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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: Craig Rowin (Comedy Central, ESPN, The Onion, The Law Firm, perpetrator of fabulous hoax Please Give Me One Million Dollars) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, hosted by the wonderful John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!
6:00 pm-1:00 am: The PIT hosts its annual NYC Improv Festival, running for over 12 hours today in both its upstairs theatre and downstairs lounge. In addition, there are workshops and a free symposium at this special event happening through Saturday: NYC Improv Festival 2013
[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
6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic
6:30 pm ($5): Two shows audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage: “Someone’s trying to kill Joanne… but who?” co-starring Amber Nelson as Deputy RunningBear: Coyote Howls: A Sheriff Joanne Mystery; and in the other half of this double-bill, Coker and Stratton: Brand Whores. At $2.50 per show, it’s hard to go wrong with Spank
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors at UCB East—Fran Gillespie, Michael Kayne, Amber Petty, Tim Martin, Ashley Ward, Morgan Phillips, and/or Winston Noel—making up a musical on the spot: KOSMOS Musical Improv
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.54 in advance online; includes a free beer): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers comics to tell funny stories at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street), with tonight’s guests Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Abby Sher (award-winning author of Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying and Kissing Snowflakes), and Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Tom Shillue’s Funny Story
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Storytelling and/or stand-up from Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy), Molly Knefel (30 Rock, Naked in a Fishbowl, Radio Dispatch, John & Molly Get Along), Angry Bob, Reverend Jen, and Meghan Turbitt performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Katharine Heller & Dean Haspiel: Night Job
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15, no drink minimum): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Justin Silver (star of CBS’ Dogs in the City), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Todd Barry, Christian Finnegan, and More
[TOP PICK] [$] 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-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes Bloomer, Junior Varsity, The Boss, and Hello Laser performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by The Kubler (long form improv that takes you through the five stages of grief, directed by Russ Armstrong), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component), tonight featuring last week’s winner The Wrath vs. all-gal improv troupe Human Pyramid: 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] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Five improv house teams from Chicago’s acclaimed Upstairs Gallery theatre take this NYC stage for one night only. “Expect fast, slow, patient, rushed, loose, tight, fun improv” from Chicago-trained teams Dead $$$, The Era, Hunkz ‘R Us, Pizza Party, and The Dirty Shame, all performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Upstairs Gallery Chicago Improv
9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of CollegeHumor.com, you can see the folks behind it plus like-minded comics on the UCB Chelsea stage—tonight including Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses), Hallie Cantor, and more: CollegeHumor Live
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($15, no drink minimum): Awesome all-gal lineup of Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Nikki Glaser (co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing; podcast You Had to Be There), and Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Jessimae Peluso (Last Comic Standing, Chelsea Lately, TruTV, Tyra Banks): Sara Schaefer, Nikki Glaser, and Brooke Van Poppelen
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($5 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim Jennifer Connelly’s 1983 mistake in which she makes friends with millions of insects, Creepers (for the very bad 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): Improv legend The Stepfathers squeaked out a victory in a surprisingly close match with City Mouse at 63-55. The comedy giant tonight faces what on its face appears to be another uneven battle, this time against Maude team Bucky—but especially with improv genius Sasheer Zamata as a member of Cap’s sidekick, you can never tell what will happen at UCB Chelsea when improvisors compete for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match
11:00 ($5): NYC comics Lance Weiss (NBC, MTV, Bravo), Aaron Kaminos-Smith (MTV, AMC), Gabe Pacheco, and Nathan Anderson performing stand-up at UCB East as part of the Reddit.com online community, hosted by Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, The Daily Show): /r/standup
[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Killer lineup of uncensored stand-up from Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; star of Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn and Comedy Central’s Insomniac; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), 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), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), and Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View): The Nasty Show: Dave Attell, Jena Friedman, Mark Norman, Big Jay Oakerson, and Kurt Metzger
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.