NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/17/12

November 17, 2012

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My favorite fast food place, Tuck Shop, got hit hard by Sandy. Please check out its amazing Aussie meat & veggie mini-pies; the 68 East 1st Street store is near UCB East and open very late…and is run by a fiery redhead who’s a delight.

Simon Amstell and Maz Jobrani

There are just four more chances to catch Simon Amstell’s superb one-man show “Numb;” Maz Jobrani jokes about the Middle East and more tonight and Sunday at Carolines

My favorite fast food place, Tuck Shop, lost a lot because of Sandy. Please check out its amazing mini-pies. The 68 East 1st Street store is near UCB East and open very late…and is run by a fiery Aussie redhead who’s a delight.

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:

Noon, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 7:00 pm ($10, or $5 for students with college IDs): A New York State college improv competition featuring Cornell University, Manhattan College, and Rutgers University at The Magnet Theatre: College Improv Tournament

[TOP PICK] [$] 2:00 pm & 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) in the West Village: The Old Man and the Moon

[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] 6:00 pm: Improv that travels back and forth in time at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Land Before Timecop

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 ($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), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Janine Brito (writer for FX’s Totally Biased), Adam Conover (College Humor, host of Fresh Out), and Seth Joseph performing stand-up at UCB East as part of the online community, hosted by Adam Lash (The Daily Show, HBO, Showtime): /r/standup

7:30 pm ($10): Talented 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

[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 & 10:30 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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups take a comedic look at the world’s problems at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tom Dillon: Love, Poverty, and War

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) A series regular on Mad TV who’s also performed on HBO, CBS, NBC, ABC, WB, and such movies as The Hangover, Old School, and Bad Santa headlining at the Gotham Comedy Club: Bryan Callen

8:00 pm ($10): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill at the upstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): Improvisors take established characters and make up melodramatic stories about them with song and dance at The PIT upstairs theatre: Clocks: The Musical Soap Opera

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10 at the door or $12.70 online): Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1), musical guest Shonali Bhomik, comedic movement guest Cocoon Central Dance Team, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for a show hosted by Greg Barris: Heart of Darkness

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp rising star stand-up; HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CD The Depression Auction), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Brooke Van Poppelen (writer for MTV’s Epic Fall; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central’s Russell Simmons Presents the Ruckus, MTV2’s Guy Code), Rojo Perez (Keith and the Girl), and Trevor Williams (MTV, College Humor) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk: 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] [FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups tell jokes and perform comedy as original characters at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shakir Standley: Out of Character

[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): 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), Dean Edwards (Saturday Night Live, MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, HBO’s The Sopranos, feature film Scared Shrekless), Andrew Schulz (MTV 2’s Guy Code), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($7): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now enjoying a long run at The PIT upstairs theatre: Political Subversities

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20): The return of one of the funniest comedies—and finest comedic ensembles—to grace New York, and what ended up as the very best show of this year’s FringeNYC Festival, playing at the Soho Playhouse’s upstairs theatre. Please read my review by clicking here, and then take advantage of this opportunity to see the Chicago-based 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): A small army of comics performing as characters at The PIT downstairs lounge 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

10:30 pm ($7): Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney performing at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups tell an astonishing number of jokes about defecation to raise funds for Crohn’s and colitis research at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Greg Stone & Anthony DeVito: 50 Best Poop Jokes

[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 ($10): UCBT improv troupe Airwolf—which includes such talents as John Frusciante, Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, and Emily Axford, and this year crushed 12 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

11:00 pm ($5): A sketch/variety show at The PIT upstairs theatre operating from a fun dark premise: “When Vincent Welles died and went to Hell, he soon found out his punishment was to host a variety talk show for all eternity in the fiery underworld. Join Vincent as he, along with his demonic producers and werewolf sidekick Warren Talbot, host special guests and surprises:” Welcome to Hell with Vincent Welles

[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 at UCB Chelsea, which is a monthly open improv jam for any female wanting to participate, at any experience level—and which has a very special and communal “gal energy” you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. The show’s creator, the wonderful Shannon O’Neill, is out of town this weekend, but it’s still likely to be good thanks to the participation of other top UCBT gal improv stars: The Lady Jam

Midnight ($5): A sneak preview screening of an upcoming Web series in which friends discuss bizarre relationship mishaps over brunch at UCB East featuring UCBT stars: Cardian Does Brunch

Midnight ($5—or free if you show up in a costume): “A scandalous night of down-right-sexy improv at The PIT downstairs lounge. Incorrigible performers team up to turn down the lights, slip into something a little more comfortable, and spend the good part of an hour tickling your funny boners. Beware of partial nudity, strong sexual themes, and the possibility to be dragged on stage for a not-so-wholesome game of Truth or Dare:” Yes, Yes, Yes…And

[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

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.