NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 5/30/12

May 30, 2012

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Elna Baker and Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. Come honor her memory through comedy (Joan loved to laugh) tonight along with brilliant & luminous host Elna Baker (above, in Joan’s favorite party dress)…

Dave Hill and Joan Juliet Buck

…and storyteller/troubadour Dave Hill, former French Vogue editor Joan Juliet Buck…

Ira Glass and Amber Tamblyn

…NPR’s This American Life producer/host Ira Glass, TV & movie star Amber Tamblyn, and more

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 to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation The PIT upstairs theatre for Super Free Wednesday

[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 ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Maude Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features troupes Spooky Ghost and Hoops: Lloyd Night

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Silver Fox, Leviathan, The Party Lions, The Wrath, Brick, Chet Watkins, Horses, and Featherweight performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Silver Fox at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

7:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show from Darcy Burke about Kenny Rogers and Jean Claude Van Damme at The PIT downstairs Lounge: Rocky Mountain Van Damage

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5 at the door, or $6.39 in advance online—the latter is highly recommended because this show usually sells out): Genius storyteller/writer Elna Baker resurrects Joan of Arc, and all our fond memories of her, on the anniversary of Joan’s burning at the stake precisely 581 years ago (May 30th, 1431). Helping Joan’s ghost to party will be Joan Juliet Buck (Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue 1994-2001), TV & movie star Amber Tamblyn, Ira Glass (producer/host of NPR’s This American Life), Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper; new book Tasteful Nudes), Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Bobby Tisdale (senior staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Susan Piver (New York Times bestselling author of six books), and musical guests Lucy Wainwright Roche (stellar singer/songwriter) and gal trio Supercute!, all performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with hosts Kevin Townley (Men in Black III, The Sitter, Law & Order: SVU) and, again, comedy jewel Elna Baker (NPR’s This American Life, author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance): The Talent Show: Joan of Arc Edition

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A spectacular and unforgettable demonstration of the artful power of mime when combined with a wickedly sharp modern sensibility, executed with great wit and style. Street performers have given mime a bad rep; but if you think about it, what mime does is boil a situation down to its essential elements, and then express those elements in a manner that’s instantly and universally understood. That’s really what art is all about; and that’s also what Billy the Mime does, often brilliantly. (For my review of his FringeNYC show in 2006, please click here.): Billy the Mime

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB East, Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar are the fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger

[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] 8:30 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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Improv troupe Sandino interviews an audience member and provides the answer to an unsolved mystery at UCB East, with team members including Don Fanelli, Brandon Gulya, and Kate Riley: Sandino: Unsolved Mysteries

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which brilliant writer/performers —who tonight are Dan St. Germain, Halle Kiefer, Christian Capozzoli, Jon Gabrus, and host Dave Martin—tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious at UCB Chelsea, with tonight’s theme Vices: The Nights of Our Lives

[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

10:00 pm ($5): Improv from two duos: Matt B. Weir & Matt J. Weir (We’re Matt Weir), and hosts Aaron Eisenberg (Barnstormer) and Marie Semla (Funkle Todd), performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Two by Two

[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 includes UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Julia Weideman & Boris Khaykin, Pat Baer & Friends, Veronica Osorio, and Adam Conover; for the complete list, please click 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

11:00 pm ($5): Sketch, improv, and audience participation in this new show directed by Steve Soroka (BoF) at The PIT downstairs lounge: Night Out with The Pin-Up Squirrels

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

[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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