LA. No one in NYC has really stepped into the void Kate left…but this show is the closest I’ve seen so far as a contender. Sue Galloway delivers smart, organic, beautifully crafted physical & verbal comedy that’s fresh, specific, at times surreal, and very funny. It’s no easy thing to walk the tightrope between darkness and hilarity, but Sue manages it here with impressive grace. Kudos also go to UCBT’s Artistic Director Nate Dern, who did a brilliant job of providing guidance and judgment as the show’s director. Ignore this production’s lame title and official description, which don’t do it justice, and simply come to see one of the best one-woman sketch shows of 2012: Pose
…and in the other half of this double-bill at UCB Chelsea, unique and relentlessly silly performer Brandon Gulya does a one-man sketch show at that’s at times hilarious (the restaurant bit, which is an instant classic) , and at other times less so, in the hope that Brandon Gulya Will Be Famous Soon
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.): A former staff writer for Saturday Night Live and writer/performer for 30 Rock who’s also performed on David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, and an upcoming one-hour Comedy Central special headlining tonight through Sunday at theCarolines Comedy Club: Hannibal Buress
8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Hello Laser, Junior Varsity, and Phooka performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Mark Grenier directing The Bat (improvised scenes that happen entirely in the dark), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) with troupe Upstate battling troupe Listen, Weirs! for laughs & votes: The Magnet’s Night Out
8:00 pm ($5): Layer by layer, improvisers build a town based on an audience member’s suggestion for the town’s name, while artist Asher Rogers paints a large map of the town based on the improvisers’ descriptions. This cool-sounding new show is at The PIT downstairs lounge: Our Town
[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A stand-up comedy showcase and baking competition—come to eat or come to compete” at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Cody Hess & Jessica Gross: Cookies!
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($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?
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here),Starlee Kine (sharp storyteller; NPR’s This American Life), and Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Nights of Our Lives, The Tony and Johnny Show) performing at UCB East with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author of Look At This F*cking Hipster) at Totally J/K
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and/or comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language
9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): NYC stand-ups Jess Dweck, Kevin Seccia, and Michael Che 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
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, first up is a witty and ultimately exhilarating exploration of baring it all by fabulous long-time nudist Julia Wiedeman (who I had the great fortune of seeing about a decade ago as she walked around with zero clothing, like a glorious tigress, in broad daylight on the streets of the East Village). Check out promo videos here and here, and then run to see Naked People…
…and in the other half of this double-bill, a one-man sketch show by George Kareman about which I know nothing, but the title alone makes the pulse race: Incredibly Extreme and Extremely Incredible
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7; or FREE COVER if you show up 30-60 minutes early and buy $7 worth of snacks/drinks): Mystery Science Theater 3000 goes blaxploitation in this delightful new series by Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent for The Daily Show) and Donwill (hip-hop group Tanya Morgan) in which the boys watch a black cinema cult classic and yell comments at it throughout. It all happens at Brooklyn’s reRun (147 Front Street, between Pearl & Jay Streets), with tonight’s film a happy surprise: Shouting at the Screen
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Ouch. Last week Airwolf crushed and humiliated Sandino, beating it with a stick 110-38. This gives Airwolf three consecutive wins, but it’s no time to get cocky because tonight’s challenger is formidable troupe The Law Firm. Don’t miss the bloodshed as they compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match
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