NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/43/12

May 4, 2012

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For a review of Broadway’s Seminar, please click here.
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Todd Barry

Stand-up stars Todd Barry…

Amy Schumer

…and Amy Schumer perform at the Eastville Comedy Club…

Jesse Popp

…and in Brooklyn you have the chance to get your laugh preserved forever on a Comedy Central album taping for Jesse Popp

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 show on a lottery system (sign-ups start at 5:30 pm) at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with hosts Mike Recine and Annie Lederman: The Shinebox

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Gary Vider (’s Favorite Jokes), Becky Yamamoto (rave reviews from The New York Times and The New Yorker; former beard-wearing member of band Stickerbook), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel), Michael Che (Comedy Central), Josh Homer (Comedy Central), and Allison Castillo (Comedy Central) performing atBeauty Bar (231 East 14th Street) for this biweekly stand-up show hosted by Peter Ostrovski: Beautiful Comedy

7:00 pm ($7): Improv at The Magnet revolving around “the anticipation, the fall-out, that fragile moment when love blooms or dies:” Double Date

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): In honor of Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You”), improvisors for The Rebel Alliance are pitted against improvisors for the evil Galactic Empire at UCB Chelseahosted by Charlie Todd and Sean Hart: Star Wars Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern, Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Tracey Wigfield (writer for 30 Rock), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Abra Tabak (Grandma’s Ashes), and more perform improv at UCB East springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Raquel D’Apice (The Ultimate Experts, Reader’s Digest), Adam Cozens (HBO, TBS, Sirius XM Radio), J.F. Harris (Kong Magazine), and John F. O’Donnell performing at 116 (116 MacDougal Street, between 3rd & Bleecker Streets) with hosts Chelsea White (MTV, AOL) and Evan Morgenstern (SNC): Call Us Crazy

8:00 pm ($5): Live taping for a Comedy Central Records album at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for a stand-up who was a long-time host of Beauty Bar Comedy and is now a staff writer for Conan O’Brien: Jesse Pop

8:00 pm ($5): “It may be made up on the spot, but there is a method to the madness. In this show players explore the structure of improv by performing unique forms provided by the community and abroad” at The PIT downstairs lounge: True to Form

[FREE] 8:00 pm: The third annual comedy tournament featuring 40 improv groups…only one of which will triumph. Tonight four improv troupes battle for superiority, pride, and glory at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: The Arena, Round 7

[$] [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

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) Two members of Broken Lizard headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Steve Lemme & Kevin Heffernan

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): The debut of a musical comedy at The Magnet “inspired by the real life plans of the U.S. 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. Directed by Michael Martin, with music by Frank Spitznagel, and book and lyrics by Chris Friden & Steve Whyte: Gay Bomb

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30ish pm: Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VHI, documentary Metaphysical GraffitiHigh Times), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Jermaine Fowler (cast member of FOX’s new In Living Color), Victor Varnado (Conan O’BrienJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim, Comedy Central’s The Awkward Comedy Show; filmsPluto Nash, End of Days, A Guy Thing), and Jamie Lee (Last Comic Standing, MTV’sRidiculousness, VH1) performing at Brooklyn’s Red Star (37 Greenpoint Avenue) hosted by Annie Lederman, Amber Nelson, and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts: Pirate Party

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A finalist on two seasons of Last Comic Standing, and who performed on Tourgasm and starred in an hour-long Comedy Central special, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Gary Gulman

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Amy Schumer (9:00 pm only; red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing, 30 Rock), Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie,HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors at UCB East making up a musical on the spot—tonight featuring ace guest improvisors Cipha Sounds (MTV VJ and Hot 97 DJ), Dan Klein (The Onion, The Law Firm), Brian Faas (VH1’s Best Week Ever, The Law Firm), Tim Martin (Airwolf), and Abra Tabak (Grandma’s Ashes, What I Did For Love): Diamond Lion

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from UCB Chelsea’s all-star members of The Stepfathers

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

9:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Eric Ledgin (Jimmy Fallon) and Sean Donnelly (host of many, many shows), plus the delightful Bethany Hall & Langan Kingsley as improv duo 2 Birds, and oddness from Michael Kupperman (creator of Snake ‘n’ Bacon, author of Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010), all performing at The PIT downstairs lounge with host Jeremy Wein: Undefined

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Joe Zimmerman (Rooftop Comedy), Dave Stone (Adult Swim’sSquidbillies), Andy Sanford (TBS), and TJ Young “deliver an original brand of humor that’s deeply rooted in stand-up and lightly blended with avant-garde elements of music, sketch and improv.” This bearded quartet’s credits include the album Cardio Mix from Comedy Central Records. Tonight they’re joined by stand-up guests Ryan Conner (writer for Saturday Night Live), Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, podcast You Had to Be There), Emily Heller (Comedy Central; staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here), Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, comedy CD Not for Horses), Noah Gardenswartz, and Robert Dean, all performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Beards of Comedy & Friends

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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Matt Fisher, Craig Rowin, Nate Lang, and other superb improvisors at UCB Chelsea making up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($5): Comics make up character monologues on the spot—a feat that can be breathtaking when done by geniuses such as Ian Roberts and Daniel Kitson. Come see if tonight’s performers rise to the challenge at The PIT upstairs theatre: Mixed Nuts: An Improvised Character Jamboree

[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

Midnight ($5): A three-person improv competition at UCB East hosted by Brian Glidewell, Josh Patten, and Ben Rameaka: Three for All

[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 prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage

For more, please visit

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/10/11

July 10, 2011

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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.

Jesse Popp

Jesse Popp co-hosts one last time before moving to LA to write for Conan O'Brien: "Beauty Bar Comedy"

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] 2:00 pm: Leighann Lord (HBO, Showtime, ABC’s The View, Comedy Central), Jim Mendrinos (HBO, Comedy Central; author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Comedy Writing), and more performing for a free outdoor show at Mineral Springs in Central ParkLaughter in the Park

6:30 pm ($5): Duo Andy Emeritz & George Lakis performing “a musical comedy about America’s once greatest boy band. In the 80’s, Five Alive was on top of the world…until they were fleeced by their manager. Years later, their now-deceased manager’s fortune is up for grabs to the first of his washed-up bands to score a number one single. With their chart-topping “Kiss You With Tongue” a distant memory, Five Alive reunites as a duo of desperate has-beens, exploring a montage of hilarious original songs and classic 80’s tunes for a final shot at fame and redemption:” Five Alive! The Musical

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A one-man show 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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCBT’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes stars in the improv world, and sometimes even TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSCAT 3000

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Eric Andre (hilarious wild man; HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, TBS’ Lopez Report, Comedy Central), Jessimae Peluso (Tyra Banks Show), John F. O’Donnell, Sammy Obeid, and more performing at RG Daniels’ free weekly show at the Three of Cups East Village lounge: Sunday Night Stand-Up

[$] 8:30 pm ($25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who was a finalist on last summer’s Last Comic Standing, and has also performed on David Letterman, HBO, and Comedy Central headlining tonight and Saturday—with terrific openers Ophira Eisenberg and Rich Francese—at the Gotham Comedy Club: Roy Wood Jr.

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced this week) performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan) typically hosted by the wonderful Hannibal Buress: Comedy Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Jesse Popp, this show’s co-host for over seven years, is moving to LA to write for Conan O’Brien. Tonight will be his last appearance for a long while. Expect stand-up mayhem at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for Vince Averill’s & Jesse Popp’s free weekly show Beauty Bar Comedy

9:30 pm ($5): “Ever watch an improv set and think, Geeze, I want to know everything about how that show came together: What were the performers thinking about? How did they approach each scene? What notes will their coach give them? Yep, us too. Presenting a post-show panel discussion, Q&A session, and debriefing that dissects, explores, and explains some of the ins and outs of improv:” The Operation Theater

9:30 pm ($5): Andrew Fafoutakis performs an autobiographical one-man show that’s “part comedy, part rock concert”—which frankly sounds like a formula for disaster, but ya never know: Prince and a Pauper

[$] 10:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A provocative comedy star who’s written for Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, and Saturday Night Live, and performed on Chappelle’s Show and David Letterman, headlining through Sunday at Carolines: Paul Mooney

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Jessimae Peluso (Tyra Banks Show), Chris Doucette (Logo’s Hot Gay Comics), and Naomi Ekperigin (Logo’s Gayest Week Ever) performing at a free weekly gay-themed show atTherapy hosted by Brad Loekle: Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 4 minutes per comic, at The PIT’s downstairs loungehosted by Rob Stern: Vicious Cycle

For full details, please visit

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.