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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 $12 marked with $) include:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] November 10th-13th: Among the stellar events at this year’s New York Comedy Festival are shows by comedy titans Louis C.K. (11/10 and 11/12 at the Beacon Theatre), Tracy Morgan (11/11 at the Beacon Theatre), Bill Burr (11/11 at Carnegie Hall), and Sarah Silverman (11/12 at BAM); shows by comedy stars Wanda Sykes (11/10 at Town Hall), Michael Ian Black (11/10 at Bowery Ballroom), Glenn Wool (11/10 at UCB East), Kumail Nanjiani (11/11 at UCB East), Bill Maher(11/12 at the Beacon Theatre), Norm MacDonald (11/12 at Town Hall), and Kathy Griffin (11/12 at Carnegie Hall); three panels on the art of comedy writing & performing (11/12 at UCB East), plus a panel discussion with the writers of Saturday Night Live (11/13 at the Paley Center); and a leisurely chat with Ricky Gervais (11/13 at the 92nd Street Y). For the complete massive schedule, please click: New York Comedy Festival
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCB East hosted by John Flynn and tonight’s stellar guest host Melanie Hamlett (brilliant storyteller/writer; Moth Grandslam Champion, Marie Claire Magazine, amazing blog, roving adventurer): Oh, Hey Guys!
[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Charming sketch duo BoF (Mamrie Hart & Steve Soroka) audition their latest sketch show Friends Without Benefits, plus UCBT star writer/director Caitlin Tegart auditions a sketch show titled Caitlin Wins the Crop, all at this fun UCB West showcase: Spank
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($12): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and a long (and ongoing) run Saturdays at The PIT, doing a special extended show for one night only at 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson Street): Political Subversities
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($35 using discount code FTBBOX online or at the box office): One of my favorite FringeNYC shows (for my 2006 review, please click here) is finally enjoying a commercial run. The mostly-true tale of a man who became the toast of Paris by making music with his ass is playing at Sofia’s Downstairs Theater (221 West 46th Street): The Fartiste
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): The comics who train, teach, and perform at UCBT are among the finest improvisors in the world. The UCB Touring Company consists of the cream of the crop, with the mission of showing audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For just this evening, however, the traveling troupe—which includes brilliant comics Gavin Speiller, Neil Casey, Shannon O’Neill, Fran Gillespie, Jon Gabrus, and Brandon Gardner—will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo All-Stars
7:30 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet co-owner helming The Armando Diaz Experience, plus house troupes Junior Varsity, Hello Laser, The Boss, and Phooka, performing improv, followed by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) with Friday Night Sh*w pitted against Aquarius at 11:00 pm: The Magnet’s Night Out
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): YouTube sensation Rachel Bloom performs a one-woman “musical theatre industry showcase for you that is sure to make you feel terrible about your own abilities” atUCB West to build on her cult following from such video hits as F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury and I Steal Pets: Rachel Bloom is a Triple Threat
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): This show begins with a delightful concept—Top Gun performed as if written by William Shakespeare—and then executes it with the joyful craft only a sharp, tight theatrical ensemble can create. Everyone in the cast is terrific, but especially memorable are Kate Turnbull as the love interest, Dan Hartley as Maverick, and Vayu O’Donnell who steals every scene he appears in with his hilariously deadpan delivery as Iceman. While this is playing at The PIT for a mere $10, it’s really legit Fringe theatre, and I hope it eventually makes its way to FringeNYC or Edinburgh—or better yet, develops more songs and gets a commercial run as a musical. Meanwhile, don’t miss this opportunity to see a way fun parody of a cult classic for about half of what you oughta be paying: Jester’s Dead
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, star of The King of Miami, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Dave Hill Explosion), Todd Barry (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; 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 Julian McCullough (fiercely funny rising star; Comedy Central Presents, MTV, VH1) performing UCB East, plus videos from Oren Brimmer starring Pete Holmes and Matt McCarthy, all hosted by best bud Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author of Look At This F*cking Hipster) at Totally J/K
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7; or FREE COVER if you show up 30-60 minutes early and buy $7 worth of snacks/drinks): Mystery Science Theater 3000 goes blaxploitation in this delightful new series by Wyatt Cenac (star correspondent for The Daily Show) and Donwill (hip-hop group Tanya Morgan) in which the boys watch a black cinema cult classic and yell comments at it throughout. It all happens at Brooklyn’s reRun (147 Front Street, between Pearl & Jay Streets), with tonight’s film a happy surprise: Shouting at the Screen
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): A sharp, thoughtful, and silly stand-up who’s Canadian, is a star in the UK, and is currently visiting NYC to entertain us performs tonight for an hour at UCB East: Glenn Wool
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