NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 3/22/12

March 22, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Dave Hill

Everyone's friend Dave revives The Dave Hill Explosion...

Tracy Morgan

...and Tracy Morgan headlines tonight and this weekend at Carolines

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:

 [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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Ashley Ward (ace improvisor who performs with Baby Wants Candy, Diamond LionBig Black Car, and Taco Supreme) is tonight’s guest at this weekly open-mic storytelling show, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress, at UCB Easthosted by John Flynn: Oh, Hey Guys!

[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

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Stand-up and stage magic are combined at UCB Chelsea by Harrison Greenbaum, a comic who’s devoted a lot of time and passion to both fields, resulting in both laughs and tricks you won’t have a clue how he pulled off: Harrison Greenbaum: What Just Happened?

…plus in the other half of this double-bill, the audition of a show I know nothing about but has the fun title Urban Dictionary Jeopardy

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($12): Renowned comedy group The Harvard Lampoon celebrates the publication of its book parody of The Hunger Games at 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson Street): The Harvard Lampoon: The Hunger Pains

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The screening of “hilarious 30-60 second created-on-spec commercials from UCB and NYC’s advertising community. Vote for your favorite; the winner gets a $1,000 prize” at UCB East—but what does the audience  get for watching all those commercials? Hosted by Sound Lounge: The Great Sell Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.): A co-star of 30 Rock who’s one of the most hilarious guys in the biz headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club tonight, Saturday, and Sunday: Tracy Morgan

[TOP PICK] 8:00 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 parody of The Bachelor written by UCBT faves Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN, writer or director of numerous UCBT sketch shows) and Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox, Pig: A Restaurant), and worth catching if only to experience the delicious comedic performances of standouts Morgan Grace Jarrett (Big Fish, Love Liza, Buffy fan) and Nicole Byer (Doppelganger)—who are especially fun when they turn into an unlikely a comedy duo…: The Bachelor: Romance, Roses, and Romance

[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!

[$] [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?

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 Alan Fessenden directing The Monoscene (an improvised play that takes place entirely in one location with no edits of any kind), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) with last week’s winner competing against Rubin: The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): 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), Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon, The Rejection Show), and Emily Heller (Comedy Central; staff writer for Rooftop Comedy; for ruminations on pregnancy, please click here) performing at UCB East with best bud hosts Noah Garfinkel & Joe Mande (author ofLook At This F*cking Hipster): Totally J/K

[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 (no cover, 1-item min.): Nikki Glaser (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, co-host of podcastYou Had to Be There), Pat O’Shea (host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), Jay Nog, and Adam Conover performing stand-up at Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) for this weekly comedy show that tonight is guest-hosted by Emmy Blotnick and produced by Carol Hartsell: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Jon Benjamin (star/creator of  Comedy Central’s Jon Benjamin Has a Van; FOX, Adult Swim, MTV’s Human Giant), musical guest Suzzy Roche (of The Roches), 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, star of The King of Miami, band Diamondsnake, champion rapper; upcoming book Tasteful Nudes) at The Dave Hill Explosion

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe North Coast squeaked by to victory last week against Very Good Kiss, winning 70-66. Did Kiss kill? Or is the NC juggernaut, with four victories in a row, starting to lose steam? The latter theory will be tested tonight by Airwolf as it competes for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Sketch/parody, plus some audience interaction, at UCB EastThe Hunger Games: A Bit Show

 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 5/18/11

May 18, 2011

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.

Buck Henry

Tonight offers interviews with TV comedy legends Buck Henry at "Second Second Delay"...

Dick Cavett

....and Dick Cavett at "The Dave Hill Explosion"

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] 2:00 pm: “Something worth watching. Could be a movie, or a TV show. Might be populist and unapologetically entertaining, or hard to find and harder to understand. But you will always leave saying, ‘I am glad that I saw that.'” Hosted by The PIT’s Chris Grace, today’s free film is a 2010 comedy about a comic who decides to change careers and pursue stardom in martial arts: Brother’s Justice

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): Legendary writer Buck Henry, Village Voice Editor Tony Ortega, music from The Wingdale Community Singers (with Rick Moody), and “a special mystery bonus guest,” being interviewed at the live broadcast of the WFMU radio show 7 Second Delay

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

7:00 pm, 8:30 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 ($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 as The Two-Man Movie; and Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar form a surprise breakout hit as all-gal troupeDoppelganger

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Scientists, writers, and/or nerds, plus host Ben Lillie, tell funny tales at this monthly show that tonight focuses on Body Plan at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard (82 Fourth Avenue): The Story Collider

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5—which includes a free beer!): TJ Miller (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien,Opie & Anthony; co-starred in ABC sitcom Carpoolers, TBS’ Very Funny Show; acted in feature films CloverfieldGet Him to the Greek, Unstoppable), Louie Katz (HBO, Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Fallon), and Seaton Smith (Opie and Anthony) performing at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City with host Nick Turner: Monsters

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($35.50 with discount code BOX): Mike Birbiglia performing a unique blend of stand-up and storytelling that’s one of the best theatrical shows in NYC. For my more detailed write-up, please click here; and then grab tickets at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop) for Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Andrea Alton, Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, Becky Yamamoto, Hilary Schwartz, Todd Womack, and Dan Wilbur performing at this free weekly show at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): TV talk show legend Dick Cavett, singer/songwriter/Web star Jonathan Coulton, and surprises from host Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, star of The King of MiamiThe New York Times, The Huffington Post, Salon, improv rap champion), all at The Dave Hill Explosion

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veronica Mosey (Jay Leno), M. Dickson (MTV), and Paul Case (Here-TV’s Hot Gay Comics) performing at the Bar-Tini Ultra Lounge (542 Tenth Avenue, between 45th & 46th Streets) for a gay-themed show hosted by Adam Sank: That Sank Show

[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

11:00 pm (no cover, 1-drink min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours at the Luca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street)—at John Morrison’s Motel Luca

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 Thursday 9/30/10

September 30, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

John Hodgman

John Hodgman (above) and Moby are tonight's guests at The Dave Hill Explosion...

Shayna Ferm

..plus hilarious and beloved sketch comics including Katherine Bryant Flaherty and Shayna Ferm (above) debut their spectacular 45-minute comedic musical at The PIT: "Grease 3: Threase"

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:

6:00 pm ($5): Three shows auditioning for a run at UCBT, including Corinne Fisher performing her one-woman show I Stalk You, all for five bucks at the showcase Spank

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): Top comics and comedic storytellers—who tonight are Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Central, Penelope Princess of Pets, co-host of Hot Tub Variety), Joe Mande (Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Totally J/K; author of Look at This F*cking Hipster), Matt Higgins (Centralia), and Emily Gould (The New York Times, Gawker)—joining brilliant sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to share tales on tonight’s theme “Dreams: Adventures in the Unconscious” at the Fall season opener of one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.): Stellar Australian comic who’s been a regular onOpie & Anthony and who performed his own HBO special, I Swear To God, headlining tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Jim Jefferies

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($32.40 online if you use code PLAYBILL, plus 2-item minimum): The co-author of He’s Just Not That Into You and It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken, and star of HBO’s Mantastic, headlining tonight through Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Greg Behrendt

7:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors directed by James Eason “take an audience suggestion and break it into a million funny pieces,” and veteran improvisors play with “elements of monoscene, deconstruction, and La Ronde,” in the double-bill The Deconstruction and Sleepover

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): The thoroughly wonderful comics of sketch troupe Fearsome—Shayna Ferm, Katherine Bryant Flaherty, Alex Goldberg, and Chris O’Connor—are joined by such other immense talents as Livia Scott and Amy Heidt to perform a new comedic musical that’s very, very loosely based on a classic Travolta/Newton John vehicle: Grease 3: Threase

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Young talents doing a sketch show about cops, and Peter Blomquist and Jeff Wiens performing an all-new multimedia sketch show, in the double-bill The Sit Down and Shut Up NYPD Variety Hour and Franco & Billy: Diamonds of Fire

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($12): Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1), Julian McCullough (Comedy Central Presents half-hour special), Craig Baldo (Conan O’Brien), Costaki Economopoulos, and the hilarious Found Footage Festival performing at 92Y Tribeca’s Comedy Below Canal

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): John Hodgman (Daily Show commentator, bestselling author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require, and the underrated PC in Apple Computer ads), music superstar Moby with band Diamondsnake, and surprises from host Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, star of The King of MiamiThe New York Times, The Huffington Post, Salon, Big in Japan), all at The Dave Hill Explosion

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:30 pm ($12.89 online if you use code PLAYBILL, plus 2-item minimum): Top stand-ups including Ted Alexandro, Amy Schumer, Joe DeRosa, Cipha Sounds, and Rob Cantrell performing at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Still Standing Up

[$] 10:00 pm ($24.50 & 2-drink min.): Maddog Mattern hosts a show with unhappy stand-ups—most notably including Judah Friedlander—tonight only at Carolines: Miserable Men of Comedy

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two vibrant improv troupes, Dog Court and Johnny Cash Money, compete for audience laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 10/22/09

October 22, 2009

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Q&A with bestselling author Elna Baker, please click here.

Legendary TV interviewer Dick Cavett is tonight interviewed himself at The Dave Hill Explosion

Legendary TV interviewer Dick Cavett is tonight interviewed himself at The Dave Hill Explosion

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] 7:00 pm ($5): Five sketch shows—from troupes BriTANick, New Excitement, Pangea 3000, and Sidecar, and the mini-play Waiting for Obama—are performed back to back from 7:00 to 9:30 pm at this near-free opportunity to experience the current state of sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre: UCBT’s Best of Sketch Showcase

[$] 7:00 pm ($15 & 2-item min.): A unique sports-themed stand-up, sketch comedy, and interview show hosted by Scott Rogowsky and Neil Janowitz, tonight featuring Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, Knicks guard Chris Duhon, and Krystal Gray & other members of the Lingerie Football League’s New York Majesty, all performing at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: 12 Angry Mascots

7:00 pm & 8:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($6.13 per show online): NYC improv and sketch troupes—many of whom perform at The PIT—compete against each other via this unusual annual contest in which each group, regardless of specialty, will perform both improv and sketch…as well as a comedy form known as sketchprov using the Second City routine The Pad. The 27 teams participating this year are Audience of Two, Bacivo Nuggets, Bad Luck Rising, Cool Guyot, Dave and Ethan, Do You Like This in Your Face?, Dumpster Tequila, Etc…, Foolhardy Manor, Friends of the Museum, Gentleman Caller, Halfbear, Hopeful Chester, Inside Joke Films, Maybe Sherman, Mrs. Estherhouse, Ninja Sex Party, Nobody’s Token, Party Lights, Pembroke and Lu, Peoples Sketch Association, SidViscous, Sisters!, Slapstick Picnic, Swords, Veal, and Yawn. The competition, running through Saturday, is SketchProv

8:00 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors directed by James Eason “take an audience suggestion and break it into a million funny pieces” in The Deconstruction

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): In a rare stage appearance, legendary & razor-sharp TV talk show interviewer Dick Cavett will himself be interviewed tonight by brilliant alternative comic Dave Hill; and also performing will be musical guest Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes), all at a not-to-be-missed edition of The Dave Hill Explosion

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20 & 2-item min.): A YouTube star whose special guests tonight are comedy giants Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman performing at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: John Roberts and Friends

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Superb Improv duo The Brothers Hines (Will Hines and Kevin Hines, who really are brothers) go up against improv troupe Sherpa in a battle for audience laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

For Q&A with bestselling author Elna Baker, please click here.