NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/17/13

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For a review of Anthony Jeselnik’s new DVD Caligula, please click here.

John Flynn

John Flynn performs one of the best one-man shows you’ll see this year for the final taping of his first comedy album…

Sasheer Zamata

…and rising star Sasheer Zamata & her troupe Doppelganger will work hard & smart for your laughs at a fierce Cage Match

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] 6:00 pm: Michelle Markowitz & Bryan Rucker (hosts of Failing Our Twenties) guest-host tonight’s open-mic storytelling show at UCB East, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress (which regular host John Flynn is over at UCB Chelsea performing a stellar one-man show—please see the 8:00 pm listings): Oh, Hey Guys!

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv troupe Adorable mixes with musical improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Pitch

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving two minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: Punchbowl and THEM

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv troupe The Boss to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): John Flynn (superb storyteller/actor/host; The Nights of Our Lives, host of storytelling show Oh, Hey Guys!) delivers one of the best one-man shows you’re likely to see anywhere, spinning a series of hilarious stories about his experiences growing up gay that are universal, tightly written, and performed with exceptional skill. Don’t miss this last chance to be a part of history and have your laughs recorded for this taping for John’s comedy album at the UCB Chelsea theatre: John Flynn’s Live Comedy Album Taping

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A former roommate & drinking buddy of such comedy giants as David Cross and Marc Maron performs a one-man show that was such a hit at August’s FringeNYC it’s been extended indefinitely. Please read my review by clicking here, and Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review by clicking here; and then come share an intimate hour with Matt Graham at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club so he can explain life and meaning and why This Too Shall Suck

[$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): 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), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle Show, For the Love of the Game), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), and Dan Naturman (David Letterman, Jay Leno) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua: Todd Barry, Gary Gulman, and More

8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hemlock and Dagger

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes Junion Varsity, Featherweight, The Boss, and Hello Laser performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by The Blackout (scenes are edited by blackouts created by the director in the booth, and the stage is set by the improvisers from the previous scene), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component), tonight featuring Weekend of Regret vs. Flower Girl: The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Great lineup of Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, CNN, TBS, host of ComedyJuice), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman, host of Entertaining the Bartender), 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), Sandy Danto (Mad TV), James Harris, and Shalwewa Sharpe performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover and/or Emily Heller: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Comedy duo Nick Kocher & Brian McElhaney perform new sketches at UCB Chelsea, as well as host stand-up and improv guests: BriTANicK: The Monthly Mankerthon

9:30 pm ($8): Gal duo Tamsi & Samsi (Tamsi New & Samantha Reece Schecter) perform sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre, offering helpful advice on How to Be Nice, Pretty and Invisible

[FREE] 9:30 pm: All-gal improv troupe Vacation makes stuff up about battling the post-holiday winter blues at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Vacation Fights the Sads

[$] 10:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman, host of Entertaining the Bartender), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Modi (HBO’s The Sopranos, Comedy Central), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Sam Morril (Comedy Central) and Andy Hendrickson performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua: Jena Friedman, Sherrod Small,and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($5 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the awesome 1975 Hong Kong rip-off of Japan’s Ultraman: Infra-man (self-described as “six million light years beyond believability;” for a trailer, please click here)—at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Doppelganger (Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar) has proved itself to be one of the most organic and fiercely funny improv groups in the country. Tonight it goes up against a UCBT weekend troupe, What I Did For Love, that typically includes UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), and Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion). The foundations of UCB Chelsea will quake as these titans compete for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, VH1; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), Joe List (Comedy Central), and Harry Terjanian (Andy Kaufman Award finalist) perform for a showcase of NYC stand-ups not yet represented by a manager or agent at UCB East hosted by Luke Thayer & JL Cauvin: Unmanageable Stand-Ups

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Lynn Koplitz (Joan Know’s Best, IFC’s Z Rock, host of WB’s Life & Syle), Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Jermaine Fowler (FOX’s new In Living Color, MTV, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), and Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV): The Nasty Show: Jay Oakerson, Lynn Koplitz, Paul Mecurio, and More

 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.

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