NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/1/12

July 1, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Joe Wengert is mini-Batman

If you can picture Joe Wengert’s big-ass glasses placed over the mask on the right—coupled with a perfectly rendered deep, gravelly voice—and then imagine mini-Dark Knight raising his hand in a third grade classroom to say, “I’d like to go to the principal’s office. I’m sad because my parents were killed,” you’ll have a vision of what garnered the biggest laugh of the marathon—Saturday night at 3:08 am—at Batman-Prov. Don’t miss today’s unforgettable moments—including an ASSSSCAT 3000 at 8:00 pm with Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Horatio Sanz, and more, at…

14th Annual Del Close Marathon

…the final day of The Del Close Marathon

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] Right Now-9:30 pm Today ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 14th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon is running continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 29th until 9:30ish pm on Sunday July 2nd. Improv troupes from all around the US Canada, and elsewhere—New York, Albany, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cambridge, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Fairfield, Austin, Miami, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, Carrboro, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Helsinki, and more—are performing over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. Even if you skipped the marathon for its first two days, there’s enough going on to make buying for just today’s shows highly worthwhile.

For complete details, please click here.

DCM is happening at seven different venues this year. I’ll mostly be at UCB Chelsea, but please know there are incredible things happening at every one of these stages. That noted, the following are some of the highlights I personally experienced.

Friday Highlights

  • At the DCM press conference, Ian Roberts started announcing a major UCB project…only to have Matt Besser and Matt Walsh interrupt with, “Um, that’s still a secret.” Ian spent a few minutes in denial with “Gee, are you sure we haven’t said anything publicly about it?” When assured that was the case, Ian rebounded with, “Well, when we do you’ll all be very impressed.” I actually have a reasonable guess what it is…and yes, we all really will be.
  • Also at the press conference, Matt Besser swore that an improv manual they’ve been working on for nearly 10 years “will, we guarantee, be done before next year’s marathon.” Ian then added, “Absolutely! And the white buffalo will once again walk the plains…” (As an expert with 20 books under my belt—including five Dummies books—I’ve been offering to help with this for six years running. Ian, Matt, and Matt, at this point I’ll do it for a sentence in the Acknowledgements. Reach out to me…) Among the benefits of the UCB book will be clarifying terms and concepts that often confuse improvisors. For example, as Ian explained, “Beginners think Agreement means going along with whatever someone brings up. But if your partner suggests ‘Let’s jump out the window,’ and you say ‘Sure!’, then that’s the end of the scene…because at that point you’re both dead. What Agreement really means is saying yes to the reality of whatever scenario your partner suggests—but then responding in a genuine way that reflects how you—or your character—would really behave in that situation.” The book is another project from UCB very much worth looking look forward to.
  • Also at the press conference, the guys discussed how much work is involved in becoming good at improv. Ian said a lot of people who are funny think, “Improv is walking and talking. I do that every day. I’m ready to go on stage as an improvisor!” Ian continued, “That’s like my looking at a piano and saying, ‘I like music. I have fingers. I’m ready to give a piano concert!'” Ian also defended rules, explaining, “The fact that I can stand here is defying gravity. It’s a learned skill I’ve done so often it’s become instinctual. We all learn from habit and repetition.” Matt Besser added that taking a class is great, but not by itself: “You should have your own practice team. And every session you should rehearse with each other for three hours—not one hour, not two hours, three hours is the standard—and at least three times a week.”
  • Stellar NYC trio Doppelganger (Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar) were in top form, with running gags including a man (played by Nicole) who keeps proposing marriage at the most inappropriate moments—such as when his girlfriend is caring from her grandma who’s just moments away from death: “We’ll inherit the old bag’s house, car, and savings. Honey, be mine!” Another shining moment was when Sasheer brings an orphan (played by Keisha) into her house, outlining a space four feet by four feet and saying, “That’s how much room you have. Don’t leave that square, you’re dirty.” Keisha looks around rapturously and says, “At least it’s a home.” It was an apt metaphor for any young performer starting out; but chances are each of these fearless and razor-sharp gals will go on to lustrous careers.
  • When comedy geniuses Chris Gethard and Shannon O’Neil of The Stepfathers appeared at 9:00 pm, the crowd cheered wildly. Shannon growled, “We’re on this stage every Friday! And at this exact same time!” Then Shannon relented with, “But thank you for your drunken enthusiasm.” What followed was one of the most brilliant 30 minutes of improv I’ve even seen—from Chris, Shannon, Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Will Hines, Michael Delaney, and Connor Ratliff working as a perfectly oiled machine, with all of them understanding each other’s strengths and playing them perfectly. That would’ve been enough; but then Chris said, “And now…let’s rewind.” The troupe responded with pure magic by reenacting every scene it had made up on the spot—backwards! As these stars got to the point of backing out the curtains from where they’d entered, the audience jumped to its feet to provide a rousing standing ovation. The set wasn’t quite over, though, so Shannon returned to growl, “Sit back down! We’re not done yet! Geez, we’re here every Friday!” The troupe proceeded to deconstruct what they’d done, with such comments as, “I thought that tag was a little premature” and “This scene came out of something that happened backstage no one else has any idea about.” When the lights finally came down, the audience jumped up to provide an even louder and more enthusiastic standing ovation.
  • There’s more I could write—about such troupes as Sentimental Lady from LA and Telenovela from Washington DC; a fun Bassprov with the form’s creators, improv legends Joe Bill and Mark Sutton, plus guest improv legend Matt Walsh; improv star Fran Gillespie doing an impressive job as a mirror in Paranormal Encounters; and another of the finest improvisors alive, Paul Scheer, in Bruckheimer; but I want to eat something and then get back to the marathon. Please check in here tomorrow for a report on tonight; and please get your ass over to DCM for this not-to-be-missed comedy event.

Saturday Highlights

  • Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts did something only comedy masters can pull off: They created a gripping and laugh-filled 30 minutes from simply playing with the audience. Starting with the premise that there are both guys and gals at DCM eager to hook up, but with no easy way to find each other, the UCB founders determined to fix things by becoming improv pimps. After a hilarious maze of ideas, they ended up getting five female and five male volunteers on stage. (There was actually a sixth guy, but—in an especially delicious moment—an audience member outed him as having a girlfriend, and in fact wearing her DCM bracelet to get into the theatre that day. The guy was unanimously booed off…) The volunteers were assigned numbers, from 1 to 10, and then told to close their eyes and use their fingers to indicate the number of the person they’d like to be with. Sadly, no digits corresponded across genders. At the last minute, to Matt Besser’s delight, an audience member shouted, “Second choice!” They gave that a try as well; but  most of the women raised empty fists… While the wild experiment failed at making a match, it succeeded at becoming one of the best shows of the marathon.
  • John Gemberling’s last official Death by Roo Roo show was last month, after which he moved to LA; so one of the special treats of this DCM was having John back one more time. The same goes for another former Roo Roo member now based in LA, Gil Ozeri. Gil’s down-to-earth brilliance was in top form as a guy who kills animals and small children and then explains it all away with, “I’m slow…” Roo Roo turned this unsettling scenario into a surreal ride of talking ravens, mountain spirits, and dreams within dreams within dreams. Still one of the finest troupes in improv history, Roo Roo keeps going via comedy giants Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Gavin Speiller, John Murray, and Dan Black every Saturday at 9:00 pm.
  • An eternal high point of DCM is Match Game ’76, which features a small army of 1970s celebrities doing incredibly stupid and disturbing stuff. Among the most memorable last night were Rob Lathan as a Chevy Chase who kept falling head over heels and knocking everything down, Adam Pally as a John Belushi obsessed with his long-term career plans, Bobby Moynihan as a Jim Henson whose personality was indistinguishable from Kermit the Frog, Michael Delaney as an eerily dead-on and effete 15-year-old Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Shannon O’Neill as “Sharon’s Tate’s dead unborn baby.” As always, Paul Scheer was pitch-perfect as the unflappable host; and this year’s contestant/victim was Chris Gethard, who was continually pelted by the celebrity guests. Chris was good-natured about it at first, but as the abuse continued got his wild “fighter” look in his eyes and began throwing objects back at the stars. This somewhat tense stand-off was resolved just a minute before the show’s end when a celebrity’s random throw managed to get past Chris’ defensive posture and score right into his balls. When Paul asked if he was all right, Chris gracefully replied, “I’m fine aside from the fact I was belted in the testicles with a hard-boiled egg.” Beginning improvisors, please note that these are words to live by.
  • There’s more to write about—including the biggest laugh of the marathon, lasting over half a minute, created by Joe Wengert at 3:08 am at Batman-Prov (see photos above); but I’ll get to those on Monday. Meanwhile, I’m off to experience the final day of DCM. Hope to see you there; and especially at the smash finale, ASSSSCAT 3000 at 8:00 pm at the Fashion Institute of Technology Haft Auditorium, Building C, at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, with Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Horatio Sanz, and other improv stars.

Also, while I love DCM, please note that if you’re a stand-up fan Ted Alexandro is one of the very, very best, and it’s just bad luck he’s opposite the most incredible improv event of the year. If you didn’t manage to nab tickets to ASSSSCAT 3000, please consider instead attending Ted’s 8:00 pm headlining show at the Gotham Comedy Club (just a few blocks away from UCB Chelsea); he’ll deliver gold as well. The details:

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) One of the very finest stand-ups in the country, who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel; starred in two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; and frequently opens for Louis C.K., headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro

Complete daily comedy listings will resume tomorrow (i.e., post-DCM).

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/30/12

June 30, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

The Stepfathers

Last night The Stepfathers—Chris Gethard, Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Will Hines, Michael Delaney,and Connor Ratliff—delivered a genius 30 minutes of improv that garnered two standing ovations. Come see what happens tonight at…

14th Annual Del Close Marathon

…The Del Close Marathon

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] Right Now-9:30 pm Sunday ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 14th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon is running continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 29th until 9:30ish pm on Sunday July 2nd. Improv troupes from all around the US and Canada—New York, Albany, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cambridge, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Fairfield, Austin, Miami, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, Carrboro, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Helsinki, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets will be $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding.

For complete details, please click here.

DCM is happening at seven different venues this year. I’ll mostly be at UCB Chelsea, but please know there are incredible things happening at every one of these stages. That noted, the following are some of the highlights I personally experienced from yesterday:

  • At the DCM press conference, Ian Roberts started announcing a major UCB project…only to have Matt Besser and Matt Walsh interrupt with, “Um, that’s still a secret.” Ian spent a few minutes in denial with “Gee, are you sure we haven’t said anything publicly about it?” When assured that was the case, Ian rebounded with, “Well, when we do you’ll all be very impressed.” I actually have a reasonable guess what it is…and yes, we all really will be.
  • Also at the press conference, Matt Besser swore that an improv manual they’ve been working on for nearly 10 years “will, we guarantee, be done before next year’s marathon.” Ian Roberts then added, “Absolutely! And the white buffalo will once again walk the plains…” (As an expert with 20 books under my belt—including five Dummies books—I’ve been offering to help with this for six years running. Ian, Matt, and Matt, at this point I’ll do it for a sentence in the Acknowledgements. Reach out to me…) Among the benefits of the UCB book will be clarifying terms and concepts that often confuse improvisors. For example, as Ian Roberts explained, “Beginners think Agreement means going along with whatever someone brings up. But if your partner suggests ‘Let’s jump out the window,’ and you say ‘Sure!’, then that’s the end of the scene…because at that point you’re both dead. What Agreement really means is saying yes to the reality of whatever scenario your partner suggests—but then responding in a genuine way that reflects how you—or your character—would really behave in that situation.” The book is another project from UCB very much worth looking look forward to.
  • Also at the press conference, the guys discussed how much work is involved in becoming good at improv. Ian Roberts said a lot of people who are funny think, “Improv is walking and talking. I do that every day. I’m ready to go on stage as an improvisor!” Ian continued, “That’s like my looking at a piano and saying, ‘I like music. I have fingers. I’m ready to give a piano concert!'” Ian also defended rules, explaining, “The fact that I can stand here is defying gravity. It’s a learned skill I’ve done so often it’s become instinctual. We all learn from habit and repetition.” Matt Besser added that taking a class is great, but not by itself: “You should have your own practice team. And every session you should rehearse with each other for three hours—not one hour, not two hours, three hours is the standard…and at least three times a week.”
  • Stellar NYC trio Doppelganger (Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar) was in top form, with running gags including a man (played by Nicole) who keeps proposing marriage at the most inappropriate moments—such as when his girlfriend is caring from her grandma just moments away from death: “We’ll inherit the old bag’s house, car, and savings. Honey, be mine!” Another shining moment was when Sasheer brings an orphan (played by Keisha) into her house, outlining a space four feet by four feet and saying, “That’s how much room you have. Don’t leave that square, you’re dirty.” Keisha looks around rapturously and says, “At least it’s a home.” It was an apt metaphor for any young performer starting out; but chances are each of these fearless and razor-sharp gals will go on to lustrous careers.
  • When comedy geniuses Chris Gethard and Shannon O’Neill of The Stepfathers appeared at 9:00 pm, the crowd cheered wildly. Shannon growled, “We’re on this stage every Friday! And at this exact same time!” Then Shannon relented with, “But thank you for your drunken enthusiasm.” What followed was one of the most brilliant 30 minutes of improv I’ve even seen—from Chris, Shannon, Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Will Hines, Michael Delaney, and Connor Ratliff working as a perfectly oiled machine, with each understanding each other’s strengths and playing them perfectly. That would’ve been enough; but then Chris said, “And now…let’s rewind.” The troupe responded with pure magic by reenacting every scene it had made up on the spot—backwards! As these stars got to the point of backing out the curtains from where they’d entered, the audience jumped to its feet to provide a rousing standing ovation. The set wasn’t quite over, though, so Shannon returned to growl, “Sit back down! We’re not done yet! Geez, we’re here every Friday!” The troupe proceeded to deconstruct what they’d done, with such comments as, “I thought that tag was a little premature” and “This scene came out of something that happened backstage no one else has any idea about.” When the lights finally came down, the audience jumped up to provide an even louder and more enthusiastic standing ovation.
  • There’s more I could write—about such troupes as Sentimental Lady from LA and Telenovelafrom Washington DC; a fun Bassprov with the form’s creators, improv legends Joe Bill and Mark Sutton, plus guest improv legend Matt Walsh; improv star Fran Gillespie doing an impressive job as a mirror in Paranormal Encounters; and another of the finest improvisors alive, Paul Scheer, in Bruckheimer; but I want to eat something and then get back to the marathon. Please check in here tomorrow for a report on tonight; and please get your ass over to DCM for this not-to-be-missed comedy event.

Also, while I love DCM, please note that if you’re a stand-up fan Ted Alexandro is one of the very, very best, and it’s just bad luck he’s opposite the most incredible improv event of the year. If you might care to take two hours away from DCM and see Ted at the Gotham Comedy Club (just a few blocks away from UCB Chelsea), he’ll deliver gold as well. For more, please click here.

FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open-mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jhoel Walkowski & Evan Davis: The Amateur Hour

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Accelerate Duo Prov, Pumpkin, and Orange Augustus at The Magnetkicking off your Saturday evening: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Adam Conover, Jermaine Fowler, and Jessica Watkins participate in this “comedy chat show with boundary issues” that has stand-ups perform sets and then be interviewed about their personal lives at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Matt Ruby & Mark Normand (who says “all these guys were hand-picked because they’re funny and have some serious problems; when you read this lineup you’re gonna be like ‘oh yeah, that guy is a mess'”): We’re All Friends Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Improv master Ed Herbstman and five others “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules” at The Magnettheatre: The Weave

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) One of the very finest stand-ups in the country, who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel; starred in twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; and frequently opens for Louis C.K., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Color headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tommy Davidson

8:00 pm ($10): Two of the most respected PIT improv troupes performing on this weekly double-bill—and occasionally with comedy giants Kristen Schaal and/or Kurt Braunohler participating—at the upstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), TV & movie star Todd Barry (might be 9:00 pm only), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): A sharp musical improv troupe at The Magnet makes up stories with song and dance based on an audience suggestion: Choral Rage

9:30 pm ($15): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now enjoying a long run at The PIT upstairs theatre: Political Subversities

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

10:00 pm ($5): Improvisors make up a Quentin Tarantino movie at The PIT downstairs lounge for this new themed show: The Tarantino

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC comics performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this talk & stand-up show hosted by Sarah Tollemache: Last Night

10:30 pm ($7): Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney perform at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: This free show at The PIT upstairs theatre does a great job of describing itself: “Bad movies. We can’t stop watching them. Is it because the plot is so enjoyably paper-thin? Or maybe the acting is so deliciously cheesy? Whatever the reason may be, Oscar Montoya (Local 154, Aquarius) is inviting you to his house to watch all of his favorite so-bad-they’re-awesome movies.” Joining him is musical improv troupe Hot Diner to comment on one of the worst musical sequels of all time: Midnight Movie at Montoya’s Presents: Grease 2

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups (not announced) participate in the fake taping of a bad late-night TV comedy show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Brad SteuernagelComedians Off Of the Leash

[FREE] Midnight: A weekly chance for you to shine at The Magnet, as students and veteran improvisors share the stage to form “rare and wonderful one-night-only teams,” with sign-up starting at 11:30 pm: Magnet Mixer

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 6/29/12

June 29, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Matt Walsh and Matt Besser

Upright Citizens Brigade founders Matt Walsh, Matt Besser…

Ian Roberts and Amy Poehler

…Ian Roberts, and Amy Poehler are all scheduled to appear at this year’s 14th Annual Improv bash…

Del Close Improv Marathon 2012

…The Del Close Marathon

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:30 pm Friday-9:30 pm Sunday ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 14th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon will run continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 29th until 9:30ish pm on Sunday July 2nd. Improv troupes from all around the US and Canada—New York, Albany, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cambridge, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Fairfield, Austin, Miami, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, Carrboro, Toronto, Vancouver, Helsinki, and more—will perform over 390 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets will be $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding.

As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by five additional venues just a few blocks from UCB Chelsea: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; the School of Visual Arts Auditoriums A and B at 333 West 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues); and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. In addition, there’ll be shows at the new UCB East theatre at 153 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B), which seats 99. To view shows organized by venue, please click here. To view shows organized by time, please click here. For an easy-to-read schedule, please click here.

The DCM shows at the SVA and FIT auditoriums are an additional $15.90 to see—unless they don’t sell out, in which case if you have a marathon pass you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.

I plan to be at DCM continually for as long as I can stay awake and will post highlights here, so please check in daily for memorable DCM moments.

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): One of my favorite writer/actress/improvisors, the brilliant and luminous Lauren Olson, teams with Jon Bander and Karsten Cross at The PIT upstairs theatre to perform as improv trio Mr. Gorsky

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Color headlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Tommy Davidson

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($15 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BBOX): Telly Savalas returns to life to entertain you and provide life guidance in this 50-minute show that was a hit at FringeNYC 2011 and is now enjoying an open-ended Friday night run at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club. The script is at times very smart, especially in its choices of hilarious video clips and music tracks from the real Savalas…who, in his more intense moments, apparently rivaled William Shatner at his silliest. But even when Hunter Nelson’s writing isn’t consistent, actor Tom DiMenna—who is a professional comic with great timing and skill at engaging an audience—will keep you entertained: Who Loves You, Baby?

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) One of the very finest stand-ups in the country, who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel; starred in twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; and frequently opens for Louis C.K., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Smart, fun sketch comedy & talk show that’s happening at Brooklyn’sLittlefield (622 Degraw Street) but is actually a TV series in development from host/creator Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC’s BunkHot Tub Variety), with tonight’s guests including Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody) and Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls), plus phenom house band Adira Amram and the Experience: Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): A musical comedy at The Magnet “inspired by the real life plans of the US military to build a bomb that would make their enemies gay. The show is a cautionary tale set in a not-to-distant America that is a xenophobic, homophobic wet dream. This timely political piece is not only topical but extremely on point, leaving no stereotype unscathed.”Actually, there are way too many stereotypical depictions of straight men as stupid and evil, which seriously weakens the story; plus I would’ve liked to have seen more genuinely great singers in this musical. Overall, though, the problems are outweighed by the charms—including a showstopper about midway through that encourages everyone to be themselves…and becomes the shining heart of the production. Directed by Michael Martin, with music by Frank Spitznagel, and book and lyrics by Chris Friden & Steve Whyte: Gay Bomb

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), TV & movie star Todd Barry (might be 9:00 pm only), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

9:30 pm ($5): D&D-style epic fantasy improv, plus nerdy stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Eric Grundhauserled as your Dungeon Master

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Sketch from Livia Scott (magical comedic chameleon; Conan O’Brien,Livia’s Castle of Enchantment), dance from Cocoon Central Dance Team, songs from Myq & Micah, burlesque from Sapphire Jones at at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by terrific sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (Leah Rudick and Katie Hartman) : Daddy’s Basement: A Comedy Variety Freakshow

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): Honestly, if you like improv, you should be at DCM; but that said, this show is likely to be good too, with various improv veterans from iO Chicago performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: iO Chicago Takes Over

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, top Maude sketch troupe Gramp’s, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.