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See John Oliver, Janeane Garofalo, and more on May 20th; details here.
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: Sketch comics—including such superb talents as Dan Hodapp, Keisha Zollar, and Steve Soroka—audition their funniest characters at The Magnet for a performance spot at the prestigious Montreal comedy festival: Just for Laughs Auditions
[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Cammi Climaco (co-host of Ask Me Stories) hosts this weekly hour-long open-mic storytelling show, with typically six audience members chosen from a bucket of names getting to tell tales for 6-7 minutes each at The PIT downstairs lounge: Cammi Climaco’s Storytelling Open Mic: Six by Six
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 ($5): Highly charming and luminous gal comics Bridget Fitzgerald (multi-talented model/actress/improvisor/sketch comic) and Anna Drezen (superb character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), plus Will Nunziata and Justin Akin, are panelists for this new game in which “four smart, funny people are quizzed on odd and obscure bits of trivia that just might save your life (probably not, though)” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by MIchael FIsher: Pop Quiz Hotshot
7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house improv groups Call Tokyo, The Music Industry, Featherweight, Brick, Chet Watkins, Horses, and Bloomer, followed by a free audience interactive show with Horses at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
7:00 pm ($5): A stand-up who’s performed on Jimmy Fallon and Funny or Die, and who’s naturally funny even if his material doesn’t always hit the mark, tries stuff out at UCB Chelsea for a 30-45 minute set: Aaron Glaser
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:15 pm ($29-$38): In celebration of a new PBS American Masters documentary about comedy legend Mel Brooks titled Make a Noise, Brooks will be interviewed (via satellite from LA) by Joy Behar, Susan Stroman, Robert Trachtenberg, and more at the 92nd Street Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall (1395 Lexington Avenue, between 91st and 92nd Streets): Mel Brooks
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): John Lutz (cast member of 30 Rock; six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live; John and Scott) and Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials) perform two-man improv as acclaimed duo 2 Square
[$] 8:00 pm ($30): Trevor Noah, a South African comic who’s appeared on Jay Leno and Chelsea Lately, performs a one-man show about “a search for identity in a world obsessed with labels” on Wednesdays-Saturdays through June 8th at The Culture Project (45 Bleecker Street). I haven’t seen this, but Noah has a great reputation: Born a Crime
[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show
[TOP PICK] [FREE] Seating at 8:30, show at 9:00 pm (RSVP to confirm your spot at FreeComedyWednesdays@gmail.com): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Joe Zimmerman (The Beards of Comedy), and Zach Sims (moving to LA) performing stand-up at Ella (9 Avenue A) produced by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura and hosted tonight by Mark Normand: Hot Soup
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($8 at the door or $10.70 in advance online): Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show Risk!), Robert Kelly (Louie, Comedy Central, Opie & Anthony), and Damien Lemon (MTV2’s Guy Code, Comedy Central) performing stand-up, plus both live and taped sketches from Joe Pera, Henry Zebrowski, Jason Saenz, Nick Vatterott, Barry Rothbart, and Travis Irvine, all at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Nick Turner & Acquaintances
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors—and actual brothers—Will Hines and Kevin Hines make use of their intimate knowledge of each other to gracefully invent scenes (hopefully without any squabbling) at UCB East performing as duo The Brothers Hines
[FREE] 9:00 pm: Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here), JL Cauvin (Craig Ferguson), Danny Kallas, Cory Jarvis, Kris Tinkle, and Brandon Collins performing stand-up at this free weekly comedy show at Lucky Jack’s Bar (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, four-gal group Georgie Aldaco, Danielle Gibson, Viviana Olen, and Katie Simon perform a series of surreal sketches that are both unsettling and charged with comedic energy. A long bit about a mother threatening to do something surprising to her husband and son is an instant classic (when you see it, you’ll have no doubt what sketch I’m talking about…). The show could be greatly improved with periodic nuanced emotion to create a roller coaster effect—right now the audience is hit with surface shock after shock, which after a while desensitizes and loses impact—but if you’re open to the purity of conceptual comedy that challenges your sanity, you’ll enjoy Former Business Partners: Everything Must Go…
…and in the other half of this sketch double-bill, 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
9:30 pm ($5): Each booked performer has 10 minutes to do whatever he or she chooses—stand-up, sketch, improv, music, dance, or something beyond categorization. “It’s simple, it’s fun, and it might get crazy” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Guerrilla Theatre
[TOP PICK] [$] 9:45 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Great lineup of Amy Schumer (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; star of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing, 30 Rock, great new DVD/CD Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff), Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), and Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): Amy Schumer, Nick DiPaolo, Gary Gulman, and More
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Rising stand-up stars—Mark Normand, Jared Logan, Mike Lawrence, Dan. St. Germain, Michael Che, Emily Heller, Jeffrey Joseph, Dan Soder, Barry Rothbart, Calise Hawkins, Joe List, Pat Dixon, and/or Nick Turner—at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Regulars
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (highly charming, innovative rising star; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, FX’s Totally Biased; member of red-hot improv troupe Doppelganger, sketch troupe The Prom, and Harold Night troupe Bucky) hosts as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; plus Sasheer is going to be a huge star, so catch her in this intimate setting while you can. (Tonight’s scheduled guests include Jason Saenz and Adam Conover; for the complete lineup, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night
[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets
[TOP PICK] [$] 11:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): 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), 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), Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), and Jesse Joyce (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, FOX, AMC) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): The Nasty Show: Dave Attell, Nikki Glaser, Big Jay Oakerson, Kurt Metzger, 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.