NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/27/12

September 27, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Eileen Kelly

World-class storyteller Eileen Kelly tells hilarious tales and co-hosts with John Flynn at Oh, Hey Guys…

Mike Lawrence

…rising star nerd stand-up Mike Lawrence headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club…

Death Wears Stilettos

…and don’t miss NYC’s funniest noir comedy, where the cast has a great time even backstage: Death Wears Stilettos

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: Eileen Kelly (one of the finest storytellers in the country; also a superb stand-up; NBC’s Today Show, Showtime, staff comic for Lifetime; for video samples please click here and here, and for my review of her FringeNYC show please click here) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCB East hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

6:00 pm ($5): Three shows I know nothing about—The Murder of Miko Feeling, UCB Sports, and Standards & Practices—audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. At $1.66 per show, it’s hard to go wrong with Spank

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran musical improvisors at The PIT mix with novices on-stage at Pitch

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Two TV mashup parodies—Bob Fosse Presents: Law & Order SVU: The Musical! and America’s Next Great Person—audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage: Spank

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Typically a star stand-up—no idea who—tries out material at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Workout Stand-Up with “Special Guest”

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hot Diner and THEM

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv troupe Hello Laser to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): A musical show at UCB East describing itself as “Female-fronted folky-pop band. Hyper-articulate, nerdy, post-modern sort of musical comedy. Folk singalongs and catchy pop jams are merely the metaphorical table holding up the buffet of wordplay, sarcastic wit, and rapid-fire pop culture references:” Summer & Eve: Folky-Pop Musical Comedy

[$] 7:30 pm ($27.25 plus 2 drink min.): A stand-up who’s performed on Comedy Central, VH1, USA, and Oxygen headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Karen Bergreen

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Kurt Andersen (Spy Magazine, WNYC’s Studio 360), J. Robin Baitz (co-creator of Brothers & Sisters, Tony nominated playwright), and more describing what it’s like to have a dreamy job at UCB Chelsea to host Catie Lazarus, with musical accompaniment by Chris Sullivan (a.k.a., Shockwave; amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of The BEATdown) and Arthur Lewis & The New Guys: Employee of the Month

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Stephen Said performs music to inspire made-up scenes by superb improvisors from The Story Pirates, iO, Second City, UCB, etc.—plus Starlee Kine (NPR’s This American Life) performing a monologue—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Beauty Love Truth

8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: The East Side Orphan Riot and Harvey

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Hello Laser, Chet Watkins, and Junior Varsity performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Neil McNamara directing Deep Dish (long-form improv interspersed with character monologues), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) featuring Eaglefox vs. Listen Kid: The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A stand-up comedy showcase and baking competition—come to eat or come to compete” at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Cody Hess & Jessica Gross: Cookies!

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Brooke Van Poppelen (writer for MTV’s Epic Fall; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here), Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV), Anna Drezen, and Max Silvestri performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover: Fresh Out

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 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): Mike Britt (Comedy Central), Andrew Schulz (MTV), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Bridget O’Neill (Moth StorySlam Champion, Soundtrack series), Steve Zimmer (Moth GrandSlam and StorySlam Champion), Michele Carlo (author of Fish Out Of Agua), and David Balutanski performing at The PIT upstairs theatre to share tales on tonight’s theme Late Blooming at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, one of the very best sketch shows of 2012. It’s a noir mini-play written & directed with immense wit by Michael Trapp (Stone Cold Fox), who with this script demonstrates he’s a rising star with a surefire career in the biz. And beyond the pages, Michael’s put together an all-star cast, including John Murray (simultaneously gripping and hilarious as a hardboiled detective with an absurdly short attention span), Brandon Scott Jones (who delivers an unforgettable scene with John that’s worth the trip all by itself), and D’Arcy Carden (who abandons her usual laid-back persona here to be smoking hot). These are all total pros who are virtually assured careers in TV and film. Catch them while they’re honing their craft and waiting to be noticed in one of the most consistently fun shows in NYC: Death Wears Stilettos

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a show for which I had high hopes since some of my fondest childhood memories are of Krypto and his Space Canine Patrol Agents (S.C.P.A.). But this ain’t that. Instead, it’s a deliberately dumb version of Saturday morning cartoon shows that demonstrates little respect, affection, or wit towards its source material. The most notable elements are Neil Casey, who is hilarious as an evil alien insect-man; Rob Lathan as Neil’s lackey; and Sue Galloway as the gal even dog creatures want to make out with. This could have been so much more, especially with the brilliant Craig Rowin as co-writer; but instead it’s Dog Fleet

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Politically incorrect stand-ups Chris DiStefano, Danny Jolles, and Mike Cannon compete in this unique show for which each comic performs a set and then has to provide biting commentary on a popular online video. The audience then votes on who was the most savagely funny and has won the right to return the following month. It all happens at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Feeney: On the Offensive

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm (call 212.757.4100 and use promo code COB10 for discount on cover; plus 2 drink min.): A nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star whose performances include Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up—and now, for one night only, headlining at the Carolines Comedy Club (with an opener by Erin Lennox): MIke Lawrence

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Matt Koff (Onion News Network, WitStream, 9 Am Meeting), Andy Rocco (host of Underground Americana, producer of The Tony Show), and Mikey Roohan (Howard Stern) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by “weirdo” Mike Bocchetti : Being Normal Sucks

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): In the tightest vote I’ve ever seen from Cage Match, improv challenger What I Did for Love defeated super-group Good Dad by one ballet: 74-73. Tonight the new champion will try to hold onto its crown against The Shucks as it competes for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 6/11/12

June 11, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For excerpts from Dave Hill’s new bestselling book, please click here.

Death Wears Stilettos

One of NYC’s funniest shows is a noir comedy where the wonderful cast has a great time even backstage: Death Wears Stilettos…

Jena Friedman and Wyatt Cenac

…and Jena Friedman (writer for David Letterman), Wyatt Cenac (correspondent for The Daily Show), and more will delight you at Jena’s free monthly show Entertaining the Bartender

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: An open-mic stand-up show running about 90 minutes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Chris Gaynor: Open Mic Mondays

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Open-mic storytelling, with each of the four audience members chosen from the bucket of names getting to tell tales for 7 minutes each at The PIT downstairs lounge along with host Jake Hart: The Dump

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): A monthly storytelling show from the wonderful Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas Tales of the Cosmos and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?; for Adam’s award-winning tale of being an NBC page on Conan O’Brien, please click here), along with guest storyteller Tommy Pryor, at Under St. Marks: The Adam Wade from New Hampshire Show: Tales of Life, Love, and Little League

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch troupe Shelby Company performs oddball bits for this Magnet sketch show show that in the past has included two-timing monsters and presidential ninjas: Ephemerama

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, one of the very best sketch shows of 2012. It’s a noir mini-play written & directed with immense wit by Michael Trapp (Stone Cold Fox), who with this script demonstrates he’s a rising star with a surefire career in the biz. And beyond the pages, Michael’s put together an all-star cast, including John Murray (simultaneously gripping and hilarious as a hardboiled detective with an absurdly short attention span), Brandon Scott Jones (who delivers an unforgettable scene with John that’s worth the trip all by itself), and D’Arcy Carden (who abandons her usual laid-back persona here to be smoking hot). These are all total pros who are virtually assured careers in TV and film. Catch them while they’re honing their craft and waiting to be noticed in one of the most consistently fun shows in NYC: Death Wears Stilettos

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a show for which I had high hopes since some of my fondest childhood memories are of Krypto and his Space Canine Patrol Agents (S.C.P.A.). But this ain’t that. Instead, it’s a deliberately dumb version of Saturday morning cartoon shows that demonstrates little respect, affection, or wit towards its source material. The most notable elements are Neil Casey, who is hilarious as an evil alien insect-man; Rob Lathan as Neil’s lackey; and Sue Galloway as the gal even dog creatures want to make out with. This could have been so much more, especially with the brilliant Craig Rowin as co-writer; but instead it’s Dog Fleet

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($9.47 online or $8 at the door): 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), Barbara Holm (SF Sketchfest, Bumbershoot), and muscial guest John Wesley Harding performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) with sketches 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

8:00 pm ($5): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, tonight features screenings of select films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. The shorts receiving the most audience votes get to continue with additional episodes, while the others are “canceled” at Channel 101

8:00 pm ($8): A sketch comedy show that “captures all the emotions associated with the daily grind—pain, boredom, fun, exhaustion, and did we mention pain?” Among the show’s performers is the lovely Katey Healy-Wurzburg (The Fascinator) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Pink Slip This, B*tch

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Jamie Lee (Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Ridiculousness, VH1), Michelle Wolf, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Sam Morril, Chris Lamberth, and Gabe Pacheco performing at this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Matchless (557 Manhattan Avenue) hosted by Mike Denny, Michael Che, and/or Nimesh Patel: Broken Comedy

8:30 pm ($7): Sketch troupe Shelby Company performs oddball bits for this Magnet sketch show show that in the past has included two-timing monsters and presidential ninjas: Ephemerama

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 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, The Dave Hill Explosion, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; new bestselling book Tasteful Nudes), Seth Cockfield (visiting from Austin), Dava Krause and Jake Weisman (both visiting from LA), and musical guest Adam Day performing at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Avenue; take R subway to Prospect Avenue) for this free biweekly show hosted by Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant stand-up, writer, and storyteller; TLC, trutV; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here) and Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories): Dive Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: This monthly stand-up show from wonderful dark humor comic Jena Friedman (staff writer for David Letterman) tonight features Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent for The Daily Show), Leo Allen (former writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Funny or Die, director/co-writer of Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van, host of top NYC comedy show Whiplash), Calise Hawkins (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, writer for Playboy.com), and Jessica Delfino (co-creator of New York Funny Songs Festival), plus maybe “a surprise guest,” all performing at the Ace Hotel lobby (20 West 29th Street, between Fifth Avenue & Broadway): Entertaining the Bartender

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch troupes try out new bits: Fambly (which includes wonderful rising star Mamrie Hart, Nicole Byer, Dan Chamberlain, Veronica Osorio, and a sharp crew of writers), and Neighbor Boy (which tends to be weak on material, but includes such talents as Tim Dunn and Beth Appel, and may get a shot in the arm with the addition of writer Caitlin Bitzegaio): Maude Night: Neighbor Boy & Fambly

9:30 pm ($8): Young improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Shady Bunch

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Following a club format, hosts Nore Davis & Andrew Short perform stand-up throughout for a total of 25 minutes, two comics each perform a 15-minute set, and then a seasoned headliner closes out the show with a 20-minute set, all at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: On the Road

9:30 pm ($5): A monthly stand-up competition at UCB East in which “new and emerging stand-up comics face off against each other in front of a panel of judges eager to provide unsolicited advice and even more unsolicited scores”—the judges being Brian Cichocki (Caroline’s, Stand-Up New York), and Shannon Coffey. If you’re an up-and-coming stand-up, send a video link and brief bio to john@ucbcomedy.com for a chance to participate in Stand-Up Smackdown

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Twelve improv comics who are “friends of Dorothy” perform at The Magnet hosted by Andrew Fafoutakis: There’s No Place Like Home: A GLBTQ Event

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Keith Huang: Base Jam

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who are no longer being announced in advance, but it’s virtually always a great lineup—at UCB Chelsea hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen (HBO, Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central): Whiplash

11:00 pm ($5): A sketch comedy radio show/podcast live on the UCB East stage, with tonight’s guests musical group Summer & Eve, George Kareman, Laura Willcox, and Ryan Williams, plus regulars Adam Bozarth, Dan Chamberlain, Matt Little, Taylor Moore, and Anna Rubanova: Left Handed Radio

[FREE] 11:00 pm: If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should be Whiplash! 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 exceptionally supportive stand-up open-mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jared Reed: Fresh

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 5/9/12

May 9, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

John Murray and Brandon Scott Jones in Death Wears Stilettos

One of NYC’s funniest comedies is Michael Trapp’s mini-play about a hardboiled detective (John Murray, left) whose quirks include boundary issues when arguing with Brandon Scott Jones (right): “Death Wears Stilettos”

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 upstairs theatre for PIT 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

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

7:00 pm ($5): Longform improv house troupes Kinsey and Graceland performing at UCB East forLloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, one of the very best sketch shows of 2012. It’s a noir mini-play written & directed with immense wit by Michael Trapp (Stone Cold Fox), who with this script demonstrates he’s a rising star with a surefire career in the biz. And beyond the pages, Michael’s put together an all-star cast, including John Murray (simultaneously gripping and hilarious as a hardboiled detective with an absurdly short attention span), Brandon Scott Jones (who delivers an unforgettable scene with John that’s worth the trip all by itself), and D’Arcy Carden (who abandons her usual laid-back persona here to be smoking hot). These are all total pros who are virtually assured careers in TV and film. Catch them while they’re honing their craft and waiting to be noticed in one of the most consistently fun shows in NYC: Death Wears Stilettos

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a show for which I had high hopes since some of my fondest childhood memories are of Krypto and his Space Canine Patrol Agents (S.C.P.A.). But this ain’t that. Instead, it’s a deliberately dumb version of Saturday morning cartoon shows that demonstrates little respect, affection, or wit towards its source material. The most notable elements are Neil Casey, who is hilarious as an evil alien insect-man; Rob Lathan as Neil’s lackey; and Sue Galloway as the gal even dog creatures want to make out with. This could have been so much more, especially with the brilliant Craig Rowin as co-writer; but instead it’s Dog Fleet 

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB East, Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar are the fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger

[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

[$] [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: NYC stand-ups Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness), Scott Moran, Kase Raso, and Josh Carter performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar with hosts Negin Farsad, Amy Albert, and/or Beth McGregor for their free weekly show Comedy School Dropout

[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 ofDeath by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer created Broad City as a Web series, which was then picked up for development as a TV series for FX…and now it’s a live monthly show atUCB Chelsea. Tonight’s theme is Nostalgia, with new videos, stand-up, character pieces, and “a delicately crafted hour of fun:” Broad City Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (Doppelganger) hosts 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 Becky Yamamoto, Brandon Gulya, Johnathan Fernandez, and sketch troupe Boat; 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

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 4/18/12

April 18, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Death Wears Stilettos

One of the funniest comedies in NYC is Michael Trapp's new mini-play about a hardboiled detective with quick lips but an inability to absorb exposition: Death Wears Stilettos

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 upstairs theatre for PIT 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

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

7:00 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Maude Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features troupes Hoops and Spooky Ghost: Lloyd Night

7:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): NYC stand-ups Joe Zimmerman (The Beards of Comedy), Alison Leiby (The Onion, Risk!), Kendra Cunningham (Just For Laughs Festival), Sam Grittner, and Jason Marcus performing at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) with hosts Selena Coppock, Dan Cartwright, and/or Emily Epstein: Connotation

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): For this double-bill at UCB East, Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar are first up as the fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger; and then 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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Mamrie Hart is a rising star who somehow manages to be razor-sharp and immensely warm & accessible at the same time—and is always worth catching. Mamrie and her superb comedy partner Stephen Soroka tonight perform all-new material as sketch duo BoF: Friends Without Benefits

…and in the other half of this double-bill at UCB Chelsea, one of the very best sketch shows of 2012. It’s a noir mini-play written & directed with immense wit by Michael Trapp (Stone Cold Fox), who with this script demonstrates he’s a rising star with a surefire career in the biz. And beyond the pages, Michael’s put together an all-star cast, including John Murray (simultaneously gripping and hilarious as a hardboiled detective with an absurdly short attention span), Brandon Scott Jones (who delivers an unforgettable scene with John that’s worth the trip all by itself), and D’Arcy Carden (who abandons her usual laid-back persona here to be smoking hot). These are all total pros who are virtually assured careers in TV and film. Catch them while they’re honing their craft and waiting to be noticed in one of the most consistently fun shows in NYC: Death Wears Stilettos

[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): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB East as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, first up is a sketch play about the opening of a trendy restaurant that serves nothing but pig (including “bacon-infused martinis”), written with wit and bite by Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox), directed with style by Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN), and performed superbly by comedic actress Lauren Conlin Adams (keep an eye out for her Aurora, a hot and hilariously bubble-headed waitress): Pig: A Restaurant

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a parody of The Bachelor written by Caitlin Bitzegaio & Leila Cohan-Miccio (see above), 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

[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) hosts 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 Jason Saenz, John Milhiser, and Nicole Byer; 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

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