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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 ($5): Improv that flows from moment to moment, with no sweeps or tag outs—”each exit starts a new scene, while performers use devices ranging from monologues to in-scene questions to break into characters and relationships quicker and deeper”—at The PIT downstairs lounge:Scoresby
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch troupe (vs. improv troupe) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It’s earned this slot because its cast is one of the finest in comedy, with each performer strong enough for potential stardom; and, at their best, the troupe’s writers sizzle too. Both strengths are evident inCrisistown, an interactive sketch show in which the audience is periodically asked to choose which of two paths it wants to go down next. This highly playful approach puts you in charge; and it also tempts you to see the show repeatedly (just as you might return to a favorite improv group week after week), because each performance is a never-to-be-repeated event. The down side is a vast amount of writing is needed to cover every possible audience-driven scenario…which means every scene won’t necessarily be of consistent quality. That actually was a huge problem on opening night; but now that the production’s had time to mature, it’s delivering gold (though you might consider playing it safe and voting for the “giant mice” story just in case the Kevin Costner material hasn’t been entirely cleaned up yet…). A vibrant, brilliant cast and mostly terrific comedy writing—plus what was probably a near-superhuman directorial effort by comedy giant Shannon O’Neil—equals a wonderful way to kick off your Friday evening: Stone Cold Fox: Crisistown
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors at UCB East making up a musical on the spot—tonight featuring ace guest improvisors Shannon O’Neil (ironically, competing against her sketch show directly above) and Doug Moe (Mother), plus monologues from Jessica Renee Williams (The Daily Show): Diamond Lion
[TOP PICK] [FREE; wrist bands for admission provided at box office starting at 5:00 pm until they run out…] 8:00 pm: The super-talented cast of FOX’s animated Bob’s Burgers—Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, Jon Benjamin, Larry Murphy, Kurt Braunohler, and more—perform at Brooklyn’s The Bell House to help promote the show’s season premiere this Sunday March 11th: Bob’s Burgers Live
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: All-gal stand-ups Carmen Lynch (Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Phoebe Robinson (TV Guide), Jess Dweck (writer for Comedy Central’sIndecision 2012), Carrie Gravenson, and Lauren Maul performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Postmark Cafe (326 6th Street) hosted by Abbi Crutchfield & Luke Thayer: The Living Room
[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups delivering their A game—since they’re being videotaped as they perform sets—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, with a different host each week: Mixed Tape
[$] [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: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-ups start at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting five minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese
[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Theatrical sketch comedy at The Magnet that tonight features “three cowboys settling their score the old-fashioned way; an old Broadway star attempting her long-anticipated comeback; in a blatantly self-referential sketch, a young comedian trying to convince his friend to come see his show,” and more at Citizen Models
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Stellar storyteller John Flynn, and superb stand-ups Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing; co-host of We’re All Friends Here), Matt Ruby (co-host of We’re All Friends Here, wonderful blog Sandpaper Suit), and Jerrod Carmichael performing at UCB East hosted tonight by David Cope: Hot Soup
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 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): Stand-up star Judy Gold, Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club
9:30 pm ($5): “Where there is a stage and a piano, she will be there. Where there are strangers with embarrassing stories, she will be there. Where there is a group of people willing to sit and watch someone make up songs, she will be there. A one-woman musical improv journey through the lives of the audience. You tell the story, Rebecca Vigil sings the soundtrack” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Vigilante
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: An all-musical comedy night with Jessica Delfino (enjoys singing songs about her vagina, as demonstrated by her CD Dirty Folk Rock; created the hilarious and wildly popular YouTube animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Jen Kwok, Adam Lerman, and David Cope’s “Harp Secrets” performing at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ben Lerman and Tim Dimond: Now That’s What I Call Musical Comedy
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Jared Logan (rising star; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, host ofComedyJuice), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel), Emily Heller (staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Adam Newman (MTV,College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses), Dan Soder, and Michael Che performing at UCB Easthosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler:Gentrify
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Smart, fun sketch comedy & talk show that’s happening at The PITupstairs theatre but is actually a TV series in development from host/creator Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC, Hot Tub Variety), with tonight’s guests including Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent of The Daily Show, Comedy Central special), plus phenom house band Adira Amram and the Experience and “a surprise musical guest:” Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): One of my favorite people, Julie Sharbutt—who’s performed with some of the greatest improvisors alive at UCBT’s Gravid Water—tonight goes for improv gold herself with comedy partner Liz Wisan at The PIT downstairs lounge in a very accurately named show: Smart & Attractive
[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w
[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups—sometimes stellar ones—pushing boundaries for a show designed for looseness and experimentation at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Jacqueline Novak and Chris Laker: Permission to Fail
[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigiousUCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage
For more, please visit HyReviews.com.