NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 12/5/12

December 5, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

John Mulaney

SNL’s John Mulaney performs at Big Terrific…

Adult Education

…and Charles Star hosts the final edition of Adult Education

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing 3 minutes per comic at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Max Corbel & Benel Germosen: Cracking It

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open Mic

6:30 pm ($5): Two shows I know nothing about, The Bilderbergers Suicidal Comedy Hour and Boat, audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage: Spank

[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

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT—starting downstairs at 6:00, then upstairs from 7:00 on—for PIT Super Free Wednesday

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

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features troupes Graceland and Spooky Ghost: Lloyd Night

[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

10:00 pm ($5): Two-person improv that launches from two chairs at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Gabe Capone & Kate Defeo: Two Chairs

[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

11:00 pm ($1): Open-mic stand-up, with each comic getting an unusually long 5-10 minutes, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by James III & Jamie LeeLo: Hump Day

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

[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.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 3/7/12

March 7, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

For my favorite stand-up jokes, please click here.

Sherlock Holmes

"Everything I Needed to Know About Psychology I Learned from Sherlock Holmes..."

Battlestar Galactica

...and a lecture on Battlestar Galactica are among the treats at this month's ""Science: Fact & Fiction" edition of Charles Star's "Adult Education"

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Witty writers offering delightfully wry lectures about this month’s topic “Science: Fact & Fiction,” which range from The Pathology of Battlestar Galatica to Everything I Needed to Know About Psychology I Learned from Sherlock Holmes, at the Housingworks Bookstore Cafe for Charles Star’s comedic show Adult Education

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Grappler, Leviathan, The Surge, Horses, Featherweight, Brick, The Wrath, and Chet Watkins performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Horses at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): For this double-bill at UCB East, genius improvisors Gavin Speiller of Death By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers of The Curfew, and Jonathan Gabrus of The Law Firm) perform as Outlook of the Poet; and then Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar are the fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 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?

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teaming up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live) to form a super-smart and hilarious star improv duo that’s become one of the very best attractions at UCB Chelsea and should not be missed: John & Scott

[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA for first 30 people, from Artichoke Pizza!] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced, but you might find an update here) performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar with hosts Negin Farsad, Amy Albert, and Beth McGregor for their free weekly show Comedy School Dropout

[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

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Typically terrific NYC comics (not announced) performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) typically hosted by Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman, and/or Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): At UCB East, Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film as The Two-Man Movie

9:00 pm ($5): An all-gal stand-up show—unfortunately, with no announced lineup, but you might be able to get an update here—at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Ester-Kay Steinberg: Your Perfect Housewife

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Confessional storytelling about a first kiss, a first hook-up, and other traumatic events by the delightful Michelle Markowitz & Saida Cooper at Shetler Studios (244 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue): Hookups & Hangups

9:30 pm ($5):A parody of The Bachelor written by UCB Chelsea faves Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN, writer or director of numerous UCBT sketch shows) and Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox, Pig: A Restaurant), and worth catching if only to experience the delicious comedic performances of standouts Morgan Grace Jarrett (Big Fish, Love Liza, Buffy fan) and Nicole Byer (Doppelganger)—who are especially fun when they turn into an unlikely a comedy duo…: The Bachelor: Romance, Roses, and Romance

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a meta-comedy about a real estate agent who 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 sketches 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 an awfully 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

[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: 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 Sasheer Zamata, Adam Newman, and host Sean Hart; 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: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

[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

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my latest book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 9/6/11

September 6, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the FringeNYC 2011 Encore Series, please click here.

Conan O'Brien Trade Negotiations

"Trade Negotiations" is the lecture topic at this month's edition of Charles Star's "Adult Education"

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] 7:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Justin Peters about—wait for it—condiments. “Mitch ‘Packets’ Franco has demonstrated condiments at groceries, farmers’ markets, superstores, and gas stations in all 50 states; over the course of 25 minutes, he’ll give you the inside squeeze on how all your favorite condiments are marketed, shipped, distributed, and sold; how to seduce a checkout girl; how to tell a supermarket by its odor; and other lessons learned during his wild life in America’s grocery aisles:” Confessions of a Condiment Hustler

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’sThe Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Robert Dean: The Dean’s List

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Witty writers offering delightfully wry lectures about  this month’s topic “Trade Negotiations”—e.g., “Dealing with Authority: How often does a government’s punishment fit the crime? One man investigates, by breaking laws in various jurisdictions”—at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for Charles Star’s comedic show Adult Education

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Christian Finnegan (co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim, Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show; films Pluto Nash, End of Days, A Guy Thing), Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 9 million people on YouTube, please click here), Amanda Melson, Eric Kirchberger, and Ritch Duncan performing at the Lolita Bar at Liam McEneaney’s Tell Your Friends

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comics creators joining super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, at The PIT’s downstairs lounge: Comic Book Club

8:00 pm to Midnight ($5): Four full hours of improv for only five bucks—tonight featuring UCBT house troupes Very Good Kiss, Grandma’s Ashes, American Cousin, Airwolf, and Mr. Crime—and at 11:00 pm advanced UCBT students making up movies—all at Harold Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, star of The King of Miami, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Dave Hill Explosion), Joe Pera, Audrey Crabtree & Gabriela Muñoz (US/Mexican clown collaboration), Guys Singin! Live! (YouTube stars), and “a secret special guest” performing at Brooklyn’s Public Assembly (70th North 6th Street, by the L subway’s Bedford Avenue stop) along with sketches from Moon regulars Camille Harris, Jordan Clifford, Bryan Condon, Stephanie Fagan, Tim Skinner, and Brendan Walsh, and hosts Nat Towsen & Bob Walles: The Moon Show

8:30 pm ($5): In this double-bill, each of two of The Magnet’s singing improv troupes will make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: Avocado and Aqua

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Big Jay Oakerson (HBO, Comedy Central), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, VHI, High Times), and Nico Santo (visiting from San Francisco) performing at the PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Joe DeRosa (HBO’s Down and DirtyComedy Central Presents) and Jared Logan (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central): Righteous Kill

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Stand-up, sketch, videos, and more at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre with Jeffrey Joseph and hosts Ron Krasnow & Joel Walkowski: The Short Bus

[FREE] 10:15 pm: In this free show, audience members can join in with veteran musical improv talents to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

 For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.