NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 11/16/12

November 16, 2012

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Simon Amstell
Simon Amstell delivers a bravura one-man show about anxiety and the meaning of life at Numb…
Maz Jobrani
…and ace Iranian-American stand-up Maz Jobrani headlines through Sunday at Carolines

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: TV & Broadway stand-up star Colin Quinn performs a brand new show exploring US history “from the Founding Fathers to the Kardashians” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Unconstitutional with Colin Quinn

7:00 pm ($5): Improv at The Magnet that flows from moment to moment, with no sweeps or tag outs—”each exit starts a new scene, while performers use devices ranging from monologues to in-scene questions to break into characters and relationships quicker and deeper:” Scoresby

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv troupes perform in this Magnet double-bill: Eaglefox and Human Pyramid

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Nate Dern and Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Mic

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “For over a year, Patrick Waldo scrawled his moustache tag on countless advertisements around New York City, entertaining commuters and causing thousands of dollars in damage. After a three month investigation, the NYPD put an end to his spree when they arrested Waldo under felony charges of graffiti, criminal mischief, and fucking shit up,” written & starring Patrick Waldo, and directed by Nate Dern & John Flynn: Moustache Man: Confessions of a NYC Graffiti Artist

…and in the other half of this double-bill, UCBT star & Chris Gethard Show icon Vacation Jason (a.k.a. Riley Soloner) debuts his own show: Vacation Jason’s Island Flavors

[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), 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

[FREE] 7:30ish 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), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1), Morgan Miller, Tony Zaret, and Mike Brown performing stand-up at One and One (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad, and hosted by Ryan Sorenson & Scott Nossen: Cranky Pants Comedy Hour

[FREE] 7:30ish pm: The lovely Jamie Lee (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Ridiculousness, VH1), the lovely Chelsea White (MTV, VH1, co-host of Call Us Crazy), Paul Murdock, Mike Cannon, Kaytlin Bailey, and more performing stand-up at Mr. Dennehy’s Irish Pub (63 Carmine Street) hosted by Troy Bynum & Carrie Gravenson—who plead “This pub was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, losing a ton of inventory and revenue during the days without power. Please come out to support a wonderful venue that desperately needs it. Come laugh and order some food and drinks and tip generously. We can help them bounce back:” The Tomfoolery Hour

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($26 via the box office or $30 online): UK TV star Simon Amstell (BBC’s Do Nothing, Grandma’s House) performs a brilliant one-man show about the anxieties of success and the meaning of life—and yes, he will tell you the meaning of life before the evening ends (worth the price of admission right there…). While the show is tightly scripted, Simon is one of the most lightning-quick wits in comedy, and at the performance I attended reminded me of Daniel Kitson by crafting many of the best moments on the fly from responses to the audience. (For example, when a woman in the first row abruptly got up to leave Simon did several minutes on that; and when she returned from the bathroom and explained she hadn’t missed anything because she’d seen Numb before, Simon replied, “I don’t know whether that makes it better or worse. Does that mean you waited until the part of the show you liked the least?”) Take advantage of this too-brief six-night run in NYC (through November 21st) and nab tickets at the lovely Theatre 80 St. Marks (80 St. Marks Place, between First and Second Avenues) for Simon Amstell: Numb

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) An Iranian-American stand-up (for a sample set, please click here) who’s a founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour that featured top Middle Eastern-American comics, and an actor who’s performed on ABC’ s Better off Ted and Knights of Prosperity, FOX’ s Life on a Stick, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, NBC’s The West Wing and ER, and many other shows & feature films, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Maz Jobrani

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($65): This isn’t pure comedy, but an enchanting hodgepodge of original tall tales fueled by laughs. The 2-hour play from the wonderful guys of PigPen blends shadow puppetry, songs, inventive staging, and more to create living dreams. For my review of PigPen’s two previous shows at FringeNYC, please click here and here. This newest work is their most ambitious, and that sometimes results in the story feeling too slow or padded; but it also yields a deeper emotional payoff. And even though not all the bits hit the mark, so many of them do that you’re likely to feel satisfied—and missing PigPen’s world after the show is over. The production is at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street) through November 26th: The Old Man and the Moon

[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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 8:30ish pm: Stuckey & Murray (terrific comedic singing duo; Chelsea Lately, NBC, VH1, Fuse), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Erin Lennox (host of DTF, co-host of The Orphanage; for a sample of Erin’s dynamite Seriously Sports show, please click here), Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report, MTV, VH1), and Sean Donnelly (Comedy Central) performing at Brooklyn’s Red Star (37 Greenpoint Avenue) hosted by Annie Lederman and followed by wild Karaoke: Pirate Party

8:30 pm ($7): Chicago-style long form improv interspersed with character monologues at The Magnet that includes such talents as Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis and directed by Neil McNamara: Deep Dish

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from comedy geniuses Chris Gethard and Shannon O’Neill, plus stellar comics Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—Fran Gillespie, Michael Kayne, Amber Petty, Tim Martin, Ashley Ward, Morgan Phillips, and Winston Noel—making up a musical on the spot (formerly named Diamond Lion): KOSMOS Musical Improv

[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): Judah Friedlander (30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), 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), Gary Gulman (Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[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

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/or other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): Kara Klenk (Spike TV, host of If You Build It), Katey Healy-Wurzburg (beloved UCBT stand-up/improvisor; host of The Fascinator), Trevor Williams (College Humor), Ben Kissel, and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), Phoebe Robinson (TV Guide’s 100 TV Shows To See Before You Die and 25 Biggest Reality Star Blunders), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1), Harrison Greenbaum (writer for Mad Magazine; head writer of Tu Nite con Lorenzo Parro on NBCU/Telemundo; winner of the 2010 Andy Kaufman Award), and more performing stand-up, plus other comics doing sketch, improv, and who knows what else, at The PIT downstairs lounge with host Jeremy Wein: Undefined

[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): Comics (not announced) are talk show guests at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Paul Gutkowski (for a brief video promo, please click here): Sex in the Late Night Air

[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

Midnight ($5): Screenings at UCB East (which used to be an indie film theatre) of brand new comedy videos that haven’t yet been released: Test Screening

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: If you want to know what is happening in NYC comedy on a particular day, you gotta get hip to this dude Hy Bender and his site Best New York Comedy. The site is updated daily and features a super exhaustive look at what is happening in the NYC comedy world that particular day. The site is updated religiously…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.