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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: 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 The Party Lions, Silver Fox, Leviathan, Horses, Featherweight, Chet Watkins, The Wrath, and Brick performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Leviathan at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Jermaine Fowler (cast member of new In Living Color), Roger Hailes (Chappelle’s Show, VH1, MTV; writer for FUSE’s A Different Spin with Mark Hoppus), and Kate Berlant performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Ryan Conner (freelance writer for SNL, BBC): Free Healthcare
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Mamrie Hart is a rising star who somehow manages to be razor-sharp and immensely warm & accessible at the same time—and is always worth catching. Mamrie and her superb comedy partner Stephen Soroka tonight perform their all-new sketch show BoF: Friends Without Benefits…
…and in the second half of this double-bill, a one-woman show by Sue Smith about anger, directed by the always inventive and delightful Laura Grey: Minimum Rage
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door, $6.84 online with discount code Supermango): John Fugelsang (Politically Incorrect), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, podcast You Had to Be There), Stuckey & Murray (terrific comedic singing duo; Chelsea Lately, NBC, VH1, Fuse), and more performing at the Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery, off Bleecker Street) with hosts Dan Allen & Ray Devito: Sacapuntas!
[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] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mara Herron, Amy Albert Cobb, and Frank Gallo performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar with hosts Negin Farsad, Amy Albert, and/or Beth McGregor for their free weekly show Comedy School Dropout
[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
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Todd Bieber, the razor-sharp Director of Content & Production for UCBComedy.com, has had his video/film work viewed over 25 million times via such sites asYouTube.com, NewYorkTimes.com, and EntertainmentWeekly.com. But before his success, Todd spent a couple of years churning out, as he bluntly puts it, “shitty local commercials in rural Pennsylvania.” If you’re a filmmaker, a fan of ridiculously awful late-night TV ads, or someone who likes to laugh, come enjoy this fascinating and hilarious insider look at microbudget commercials and the creative process (for a trailer, please click here). Directed by UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, this is one of the very best solo shows in NYC: Commercial Interruption…
…and in the second half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, a delightful dark musical about the rich consuming the poor—literally. Witty songs from Brian Glidewell, Marcy Jarreau, and Kevin Carter, a uniformly strong cast (Megan Maes, Aaron Jackson, Kevin Michael Murphy, Katie Schorr, Dan Hodapp, Brian Glidewell, and Stephanie Streisand), and sharp direction from Christopher Gladysz and Lauren Conlin Adams make this 30-minute surreal parody of Newsies a winner as a UCBT comedy, and recommended. That said, right now the story is paper-thin and the characters cardboard. While the latter is turned into an asset (e.g., Kevin Michael Murphy’s ieg-injured character is hilariously named “Cripply”), I’m hoping the creators consider making all the elements deeper and more nuanced, and expanding the production to a 90-minute legit theatre length. Meanwhile, enjoy this remarkably compact version that delivers a quick, sharp punch to the gut you’re likely to remember: Newsadoozies: A Man-Eating Musical
[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
[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform along with side-show attractions such as jugglers, contortionists, and fire eaters at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this unusual carny experience: Abigoliah’s Bizzarre Bazaar
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (Doppelganger) hosts 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 can be found 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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