NYC Comedy Picks for Week of February 25, 2008

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 2/25/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

stellar comics & actors—including special guest Jason Sudeikis of Saturday Night Live,

and brilliant improvisors Tara Copeland, Michael Delaney, Becky Drysdale, Anthony King,

and more—crashing improv into classic theatre scenes at Gravid Water (8:00 pm),

terrific stand-up comics Tom Shillue, Mike Dobbins, Marina Franklin,  Eric Kirchberger,

and more at the free show Tell Your Friends (8:00ish pm),

the third-to-last edition of one of the finest comedy shows to ever grace NYC, with stellar stand-ups

coming to bid near-farewell to Eugene Mirman's & Bobby Tisdale's Invite Them Up (9:00 pm),

sketches & other fun regarding the Presidential primary season, plus an interview with Andy Borowitz,

writer of the political satire Web site The Borowitz Report, at Lizz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger (8:30 pm),

and comedy stars Michael Showalter and Kurt Braunohler, plus sneak peaks at the upcoming second season

of Human Giant,  at one of the funniest shows in NYC—which just happens to  be free—Cavalcade! (11:00 pm).

 

   

Becky Drysdale, Jason Sudeikis, and Kate Hess...

...and Anthony King, Tara Copeland, and Michael Delaney

Gravid Water

Classic theatre scenes performed by professional actors who stay on book—

and an improv comic who hasn't read the play and has to make up lines on the fly.

Starring world-class improvisers (in alphabetical order):

Tara Copeland (always-inventive star at both UCBT and The Magnet; weekly shows include Mother: The Soundtrack, The Tiny Spectacular, Ms. Jackson, and The Made-Up Musical),

 Michael Delaney (genius improvisor, actor, and improv instructor; member of UCBT star troupe

The Stepfathers and legendary troupe The Swarm),

Becky Drysdale (stellar & charismatic performer; acclaimed one-woman show

One Woman in Several Pieces, Web video series Time Traveling Lesbian),

Anthony King (brilliant UCBT-NY Artistic Director; Reuben Williams, Happy Hour,

Let's Have a Ball, off-Broadway show Gutenberg! The Musical), and

Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live writer since 2003 and cast member since 2006;

former love interest of Liz Lemmon on 30 Rock).

And also starring are some of NYC's top theatre & TV actors: Jeremy Bobb (Is He Dead?), Kay Cannon (30 Rock), Kate Hess (half of UCBT sketch show We Kate Shelly), Marc Kudisch (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Steve Rosen (The Farnsworth Invention), and Sandy Rustin (Neil Simon's Hotel Suite, Comedy Central's Scariest Show on TV).

Gravid Water is directed, hosted, and co-stars Stephen Ruddy...

and is one of the finest comedy productions in New York.

If you want to introduce an actor friend to the world of improv, start with this show.

Seats are sold out, but you can still come and enjoy this if you don't mind standing.

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

 

 

   

Mike Dobbins, Marina Franklin, and Tom Shillue

Tell Your Friends

This free weekly comedy show offers stand-ups the opportunity to try out new material

and is produced by Liam McEneaney (VH1's Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's

Premium Blend, former writer for Standup Nation with Greg Giraldo).

Tonight's terrific lineup consists of

Tom Shillue (Comedy Central Presents, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Daily Show

with Jon Stewart; storytelling podcasts; host of NYC monthly comedy show Moonwork;

comedy CD Overconfident!; for stand-up samples, please click here and here),

Mike Dobbins (A Stand-Upish Set of Koo Koo; called

"wholly unique voice and completely disarming" by Time Out New York

to read the complete review, please click here),

Marina Franklin (Last Comic Standing, Chappelle's Show, Comedy Central's Premium Blend),

Karin Fagerlund (news anchor for TV-4 in Sweden, making her stand-up debut!),

and tonight's host Eric Kirchberger (HBO, Comedy Central; "For those of you

 who are wondering, alternative comedy means comedy for people who can read.").

8:00ish pm at Lolita Bar, 226 Broome Street (between Allen and Orchard Streets); free

Nearest subway stops are Delancey Street via the F or Delancey-Essex via the J/M/Z.

 

 

Amy Beckerman, Gloria Bigelow, Jackie Monahan, and Leah Dubie

Dykes on Mics

Free gay-themed stand-up comedy show featuring the gals above

as regulars/hosts, plus different guest comics every week.

8:00 pm at RubyFruit Bar & Grill, 531 Hudson Street (between West 10th & Charles);

no cover, one item (food or drink) minimum

 

 

 

Andy Borowitz of The Borowitz Report, and STM host Lizz Winstead

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 guest is Andy Borowitz, who writes the highly popular political satire Web site

The Borowitz Report.

To get a feel for STM, view a fun interview with cartoonist David Rees by clicking here.

8:30 pm at The Green Room, 45 Bleecker Street (off Lafayette); tickets are $12.50

Nearest subway stop is Bleecker Street on the #6 (which brings you virtually to the door of the theatre)

 and Broadway-Lafayette on the F/V/D/B.

 

 

Invite Them Up

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

The lineup—which is sure to be 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.

Please Note: This is the third-to-last show of this wonderful six-years-running extravaganza.

The other two shows will run this Tuesday and Wednesday night—

and they're all expected to be memorable blow-outs.

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

 

 

Pembroke and Lu

Pembroke & Lu is a likeable singing duo. To get a feel for them, please check out

a video song about gay marriage by clicking please click here, and

a video song about being scared of the homeless by clicking click here.

Their show's official description:

"The government is out of control. Apparently, now there's one in every country. Pembroke and Lu have been fighting this terrible force for decades through song and verse... and then a chorus, bridge, and another verse. Tonight they invite you to take a break from the oppression of today as Pembroke and Lu strum the guitar of freedom and blow the flute of oppression."

Indeed. And their freedom fighting guest tonight is sketch troupe Secret Hospital:

Michael Hartney, Patrick Inglis, Rachel Korowitz, Stan Laikowski, Dan McInerney,

and Jeff Scherer (for performer bios, please click here).

For Secret Hospital's fun video about how you should never shake a baby, please click here.

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

 

 

 

Concerned citizens, Kurt Braunohler, and Michael Showalter

Cavalcade!

This razor-sharp stand-up extravaganza is no place for the innocent.

However, it's enormous fun.

Tonight's superb lineup includes

Michael Showalter (MTV's seminal sketch show The State, legendary comedy troupe Stella,

co-writer & co-star of comedy feature film Wet Hot American Summer, co-host with

Eugene Mirman of Brooklyn's weekly award-winning comedy show Tearing the Veil of Maya),

Kurt Braunohler (master comic and frequent comedy partner of Kristen Schaal;

performs in sketches that are hilariously indescribable;

co-star of Web series Penelope, Princess of Pets, for which

Kurt won the 2008 ECNY Award as Best Director), and

sneak peaks at short films from the upcoming second season of MTV comedy hit Human Giant.

Tonight's show is likely to be one of the funniest in NYC.

And it's free.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 2/26/08

There are some wonderful shows happening tonight—including a kick-ass

release party for sexy and brilliant Shayna Ferm's first comedy musical album Blonde.

But for those who love stand-up, I most recommend the next-to-last installment of Invite Them Up.

Yesterday kicked off this three-night going away party for one of the most beloved comedy shows to ever grace NYC. Performing were, in order of appearance, Greg Johnson, Heather Lawless, Jon Glaser, Michael Showalter, Seth Herzog, Craig Baldo, and John Oliver—in other words, a virtual who's who of New York comedy.

Highlights included Jon Glaser appearing as "The Man in the Green Mask" and taking audience questions about it... which was thoroughly hilarious; Heather Lawless telling us she likes to wear a neck brace to the gym because it makes her efforts on the treadmill appear heroic; Michael Showalter having prepared a long set about TV shows and TV commercials that it turned out virtually no one but him had seen; Craig Baldo getting a bunch of the comedy onlookers to jump up on stage and dance (with especially fine moves from Heather Fink and Brett Gelman); and John Oliver delivering an absolutely brilliant set that included observations about Oreo pizza, a conversation with a talking Noam Chomsky doll, and John's peeling off a fashion mistake he'd purchased that day—a red jumper—and depositing it into the show's trash can "time capsule" at the end of his performance...to wild applause.

Tonight's and Wednesday's editions of Invite Them Up are also sure to be special and memorable.

 

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

some of the funniest & sexiest comics in NYC, including Katherine Bryant, Mindy Raf, Biz Ellis, and Baron

Vaughn, celebrating the release of Shayna Ferm's new album Blonde at Brat Nasty's Comedy Playlist (8:00 pm),

Bex Schwartz, Becky Yamamoto, Eliza Faria-Santos, and other sharp women stand-ups

who'll challenge and amuse you at the wonderful Carolyn Castiglia's Chicks & Giggles (8:00 pm),

the writer, artist, and editor of Marvel Comics' series Cable & Deadpool joining the

always-fun explorations of comic books with a comedic slant at Comic Book Club (8:00 pm),

brilliant comics Michael Showalter, Laura Krafft, and Kumail Nanjiani, plus some surprise special guests, at one

of the shows taking on the torch passed by Tisdale & Mirman, the fabulous Seth Herzog's Sweet (9:00 pm),

and the next-to-last edition of one of the finest comedy shows to ever grace NYC, with stellar stand-ups

coming to bid near-farewell to Eugene Mirman's & Bobby Tisdale's Invite Them Up (9:00 pm).

 

Brat Nasty's Comedy Playlist

Come join Shayna Ferm, one of the funniest singer/songwriters in the biz,

celebrate the release of her first comedy album Blonde.

At the festivities will be

Shayna and the Upper Deckers;

"Brat Nasty" (played by gorgeous & brilliant comic Katherine Bryant);

Shayna's world-class sketch troupe Fearsome; and

Biz Ellis

Mindy Raf

Baron Vaughn

Cock Lorge

Mark Douglas

Nate Kushner

Gangsta Fag

plus a brand new music video by Fearsome.

8:30 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.

 

 

   

Bex Schwartz, Carolyn Castiglia and Becky Yamamoto

Chicks & Giggles

The wonderful Carolyn Castiglia (VH1, MTV2, Sirius Satellite Radio,

 The Huffington Post) hosts a lineup of talented female stand-up comics.

Tonight's scheduled guests are

Bex Schwartz (all over VH1),

Becky Yamamoto (rave reviews from The New York Times, The New Yorker, etc.

for her performance in the play Songs of the Dragon Flying to Heaven;

member of all-female comedic rock band Stickerbook),

Eliza Faria-Santos (Comedy Centrals Fresh Faces)

Anne Neczypor (LOL Tour)

Chelsea White (Knitting Factory), and

Micia Mosely (comic with a Ph.D in cultural studies).

8:00 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

no cover, 1 drink or food item minimum (on low-cost menu; e.g., draft beer for $4-$5)

 

 

 

Comic Book Club

Hosted by Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler and Pete LePage,

who enjoy discussing comic books while getting laughs.

Tonight's show is devoted to the Cable & Deadpool comics series (pictured above),

with writer Fabian Nczieca, artist Reilly Brown, and editor Nicole Boose.

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

 

 

Harold Night

The Harold is longform improv, pioneered by Del Close.

Tonight, five improv troupes—

Raynard, 1985, Tantrum, Bastian, and fwand—

each give it a go for 30 minutes, with

short breaks in between, for a total of 3 hours.

Some of the groups are great; some are less so. And this show

is designed more for students of improv than the general public.

But if you're interested, and patient, a mere $5 will buy you

a full evening's education...and periodic solid laughs.

8:00-11:00 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 sure to be 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.

Please Note: This is the next-to-last show of this wonderful six-years-running extravaganza.

I highly recommend attending both tonight and the last installment on Wednesday night—

both are likely to be memorable comedy blow-outs.

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

 

 

   

Seth Herzog, Michael Showalter, and Kumail Nanjiani

Sweet

Hosted by the razor-sharp, dynamic, and hilarious Seth Herzog (VH1's Best Week Ever).

This is one of the finest comedy shows in NYC.

Tonight's wonderful lineup includes

Michael Showalter (MTV's seminal sketch show The State, legendary comedy troupe Stella,

writer/director/star of feature film The Baxter, co-writer & co-star of feature film Wet Hot American Summer,

co-host with Eugene Mirman of Brooklyn's weekly award-winning comedy show Tearing the Veil of Maya),

Laura Krafft (superb stand-up comic who's also a staff writer for The Colbert Report, former writer

for Comedy Central's Crossballs, and acted on such shows as on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm),

Kumail Nanjiani (rising star; for very funny stand-up about the dark side of video games,

odd memories, and the many ways cell phones are eliminated in horror films, please click here),

and some surprise special guests.

9:00 pm at The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street  (corner of Stanton Street); tickets are $5

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 2/27/08

There are some wonderful shows happening tonight.

But for those who love stand-up, I most recommend the final edition of Invite Them Up.

Monday kicked off a three-night going away party for one of the most beloved comedy shows to ever grace NYC. Performing were, in order of appearance, Greg Johnson, Heather Lawless, Jon Glaser, Michael Showalter, Seth Herzog, Craig Baldo, and John Oliver—in other words, a virtual who's who of New York comedy.

Highlights included Jon Glaser appearing as "The Man in the Green Mask" and taking audience questions about it... which was thoroughly hilarious; Heather Lawless telling us she likes to wear a neck brace to the gym because it makes her efforts on the treadmill appear heroic; Michael Showalter having prepared a long set about TV shows and TV commercials that it turned out virtually no one but him had seen; Craig Baldo getting a bunch of the comedy onlookers to jump up on stage and dance (with especially fine moves from Heather Fink and Brett Gelman); and John Oliver delivering an absolutely brilliant set that included observations about Oreo pizza, a conversation with a talking Noam Chomsky doll, and John's peeling off a fashion mistake he'd purchased that day—a red jumper—and depositing it into the show's trash can "time capsule" at the end of his performance...to wild applause.

I had to miss last night's installment (a conflict with my screenwriters' workshop),

but am enormously looking forward to tonight's last—at least, for a while—Invite Them Up show,

which is sure to be special and memorable.

 

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

superb comedic actress Eliza Skinner performing her ECNY-nominated one-woman show Shameless (7:00 pm),

the delightful Margaret Champagne, Joselyn Hughes, and Brooke Van Poppelen inviting

some of the coolest gals and guys they know—Jon Friedman, Giulia Rozzi, Brandy & Sara,

Ross Hyzer, and Wendy Ho—for stand-up comedy fun at their Slumber Party (8:00 pm),

the last edition of one of the finest weekly comedy shows to ever grace NYC, with star stand-ups

coming to bid farewell to Eugene Mirman's & Bobby Tisdale's Invite Them Up (9:00 pm),

one of the most fascinating and hilarious storytelling shows in NYC, The Nights of Our Lives (9:30 pm),

and a laid-back free show where virtually anything can happen on a School Night (11:00).

 

As Sparks Fly Upward: Stories->Improv->Sketch

This comedy troupe tells stories off the top of their heads, then improvises

 scenes based on the tales...which may later turn into scripted sketches.

It's a clever way of crafting a sketch show organically, week by week—and you can

watch the whole process, at no charge. The group consists of Kevin Allison,

Chris Caniglia, Scott Eckert, Sarah Nowak, Nate Starkey, and Shelly Stover.

6:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); free

 

 

The multi-talented Eliza Skinner portrays three women so horrible you have to laugh

Eliza Skinner: Shameless

Eliza Skinner (member of the genius improv musical groups I Eat Pandas

and Baby Wants Candy; drummer and singer in the band Stickerbook; MTV's Damage Control) plays a mother, a wife, and a party girl who are mean, vicious, and hilarious.

7:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5

 

 

   

Jon Friedman and Giulia Rozzi

Slumber Party

Comedy show playing on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month, hosted by

delightful trio Margaret Champagne, Joselyn Hughes, and Brooke Van Poppelen.

According to the official description, "it's the sort of variety show that happens when

three girls are delirious from staying up all night boozing and slap-happy from crank-calling!"

How can you resist?

Tonight's terrific guests are

Jon Friedman (host of the superb NYC live comedy extravaganzas Slightly Buzzed and

The Rejection Show; author of the book Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled),

Giulia Rozzi (VH1's Best Night Ever podcasts; monthly video series The Message Board, which makes fun of brides, on ComedyNet.com; co-producer of East coast version of hit national show Mortified; other co-host of monthly NYC red-hot live comedy show Stripped Stories;

for a video sample, please click here),

Brandy & Sara (hosts of the NYC live comedy show The Kissing Booth),

Ross Hyzer (host of NYC live extravaganza County Fair Comedy Show;

for stand-up videos, please click here and here), and

Wendy Ho (raunchy comedic singer/performer; for her music video

Bitch, I Stole Yo' Purse, please click here).

8:00 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

no cover, 1 drink or food item minimum (on low-cost menu; e.g., draft beer for $4-$5)

 

 

 

 High School Talent Show's Ilana & Eliot Glazer (left) and Mindy Raf (right)...

...and Lance Rubin & Ray Munoz in The Lance & Ray Show

High School Talent Show and The Lance & Ray Show

Two fine sketch shows for a mere five bucks.

High School Talent Show is a fun extravaganza from brother-sister duo Eliot & Ilana Glazer

in which "Upper Central High School's brightest stars take to the stage to deliver rabble-rousing performances in song, dance, magic, slam poetry, stilts, and more!" The cast of enormously talented comics playing high school students includes Ann Carr, Carolyn Castiglia, Shawn Hollenbach, Rob Lathan, and brilliant writer/singer Mindy Raf.

The double-bill then continues with The Lance & Ray Show,

which is sketch in a stream-of-consciousness style

from promising comedy duo Lance Rubin & Ray Munoz.

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).

Tonight's blow-out extravaganza marks the end of the extraordinary six-year run

of this  wonderful weekly comedy event, which along the line has featured

virtually every comic in NYC worth mentioning.

Invite Them Up might return at some point in a different form; but either way,

tonight's show will be one to remember.

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

 

 

The Nights of Our Lives: Two Sides to Every Story

This is one of the best shows in New York.

The format is simple: A bunch of razor-sharp writer/performers tell stories

about themselves revolving around the evening's theme—

which tonight is "Two sides to every story."

The only rules are that the tales must be true, and must be funny.

The brutal honesty, and jarring bravery, of some the participants can be hair-raising.

What they offer aren't merely jokes, but resonant, humane perspectives on life.

At the same time, there are very few shows, on or off Broadway,

that will make you laugh as consistently and as loud.

Enormous kudos go to host David Martin; and to brilliant storytellers

Anthony Atamanuik, John Flynn, Chris Gethard, Curtis Gwinn,

Anthony King, Margot Leitman, Adam Pally, and the other comedy soldiers

who've bared some of their darkest and funniest secrets on the Nights of Our Lives stage.

This evening's scheduled yarn-spinners are Jesse Falcon, John Flynn,

Sue Galloway, Chris Gethard, Curtis Gwinn, and John Lutz.

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

 

 

   

Kurt Braunohler, Pat Shay, and Kimmy Gatewood

The Faculty and The Baldwins and Sid Viscous

Some of the PIT's instructors—who include such talents as Ali Farahnakian,

Kurt Braunohler, Ptolemy Slocum, Jen Nails, Pat Shay, Matt Donnelly, Kevin Scott,

Rebekka Johnson, and Kimmy Gatewood—perform improv for around 30 minutes.

And opening for them will be house improv troupes The Baldwins and Sid Viscous.

9:30 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); 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 can vary wildly—

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

Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical 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 2/28/08

February 25th kicked off a three-night going away party for Invite Them Up, one of the most beloved comedy shows to ever grace NYC. This wonderful weekly East Village event, hosted by comedy greats Eugene Mirman and Bobby Tisdale (above), has over time featured

virtually every comic in NYC worth mentioning.

Performing on Monday night's blow-out farewell were, in order of appearance, Greg Johnson, Heather Lawless, Jon Glaser, Michael Showalter, Seth Herzog, Craig Baldo, and John Oliver—in other words, a virtual who's who of New York comedy.

Highlights included Jon Glaser appearing as "The Man in the Green Mask" and taking audience questions about it... which was thoroughly hilarious; Heather Lawless telling us she likes to wear a neck brace to the gym because it makes her efforts on the treadmill appear heroic; Michael Showalter having prepared a long set about TV shows and TV commercials that it turned out virtually no one but him had seen; Craig Baldo getting a bunch of the comedy onlookers to jump up on stage and dance (with especially fine moves from Heather Fink and Brett Gelman); and John Oliver delivering an absolutely brilliant set that included observations about Oreo pizza, a conversation with a talking Noam Chomsky doll, and John's peeling off a fashion mistake he'd purchased that day—a red jumper—and depositing it into the show's trash can "time capsule" at the end of his performance...to wild applause.

I had to miss Tuesday night's installment (a conflict with my screenwriters' workshop),

but am sure it was special and memorable.

And the final edition on Wednesday was star-studded. Performing were, in order of appearance, Kristen Schaal, Jim Gaffigan, Chelsea Peretti, Eric Slovin & Leo Allen, Todd Barry, Mike Birbiglia, Jon Benjamin & Jon Glaser, and Demetri Martin.

Highlights included Kristen Schaal brilliantly demonstrating her evolution as a performer over the past six years by acting out snippets from her numerous comedy routines in chronological order; Jim Gaffigan expertly generating laughs from such mundane subjects as futons ("they're made out of hate") and ketchup ("Why not let us pour from the big end of the bottle? Think about it"); Todd Barry tossing out hilarious lines and then spending an equal amount of time pointing out just how funny the lines were...resulting in additional rounds of laughs; Mike Birbiglia deconstructing the show via a spot-on imitation of Eugene Mirman, and such comments as "You can tell that routine was alternative comedy because it wasn't actually funny...but hey, it kinda made you smile;" and Demetri Martin delivering a surprisingly serious and heartfelt tribute to Invite Them Up as a seminal show that's helped to shape, and serve as a gold standard for, the now-thriving NYC comedy scene.

Is Invite Them Up gone forever? Probably not. But it's at least on haitus for a while;

and if it returns, it'll likely be in some form other than a $5 weekly show.

Either way, ITU's shining example has spawned some superb NYC weekly comedy shows to fill its shoes.

So if you love great stand-up, check out:

Aziz Ansari's Crash Test or Cavalcade! (Mondays at 11:00 pm, for free, at UCBT)

Seth Herzog's Sweet (Tuesdays at 9:00 pm, for $5, at The Slipper Room)

Noah Garfinkel's & Joe Mande's Totally J/K (Thursdays at 8:30 pm, for $5, at Rififi)

The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show (Fridays at 8:30 pm, for $5, at Rififi)

Eugene Mirman's & Michael Showalter's Tearing the Veil of Maya

 (Sundays at 8:00 pm, for $7, at Brooklyn's Union Hall).

Each of these extravaganzas is well worth experiencing.

 

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

brilliant writers & performers John Oliver (The Daily Show), Todd Hanson (head writer for The Onion),

Tom McCarthy (HBO's The Wire), musicians Fountains of Wayne, plus surprise guests

 performing from Ben Karlin's new book Things I've Learned From Women Who've Dumped Me (7:30 pm),

star comics having fun with the news, including Mike Birbiglia (Dave, Conan, Comedy Central),

Robin Ince (UK stand-up star), Jackie Clarke (Obsessed with Julie & Jackie), Kate Spencer (VH1),

and hosts Anthony King and Scott Brown at Shut Up! I Hate You! (9:30 pm),

and two of the most skilled and hilarious comedy improv troupes in the country,

Derrick and The Stepfathers, battling for audience votes at Cage Match (11:00 pm).

 

Tom McCarthy and John Oliver

Things I've Learned From Women Who've Dumped Me

Perfectly timed for Valentine's month is this hour-long comedy show. It's about

"the subject of failed relationships and the shit we endure to make them work even when God himself tells us they won't. Sprung from the book of the same name—an anthology of essays and short humor pieces by men, edited by Ben Karlin (former producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)—the live show features a blend of read & performed pieces from the book,

stand-up comedy, live music, special guests, and other material wrapped around

the theme of relationships gone bad."

Ironically, the two best performances to come out of this series so far

were from women who did not contribute to the book, and who discussed

being dumped by men.

The first was Kristen Schaal, who was elegant, graceful, witty, and achingly honest

in her tales of failed relationships. The contrast between Kristen's lovely poise

and the bravery she displayed in revealing herself was pure magic.

And the second was—to my considerable surprise—Brooke Shields!

Shields wasn't even listed on the schedule (well, unless you count "...and more");

and Suddenly Susan isn't exactly a comedy classic.

But Shields turned out to be one of the most skillful and delightful performers

to ever grace the UCBT stage. And her tale of dating, at a young and impressionable age,

 an iconic rock star who turned out to be gay was funny, poignant, and highly memorable.

But please don't feel like the best is past. Each of the guys on tonight's final

installment of this series is likely to deliver an amazing performance too.

The lineup consists of:

John Oliver (brilliant stand-up comic; delightful & hilarious news correspondent for

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, co-writer/star of The Department for BBC Radio 4;

recently shot his first Comedy Central Presents ½ hour special),

Tom McCarthy (writer/director of the acclaimed feature films The Station Agent and The Visitor;

actor on HBO's The Wire; writer for The Huffington Post),

Todd Hanson (head writer for hilarious national satirical newspaper The Onion; written and/or provided voices for Adult Swim's Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman Attorney-at-Law,

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Squidbillies),

music by Fountains of Wayne,

and more.

7:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5

 

 

Secret Hospital: Blood and Sparkles

Secret Hospital returns tonight with an all-new sketch comedy show.

The troupe consists of Michael Hartney, Patrick Inglis, Rachel Korowitz,

 Dan McInerney, and Jeff Scherer (for performer bios, please click here).

And the bits include a doomed middle school couple, the Quarterback Curse,

insanity, blood, and sparkles.

To get a feel for SH, check out its fun video about how you should never shake a baby

by clicking click here.

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

 

 

 

Robin Ince and Mike Birbiglia...

...and Anthony King, Scott Brown, Jackie Clarke, and Kate Spencer

Shut Up! I Hate You!

A funny look at the news, with lots of amusing video clips,

hosted by Anthony King (UCBT Artistic Director, Reuben Williams)

and Scott Brown (writer for Entertainment Weekly, and

co-writer with Anthony King of Gutenberg: The Musical).

Tonight's panelists are

Mike Birbiglia (razor-sharp stand-up comic who just performed an hour-long Comedy Central special titled What I Should Have Said is Nothing; also performed two

Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; appeared multiple times on Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien; has released the comedy CDs

Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live;

for sample stand-up videos, please click here and here),

Robin Ince (acclaimed UK stand-up comic, writer, and actor),

Jackie Clarke (creating some of the freshest & most hilarious material in NYC with comedy partner Julie Klausner via their UCBT show Obsessed with Julie & Jackie, member of genius improv troupe Death by Roo Roo; writer for The Big Gay Sketch Show), and

Kate Spencer (VH1.com, member of stellar improv troupe Reuben Williams).

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

 

 

vs.

Cage Match: Derrick vs. The Stepfathers

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

Derrick is three sharp and enormously appealing performers,

Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson, who have

proven themselves to be both stars and champions, winning

a breathtaking 11 improv matches in a row last year at Cage Match...

and breaking several all-time records while at it.

The guys also make wildly popular YouTube videos—

for some samples, please click here and here and here.

The Stepfathers consists of some of the sharpest & funniest improv comics

in the country—Michael Delaney, Christina Gausas, Chris Gethard, Will Hines,

Bobby Moynihan, Shannon O'Neill, Silvija Ozols, and Zach Woods.

Some of these folks are comedy geniuses; and they're on stage practicing their craft

in front of rapt audiences every Friday night at 9:30 at UCBT.

Simply put, this is an evening of titans vs. titans.

There's no telling what will happen...which is one of the great pleasures of this extravaganza.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 2/29/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

the magical & hilarious Livia Scott, Kambri Crews, Carolyn Castiglia, Margot Leitman, and more

telling funny, and sometimes poignant, stories about their relatives at Sara Benincasa's Family Hour (7:00 pm),

the delightful Amber Petty, Jessie Schupack, and Tricia McAlpin of comedy troupe Penny, and real-life ER doctor

Devlyn Corrigan providing an insider's look at life at NYC hospitals, in White Orphans and This is Gonna Hurt (8:00 pm),

typically stellar stand-up comics at one of the funniest productions in NYC—and winner of

the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Variety Show—The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show (8:30 pm),

some of the finest improv in NYC from the comedy genius members of The Stepfathers (9:30 pm),

clever, inventive sketch comedy from Chocolate Cake City (9:30),

singing improvisors who use an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical (10:00 pm),

one of my all-time favorite improv troupes, the brilliant and daring members of Death by Roo Roo (11:00 pm),

and a free opportunity for you to perform improv with UCBT veterans at Jammin' with Ralph (Midnight).

 

Happy children with "Aunt" Sara Benincasa...

...and Livia Scott, Kambri Crews, and Carolyn Castiglia

Family Hour with Auntie Sara

A stand-up comedy show in which everyone tells jokes and/or stories related to

their family. Hosted by comic/actress Sara Benincasa (MTV's Choose or Lose Campaign;

host of Tub Talk with Sara B. on Nerve.com; for video sample, please click here).

Tonight's wonderful guests include

Livia Scott (brilliant, magical comedic chameleon; Late Night with Conan O'Brien,

world-class sketch group Meat, acclaimed one-woman show Goodnight, O.J.,

Livia's Castle of Enchantment; will be spilling the beans tonight about a very recent

trip to Las Vegas with her dad, which is a tale I'm guessing is not to be missed),

Carolyn Castiglia (warm-hearted & quick-witted stand-up who's appeared on VH1, MTV2,

and Sirius Satellite Radio; writes for The Huffington Post; and is the superb host and co-producer of weekly NYC live comedy show Chicks & Giggles),

Kambri Crews (luminous performer, stellar publicist & producer, and one of the most sharp, charming, and heartfelt comedic storytellers working in NYC; for Kambri's correspondence with her deaf dad, who's in a Texas prison for trying to  stab his wife to death, please visit Web site LoveDaddy.org; for a video of Kambri reading her jailed dad's wedding toast, please click here),

Margot Leitman (another of NYC's finest comedic storytellers, and co-host of red-hot NYC live comedy show Stripped Stories; performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, VH1, ESPN, and new Spike TV show The Team; for Margot's fun reel, please click here),

and Tracie Higgins, Matt Taylor, and Adrienne Iapalucci.

7:00 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

no cover, 1 drink or food item minimum (on low-cost menu; e.g., draft beer for $4-$5)

 

 

 

Amber Petty, Jessie Schupack & Tricia McAlpin of White Orphans, and Devlyn Corrigan of This is Gonna Hurt

Penny: White Orphans and This is Gonna Hurt

Two fine sketch shows for a mere eight bucks.

Sketch/improv group Penny consists of the adorable & very funny comedy trio

 Amber Petty, Trisha McAlpin, and Jessie Schupack. In tonight's show, the gals

 promise to "guide you through their wonderful world of art, music, and laughter.

You'll laugh till you cry, cry till you laugh, and be moved enough that you too

 will want a white orphan for your very own." Directed by Susannah Beckett.

The double-bill then continues with This Is Gonna Hurt: The ER Through a Doctor's Eyes.

This one-man show is written and performed by Devlyn Corrigan, a veteran improvisor,

storyteller (on The Nights of Our Lives), and performer (for a video sample, please click here)

who'll be recreating hair-raising experiences from his "day job" as a doctor

working at some of the busiest ERs and trauma centers in New York City.

Directed by the wonderful Adam Pally (Hot Sauce, Cage Match, The Nights of Our Lives).

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

 

 

Larry Murphy & Greg Johnson

The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show

Hosted by Greg Johnson (sharp, quick-witted stand-up comic)

and Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor who performs all the

key characters on Adult Swim's Assy McGee; other TV series include

Home Movies, O'Grady, Cheapseats, Computer Lab, Puppets N Such;

for an animated VO reel, please click here).

Tonight's lineup hasn't been announced yet, but it's usually stellar.

To check for a last-minute update, please click here.

8:30 pm at Rififi, 332 East 11th Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues); tickets are $5

 

 

 

Ms. Jackson and Surf n' Turf

"They're all street, all the time." Ms. Jackson is five funny women—pictured left to right,

 Jessica Allen, Bayne Gibby, Stephanie Kasen, Caitlin Miller, and Tara Copeland

—who won the 2004 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group.

The other half of this double-bill is Surf n' Turf, consisting of

Improv performers Bob Acevedo, Dave Furfero, and Ernie Privetera:

"Three men with no fear of intimacy or injury...who create

spontaneous theater that is physical, intense, moving, and occasionally funny."

As the official description indicates, Surf 'n Turf's style's not laugh-a-minute,

so isn't  for every taste; to get a feel for it, please click here.

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

 

 

Jenny Rubin

The Back Room

Gay-themed comedy, hosted tonight by Jenny Rubin

(who's normally host of NYC live comedy show Max!).

Tonight's scheduled guests include

Becky Donahue (Comedy Central's Premium Blend),

Jackie Monahan (co-host of NYC weekly comedy show Dykes on Mikes),

Danny Leary (On the Rocks),

and Back Room co-producer Paul Case (MTV).

8:30 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

no cover, 1 drink or food item minimum (on low-cost menu; e.g., draft beer for $4-$5)

 

 

Bobby Moynihan, Zach Woods, Christina Gausas, Michael Delaney, and Chris Gethard

The Stepfathers

Some of the smartest & finest improv comics in NYC—Michael Delaney, Christina Gausas,

Chris Gethard, Will Hines, Bobby Moynihan, Shannon O'Neill, Silvija Ozols,

and Zach Woods—make up a series of scenes from a one-word audience suggestion.

With art and grace, these star talents will make you laugh—a lot.

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

 

 

Chocolate Cake City

Chocolate Cake City began as a sketch troupe from Boston's Emerson College in 2003. It's since expanded to a second troupe in New York specializing in thematic, story-based comedy.

To get a feel for CCC's wit and talent, please check out a hilarious video showing George Lucas' digitally remastered "Special Edition" version of Singin' in the Rain by clicking here.

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

 

 

The Made-Up Musical

Veteran improvisor John O'Donnell is accompanied

by a rotating cast that might include such superb talents as

Tara Copeland, Scott Glover, Alex Marino, Louis Kornfeld,

 Jessica Allen, Robin Rothman, and Megan Gray

—and with Frank Spitznagel on piano—

turn an interview with an audience member

into a musical they make up on the spot.

10:00 pm at The Magnet Theatre, 254 West 29th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $7

 

 

Stacy Mayer, Laura Dillman, and Jeremiah Murphy

Manhattan Comedy Collective: Post-Valentine's Day Show

If you'd like to experience a gentler, more relaxed, but still quite smart type of improv, visit the Manhattan Comedy Collective run by the wonderful Stacy Mayer (who's quick as lightning, but much funnier). Almost every Friday features Character Dogville, in which performers dress up as odd characters and spontaneously interact with each other.

10:00 pm at the Sage Theatre, 711 Seventh Avenue, 2nd floor (between 47th and 48th Streets);

get $5 off the $15 tickets (i.e., pay only $10) by mentioning the Character Dogville blog.

 

 

Death by Roo Roo: Your F*cked Up Family

Arguably the gutsiest improv troupe in NYC, the brilliant comics of Death by Roo RooAnthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Jackie Clarke, Brett Gelman, John Gemberling, and Curtis Gwinn—interview an audience member about family and then act out his or her life story

via improvised scenes. Sometimes scary, and usually hilarious.

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

 

 

Jammin' With Ralph

To perform improvisation at UCBT, you must spend years taking classes and carefully perfecting your craft...or you can come to this monthly free show, which allows audience members to jump on stage and participate! Hosted by popular long-form improv troupe fwand, consisting of Chelsea Clarke, Dominic Dierkes, Jonathan Gabrus, Sean Hart,

Kevin Hines, Ellie Kemper, Gil Ozeri, and Greg Tuculescu.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 3/1/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

the perfect comedy show for short attention spansopen mic stand-up with 4 minutes per set

and around 30 comics crammed into 2 hoursat John Morrison's Ochi's Motel (6:00 pm),

star improvisation from writers & performers at 30 Rock, The Colbert Report,

and The Daily show who joyously declare Let's Have a Ball (7:30 pm),

Second City veterans, Magnet instructors, UCBT stars, and occasional celebs

at the Magnet's signature improv show, The Tiny Spectacular (7:30 pm),

comics experiencing the rush of performing with no clothes on in The Naked Comedy Showcase (8:00 pm),

UK stand-up comic star Robin Ince, Ann Carr, Brad Steuernagel, and more at Drink at Work (8:45 pm),

improv comedy mixed with audience-supplied music at the rockin' Mother: The Soundtrack (9:00 pm),

inventive & hilarious sketch comedy from The Harvard Sailing Team (9:30 pm),

improvised TV shows about audience members via world-class troupe Reuben Williams (10:30 pm),

hilarious sketch comics such as Livia Scott, Murderfist, and host Party Central USA in Sketchubator NYC (11:00 pm),

and outrageous UCBT stars Jackie Clarke and Hot Sauce hosting The Dirtiest Sketch in NYC Contest (Midnight).

 

Ochi's Motel

Lottery-style open mic for stand-up comics trying out material,

with 4 minutes per performer...in return for a $5 contribution to the weekly prize kitty.

(In addition, Ochi's 1-item food or drink minimum applies to everyone.)

A breathtaking 30+ comics perform in this 2 hour show; host

John Morrison (above) has described it as "comedy on crack."

If you're seeking consistent laughs, this might not be the best way to kick off

your evening. But if you're patient and adventurous, it's a potentially wild ride.

And if you're a performer looking for some stage time, it's a nice opportunity.

To be entered into the weekly random drawing for the show's performers,

please email host John Morrison (above) at ochismotel[at]gmail.com.

6:00 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

no cover, 1 drink or food item minimum (on low-cost menu; e.g., draft beer for $4-$5)

 

 

 

Becky Drysdale, Anthony King, Christina Gausas, Peter Gwinn, and Tami Sagher

Let's Have a Ball

Some of the sharpest writers and performers in NYC get together for long-form improv fun.

The players typically include Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-director & cast member of Adult Swim's brilliant & Emmy-winning Moral Orel), Kay Cannon (writer for 30 Rock), Becky Drysdale (acclaimed one-woman show One Woman in Several Pieces, Web video series Time Traveling Lesbian), Christina Gausas (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Stepfathers, Dorff & Gausas), Peter Gwinn (writer for The Colbert Report), Anthony King (UCBT-NY Artistic Director, Reuben Williams, Gutenberg! The Musical), Laura Krafft (writer for The Colbert Report), Tami Sagher (writer for 30 Rock; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006), and Rob Riggle (correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Saturday Night Live, The Office).

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

 

 

The Tiny Spectacular

Magnet instructors & Second City veterans such as Rachel Hamilton, Ed Herbstman, Abby Sher, and Miriam Tolan, 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

 

 

Andy Ofiesh, creator of The Naked Comedy Showcase

The Naked Comedy Showcase

Oddly enough, this is just what it sounds like;

stand-up, sketch, and improv comics performing in the buff.

A reviewer from The Boston Globe observed, "The dynamic of nude comedian

and clothed audience added an extra dimension to self-deprecating material."

For a New York Magazine review, please click here.

8:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $10

 

 

   

Ann Carr, Robin Ince, and host Sean Crespo

Drink at Work

Comedic variety show produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo

(stand-up comic and prolific filmmaker; for samples, please click here & here & here).

This evening's scheduled guests include

Robin Ince (acclaimed UK stand-up comic, writer, and actor),

Ann Carr (Comedy Central Motherload's Honesty Wedding, UCBT's High School Talent Show,

The PIT's Keith & Donna's Grateful Dead Listening Hour),

Brad Steuernagel (ImprovOlympic, shows Ice Cream Before Bed and Local Comedian;

for video with Brad as scary-hilarious magazine subscription salesman posing the

memorable question "Do you like information, sir?", please click here),

Mike Birch (partner with Rick Homan of comedic singer/songwriter duo Fish & Chips), and

rock band AfterParty.

8:45 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

no cover, 1 drink or food item minimum (on low-cost menu; e.g., draft beer for $4-$5)

 

 

Mother: The Soundtrack

Jason Mantzoukas leads a vibrant team of improv comicsScot Armstrong, Tara Copeland, Jon Daly, James Eason, Jesse Falcon, Doug Moe, and Christine Walterswho make up scenes based on CD tracks contributed by the audience. 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: A Hundred Years of Song and Dance

The Harvard Sailing Team, which just won the ECNY Award for Best Sketch Comedy Group,

performs their special brand of fresh, imaginative comedy

that turns familiar rituals on their head. (For a video about awkward goodbyes

at the end of a party, please click here.) The very talented troupe consists of

Rebecca Brey, Jen Curran, Clayton Early, Faryn Einhorn, Katie Larson,

Adam Lustick, Chris Smith, Billy Scafuri, and Sara Taylor.

This new collection of sketches, titled

A Hundred Years of Song and Dance, covers such topics

as Melissa Etheridge, Duck Tales, and American Gladiators.

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 superb improvisor and actor. Joining him are stellar talents Eugene Cordero, Lennon Parham, Charlie Sanders, Eric Scott, Kate Spencer, Charlie Todd, and Joe Wengert. Together, they interview an audience member, and then use the answers as the basis for a new TV show...which this fiercely talented comedy troupe creates & performs for you on the spot.

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

 

 

4 Track!

Springboarding from a word suggested by the audience,

George Basil, Frank Campanella, Christian Capozzoli, and Matt Evans

perform organic & energetic long-form improv for about 40 minutes.

Basil is a stand-out, but they're all sharp, committed improvisors.

There's also a warm chemistry between the men, which is especially evident

if you arrive early to watch them getting ready on stage: They toss a ball

back and forth, and then toss each other back and forth...sending

a body message of "If you throw an improv concept at me, you can trust me

to not let it drop..." One of the Magnet's most popular shows.

10:30 pm at The Magnet Theatre, 254 West 29th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5

 

 

   

Livia Scott, Murderfist, and Party Central USA

Sketchubator NYC

In this monthly show, each of a bunch of sketch groups performs

one of its favorite sketches. Tonight's scheduled guests are

brilliant sketch writer/performer Livia Scott (member of world-class sketch group Meat;

acclaimed & ECNY-nominated one-woman show Goodnight, O.J.),

sketch troupes Impending Moustache, Murderfist, Poykpac,

Rue Brutalia, and Smelly Ugly Puppets;

and host Party Central USA.

11:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $8

 

 

Jackie Clarke and Hot Sauce

The Dirtiest Sketch in New York Contest

If you're easily offended, don't even consider coming to this show.

But if you appreciate comedy that pushes the envelope without hurting anyone

(with the possible exception of prudes), you'll applaud this wild, uninhibited

breaking of taboos to get laughs.

This show is an open contest to see who can create the

most shockingly funny & filthy sketch running three minutes or less.

If a routine is dreadful (many will be), the festivities will be maintained

by stellar hosts Jackie Clarke (Late Night with Conan O'Brien,

Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made Ever!, Julie & Jackie,

member of genius improv troupe Death by Roo Roo, writer for The Big Gay Sketch Show), and

quick-witted sketch/improv group Hot Sauce (Gil Ozeri, Adam Pally and Ben Schwartz;

for some samples of their work, please click here and here).

For a review of the UCBT-LA version of the show, please click here.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 3/2/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in NYC live comedy include

UCBT's playground for celebrities and ace improvisors, ASSSSCAT 3000 (7:30 & 9:30 pm),

brilliant stand-up comic Anthony Jeselnik (Comedy Central, MTV), Giulia Rozzi (Stripped Stories),

Sean O'Connor (VH1), and more at Timmy Williams' & Sam Brown's Scum and Villainy (8:00 pm),

and stellar stand-ups including Leo Allen (Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central Presents) joining

comedy giants Eugene Mirman and Michael Showalter at Brooklyn's Tearing the Veil of Maya (8:00 pm).

 

 

ASSSSCAT 3000

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 stars 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; advance tickets might be sold out by the time you read this, but a limited number of seats are available at the door for

those who arrive early enough to nab 'em...and even more tickets are available for those willing to watch the show standing. 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)

 

 

   

Hosts Timmy Williams & Sam Brown; Giulia Rozzi; and Anthony Jeselnik (being lauded by Robin Williams)

Scum and Villainy

This free weekly show is hosted by Timmy Williams and Sam Brown, members of popular comedy group The Whitest Kids U' Know (currently starring in a TV show on IFC).

Tonight's superb stand-up comic guests include

Anthony Jeselnik (phenomenal comic specializing in darkly shocking jokes and one of

my favorite stand-ups ever; Comedy Central's Premium Blend, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live,

 NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly, MTV's Walk of Shame;

for a video stand-up sample, please click here),

Giulia Rozzi (VH1's Best Night Ever podcasts; monthly video series The Message Board, which makes fun of brides, on ComedyNet.com; co-producer of East Coast version of hit national show Mortified; co-host of monthly NYC red-hot live comedy show Stripped Stories;

for a video sample, please click here), and

Sean O'Connor (VH1; New York Post's Top 20 Entertainers to Watch For in 2006;

upcoming album Shmeat is Shmurder; host of NYC weekly live comedy show The Sean O'Connor Experiment; for hilarious stand-up samples, please click here and here).

8:00 pm at Pianos, 158 Ludlow Street at Stanton; free

 

 

   

Leo Allen, Michael Showalter, and Eugene Mirman

Tearing the Veil of Maya

If you live in Brooklyn, or simply don't mind going a few subway stops beyond Manhattan,

some of the best comedy minds in New York can be found at this weekly show hosted by

Eugene Mirman (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central Presents half-hour special,

Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Jump Cuts, HBO's Flight of the Conchords, VH1,

The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman and En Garde, Society! comedy albums) and

Michael Showalter (Michael Showalter (MTV's seminal sketch show The State, legendary comedy troupe Stella,

writer/director/star of feature film The Baxter, co-writer/co-star of feature film Wet Hot American Summer).

Tonight's guests include

Leo Allen (writer for Saturday Night Live 2002-2005; Late Night with Conan O'Brien,

Comedy Central Presents, Ed, Sex and the City).

8:00 pm at Union Hall, 702 Union Street at 5th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn; tickets are $7

Take the R train to Union Street and walk 1 block east; or take

the F train to 4th Avenue, walk north on 4th Avenue and turn right on Union Street, and go 1 block up;

or take the  2/3/4/5/Q train to Atlantic Avenue, walk south on 5th Avenue, and make a left on Union Street.

 

 

Ampers&nd

A showcase for talented improvisation twosomes.

Tonight's scheduled duos are

Corey Grimes & Charlei Whitcroft,

Jon Bander & Sean Taylor,

Paul W. Downs & Lucia Aniello, and

Michael Bell & Delia Rimer.

Hosted by Alex Marino.

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

 

 

The Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

Adam Sank (former TV news producer for FOX and WABC-TV; written

for The New York Times, Esquire Magazine, and The San Francisco Sentinel)

hosts this free gay-themed stand-up comedy show.

Tonight's scheduled guests are

Chantal Carrere, Rick Crom, Helen Hong, and Dave Rubin.

To get a feel for the show, please click here.

10:00 pm at Therapy, 348 West 52nd Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues); free

 

 

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 read Hy on Theatre Discounts.

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Tonight

 

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Copyright © 2008 Hy Bender

Email: hy@hyreviews.com