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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:
7:00 pm & 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4 minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2 hours—with an early show hosted by Sean Donnelly & Blaine Perry at 7:00 pm, and an entirely different group of stand-ups hosted by Dan Cartwright & Dave Greek at 9:00 pm—at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for Carol Hartsell’s & John Morrison’s Motel Luca
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($9.47 online or $8 at the door): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VHI, documentaryMetaphyiscal Graffiti, High Times), and “a surprise guest (he has an accent)”—who I suspect is a visiting comic only off from his Brooklyn theatrical show on Mondays and whose name rhymes with Spaniel Blitzen, but I could be wrong—performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with sketches, a sneak peek at Kurt’s new IFC show, and more from a duo who between them won four 2011 ECNY Awards—including Best Variety Show and Best Hosts—Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler: Hot Tub Variety with Kurt & Kristen
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Jeffrey Sweet, author of the seminal improv comedy book Something Wonderful Right Away, last year debuted his one-man FringeNYC show about Del Close, Nichols & May, Paul Sills, and other legendary comics whose work led to such comedy institutions as NYC’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, The Pit, and The Magnet. For this one night only, he’s reviving the show at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop). For my full review, please click here. If you have any interest in improv comedy history, this is an event not to be missed: You Only Shoot the Ones You Love
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Scott Rogowsky (writer for The Onion, co-host of 12 Angry Mascots) returns to The PIT upstairs theatre to host “a unique talk show experience that needs to be experienced to be experienced. There will be plenty of bits, skits, chits and chats, and maybe that pretty girl you saw on the 6 train last night will be in the audience! It’s a big city, but you run into people,” with tonight’s wonderful guests Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and Manhattan Cable Access’ The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of new bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do), Jena Friedman (staff writer for David Letterman), and Gabe Delahaye (senior editor of Videogum.com): Running Late with Scott Rogowsky
8:00 pm ($5): Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV, VH1), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), and Kurt Metzger (Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans) performing at UCB Easthosted by Michael Che: Comedy Central Corporate Retreat
8:00 pm ($5): For this sketch double-bill at UCB Chelsea, first up is a a meta-comedy in which a real estate agent tries to convince a couple that the actual theatre you’re in would be a great home for them. He does this by putting on a series of scenes that are presented as a random sampling of what UCBT has to offer but that, directly or indirectly, each promote the stage as a wonderful residence. It’s a way fun idea—for a 5-minute sketch. However, this entire show is handled like a single multi-jointed sketch, and 30 minutes is a long time to essentially tell one joke. If the script was further developed to use the internal sketches as stepping stones to achieve a larger and emotionally compelling story, this could become something quite special. Even as is, though, it’s great fun at the start; and if you find it wearing out its welcome after that, you’ll still enjoy sporadic laughs from individual bits and performers—especially standouts Brandon Gulya and Brandon Scott Jones—in the a-bit-too-clever-for-its-own-good This is Not a Sketch Show—A Sketch Show…
…and second up is Sue Galloway performing a one-woman sketch show directed by UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern about women’s magazines and “how to live the perfect life:” Pose
8:00 pm ($5, which includes FREE BEER): Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, MTV, VH1), Kevin Barnett (College Humor), Mara Herron (Web series That Chick Mara Herron), Yannis Pappas (Carolines), and Sabrina Jalees performing at this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Sandbox Underground (257 Grand Street, near the L subway’s Bedford stop) hosted by Mike Denny, Michael Che, and Nimesh Patel, and featuring free beer: Broken Comedy
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: PIT owner Ali Farahnakian and the school’s razor-sharp instructors perform improv at The PIT downstairs lounge in The Faculty Part 2: Electric Boogaloo; plus improv troupe Technicolor
9:30 pm ($5): Two brand new UCB Chelsea house sketch troupes try out fresh material: The Prom (which includes such talents as Sasheer Zamata, Stephen Soroka, Amber Nelson, and Ari Scott), and Everything Rabbits (which includes the lovely Violet Krumbein): Maude Night: The Prom &Everything Rabbits
9:30 pm ($5): Young improvisors at The PIT make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Shady Bunch
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who tonight include Daniel Kitson, James Adomian, John Roy, and Erik Bergstrom—performing at UCB Chelsea hosted by comedy genius Chris Gethard: Whiplash
[FREE] 11:00 pm: If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should beWhiplash! night (see listing above). If you’re a comic who couldn’t get booked on UCBT’s all-star show, though, you can opt to instead practice your skills at this stand-up open-mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Wolf and the hilarious Erin Lennox (for a sample of Erin’s dynamite Seriously Sports show, please click here): Fresh
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