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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 $) include:
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm ($65 retail or $40 here): This isn’t pure comedy, but an enchanting hodgepodge of original tall tales fueled by laughs. The 2-hour play from the wonderful guys of PigPen blends shadow puppetry, songs, inventive staging, and more to create living dreams. For my review of PigPen’s two previous shows at FringeNYC, please click here and here. This newest work is their most ambitious, and that sometimes results in the story feeling too slow or padded; but it also yields a deeper emotional payoff. And even though not all the bits hit the mark, so many of them do that you’re likely to feel satisfied—and missing PigPen’s world after the show is over. The production is at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street) in the West Village: The Old Man and the Moon
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Witty writers offering delightfully wry lectures about this month’s topic “Final Papers“—which, sadly, refers to this being the final installment of this wonderful series that’s enjoyed a five-year run—with topics ranging from the weirdness hidden in the text of sports trading cards, to exploring hundreds of report cards uncovered from the 20s and 30s, to how to pretend as if you’ve well-read even though you don’t spend any time with books, at the Housingworks Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby Street) for Charles Star’s comedic show Adult Education
7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from Brandy Barber (Comedy Central, Late Night Republic), Micah Sherman (Second City, The Scene), Kara Klenk (Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Ashley Ward (Big Black Car), and more performing at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Micah Sherman: Old School Sketch Comedy Show
7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Dr. Champagne, Horses, Bloomer, The Wrath, Flower Girl, Chet Watkins, Nintendo, and Brick performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Bloomer at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): TV & Broadway star Colin Quinn, Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials), Gregg Rogell (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Louie, Comedy Central), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno), and more performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): Colin Quinn, Tom Papa, and More
8:00 pm ($5): A comedic play about one of the most tragic events in American history, written by Brandon Gardener (The Curfew, Improv Nerds), at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: A Comedy
[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15 plus 2-drink min.): TV & Broadway star Colin Quinn, 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.), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Joe Machi & Sam Morril: Colin Quinn, Ted Alexandro, and More
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: A killer lineup (to raise funds for Sandy relief): John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, one hour special & CD/DVD New in Town, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Hannibal Buress (former staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, host of Comedy Night, one-hour Comedy Central special Animal Furnace), Brent Sullivan (Comedy Central; for video about crying while reading The Giving Tree, please click here), and Bob Powers (book author) performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) hosted by Gabe Liedman and/or Max Silvestri: Big Terrific
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.80 in advance online): Storytelling, stand-up, and carny join forces to bring the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, hosted by Jeff Simmermon (This American Life, The Moth), and tonight featuring stand-up Joyelle Johnson, burlesque performer Amelia Bareparts, storytellers Andy Christie (host of The Liar Show; The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam Champion) and Anita Flores, and more, all at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): And I Am Not Lying Live
[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 fighting) at UCB East performing as duo The Brothers Hines
[FREE] 9:00 pm: Seth Herzog (staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, Comedy Central, CBS, VH1, film actor; host of Sweet), Aparna Nancherla (FX’s Totally Biased), Nore Davis (Comedy Central), Kendra Cunningham (SNL), Miguel Dalmau Amy Albert (TruTV), and Adam Chrisnall 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 ($5): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, and possibly another special guest, help stand-up Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness) celebrate the release of his comedy album Shame Wave at UCB East: Greg Barris: Shame Wave
[TOP PICK] [$] 9:45 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), Dan Soder (Comedy Central, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and more performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): Judah Friedlander, Louis Katz, and More
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Killer line-up of rising stand-up stars—Jared Logan, Mike Lawrence, Mark Normand, Dan. St. Germain, Pat Dixon, Emily Heller, Michael Che, Joe List, and /or Nick Turner—at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Regulars
[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] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (Doppelganger) and Charla Lauriston (Mrs. Jones) host 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; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. (Tonight’s scheduled lineup includes Jena Friedman, Dan Black, John Frusciante, and Will Hines; for the complete list, 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 (star of Comedy Central’s Insomniac, David Letterman, IFC), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Lynn Koplitz (IFC’s Z Rock, host of WB’s Life & Style), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), Mike Vecchione (Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and more 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, Big Jay Oakerson, 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.