NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/19/12

May 19, 2012

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Matt Besser

Matt Besser, co-founder of the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade, tonight makes rare NYC appearances at UCB East. First Matt will tell tales at the wonderful Todd Bieber’s Animated Stories; then he’ll perform at If You Build It…

Freak Dance

…and at midnight Matt will introduce, screen, and discuss afterwards his 2010 feature film musical comedy parody Freak Dance. Assuming I can get manage my current cold, I’ll be at all three shows; come join me for this rare Besser triple-treat.

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] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 5:30 pm: New improv teams experimenting with new forms at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Andy Rocco and Jon Monje: Anybody Vs. Everybody: An Improv Show for You

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Dog Court, Swagu, and Mr. Gorsky at The Magnet kicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Todd Bieber (Commercial Interruption, Director of Content & Production for hosts this monthly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East that at the end selects a favorite from the audience tales to be turned into an animated short film premiering the following month (for hilarious samples, please click here). Tonight’s extra special guests are Matt Besser (co-founder to the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade; NBC’s Parks & Recreation, Comedy Central, tonight’s midnight film Freak Dance) and Margot Leitman (Conan O’Brien, VH1, Spike TV, co-host of sexy & funny Stripped Stories): Animated Stories

7:00 pm ($8): Stand-ups Seth Herzog (staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, Comedy Central, CBS, VH1, film actor; host of Sweet) and Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses) opening for a sketch comedy troupe famed for their YouTube videos (especially The Bear, The Cloud, and God) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Upset Triangle

7:00 pm ($8): At this PIT double-bill, Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell “bring more than five years of improv collaboration to stage for an evening of bold, committed characters and probably a fart joke for good measure” as Hodapp & Rothwell, and then all-gal improvisors Alexis Saarela, Brigid Boyle, Elizabeth Findlay, and Ashley Ward perform as troupe Taco Supreme

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($15.25 [vs. $20.25] online using discount code WEDDING, plus $15 food/drink min.; I personally like both the burgers and lasagna): One of my all-time favorite FringeNYC shows is Cynthia Sliver’s true-life recounting of the “deal with the Devil” she made with reality TV (for my 2005 review, please click here). The production is enjoying a brief revival tonight at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, inside the West Bank Cafe (407 West 42nd Street, off Ninth Avenue), and is highly recommended: Bridezilla Strikes Back!

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, D’Arcy Carden, Chelsea Clarke, and/or other stellar improvisors at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

7:30 pm ($7): Improv veterans Mark Grenier, Louis Kornfeld, and Charlie Whitcroft at The Magnet making up a play on the spot: Theory of Everything

8:00 pm ($10): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill—and occasionally with comedy giants Kristen Schaal and/or Kurt Braunohler participating: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): From the producers of The Scene, improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) A regular on ABC’s Happy Endings headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Daman Wayans Jr.

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Showtime, and his own hour-long Comedy Central special headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Sebastian Maniscalco

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing stand-up at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Matt Besser (co-founder to the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade; NBC’s Parks & Recreation, Comedy Central, tonight’s midnight film Freak Dance), plus stand-ups Mike Drucker (freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report, MTV, VH1), Sara Hennessy (Fuse TV), and Andrew Johnston (Fuse TV) performing at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk and guest-hosted tonight by Erin Lennox: If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): The Magnet’s new house sketch troupe Company 29 consists of such wonderful talents as Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman FringeNYC show Our Condolences; brilliant writer, actress, and improvisor) and Peter McNerney (former Magnet Artistic Director; half of improv troupe Trike). Tonight it debuts a show that “takes a look at all things American, from Johnny Appleseed to Ira Glass. It’s a character driven sketch show sure to make Neil Diamond proud:” Company 29 Presents America

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Greer Barnes (Comedy Central), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics performing as characters at The PIT downstairs lounge, with tonight’s superb packed lineup featuring Tom Shillue, Jared Logan,Sasheer Zamata, Arthur Meyer, Silvija Ozols, Andy Rocco, Matt Koff, Dan Hodapp, Ashley Ward, and Caitlin Bitzegaio, hosted by Rob Stern: Overload the Machine

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Stand-up, sketch, and who knows what else at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by a stand-up/sketch duo: Team Submarine and Friends

[TOP PICK] 10:30 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” at this newest UCB Chelsea show to be honored with a weekend time slot: Grandma’s Ashes Gets Dark

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($7): Improv master Ed Herbstman and five others “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules” at The Magnet theatre: The Weave

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): UCBT improv troupe Airwolf—which has been crushing other troupes into powder at Cage Match with nine consecutive victories to date—makes stuff up at UCB East for an entire hour: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

11:00 pm ($8): A young all-guy improv troupe making stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5; SOLD OUT, but you might be able to get in if you’re willing to wait on the stand-by line): A screening of a 2010 feature film by the Upright Citizens Brigade written, co-directed, and co-starring Matt Besser, and also co-starring Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Horatio Sanz, and other comedy giants, at UCB East—which is a perfect venue for films because it used to be an indie movie theatre. I’ll be seeing the movie for the first time at this show, but in the meanwhile you can check out some festival reviews. Come and join me—especially since the wonderful Matt Besser will be making a rare NYC appearance to both introduce the movie and stick around afterwards to answer your questions: Freak Dance

P.S. If you can’t make this screening, you can also see the movie (sans Matt) at UCB East on Monday May 21st at 10:00 pm, Tuesday May 22nd at 9:30 pm, Wednesday May 23rd at 10:00 pm, Thursday May 24th at 11:00 pm, and Friday May 25th at midnight (at which point the run will probably be eligible for a New York Times review…). You can also purchase the movie and /or its soundtrack to enjoy anytime via iTunes.

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level. This new monthly UCB Chelsea event is helmed by the wonderful Shannon O’Neill Shannon O’Neil (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Stepfathers, Diamond Lion): The Lady Jam

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups (not announced) participate in the fake taping of a bad late-night TV comedy show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Brad Steuernagel: Comedians Off Of the Leash

Midnight ($10): Typically disturbing and semi-obscene sketches at The PIT downstairs lounge from troupe FUCT

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

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