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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:
[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 Grappler, Leviathan, Horses, The Party Lions, Featherweight, Brick, The Wrath, and Chet Watkins performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with The Wrath at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt
[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 ($5): John Oliver’s UK writing partner & co-star for their shows Political Animaland The Bugle makes a rare NYC appearance performing his international one-man show at UCB Chelsea for one night only: Andy Zaltzman: Armchair Revolutionary
[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA for first 30 people, from Artichoke Pizza!] 8:00 pm: Matt Graham (Conan O’Brien, International Scrabble Champion), Kendra Cunningham, Chrissie Mayr, and Tyler Fischer performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar with hosts Negin Farsad, Amy Albert, and Beth McGregor for their free weekly show Comedy School Dropout
[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show
[$] [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] 8:30 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
[FREE] 9:00ish pm: Camille Harris (rising star singer/sketch comic/cutie; featured player on The Moon Show, co-host of My High School Boyfriend Was Gay), Glennis McCarthy (Good Aftergoon, G.L.O.C.), Peter Moses (VH1, We Settled!), Danny Jolles, and Joel Stice performing at this free weekly show at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, 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 other half of this double-bill, Sue Galloway performs a one-woman sketch show directed by UCBT Artistic Director Nate Dern about women’s magazines and “how to live the perfect life:” Pose
[TOP PICK] 9:30 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 host Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis. Tonight is extra special, though, because “every St. Patrick’s Day, Wicked Fuckin’ Queeyah—Boston’s most notorious improv show— takes the Fung Wah bus up from Boston (technically North Adams) and takes over the stage for a night of wicked funny make-em-ups, drinking and fights.” With Anthony Attamanuik, Will Hines, Kevin Hines, Matt Fisher, Doug Moe, Ben Rameaka, Jodi Lennon, and Ari Voukydis: Wicked Fuckin’ Queeyah Presents Hot For Teachah!
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): “Jack Dishel is best known as a songwriter and musician, touring all over the world performing as Only Son and also playing lead guitar in The Moldy Peaches. This year he’s exploded onto the comedy scene, doing a two-month run of hour-long shows at the Sidewalk Cafe—without ever repeating material. It’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes dark, but always interesting. Whether speaking as one of his many characters or in his own voice, his ideas come through loud and clear, and it’s a fast hour. Let’s see what happens when Dishel brings the drunken night club insanity into The PIT downstairs lounge:” Jack Dishel: Soul Hacker
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Tonight’s scheduled lineup includes Sasheer Zamata (smart, innovative rising star; Doppelganger, The Prom)…and wonderful host Justin Purnell, dropping back in NYC during a break from business school! (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
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