NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 6/28/15

June 28, 2015
Upright Citizens Brigade

The founders, owners and members of the Upright Citizens Brigade perform on this final day of DCM 17

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:00 pm Friday-Midnight Sunday ($35): The 17th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon will run continuously from 4:00 pm on Friday June 26th, 2015 until roughly midnight on Sunday June 28th. Improv groups from all around the US and Canada—and a few places further away—will perform over 400 shows, typically in 15- or 30-minute blocks, for over 50 hours. As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street), which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by additional venues; for details, please click here. For the complete schedule, please click here. To view shows organized by performer, please click here. To view the list of premium shows (which cost an additional $20 each), please click here. (Please note that if any premium show doesn’t sell out and you have a marathon pass, you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.) I won’t be covering DCM this year, but if haven’t already experienced it, go; it’s the greatest improv festival in the world.

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing) tries out material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Pete Lee

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-Midnight ($10 per show): Tonight kicks off a 3-day LGBTQ-themed comedy festival at The PITupstairs theatre and downstairs lounge, with each show typically running an hour and costing $10. For details on tonight’s offerings, please click QueerCom

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A tribute to The Muppet Show via a retrospective, sketches, musical numbers, a panel discussion by Muppet experts, and more at The PIT upstairs theatre written, directed, and produced by Kaitlin Fontana, Sean Reidy, and Luke Ward: We Love TV: The Muppet Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Relatively anemic lineups tonight except for the 12:15 am show, which features Dave Attell, Jeff Ross, Marina Franklin, Big Jay Oakerson, Ricky Velez, John Joseph, Kevin Brennan, and host Jon Fisch. All shows are at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team] and Royals

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($13,53 in advance online using code MISFITS, or $15 at the door): Andrea Alton tells unsettling stories, sings and dances, and hits on women in the audience as her very funny character Molly “Equality” Dykeman, “the loveable but barely lucid security guard at PS 339 who dabbles in a bit of poetry, a bit of Percocet, and a lot of drink” in this all new gay pride show at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue):Queerly Misfits

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($24.75 via Goldstar [vs. $29 at the door]): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improvisors make up a religion based on an audience suggestion—e.g., The Church of the Carrot, The Church of Crime—and then make up hymns, readings, sermons, sacraments, and more on the spot atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Fake Church

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): “A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Cartoon Monsoon

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This show “randomly pairs duos from the world of comedy. They have one week to prepare a comedy set for the physically and emotionally taxing Battlebowl where these teams will compete against one another”—with tonight’s contestants including Joe Pera & Shelby Fero—at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Bret Davis & Darren Mabee: The Lethal Lottery

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT downstairs lounge improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher)—plus for one night only, SNL writer Alison Rich: Dagger and Hello

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City typically hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show hosted by Danielle Wheeler & Adam Cole featuring stand-ups, storytellers, musicians, dancers, artists, and/or more performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Shut the Fuck Up

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil and her elegant partner Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—often with breathtaking skill—atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and Luis J. Gomez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Nikki Glaser, Big Jay Oakerson, Rich Voss, Jessica Kirson, Pete Lee, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7): David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), Joe Miles, Elena Skopetos, Jamaal Sedayao, and Christian Paluck write new lyrics to popular songs “so that you can actually enjoy them” at the Treehouse Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Jana Schmieding (Classic Singles, Jana & Lauren Presents, 20/400): Parody Doo Dah

10:30 pm ($5): Eight comics perform physical comedy such as magic, clowning, mime, and burlesque at Brooklyn’sThe Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Shut the Fuck Up

11:30 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

[FREE] Midnight: “Sage Augustine is gifted with a heightened sense of spiritual curiosity resulting in many amazing intuitive experiences. Jack Marble is Sage’s apostle, confidant, business partner, and best friend. Together they are embarking on a journey to harness the power of laughter and open the world’s eyes to spirits, angels, demons, prophecies, wishes, magic, and the afterlife” by hosting stand-ups Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Peggy O’Leary (host of Hard Lonely and Vicious), and Chelsea Hood at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Remember Your Spirit

Friday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe and/or Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/29/13

June 29, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Eugene Cordero, Joe Wengert, and Shannon O'Neill

Among the highlights of Friday’s Del Close Marathon were Eugene Cordero, Joe Wengert, Shannon O’Neill…

Ian Roberts, Anthony King, and Jason Mantzoukas

…Ian Roberts, Anthony King, Jason Mantzoukas, and scores of other top improvisors. Don’t miss tonight and Sunday.

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] Right now-1:00 am Monday ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 15th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon is running continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 28th until roughly 1:00 am on Monday July 1st. Improv groups from all around the US and Canada—and a few places further away—are performing a mind-bending 420 shows, typically in 15- or 30-minute blocks, for 56+ hours. Tickets are $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer once said the appropriate charge is around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding.

As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into UCB Chelsea (307 West 26th Street), which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by six additional venues. The ones near UCB Chelsea are The Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; the large Silas Theatre and small Beatrice Theatre at the School of Visual Arts (333 West 23rd Street); and the Fashion Institute of Technology Haft Auditorium (227 West 27th Street, corner of Seventh Avenue). In addition, there’ll be shows at UCB East (153 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B), which seats 99, and Theatre 80 (80 St. Marks Place, between First and Second Avenues), which seats 161. To view shows organized by venue, please click here. To view shows organized by time, please click here. To view shows organized by performer, please click here. For an easy-to-read schedule, please click here.

The DCM shows at the SVA and FIT auditoriums are an additional $15-$20—unless they don’t sell out, in which case if you have a marathon pass you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.

DCM is pure comedy magic. Don’t miss it.

 Friday Highlights

Merman

    • In Play by Play, brothers Will & Kevin Hines provided color commentary as such genius improvisors as Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, and Jason Jason Mantzoukas made up scenes with breathtaking wit, timing, and commitment. For example, when Jason stood off to the side of a group scene, Kevin Hines commented, “The pressure mounts on Mantzoukas as he awaits his moment.” Jason responded by plopping into a chair and just sitting relaxedly while listening to the others on stage. Ian quickly responded by striding over to Jason, proclaiming “No lurkers!,” and beating him to death with his bare hands. Will then commented, “There’s nothing quite as wonderful as an enraged Ian Roberts.”
    • The Smokes created a family out on a Sunday drive that uncovers startling secrets. For example, Eugene Cordero, as an 11-year-old with ADHD, revealed that he saw his older brother Joe Wengert sport a giant fin. Joe eventually admitted, “Yes, of course I’m a merman. Haven’t you ever wondered why I spend six hours every day in the bathtub?” Then Billy Merritt, as the mother, revealed that she cheated on husband Chris Kula via a studly sea lion. Joe asked “What happened to my real father?” Chris replied, “I thought the seal was attacking my wife, so I clubbed him to death.” Not willing to let go of a line of inquiry, Joe asked, “What happened to the club?” Billy replied, “We used it to build your crib.”
    • Dan Black Won’t Die was based on the premise “Everyone has taken a class with the guy who refuses to die in improv scenes. That guy is Dan Black. Whether he’s gunned down, hit by a train, or decapitated, Dan Black always finds a dumb reason to come back to life; and he will do it for 15 minutes during the marathon.” The fun began as soon as Dan introduced himself—resulting in a single clap. Shannon O’Neill burst into laughter and declared, “Dan, there’s only one person who likes you!” Dan got his revenge by outliving everyone on stage. He ended by playing around with the sitting corpse of Neil Casey, who admiringly never twitched a muscle…even when Dan pulled him off, sending Neil’s chair flying.
    • The Straight Men delivered the pleasure of former UCBT Artistic Director Anthony King and current UCBT Artistic Direction Nate Dern performing scenes together. Here’s hoping for more of that as the marathon continues.

 Today’s notable shows include Upright Citizens Brigade, The Mantzoukas Brothers, Mantzoukas and Morris, The Chris Gethard Show, Nick Kroll and Friends, The Benson Interruption, Match Game ’76, Wicked Fuckin Queeyah…and tons more. Again, please see the complete schedule here.

 [TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 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): 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.), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

7:30 pm ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.): A former staff writer for Saturday Night Live and writer/performer for 30 Rock who’s also performed on David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, and a one-hour Comedy Central special headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Hannibal Buress

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Improv master Ed Herbstman & Nick Kanellis perform at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, Comedy Juice on Tuesdays, and more; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 7/2/12

July 2, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

For my write-up of the epic 14th Del Close Marathon, please click here.

Martin & Orloff

Legendary comics Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their indie feature film Martin & Orloff with a screening and Q&A—plus free wine—at UCB East

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: Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1) is tonight’s guest on this open-mic storytelling show, with audience members chosen from a bucket of names getting to tell tales for 8 minutes each at The PIT downstairs lounge along with host Jake Hart: The Dump

[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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5; includes free wine!): The NYC UCB theaters are closed today to enjoy the hangovers from this weekend’s epic Del Close Marathon…except for this show, which is a 10th Anniversary celebration screening of Matt Walsh’s & Ian Robert’s indie feature film Martin & Orloff at UCB East (which used to be a movie theatre) and that will include a Q&A afterwards with comedy legends Ian & Matt: Matt Walsh & Ian Roberts and Martin & Orloff

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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic StandingDavid Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, hit comedy CD Vegan Mind Meld), Dan St. Germain (quick-witted & enormously likeable rising star; Jimmy Fallon, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Kendra Cunningham, Chad Plaines, and more performing at this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Bar Matchless back room (557 Manhattan Avenue, near the G subway’s Nassau Avenue stop) hosted by Mike Denny, Michael Che, and Nimesh Patel, and often featuring free beer: Broken Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Sketch comics Jon Bass (Book of Mormon), Matthew Robert Gehring (The Story Pirates), Anna Drezen (Famous Last Words), and Emma Tattenbaum-Fine (Political Subversities) each show off their solo character work for this unique show at The PIT upstairs theatre, hosted by Branson Reese & Sam Martin: Comedy Expo

[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

[FREE] 9:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Luke Thayer (Tyra Banks; co-host of The Living Room), Hilary Schwartz, Tim Warner, J-L Cauvin, Adi Blotman, and Angry Bob performing at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 5th Avenue) with host Pat O’Shea: Ed Sullivan on Acid

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open-mic storytelling show at The Magnet hosted by Kelly Buttermore: Storytelling Mixer

[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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: 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 Friday 6/29/12

June 29, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Matt Walsh and Matt Besser

Upright Citizens Brigade founders Matt Walsh, Matt Besser…

Ian Roberts and Amy Poehler

…Ian Roberts, and Amy Poehler are all scheduled to appear at this year’s 14th Annual Improv bash…

Del Close Improv Marathon 2012

…The Del Close Marathon

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:

[SUPER-MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:30 pm Friday-9:30 pm Sunday ($30): One of the most magical events in NYC, the 14th Annual Del Close Improv Marathon will run continuously from 4:30 pm on Friday June 29th until 9:30ish pm on Sunday July 2nd. Improv troupes from all around the US and Canada—New York, Albany, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cambridge, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Fairfield, Austin, Miami, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh, Carrboro, Toronto, Vancouver, Helsinki, and more—will perform over 390 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets will be $30 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding.

As in past years, the only down side is way more patrons than available space, which will cause long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by five additional venues just a few blocks from UCB Chelsea: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; the School of Visual Arts Auditoriums A and B at 333 West 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues); and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. In addition, there’ll be shows at the new UCB East theatre at 153 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B), which seats 99. To view shows organized by venue, please click here. To view shows organized by time, please click here. For an easy-to-read schedule, please click here.

The DCM shows at the SVA and FIT auditoriums are an additional $15.90 to see—unless they don’t sell out, in which case if you have a marathon pass you can receive a remaining seat free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.

I plan to be at DCM continually for as long as I can stay awake and will post highlights here, so please check in daily for memorable DCM moments.

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Erin Lennox and Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): One of my favorite writer/actress/improvisors, the brilliant and luminous Lauren Olson, teams with Jon Bander and Karsten Cross at The PIT upstairs theatre to perform as improv trio Mr. Gorsky

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Color headlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Tommy Davidson

[$] [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 & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.) One of the very finest stand-ups in the country, who’s performed on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel; starred in twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; and frequently opens for Louis C.K., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Smart, fun sketch comedy & talk show that’s happening at Brooklyn’sLittlefield (622 Degraw Street) but is actually a TV series in development from host/creator Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, IFC’s BunkHot Tub Variety), with tonight’s guests including Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody) and Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls), plus phenom house band Adira Amram and the Experience: Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): A musical comedy at The Magnet “inspired by the real life plans of the US military to build a bomb that would make their enemies gay. The show is a cautionary tale set in a not-to-distant America that is a xenophobic, homophobic wet dream. This timely political piece is not only topical but extremely on point, leaving no stereotype unscathed.”Actually, there are way too many stereotypical depictions of straight men as stupid and evil, which seriously weakens the story; plus I would’ve liked to have seen more genuinely great singers in this musical. Overall, though, the problems are outweighed by the charms—including a showstopper about midway through that encourages everyone to be themselves…and becomes the shining heart of the production. Directed by Michael Martin, with music by Frank Spitznagel, and book and lyrics by Chris Friden & Steve Whyte: Gay Bomb

[TOP PICK] [$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (9:00 pm only), TV & movie star Todd Barry (might be 9:00 pm only), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:30 pm ($10): A PIT improv troupe making up a musical on the spot after a friendly greeting: Hello

9:30 pm ($5): D&D-style epic fantasy improv, plus nerdy stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Eric Grundhauserled as your Dungeon Master

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Sketch from Livia Scott (magical comedic chameleon; Conan O’Brien,Livia’s Castle of Enchantment), dance from Cocoon Central Dance Team, songs from Myq & Micah, burlesque from Sapphire Jones at at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by terrific sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (Leah Rudick and Katie Hartman) : Daddy’s Basement: A Comedy Variety Freakshow

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): Honestly, if you like improv, you should be at DCM; but that said, this show is likely to be good too, with various improv veterans from iO Chicago performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: iO Chicago Takes Over

[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, top Maude sketch troupe Gramp’s, 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

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 8/10/11

August 10, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the spectacular FringeNYC 2011 Festival, please click here.

Ian Roberts

It's a blowout evening at UCBT that includes a rare NYC performance by improv master & Upright Citizens Brigade co-founder Ian Roberts...

Justin Purnell

...and the universally loved Justin Purnell's last edition of School Night

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

[$] 7:00 pm (no cover if you mention you came for Brooke Van Poppelen, but 2-drink min.) NYC stand-ups—including the beloved Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant stand-up, writer, and storyteller; blogger for trutV; TLC; co-host of Dive Comedy; for stand-up videos about overindulging at 30 and impersonating Morrisey, please click here and here)—audition for the chance to appear on Comedy Central’s upcoming Comics to Watch show by performing their best material tonight at the Carolines Comedy Club: Comics to Watch Auditions

8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, and 10:00 pm ($5): Magnet house troupes performing improv, followed by a free show at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): This top musical improv troupe has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Please note this is among the last chances to enjoy improv genius Tara Copeland on an NYC stage before Tara moves to LA next month. Come see why BWC won aFringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching any or all of this five-night run (through Friday) at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street): Baby Wants Candy

8:00 pm ($5—which includes a free beer!): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing stand-up atThe Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Nick Turner: Monsters

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Frankly, watching a guy singlehandedly recreate a Step By Step-like sitcom didn’t sound that interesting to me. Then persistent PR wiz Leila Cohan-Miccio pushed me to see it—and am grateful she did. Seth Kirschner (30 Rock, Lipstick Jungle) lavishes astonishing care to the nuanced movements, facial expressions, and concise dialogue of every character he portrays. His sheer joy at representing subtle details gives this show a depth that transcends the source material; and even though I never watched 90s family sitcoms, I felt like their DNA had been imprinted into my being—warm fuzzy feelings and all—by the time the 30 minutes flew by. Seth Kirschner is an exceptionally talented comedic performer whose passion for both pop culture and the craft of acting shine through in this production. I’m still not sure recreating a sitcom is the best use of his immense talent…but I can’t argue with the result, which is one of the finest shows to grace the UCBT stage this year: Sertainly Seth

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): An excerpt of my coverage of the 2007 Del Close Marathon:

  • Ian Roberts performed two 30-minute monologues titled Lazy Man, because he claims to be too lazy to plan and script a one-man show. Instead, Roberts did something incredibly courageous: he dug deep to connect with his fears and hopes, and shared them with the audience unplanned and in the moment.Roberts’ first show revolved around how entering his 40s has led to giving up many of his youthful dreams of glory: “I thought I’d be a multimillion dollar actor. Now I’m not sure I’ll even be a $16,000 actor.” On the up side, it’s also given him a more relaxed perspective: “I’ve been exhausted for a long time about nothing; things that really don’t matter. Now I look at the sky and the clouds, and realize how small I am; which makes all my troubles tiny and insignificant.” The father of young children, part of him feels harassed by the responsibilities; but then he’ll pick up his baby with love and say, “It wasn’t your idea to be here.” Still, Roberts can’t help worrying about his kids: “They don’t know they’ll get kicked in the teeth when they go out into the world and people tell them their f*cking drawings don’t look anything like what they think they do.” Roberts lamented that there’s no way to win with child-rearing: “It’s like you’re told to move some precious Steuben Glass piece across the country. And so you wrap it up in styrofoam and heavy wood and do everything you can to protect it. And then when it finally arrives safely, it screams at you, ‘You ruined me! You suffocated me in styrofoam! You imprisoned me in wood! No one got to see me, or play with me!! And I’ve never learned how not to break!!!'” Roberts said he’s lucky in that his main task is to make money; his wife handles the truly difficult job, and the one that matters, which is raising the kids. Which isn’t to say Roberts doesn’t pitch in; for example, he makes up little rituals to help put his daughter to bed. Problem was, his daughter used to insist on keeping each ritual she enjoyed, and Roberts couldn’t stop himself from creating new ones to entertain her, so the “getting to bed” experience grew longer and longer until it was taking more than an hour each night. Roberts finally convinced his daughter to put some rituals in rotation “to be revived periodically, like a repertory theatre.” Finally, with age comes wisdom such as this: “I now realize we’re all f*cked up. And there’s a certain comfort in that.”

    Roberts’ second show focused on a series of awful experiences he’s had as an actor. These included a commercial shoot that required having meat taped to his pants so a dog would snap at his leg; an audition for a part consisting entirely of the words, “Too bad,” and the casting director asking “Can you put a little more into that?”; and an audition with a big-name actor who apparently felt the appropriate “in the moment” action was to kick Roberts in the ass. Regarding the latter, Roberts said he should’ve grabbed the star by the shoulders and thrown him against the wall; but Roberts simply thanked everyone for the opportunity and left…without even getting the part.

    The acting tales shed light on one of Roberts’ favorite characters, a retarded guy who’s surprisingly cunning. To navigate the Hollywood system, Roberts has undoubtedly often played dumb—because it would dent egos to let on he was by far the smartest guy in the room.

    Roberts concluded, “May you be braver than I.” I’d say that misses the mark, though, because his recounting of the incidents—and the other ways in which Roberts made himself emotionally vulnerable and open, while never for a second neglecting to entertain—was jaw-droppingly brave, even for a master improvisor.

As I write this, tonight’s edition of Ian’s show hasn’t yet sold out. Guys, this is a rare opportunity to experience a genius at his best. Grab tickets immediately for Ian Roberts: Lazy Man

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 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 forSaturday Night Live) to form a super-smart and hilarious star improv duo who should not be missed…and are performing tonight and tomorrow at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street): John & Scott

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) has hosted this wonderful show more than 350 times over the past eight years. I considered School Night the beating heart of UCBT—a place where anyone Justin believed deserved a chance could try out ideas and material in a casual late-night environment. Some of NYC’s best comedy shows were birthed on this supportive stage. Every week Justin packed a dozen or more comics into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent varied wildly, but for some (like me), that was part of the laid-back fun; and this was often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town—which is why it was my pleasure to support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show made possible.

The show is slated to continue past tonight, but Justin is leaving his hosting duties to go to (ironically) business school. However superb the guest hosts, it won’t be the same without him.

Come enjoy this blowout finale, which includes star stand-ups Janeane Garofalo and Todd Barry, world-class improv troupes Rogue Elephant, Krompf, and Doppelganger, and other ace comics—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 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/30/10

July 30, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Del Close Improv Marathon 2010

The spectacular annual Del Close Improv Marathon, running continuously this entire weekend and hosting over 150 shows, will attract most of the finest improv talent in the county—and should not be missed

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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:30 pm Friday – Midnight Sunday ($25): One of the most magical events in NYC, the annual Del Close Improv Marathon runs continuously from 4:30 pm today until after midnight on Sunday, August 1st. Groups from all around the US and Canada—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Montreal, and more—will perform over 150 shows, typically in 30 minute blocks, for 55+ hours. Tickets are a mere $25 for the entire weekend—an incredible bargain. Paul Scheer said several  years ago the appropriate charge would be around $600, and he mostly wasn’t kidding. As in past years, the only down side will be way more patrons than available space, causing long waits to get into the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre at 307 West 26th Street, which seats about 150. However, the congestion will be somewhat eased by the use of three additional venues just a couple of blocks from UCBT: The Hudson Guild Theatre at 441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), which seats 99; Urban Stages at 259 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), which seats 74; and the Fashion Institute of Technology Kate Murphy Amphitheatre at corner West 27th Street & 7th Avenue, which seats 280. This is one of the finest comedy events in the country, always magical, and flat-out should not be missed. (I’m listing other comedy events happening tonight, but almost grudgingly…) Come experience the awe, mystery, and hilarity of The 12 Annual Del Close Marathon

7:00 pm ($8): Corinne Fisher performing a one-woman show that details how to keep tabs on someone with whom you’re obsessed: I Stalk You

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A groundbreaking and surreal improv/sketch troupe performing with new guests each Friday and making a valid complaint: Centralia: We Were Supposed To Have Flying Cars By Now

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($21.51 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): An Emmy award-winning prankster famed for his work on Crank Yankers and The Howard Stern Show headlining tonight and Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Jim Florentine

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Colorheadlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Tommy Davidson

[FREE] 8:00: NYC stand-ups performing at O’Hanlon’s (14th Street off 1st Avenue), hosted by Matt Ruby: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Always fresh and imaginative world-class sketch troupe that uses song, movement, and clever scenarios to turn familiar rituals on their head (for a video about awkward goodbyes at the end of a party, please click here): The Harvard Sailing Team

10:00 pm ($7): Singing improvisors who use an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/28/10

July 28, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.

Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts

The legendary Upright Citizens Brigade—Matt Walsh, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts—perform tonight at Radio Underground

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:

6:30 pm & 9:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours—with two installments running back to back every Wednesday at John Morrison’s Ochi’s Motel

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A one-man show from Michael Hartney about an obsession (which, given my comic book background, I consider utterly reasonable); and a tale of heartbreak by Leslie Meisel and Megan Neuringer, in the double-bill : So I Like Superman: A One-Nerd Show and Love Can Suck a Dick…and So Can I

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($19.33 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): John Oliver (star correspondent of The Daily Show and genius stand-up comic) and assorted other stand-ups performing at a show hosted by Daily Show Executive Producer Rory Albanese at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: The Daily Show and Friends with John Oliver

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Myq Kaplan (kicking ass on this season of Last Comic Standing), Erin Judge (Comedy Central; for hilarious stand-up bit about being bisexual, please click here), Jesse Popp (co-host of Beauty Bar Comedy), and Alex Koll performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) hosted by Gabe Liedman and Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

[FREE] 8:30: Brilliant comedic chameleon Livia Scott, and NYC stand-ups Johanna Clearfield, Dan Wilbur, Mick Diflo, Andy Hendrickson, and Subhah Agarwal, performing at this free weekly show hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12.90 online, $12 at the door—but buy in advance, because every performance will sell out): Genius improvisors from Chicago delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. There are three NYC performances left—tonight and Thursday at the Hudson Guild Theatre, and Friday at FIT—with each evening utterly different from the last. Try to catch every single performance of the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Comedy legends Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh (co-founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade) are joined by UCBT stars for a live Sirius/XM Satellite Radio broadcast: Radio Underground

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($19.33 online if you use code VIPJULY, plus 2-item minimum): Red-hot rising star stand-ups Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1), Hannibal Buress (Variety’s 2010 Top 10 Comics to Watch; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, George Lopez; 2010 ECNY Award for Best Male Stand-Up), Dan St. Germain (hilarious, quick-witted stand-up who’ll be garnering credits soon), and more performing for a show hosted by Greg Barris at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Heart of Darkness

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) providing 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. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Hy’s take on Last Comic Standing, please click here.