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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: Michael Hartney (Characters Welcome, The 2017 Tony Awardz) 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!
[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
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($12): Two top stand-ups tell stories tonight: 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) and Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), plus storytelling duo Eliot Glazer & Jackie Mancini, at this unique storytelling show at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson Street) that features such charms as accordion playing by Dr. Michelle-Leona Godin and a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), and more form an improv troupe at UCB East that won this year’s prestigious Cage Match championship by springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($19.62 in advance online, $18 at the door): A top-notch theatrical troupe that’s equally fine at compelling acting and split-second comedy uses actual material on the Web, performed verbatim, to craft laugh-out-loud scenes. Tonight is the debut of the 12th edition of the series (begun in 2011), and—appropriately for Spring—focuses on all things sexy. While everyone in the cast is exceptional, standouts such as Wendy Joy, and the show’s producers Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula, are worth the trip all by themselves. For a video sample (a pale shadow of the live show), please click here. Another reviewer called this “like Forbidden Broadway for the Internet,” and that’s pretty close to the mark. This is running March 28-30 and April 4-6 at 8:00 pm. Grab tickets in advance before it sells out, and then enjoy this production at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place): Blogologues: #SexyTime
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Celebrating the 30th birthday of twins Todd Stone & Adam Stone (by an amazing coincidence, they both have it on the same day this year) are Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper, author of Tasteful Nudes), Jessica Delfino (enjoys singing songs about her vagina, as demonstrated by her CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; created the wildly popular YouTube animated short film I Wanna Be Famous), Doug Smith, Tyler Gildin, J.F. Harris, Brent Katz, and Matt Maragno at The PIT upstairs theatre: Stone and Stone Show
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($6.17 online or $10 at the door): Stand-up comics and sideshow attractions at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this unusual carny experience hosted by Matteo Lane (and normally also Abigoliah Schamaun, but tonight she’s in Australia at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival): Abigoliah’s Bizzarre Bazaar
[TOP PICK] [$] 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 ($5): UCBT star & Chris Gethard Show icon Riley Soloner is a sweet and silly comic almost impossible to not like. His character Vacation Jason is over-the-top ridiculous, which means Riley has to walk a tightrope between getting laughs and creating a reality believable enough to make us care about what’s going on. This first attempt at a sketch show falters on the latter; and I’d encourage Riley to be bolder about doing sharp, smart comedy, even with dumb characters, as he moves forward with his young and promising career. But script aside, there are worse ways to spend 30 minutes then watch Riley on stage while you’re wearing a show-supplied Hawaiian lei of flowers around your neck: Vacation Jason’s Island Flavors…
…and in the other half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, “all of the badass-ness of a baddass action film brought to you live on stage” by some of UCB Chelsea’s finest talent: Brandon Gulya (writer/co-star), Brandon Scott Jones, Leslie Meisel, Kristen Acimovic, Eddie Dunn, Tim Martin, and Evan Greenspoon (co-writer) in a sketch comedy that proclaims “First they broke his town. Then they broke his heart. But there’s one thing they’ll never break—his gun!:” The Unbreakable Gun
8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes, Hemlock (which includes stellar singer Megan Maes) and Dagger (which includes notable talents Ryan Dunkin and Jon Bander), 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 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): The Magnet’s Night Out
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: A jaw-dropping dark comedy group, which includes members of ace sketch troupe Murderfist, will terrify Manhattan for an hour at the Comedy Bar (134 West 29th Street): The Cowmen
[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
9:00 pm ($5): Hari Kondabolu (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, , FX’s Totally Biased), Alex Koll (Conan O’Brien), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Hadiyah Robinson, and Allen Strickland Williams performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover and/or Emily Heller: Fresh Out
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Superb storytellers 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), Ilana Glazer (Broad City), Ben Lerman (nuanced raunchy comedic singer/songwriter; Logo TV’s NewNowNext, Ed Gavagan (The Moth, TED Talks), and Kerri Doherty (Huffington Post, Adult Swim blogger) sharing true tales at The PIT upstairs theatre on tonight’s theme Losing It at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!: Losing It
9:30 pm ($5): At this UCB Chelsea double-bill, first sketch troupe Boat performs 30 minutes of bits at Boat: Comedic Sketches, and then a one-act play about the Biblical end of the world written by & co-starring Kevin Hines and directed by Brandon Gulya: Apocalypse in Connecticut
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($5 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the 1973 science fiction soft porn flick Invasion of the Bee Girls, in which women kill men by sexually overexerting them (for the trailer—which reportedly doesn’t do justice to the movie’s copious nudity—please click here) at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): All-star improv troupe The Stepfathers continues to orphan all challengers, crushing Bucky last week 81-33. Tonight the 3-0 champion competes with team Tickles for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match
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.