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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: In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Jen Kwok (Comedy Central) and Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): Imposter Open Mic
[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open-mic sketch that allows you to either perform a sketch with your own performers or bring in pages for the audience to perform at The PIT downstairs lounge, followed by feedback on your bit from PIT “sketch-perts:” Pens & Pencils
[FREE] 6:30 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Chesley Calloway (co-host of renowned Comedy as a Second Language): The Ches Club
[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT downstairs lounge with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically are Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jodi Lennon (Exit 57, Annoyance Theatre), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Betsy Stover (UCB), Ari Voukydis (VH1’s Best Week Ever, UCB), Russ Armstrong (iO Chicago, The Magnet), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), Rick Andrews (Magnet teacher/performer), and Michael Burton (Act One, The Magnet), all declaring Chica Go-Go
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-Midnight ($7 for the whole evening): In this 5-hour extravaganza, four of The Magnet’s singing improv troupes make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: Aquarius and BEEES! (at 7:00) and Mint Condition and Legend (at 8:30); followed at 10:15 by a free show that lets audience members join in with musical improv troupe Legend to make up stories in song: Magnet Musical Megawatt
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Dan Hirshon & Jay Nog (upcoming animated series Heromakers) joining super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($7.37 if you use code BREAKOUT online or by phone, plus 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Comedy Central, Spike, and Nickelodeon, and hosts the Saturday night UCB East stand-up show If You Bring It, headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club (with openers Nore Davis and Matt Koff): Kara Klenk
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door, $12.75 in advance online): “We see science in the news and the media all the time. But what happens when cameras are turned off and the doors closed? Six true, personal stories of science outside of the limelight from Tara Clancy, Kimberly Rae Miller, Anica Rissi, Glen Rosenberg, Theanne Schiros, and Juliet Hope Wayne” at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Ben Lillie & Erin Barker: The Story Collider: Behind the Scenes
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The superb singer/musicians of Summer & Eve perform deliciously darkly ironic songs—sung beautifully—at UCB East. Check out sample songs by clicking here, and then come enjoy this wonderful show from Summer & Eve: Folky-Pop Musical Comedy
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Al Madrigal (correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno), Nick Griffin (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), Robert Kelly (Louie, Comedy Central, Opie & Anthony), and Sam Morril (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by William Stephenson: Al Madrigal, Nick Griffin, and More
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Brooke Van Poppelen (MTV’s Girl Code; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Scott Moran (producer of weekly documentary Web series Modern Comedian), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), and Nate Fernald (Team Submarine) performing stand-up at Sidewalk NYC (94 Avenue A) produced by Chenoa Estrada, Emily Heller, and George Gordon and hosted tonight by Josh Gondelman: The Afterlife
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): From Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman (producers of The Scene), improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, with tonight’s groups including Pumpkin, Ryanna, Bad Intentions, and The Lottery: Act One
[FREE] 8:30 pm: Typically sharp NYC stand-ups (for an update, please click here) performing at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, between Rivington & Stanton) hosted by Kate Berlant (MTV, CNN, notable hair): Crime & Punishment
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Colin Quinn (former anchor of SNL’s Weekend Update and star of Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Broadway one-man show Long Story Short), 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; new book Tasteful Nudes), Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), and more performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1): Sweet
9:15 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from UCB Chelsea house troupes The Regulars, Salmon Diane, and GoodGirl—plus advanced improv students “are going to challenge themselves by performing a show that they only just learned,” summed up as Instant Gratification—at this second half (continued from 7:30 pm) of Harold Night
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A weekly wild experiment in dark comedy, blending sketch and improv, from brilliant, fearless, and innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (Death by Roo Roo, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, The Nights of Our Lives), plus stand-up from guests Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), Boris Khaykin (North Coast), and Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, VH1), all at UCB East produced by Andy Rocco: The Tony Show
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; star of Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn and Comedy Central’s Insomniac; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane; 7 Up Yours ads), Chris Distefano (Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Mike Vecchione (Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by William Stephenson: Dave Attell, Judah Friedlander, Big Jay Oakerson, and More
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15 & 2-drink min.): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, hit comedy CD Vegan Mind Meld), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), Emily Heller (Comedy Central; staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), and more performing stand-up at the Gotham Comedy Club hosted by Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, CNN, TBS): ComedyJuice
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.