NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/20/12

July 20, 2012

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Rebecca Vigil

An improv legend makes a rare appearance—free!—at Q&A with Charna Halpern; and powerhouse Rebecca Vigil belts out improvised songs as The Vigilante

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:

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 4:00 pm: Charna Halpern is a living legend in the improv world for her work with Del Close and beyond, and her seminal book on improv Truth in Comedy. Today at The Magnet is a rare opportunity to experience her answer questions about improv—for free! I can’t believe all the reservations haven’t been snatched up yet, but as of this morning you can still grab a free ticket by clicking Q&A with Improv Legend Charna Halpern

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: A TV & Broadway stand-up star hones an hour of material at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre every day this week: Colin Quinn Tries Stuff Out

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Ace Magnet improvisors who are married with kids—and who sometimes include improv genius Ed Herbstman, plus Melanie Hoopes, Matt Evans, Christine Walters, Maggie Kemper, Robert Cuthill, Ari Voukydis, Ryan Rodgers, Michele Laikowski, and/or Kelly Moylan: The Mamas and the Papas

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Leslie Goshko (delightful storyteller/stand-up; WNYC, Sirius XM, Manhattan Monologue champion) hosts this monthly storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue), with tonight’s guests Diana Spechler (author of Skinny and Who By Fire), Dana Rossi (host of The Soundtrack Series), David Crabb (host of Ask Me Stories), and Joey Novick (Comedy Central, MTV), plus accordion playing by Dr. Michelle-Leona Godin: Sideshow Goshko

7:00 pm ($5): Bob Kulhan (co-founder of Baby Wants Candy, Second City, The Scene) and Micah Sherman (Baby Wants Candy, Second City, The Scene) try out new sketches, songs, and other silliness at The PIT downstairs lounge: Micah’s & Bob’s Sketch Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It’s earned this slot because its cast is one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough for potential stardom; and, at their best, the troupe’s writers sizzle too. That said, this new show actually sounds more like improv with a dash of sketch: “The only live comedy sketch show all about you! Each week, we select two lucky audience members and craft a sketch show all about their lives. You probably think we’re crazy. We are! You probably think too much. We don’t! You probably think this show is about you. It is!“—directed by ace improvisor Ryan Karels: Stone Cold Fox: You Probably Think This Show Is About You

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Abra Tabak (Grandma’s Ashes), and more perform improv at UCB East springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($46.50 & 2-drink min.) A comedy superstar (for a sample set, please click here) headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: D. L. Hughley

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Joe Pera (very funny deadpan comic; I recently saw him sing beautifully and then smash three dozen plates to pieces; for reasons to hire Joe, please click here), and Zach Broussard (sketch troupe Fambly) host “the only comedy show aimed exclusively at older women with a penchant for younger men, featuring stand-up from some of NYC’s funniest boy-toys, cougar dating games, and discounts on chilled white wine” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Cougar Night

8:00 pm ($5): All-gal Improvisors who’ve previously created viral sketch videos performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Candy Slice Comedy

[$] [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?

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City downstairs lounge: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 8:30ish pm: Joe DeRosa (HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and DirtyComedy Central Presents, comedy CD The Depression Auction), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Jermaine Fowler (FOX’s In Living Color, MTV), and Mike Recine performing at Brooklyn’s Red Star (37 Greenpoint Avenue) hosted by Annie Lederman—on her birthday! And followed by wild Karaoke!: Pirate Party: Annie Lederman Birthday Edition

8:30 pm ($7): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The Magnet as troupe Lead McEnroe

[TOP PICK] [$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central; opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors at UCB East making up a musical on the spot—tonight featuring guests Don Fanelli, Nate Russell, and Abra Tabak: Diamond Lion

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from UCB Chelsea’s all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): “Where there is a stage and a piano, she will be there. Where there are strangers with embarrassing stories, she will be there. Where there is a group of people willing to sit and watch someone make up songs, she will be there. A one-woman musical improv journey through the lives of the audience. You tell the story, Rebecca Vigil sings the soundtrack”—quite beautifully, in fact, as Rebecca is not only a sharp improvisor but a powerhouse singer—at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Vigilante

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Joe Zimmerman (Rooftop Comedy), Dave Stone (Adult Swim’s Squidbillies), Andy Sanford (TBS), and TJ Young “deliver an original brand of humor that’s deeply rooted in stand-up and lightly blended with avant-garde elements of music, sketch and improv.” This bearded quartet’s credits include the album Cardio Mix from Comedy Central Records. Tonight they’re joined by stand-up guests Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, hit comedy CD Vegan Mind Meld), Keith Alberstadt (David Letterman), Emmy Blotnick (Jimmy Fallon), Greg Warren (Comedy Central), and Matt O’Meara, all performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Beards of Comedy & Friends

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Matt Fisher, Craig Rowin, Nate Lang, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($5): Improv troupe Pyramid Scheme suggests you “come see your favorite B-level horror, sci-fi, western, or romance movie—pick the genre and title, and watch the magic unfold as we project it while filling in the dialogue and sound effects. Lucky for you it’s a double feature. After we finish voicing over the film, we’ll produce your new favorite piece of cinema right before your eyes” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Movie Night

11:00 pm ($20): A troupe known for typically disturbing and semi-obscene sketches celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary by performing some of its favorite bits with special guests at The PIT upstairs theatre: FUCT: 10 Year Anniversary

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, top Maude sketch troupe Gramp’s, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

Midnight ($5): A three-person improv competition at UCB East hosted by Brian Glidewell, Josh Patten, and Ben Rameaka: Three for All

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Plus it’s hosted by members of Maude troupe Fambly, typically including such wonderful talents as Nicole Byer and Veronica Osorio: Liquid Courage

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