NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/25/12

July 25, 2012

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Kate McKinnon and Jon Benjamin

One of the all-time great sketch comics, Saturday Night Live cast member & comedy genius Kate McKinnon; utterly unique TV star & comedy genius Jon Benjamin…

Julie Klausner, Cintra Wilson, and Josh Rubin

…and storyteller/wit Julie Klausner, author/critic Cintra Wilson, College Humor actor/director Josh Rubin…

Elna Baker and Kevin Townley

…plus red-hot hosts, genius author/storyteller Elna Baker & actor/singer/writer Kevin Townley: The Talent Show

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): “Jonathan Blank and Samara Doucette say what everyone else thinks on dates, but never says… so join them and guest comedians as they divulge all of their wildest and most embarrassing dating stories! This monthly storytelling show contains the truth and nothing but the truth. However, most of the stories are more surreal than if David Lynch directed romantic comedies. Everything from wild hookups to emotional breakups are on the table” at The PIT downstairs lounge: This is Awkward

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

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features troupes Hoops and Kinsey: Lloyd Night

[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): Killer lineup includes a now-rare stage appearance by newest Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon (comedy genius and one of the most hilarious sketch comics ever), Jon Benjamin (unique off-the-wall comedy genius; FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, FX’s Archer, Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Adult Swim, MTV’s Human Giant), Julie Klausner (razor-sharp comic & storyteller; host of How Was Your Week podcast; author of I Don’t Care About Your Band), Joan Juliet Buck (Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue 1994-2001), Cintra Wilson (New York TImes “Critical Shopper” columnist, author of several books including A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease), Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), and more performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with hosts movie & TV actor Kevin Townley (Men in Black III, The Sitter, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Law & Order) and comedy jewel Elna Baker (NPR’s This American Life, author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance): The Talent Show: TED Talks

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Wow—the two best sketch shows currently at UCB Chelsea are on a double-bill tonight, and are yours for an absurdly low five bucks. First up is 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, Michael Martin, 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., a leg-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

…and then it’s a noir mini-play written & directed with immense wit by Michael Trapp (Stone Cold Fox), who with this script demonstrates he’s a rising star with a surefire career in the biz. And beyond the pages, Michael’s put together an all-star cast, including John Murray (simultaneously gripping and hilarious as a hardboiled detective with an absurdly short attention span), Brandon Scott Jones (who delivers an unforgettable scene with John that’s worth the trip all by itself), and D’Arcy Carden (who abandons her usual laid-back persona here to be smoking hot). These are all total pros who are virtually assured careers in TV and film. Catch them while they’re honing their craft and waiting to be noticed in one of the most consistently fun shows in NYC: Death Wears Stilettos

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Abbi Crutchfield (co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), Michael Che (Comedy Central), Matt Koff (Onion News Network, WitStream, 9 Am Meeting), and Matt Wayne performing at the Niagra Bar (112 Avenue A & 7th Street) for this biweekly show hosted by Charla Lauriston & Sean Kleier: Fun Comedy Good Times Why Not?!

[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): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB East as The Two-Man Movie

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

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) bringing their A-game—because their sets are captured at this new monthly show as audition tapes—performing at The PIT basement lounge: The Grass Route: Built from the Underground Up

[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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (ace improv troupe 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 performers include Katey Healy-Wurzburg and Adam Newman; for the complete lineup, 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

[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

[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

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