NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 11/20/12

November 20, 2012

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 Note: A huge THANK YOU to UCB Chelsea and stellar host Sean Patton for last night’s Whiplash featuring three of the greatest stand-ups alive: Anthony Jeselnik, Aziz Ansari, and Chris Rock!!! Chris & Aziz performed extra-long sets, keeping the 11:00 pm extravaganza going until 1:30 am.
Aziz said, “This is a $300 show you guys are seeing for free.” Exactly right. Again, THANK YOU.

Sean Patton, Sara Schaefer, and Ted Alexandro

Four of the finest stand-ups in the country—Sean Patton, Sara Schaefer, Ted Alexandro, and Todd Barry (not pictured)—perform at Seth Herzog’s Sweet…

Amber Nelson and Ashley Brooke Roberts

…while the lovely Amber Nelson & Ashley Brooke Roberts host sketch, stand-up, tarot readings, and more at The Dream Show

 Recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

 [FREE] 6:30 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Chesley Calloway (co-host of renowned Comedy as a Second Language): The Ches Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-Midnight ($7 for the whole evening): In this 5-hour extravaganza, four of The Magnet’s singing improv troupes make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: BEEES! and Mint Condition (at 7:00) and Aquarius and Legend (at 8:30); followed at 10:15 by a free show that lets audience members join in with musical improv troupe Legend to make up stories in song: Musical Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Marvel Comics Editor Jordan D. White and comedian Scott Eckert joining super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($28 with discount code BBOX [otherwise $40]): 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] [FREE] 7:30 pm tarot readings, 8:00 show ($5): Wonderful sketch comics Amber Nelson & Ashley Brooke Roberts host a free variety show featuring tarot readings at 7:30 from Kat Toledo, and then stand-up, character acts, improv, and/or music from improv brothers Will & Kevin Hines, Sabrina Jalees, and Nick Maritato performing at Brooklyn’s Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer Street): The Dream Show

7:30 pm-9:00 pm ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes Rocks, Sherlock & Cookies, and A Sparrow at this first half of Harold Night

[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 run in NYC—only two performances left!—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 ($5): A unique show in which everyone on the lineup performs something inspired by a song—be it stand-up, a story, sketch, or what have you—and then sings that song karaoke-style. Tonight’s star storytellers are Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and Manhattan Cable Access’ The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of new bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller, host of Funny Story), Natasha Rothwell (Hodapp & Rothwell, The Story Pirates, The Curfew, Dinner), and Andy Ross (Real Characters) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Steve Heisler, Steve Jacobs, and Margaret Lyons: The Jukebox

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The lovely and talented gals (and one guy) of share personal tales about emailing, emoticoning, and online romancing at UCB East, with tonight’s storytellers including Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; former staff writer for David Letterman, host of Entertaining the Bartender) and Jodi Lennon (TruTV, Annoyance Theatre, Second City, IO): HelloGiggles: The Internet Edition

[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) in the West Village: The Old Man and the Moon

8:00 pm ($8): A dozen sharp talents deliver brand new sketch comedy at The PIT downstairs lounge: Big Business

8:00 pm ($8): Comedy troupe THEM performs a scripted musical for the holidays at The PIT upstairs theatre: Plymouth Rock: The Pilgrim Rock Opera

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Barry Rothbart (Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Henry Zebrowski (member of award-winning sketch troupe Murderfist), Emmy Blotnick (staff blogger for Jimmy Fallon), and Bill Stiteler performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by the wonderful Joe Pera, Dan Licata, and Charles Gould: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Al Jackson (Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up), Jim Tews, Doug Smith, Nate Fridson, and Justin Morgan performing stand-up—with this week’s theme Gluttony—at Sidewalk NYC (94 Avenue A) produced by Chenoa Estrada, Emily Heller, and George Gordon and hosted tonight by Erin Judge (Comedy Central; comedy album So Many Choices; for hilarious short bit on men vs. women, please click here): The Afterlife: Deadly Sin Gluttony

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Typically sharp NYC stand-ups (for an update, please click here) performing at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, between Rivington & Stanton) hosted by Kate Berlant (MTV, CNN, notable hair): Crime & Punishment

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): All-star lineup of four of the finest stand-ups in the country: Ted Alexandro (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Sean Patton (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), and Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There) performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street)—along with a surprise DJ, and more—hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Ross Hyzer (Huffington Post), Dan Wilbur (How Not to Read), Jonathan Morvay, and Joel Walkowski performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Sean Donnelly, Robert Dean, Steve O’Brien, and/or Kevin McCaffrey: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

9:15 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes Bucky, Guthrie, and Salmon Diane—plus advanced improv students “strips the Harold down to its component parts and rearranges them into a rhythmically complex, mashup-inspired performance piece” for a form called Scramble NYC—at this second half (continued from 7:30 pm) of Harold Night

9:30 pm ($5): A monthly stand-up competition at UCB East in which “new and emerging stand-up comics face off against each other in front of a panel of judges eager to provide unsolicited advice and even more unsolicited scores”—the judges being Brian Cichocki (Caroline’s, Stand-Up New York), and Shannon Coffey. Tonight’s contestants include highly likeable albeit not-so-new comic RG Daniels (long-time host of Sunday Night Stand-Up): Stand-Up Smackdown

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT downstairs lounge with host Chris Grace: Cold Soda Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15 & 2-drink min.): Steve Rannazzisi (creator/co-star of FX’s The League; Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d), Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and Manhattan Cable Access’ The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of new bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Leonard Robinson (MTV’s Wild and Out, Death Valley; FX’s The League; NCIS; Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Aaron Berg, and more performing at the Gotham Comedy Club hosted by Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central): ComedyJuice

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Sean L. McCarthy ( interviews a professional comic (not announced) about the highlights of his or her career at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Last Things First

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up at UCB East hosted by Boris Khaykin, John Trowbridge, and/or Katie East: Tuesday Night Open Mic

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.