NYC Comedy Picks for Week of August 13, 2007

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/13/07


Lizz Winstead & friend, and author/radio host Michelangelo Signorile

Shoot the Messenger

Lizz Winstead is co-creator and former head writer of the original The Daily Show; former Executive VP of Air America Radio; and a performer on such shows as Comedy Central Presents and HBO's Women of the Night. (She's also a character; e.g., for a memorable anti-apology after canceling her appearance on the live NYC show Drink at Work, please click here.)

Tonight's scheduled guest is SiriusOutQ radio talk jock Michelangelo Signorile. According to his bio, Signorile "reports, comments, rants, and madly obsesses about politics, media, popular culture, and a host of other things that irk and interest him. He covers the gamut of issues, though he began his career—and is best known for—writing on gay politics and culture. Signorile hosts a lively four-hour radio program each weekday on Sirius Satellite Radio. Four hours of his own brand of 'conversion therapy'—converting people from that nasty, vicious, perverted, and insane right-wing agenda to a more fun, fabulous, and enlightened one."

8:00 pm at Ace of Clubs, 9 Great Jones Street (3rd St. between Lafayette and Broadway);$10

This theatre is downstairs from the Acme restaurant. Nearest subway stops are

Bleecker Street on the #6 and Broadway-Lafayette on the F/V/D/B.



Elephant Larry and Penny

 Elephant Larry (above) is a NYC-based sketch group consisting of Geoff Haggerty, Stefan Lawrence, Chris Principe, Jeff Solomon, and Alex Zalben (former artistic director of  The PIT, co-host of the Comic Book Club, and co-producer of this year's spectacular SketchFest NYC). The troupe's memorable bits include a demonstration that a caveman and the Cookie Monster sound remarkably alike when saying such things as "Me have problem with subject/verb placement..." For odd sample videos, please click here and here.

The other half of this double-bill is a mysterious group named Penny.

9:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



Crash Test

Aziz Ansari is in LA for a while with Paul and Rob shooting the second season of Human Giant. Substitute hosting is stellar comic John Mulaney (above); and guests are typically great stand-up comedians trying out new material. This is often one of the funniest shows in New York.

11:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); free



NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/14/07

Comedienne Heather Fink

Comic Book Club

Hosted by Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler and Pete LePage,

who enjoy discussing comic books while getting laughs.

Tonight's industry guests are Greg Pak (World War Hulk)

and Jesse Falcon (creator of Hulk Hands...honestly);

and tonight's funny guest is Heather Fink

(host of monthly live NYC comedy show Street Meat).

8:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $5



Chicks & Giggles

Desiree Burch (above) hosts a lineup of talented female comics.

Tonight's scheduled guests are Robin Cloud, Jena Friedman, Meghan Hanley,

Joselyn Hughes, Stephanie Sine, and Jodie Wasserman.

8:00 pm at Mo Pitkin's, 34 Avenue A (between East 2nd & 3rd Streets); free



The Voodoo Luau

Tonight's MC is Susannah Perlman; and scheduled comics are

Erik Braunstein, Maggie LeVine, Danny McDermott, Chris Griggs,

J-L Cauvin, Jay Nog, Phil Mazo, Tom Riccobono, and Tom Padovano.

10:00 pm at Otto's Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street (between Avenues A and B); free



The Blender

Stellar members of various UCBT improv teams are

mixed together to form new teams for just an evening.

Tonight's one-time-only troupes are:

Team 1: Anthony Atamanuik, Matt DeCoster, Eddie Dunn, Sue Galloway,

Bridie Harrington, Jason Mantzoukas, Charlie Todd, and Greg Tuculescu.

Team 2: Susannah Becket, Neil Casey, Kevin Hines, Bobby Moynihan,

Pam Murphy, Lennon Parham, Nick Ross, and Erik Tanouye.

Come take advantage of this chance to see wonderful improvisers

who normally don't work together try to instantly form a group mind.

11:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/15/07

Julie Sharbutt being Seriously Important

Seriously Important and Pangea 3000: Best Friend Fun Party

Perfectly timed for the current FringeNYC 2007 Festival, which hosts a bunch

of "seriously important" shows (with at least three involving Iraq,

As Far as We Know, Baum for Peace, and In Our Name) is this parody:

"Ever had an incredibly strong point of view on something you knew sort of nothing about? Yes? No? Whatever? Join Julie and her sometimes informed, oft-times disillusioned, and

all-times supportive friends as they strive to write a complex and affecting

sketch show about the conflict in Iraq. It's time to take a stand

and say something important about...something...important."

Written and performed by Julie Sharbutt, Liz Wisan, and

Zhubin Parang, featuring Chris Bolan; directed by Stephen Ruddy.

The other half of this double-bill is sketch comedy group Pangea 3000:

Andrew Cleary, Sam Kemmis, Dan Klein, Arthur Meyer, and Seth Reiss.

8:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



Invite Them Up

Hosted by comedy greats Eugene Mirman and Bobby Tisdale (above).

The lineup—which is usually stellar—tends to be posted late afternoon

on the day of the show. To check whether the Web page

has been updated yet, please click here.

9:00 pm at Rififi, 332 East 11th Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues); tickets are $5



The Rochelle Show

Comic actress Sue Ball performs as one of several characters

in a dysfunctional family. Disturbingly funny.

9:30 pm at Mo Pitkin's, 34 Avenue A (between East 2nd & 3rd Streets); free



School Night

Host Justin Purnell provides a mix of guests who perform stand-up, improv, music,

and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent varies wildly—

but for some (like me), that's part of the laid-back fun.

Come to support the experimentation, and periodic delightful surprises,

that this free show makes possible.

11:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); free



NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 8/16/07


Jason & Jessica: First Date and Amy Heidt: Booze Cruise

Jason Mantzoukas and Jessica St. Clair are two of UCBT's brightest stars. The duo previously shined in their wonderful comedic plays We Used to Go Out and I Will Not Apologize; and they've been making audiences happy Saturday nights as members of Mother: The Soundtrack. In this improv show, they ask an audience member about a dating experience as a launching pad for their own simulated special evening. At the premiere about six weeks ago, the date took place at Chili's, and an initial scene led a less-than-enlightened audience member to storm out. Jessica responded by pushing the envelope even further, taking chances in risking audience ire that made even Jason uncomfortable—and we loved her for it. The second show was about a month ago, and took place in a cemetery...with Jason playing a guy who had a torrid affair with his mother. And in the third show, Jason came up with a revolutionary new party concept: "It Never Happened." Sort of like Las Vegas, except skipping the gambling and going straight for the forbidden sex...  Lord know what will happen tonight; but be sure you don't want to miss it.

And in the second half of this double-bill, Amy Heidt takes you on a corporate cruise

and, says, Time Out NY, "introduces you, with spot-on and very funny impersonations,

to five dysfunctional women you'll instantly recognize and love to loathe."

For samples, please click here and here.

8:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



Variety Shac

The hard-to-resist members of this popular group are musical host Shonali Bhowmik, and comics Andrea Rosen, Chelsea Peretti, and Heather Lawless. The show features songs, sketches, and funny short films made by the foursome; for samples of the latter, please click here and here.

9:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5




Cage Match: C, C + C Improv Factory vs. The Brothers Hines

This delightful show pits two improv teams against each other while creating the

the atmosphere of a professional wrestling arena (and providing such side-shows

as a bout to the death between guys costumed as an alcoholic wolf and TV's Alf...).

 C, C + C Improv Factory—consisting of Chuck Dauble (Chuck D. & Jawnee Show), Charlie Sanders (Conan O'Brien, Reuben Williams), and Charlie Todd (Improv Everywhere, Reuben Williams)—is beginning to look unstoppable. The troupe's won four matches in a row, against Working Girls, 4 Track!, Slideburgers...and last week, Death League Tea Party, with the final vote 46-11.

Tonight the three C's face The Brothers Hines. The two-man team is Will Hines and Kevin Hines—who really are brothers. Will growing up together give this duo the edge they need to win? Or will their imaginative leaps be hindered by sibling rivalry? There's no telling what will happen...which is one of the great pleasures of this show.

11:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5




Donald Glover and friend, and Giulia Rozzi

Her Majesty's Stand-Up

Tonight's guests include Donald Glover (writer for NBC's 30 Rock, multiple appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, member of three-man comedy troupe Derrick; for a video sample, please click here); Giulia Rozzi (VH1's Best Night Ever podcasts, Stripped Stories;

for a video sample, please click here); Matt  McCarthy & Katina Corrao (hosts of NYC's The Matt  & Katina Show); and Andrew Wright (Comedy Central).

11:00 pm at The Magnet Theatre, 254 West 29th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 8/17/07

Now That's What I Call Rogue Elephant

Sketch comedy group Rogue Elephant performs its best routines from the past three years.

For a sample, please click here. Cast members are  Susannah Becket and Silvija Ozols of Working Girls, and Tim Curcio, Eddie Dunn, Jim Santangeli, Nate Smith, and Gavin Speiller.

8:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $8



The Mantzoukas Brothers

Jason Mantzoukas (We Used to Go Out, Mother: The Soundtrack) and Ed Herbstman (co-founder of the Magnet Theater) show off how damn smart and breathtakingly talented they are. Time Out New York named these guys Best Improv Duo of 2006. Take advantage of a great opportunity to see these improvisation comedy stars shine in an intimate setting.

8:30 pm at The Magnet Theatre, 254 West 29th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



The Stepfathers

Some of the best improv comics in NYC—Michael Delaney, Christina Gausas, Chris Gethard, Billy Merritt, Bobby Moynihan, Silvija Ozols, and Zach Woods—make stuff up, and make you laugh.

9:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $8



Death by Roo Roo: Your F*cked Up Family

Comedic powerhouses Jackie Clarke, Curtis Gwinn, Brett Gelman, Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, and John Gemberling interview an audience member about family and then act out his or her life story via improv scenes. Scary and funny.

11:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $8




Liquid Courage

The ultimate in audience participation: any group can submit a sketch and perform it!

If all you want is to be entertained, this show probably isn't a good choice.

But if you'd like to act on the UCBT stage, and/or have your sketch writing judged by an exceptionally savvy audience, this is a golden opportunity.

Sign-up begins at 10:30 pm and runs till 11:45 pm; sketches will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's wise to arrive early. For a complete list of the rules, please click here.

Midnight at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); free



NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/18/07


Rob Lathan (with the help of "Shammy") wants to help you Get Psyched!;

Rachael Mason wants you to give up on that awful relationship

Get Psyched! and Half Empty

The evening kicks off with a parody of faddish life coaching seminars like The Secret. Hyperactive host Lanny Lathan (Rob Lathan) has his own book, Top Secret, which he explains is much better because it reveals what you really must do to succeed: "Get Psyched!"

Aiding him is his lovely assistant Shammy (the amazing Adira Amram), who adds even more energy to the show with her witty singing. And along for the ride is a hapless audience member who didn't even realize he needed Lanny's aid (Nate Shelkey). Lathan's script isn't perfect, but the dynamic performances make this worth catching; Lathan is a UCBT veteran, and Amram is a rising star who can stand toe to toe with any comic in NYC.

The other half of this double-bill is a sketch show "about the dark side of relationships. Ever ask yourself, how do I get out of this? See four actors play 11 characters that ask themselves that question every single day." Written by Rachael Mason; performed by Mason, Ellie Kemper (improv groups KEMPAS and fwand), Ben Rodgers (UCBT's Cage Match), and Joe Wengert (Reuben Williams); and directed by Neil Casey (Death by Roo Roo).

7:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $8



The Tiny Spectacular

The Magnet's instructors, plus stars of Mother: The Soundtrack (see below) Jason Mantzoukas, Tara Copeland, James Eason, Christine Walters, plus occasional special guests (such as superstar Mike Meyers), turn a tiny suggestion into larger-than-life improvised scenes.

7:30 pm at The Magnet Theatre, 254 West 29th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



Jacob Brown, Jared Robinson, Michelle O'Connor, and Katie Goan

Kidnapped by Craigslist

Want to buy a couch? Find a date? Complain about your roommate? This 90-minute play "explores the carnivalistic, cult-like phenomenon that is Craigslist. Combining actual postings from the New York Web site with scripted material and live music, the play tells the true stories that are locked inside an online community that has shaped and inspired today's Internet generation." Written by Katie Goan and Nitra Gutierrez, and directed by the brilliantly talented Kimmy Gatewood. For brief samples, please click here and here.

8:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $8



Mother: The Soundtrack

Jason Mantzoukas leads a vibrant team of improv comics—Scot Armstrong, Tara Copeland, Jon Daly, James Eason, Jesse Falcon, Doug Moe, and Christine Walters—who make up scenes based on CD tracks contributed by the audience. (Note: Jessica St. Clair will be appearing again later in August...and then, sadly for New Yorkers, moving to LA.) One of UCBT's most beloved shows.

9:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $8



The Harvard Sailing Team: On the Jitney

The highly inventive sketch troupe Harvard Sailing Team (which recently

appeared in SketchFest NYC) performs its newest show.

9:30 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $8



Reuben Williams: As Seen on TV

Anthony King demonstrates that in addition to running UCBT-NY brilliantly, he's a formidable improv performer. Joining him are stellar talents Lennon Parham (see my review of her Showgirls parody), Chris Kula, Charlie Sanders, Eric Scott, Kate Spencer, Charlie Todd, and Joe Wengert.

10:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $8



Log Cabin Dreams: A Musical Based on the Life and Opinions of President Abraham Lincoln

The story of Abraham Lincoln told through song & dance. Written, directed & starring Blaine Kneece.

7:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $8



Olde English hosts an old-fashioned variety show

Very Fresh with Olde English

Comedy group and prodigious generator of funny videos Olde English (Caleb Bark, Ben Popik, David Segal, Adam Conover, and Raphael Bob-Waksberg) host a variety show with sketches, stand-up, short films, and more. Tonight's guests are Sean Conroy (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central, legendary improv group The Swarm), Curtis Gwinn & John Gemberling (Death by Roo Roo: Your F*cked Up Family), Michelle Buteau, and MC Chris.

12:00 midnight at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5



NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/19/07



The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre's signature show, which features a monologist telling stories based on audience suggestions and a group of top improvisers (sometimes including celebs such as SNL's Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz) creating scenes based on the stories. There are two shows every Sunday which share the same format, but are otherwise entirely different because everything is improvised. The 7:30 pm show is $8; tonight's advance tickets are sold out, but a limited number of seats may be available at the door for those who arrive early enough to nab 'em. The 9:30 show is free, with tickets distributed outside the theatre at 8:15 pm; but again, you may need to come early and wait on line to ensure getting into this first come, first served performance.

7:30 pm & 9:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue)



Faceboyz Open Mike Night

If you're looking for a good time, this might not be it.

But if you're interested in getting on the Mo Pitkin's stage and

performing stand-up—or any other kind of act—a mere $4 will buy you

a chance at being selected via the show's lottery system. The rules are:

Sign-up is at 9:00 pm sharp.

You get eight minutes maximum for your act.

You can do anything you'd like on stage, with two exceptions:

1.  Don't damage the stage or equipment (respect the space).

2. Don't pick out people in the audience, even just to say something nice (respect the audience).

No online reservations available; simply pay at the door.

Again, this show isn't for everyone.

But if you're a performer, you've probably risked

a lot more that $4 to nab an NYC stage credit...

9:00 pm at Mo Pitkin's, 34 Avenue A (between East 2nd & 3rd Streets); tickets are $4



Alternatively, consider seeing a funny and/or musical

Broadway, off-Broadway, or off-off-Broadway show.

To learn how theatre tickets can be purchased for around 50% off—

or, in some cases, for as little as $3 each—

please visit this site's newest page Hy on Theatre Discounts.




Finally, consider catching some of the wonderful shows

at this year's New York International Fringe Festival.

For comprehensive coverage of the festival, please click here.



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