NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 7/26/12

July 26, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For best video previews of FringeNYC 2012 shows, please click here.

The Cowmen

Mind-blowing musical dark comedy group The Cowmen perform at Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

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: Lisa L. Kirchner (writer for The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Bust Magazine, Salon.com; host of The Next Chapter) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, atUCB East hosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

[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

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe 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 Junior Varsity to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): A show that brings dead celebrities back to life has itself been resurrected at UCB East, with magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’BrienLaw & OrderDirty Movie) hosting tonight as blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield. Joining the party will be The Cowmen (jaw-dropping dark comedy group, with members of Murderfist), Todd Hanson (Adult Swim’s Squidbillies, original head writer for The Onion), and Carla Rhodes (“rock’n’roll ventriloquist;” for shout-out from David Letterman, please click here; for act with “Keith Richards,” please click here): Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Ira Glass (host/producer of This American Life), Claywoman, musical group The One, and surprises from host Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper; new book Tasteful Nudes) at The Dave Hill Explosion

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Bob Dorough (Miles Davis, Allen Ginsberg, Schoolhouse Rock) plays music to inspire made-up scenes by superb improvisors from The Story Pirates, UCB, FringeNYC, etc.—plus a monologue from Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There)—plus a monologue from 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)—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 atThe PIT downstairs lounge: The East Side Orphan Riot and Harvey

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv troupes Hello Laser, Junior Varsity, The Boss, and Phooka performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Alex Marino directing Events (improv that explores a single event through flashbacks, dashes, and other time-bending techniques), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component), featuring Aquarius vs. That Annoying Couple: The Magnet’s Night Out

[$] [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: “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] [$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Mike Yard (Comedy Central), 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

9:00 pm ($5): John Roy (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central), Hari Kondabolu (Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel, FX’s Totally Biased), Matt McCarthy (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death, host of AMC’s Action Pack, Comedy Central, hilarious shorts with Pete Holmes for Front Page Films, national TV ads as Verizon FIOS guy, feature film The Other Guys, host of Marking Out), Kara Klenk (host of If You Build It), George Gordon, and Adam Sokoll performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Jen Nails (superb storyteller and teacher; author of Next To Mexico), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central), Michael Martin (Thin Skin Jonny), and Britt Genelin performing atThe PIT upstairs theatre to share tales on tonight’s theme The Spirit at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

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

9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of CollegeHumor.com, you can see the folks behind it on the UCB Chelsea stage—along with stand-ups Susanna Wolff, Jeff Rosenberg, Brian Murphy, and more—at CollegeHumor Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Truly great improv troupe Grandma’s Ashes was finally toppled by one of the finest troupes in the country, Doppelganger, in a clear win of 115-55. There aren’t many groups around that can best Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, and Keisha Zollar, so the crown will probably be worn by this trio until they’re ready to relinquish it. Tonight they’ll be teaching humility to troupe Graceland in this competition for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): “Secret movie screenings of movies you probably haven’t seen and/or should see again” at UCB East (which used to be a movie theatre) hosted by Ryan Karels (Grandma’s Ashes, Krompf), Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers), JD Amato (Harold Night), and Mike Roth (Two Boots Video): Secret Movie Show Presented by Two Boots Video

 For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 6/21/12

June 21, 2012

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

Livia Scott

The magical Livia Scott celebrates her birthday today resurrecting six celebrities…

Ann Carr

…with the help of guest host Ann Carr at Livia’s Castle of Enchantment: Birthday Blowout Fun-splosion

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: Brent Sullivan (Comedy Central; for video about crying while reading The Giving Tree, 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!

[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

6:30 pm ($5): Two shows about which I know nothing audition for a regular spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea schedule: The State vs. Josh: The Trial of the Millenials and Rockefeller Centaur. These might be great or awful; but at $2.50 per show, you can’t go far wrong either way. That’s part of the fun of Spank

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

7:00 pm ($8): A one-woman show by Amanda Ronconi about “disgruntled postal worker, Marjorie Kempner, who sets her birdbrained roommate up on a date with the Long Island Serial Killer” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kempner

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): A beloved show that brings dead celebrities back to life has itself been resurrected at UCB East, with magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, Dirty Movie) hosting tonight—and celebrating her birthday!—along with guest host Ann Carr (The Actress), as they become Lizzy Borden & Joan Crawford, Carol Channing & Sam Kinison, and Andy Warhol & Seamus Romney, plus stand-up from Kate Berlant, and musical guest Squirm & Germ, all at Livia’s Castle of Enchantment: Birthday Blowout Fun-splosion

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door, which includes free pint of beer; $11.54 in advance online): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers comics to tell funny stories at UCB East, with tonight’s guests John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Bobby Tisdale (NYC indie comedy pioneer; writer for Jimmy Fallon), and more: Tom Shillue’s Funny Story

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7.61 online with code RUNNINGLATE, $10 at the door): The staff writers of Jimmy Fallon are at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Scott Rogowsky (writer for The Onion, co-host of 12 Angry Mascots) for “a unique talk show experience that needs to be experienced to be experienced. There will be plenty of bits, skits, chits and chats, and maybe that pretty girl you saw on the 6 train last night will be in the audience! It’s a big city, but you run into people:” Running Late with Scott Rogowsky

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At this UCB Chelsea improv double-bill, first ace all-gal troupe Doppelganger makes up scenes based around audience tattoos in Doppelganger Gets Inked; and then a group of sharp improvisors—including Fran Gillespie and John Frusciante—sit around drinking and telling stories until they’re inspired to make up scenes based on their drunken chatter in Happy Hour

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, Junior Varsity, Hello Laser, and Phooka performing improv, followed at 10:00 pm by Charlie Whitcroft directing Jazz Freddie (improvised scenes that focus on show the past, present, and future of one character and then spirals into an exploration of the character’s world), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) with two troupes battling for laughs & votes: The Magnet’s Night Out

8:00 pm ($5): Veteran improv troupe SidViscous performs a change-of-pace scripted comedic play about “what happens when a gay single father gets caught in a lie and has to pretend his daughter is his wife whenever these mobsters are around, but can’t let his ex-wife or the private investigator she’s hired find out what he’s up to” at The PIT upstairs theatre: My Daughter, My Wife

[$] [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?

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

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Mike O’Gorman, Jess Catrell, and more performing at UCB East for The Greg Johnson Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Kimberlee Auerbach Berlin (sharp storyteller; author of The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life In The Tarot) and George Gordon (The Afterlife) joining sensual hosts Margot Leitman (Conan O’Brien, VH1, Spike TV) and Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1.com, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive Comedy) telling erotic true tales on this month’s theme “Out of Town”—plus hot songs from Stuckey & Murray—at the best sexy storytelling comedy show in NYC: Stripped Stories

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors (not announced) make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge for The Scene

[FREE] 9:30 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week Airwolf broke the heart of Johnny Romance…and then pulled out that heart and ground it into a fine powder, with a brutally overpowering win of 123-14. (Even Johnny’s best gal didn’t vote for him…) With 13 victories in a row, it’s questionable anyone can stop this flying juggernaut; but tonight a serious effort will be made by one of UCBT’s very best improv troupes, Grandma’s Ashes. The heavens will shake as these two giants compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Summer and Eve (comedy folk rock group), Ben Kissel (Spike TV), Chris Laker (It Could Be Better podcast), and more performing at UCB East with host Chris Wilkes (Thunder Gulch): After Dark

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 3/23/12

March 23, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Boo Boo Darlin'

Burlesque star Boo Boo Darlin' performs at Livia's Castle of Enchantment...

Todd Barry

...and TV & movie star Todd Barry headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club

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] 6:00 pm to midnight (prices vary by show; buy $45 festival pass to see everythingthrough Saturday): The PIT is aiming to begin a proud tradition with its first annual improv festival. Will it be competitive with UCB’s legendary summer Del Close Marathon? Read about the new festival here, check out its entire schedule here, and then come out to explore The PIT’s First Annual NYC Improv Festival

6:00 pm ($5): Improv at The Magnet from house troupes Brick, Junior Varsity, and Chet Watkins

[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 (Comedy Central) and Annie Lederman (Comedy Central): The Shinebox

8:30 pm ($5): Improv at The Magnet revolving around “the anticipation, the fall-out, that fragile moment when love blooms or dies” in Double Date; plus improv troupe Honey

[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. 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: Diamond Lion

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($18.86 online with code TODDB, plus 2-drink minimum): One of the finest stand-ups alive—with appearances on HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central PresentsThe Sarah Silverman Program, Adult Swim, and feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead—headlining for tonight only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Todd Barry

[FREE] 8:00 pm: The third annual comedy tournament featuring 40 improv groups…only one of which will survive. 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 2012, Round Two

[$] [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

8:30 pm ($10): Theatrical sketch comedy at The Magnet that 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 ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from UCB Chelsea’s all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): A beloved show that brings dead celebrities back to life has itself been resurrected at UCB East, with magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’BrienLaw & OrderDirty Movie) hosting tonight as Emily Dickinson. Joining the party will be Murderfist (NYC’s fearless heavy metal version of a sketch troupe; winner of the 2010 ECNY Award), Boo Boo Darlin’ (New York Burlesque Festival 2010 Winner), and Greg Johnson (Sirius Radio host): Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

[$] [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): Gary Gulman (Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Long-form improv from troupe Casual Sex Offenders at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: CSO Improv Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Nate Lang, Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, 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 ($10): NYC comics (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Axford, D’Arcy Carden, Alden Ford, Brandon Scott Jones, and/or Justin Tyler: Gentrify

[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 try out sketches for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. Hosted by Maude troupe Onassis: Liquid Courage

 For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my latest book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 2/22/12

February 22, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Janis Joplin and Chris Gethard

Comedic chameleon Livia Scott will resurrect Janis Joplin tonight, while guest Chris Gethard will bring his own musical tastes, at Livia's Castle of Enchantment

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

[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, The Surge, The Wrath, Chet Watkins, Horses, Brick, Leviathan, and Featherweight performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Leviathan at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

7:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The Vigilante (improvised musical performer backed by rock band), and stand-ups Rob O’reilly (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Jason Marcus, and Tim Warner, performing at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) with hosts Selena Coppock, Dan Cartwright, and 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): A beloved show that brings dead celebrities back to life is itself resurrected tonight at UCB Chelsea, as magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien,Law & OrderDirty Movie) hosts as Janis Joplin, accompanied by guests Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and Manhattan Cable Access’ The Chris Gethard ShowThe Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of new bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York) and sketch troupe Chess Club: Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($20 [vs. $25] online or at the box office using discount code BOOK): 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 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, a troupe specializing in meta-comedy—that is, comedy about the process of making comedy—performs their most meta show yet, which is billed as a “best of” show but actually is a series of internal spats that delay any of the promised sketches from being performed. It’s smart and clever, and all four members of the group are highly appealing. But it’s such a purely “from the head, not the heart” show that it feels increasingly repetitive and one-note as it goes on. I wish the guys had been less concerned with the purity of their one-joke idea and more with creating an emotional rollercoaster experience for the audience. (The reason their best sketch ever is a spelling bee for fart jokes is because it’s a perfect blend of their conceptual approach with laugh-out-loud funny. Sadly, no such sketch is in this show…) If you like concept comedy, though, these guys are great at it; and you’re likely to enjoy at least the first 10 minutes before the novelty wears off from Pangea 3000: 12 Years of Hard Work

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a witty and ultimately exhilarating exploration of baring it all by fabulous long-time nudist Julia Wiedeman (who I had the great fortune of seeing about a decade ago as she walked around with zero clothing, like a glorious tigress, in broad daylight on the streets of the East Village): Naked People

[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: 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 delightful stand-up Katey Healy-Wurzburg (The Fascinator), delightful sketch comic Andrée Vermeulen (visiting from LA), and delightful hosts Sasheer Zamata (Doppelganger, The Prom) and Matt Fisher (The Law Firm, Sidecar); 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

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my latest book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wed. 11/23/11

November 23, 2011

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried headlines for one night only at Carolines...

Livia Scott

...and magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott resurrects her popular showcase for dead celebrities at Livia's Castle of Enchantment

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

[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, The Surge, Horses, Brick, Featherweight, Dunk, and Chet Watkins performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Brick at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Championing chaos for comedy, a team of improvisers perform: “What form? What type of show? Fuck that shit, just come and laugh.” The experiment in anarchy takes place at UCB East starring Don Fanelli, Dru Johnston, Tim Martin, Josh Patten, Kate Riley, and Terry Withers: Fuck That Shit

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($24.50 & 2-drink min.)  A unique comedy star headlining for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Gilbert Gottfried

8:00 pm ($5): At this UCB Chelsea double-bill, Doug Moe is a Bad Dad will convince you that Doug Moe is actually a quite good dad, and also a skilled and highly likeable performer…but not so much an experienced writer. The production feels like a bunch of improvised bits glued together rather than a carefully planned and executed journey, providing little emotional satisfaction; and worse, not a whole bunch of laughs. Doug’s real-life experiences as a dad, and the videos of his little angel of a five-year-old daughter, offer the potential for a fine show, but cry out for more focused scripting. As for Everybody’s Dumb and Boring, I arrived late for it so will simply say that Joanna Bradley is also a talented performer, and is neither dumb nor boring; but once again, there were script problems. You may well end up a fan of both performers, though—and look forward to more developed work from them.

8:00 pm ($5—which includes a free beer!): NYC stand-ups (not yet announced this week) performing stand-up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City for this weekly show hosted by Nick Turner & Jason Sáenz: Too Cool for School

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Three teams of six UCB improvisors, each a mix of students and such veterans as John Frusciante, Amey Goerlich, Kevin Hines, and John Murray, performing an annual improv tradition at UCB East—a show that’s not about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, but something that precedes it: The Macy’s Day Before Thanksgiving Day Parade

[FREE—plus FREE BROOKLYN BEER] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Rose Surnow, Mara Herron, Justy Dodge, and George Gordon performing at a new free weekly show at Brooklyn’s Sandbox Underground (257 Grand Street, near the L subway’s Bedford stop) hosted by Mike Denny, Michael Che, and Nimesh Patel, and featuring free beer: Broken Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A beloved show that brings dead celebrities back to life is itself resurrected tonight at UCB Chelsea, as magical comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien,Law & OrderDirty Movie) hosts as JonBenet Ramsey and guest host Paul Downs pitches in as Michael Jackson. Adding to the comedic darkness will be sketch comedy from UCBT house troupe Onassis, music from phenom singer/songwriter Corn Mo, and “special surprise guests:” Livia’s Castle of Enchantment

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): Stellar Australian comic who’s been a regular onOpie & Anthony and starred in his own HBO special, I Swear To God, headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jim Jefferies

[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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