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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: Shannon O’Neil (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Stepfathers, Diamond Lion) 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: Oh, Hey Guys!
6:30 pm ($5): Two shows about which I know nothing audition for a regular spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea schedule: Maneater: The True Story of the Champawat Tigress and Hobby & Grill: Tying The Knot. 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] 7:30 pm ($10): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, star of The King of Miami, The Dave Hill Explosion, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; upcoming book Tasteful Nudes), Adam Sank (founder of weekly gay-themed stand-up show at Therapy Bar), and more performing at UCB East to raise funds for pups & dogs: Smorgasbord of Fun: A Benefit For Waggytail
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “A panel of comedians give their hilarious takes on the more grim/sensational crime stories taken from NYC’s daily newspapers. It’s live comedy with a streak of yellow journalism and dark New York flavor”—not to mention a monthly podcast—at Queens LIC’s The Creek hosted by Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents): The New York City Crime Report
[$] 8:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A veteran comedic actor in both TV and feature films headlining through Sunday at Carolines: John Witherspoon
[$] [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?
8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Hello Laser, Junior Varsity, and Phooka performing improv, 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 Chet Watkins battling last week’s winner for laughs & votes: The Magnet’s Night Out
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Jon Daly (hilarious improvisor & character comic; HBO’s Life & Times of Tim, MTV’s Human Giant), Fran Gillespie (ace improvisor & sketch comic; Stone Cold Fox, ASSSSCAT 3000), Rojo Perez, and more performing at UCB East with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author of Look At This F*cking Hipster): Totally J/K
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced by 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language
9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): Justy Dodge, Adam Lowitt, Rachel Bensen, and Andy de la Tour performing stand-up at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for this weekly comedy show that tonight is guest-hosted by Emmy Blotnick and produced by Carol Hartsell: Lasers in the Jungle
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Colbert Report gather on the UCB West stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seize the Mustard
[FREE] 9:30 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): After the impressive feat of crushing The Law Firm into powder last week by 115 to 50, improv troupe Airwolf has made clear it’s a force to contend with. Having enjoyed four consecutive wins, tonight it aims to humiliate improv group Warren, whose motto is “be cunning and full of tricks.” Good luck with that, Warren. Come see another slaughter as these comics compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match
11:00 pm ($5): Improv at The PIT 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
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