NYC Comedy Picks for Week of July 21, 2008

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 7/21/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

the perfect show for short attention spans—open mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set

and around 30 comics crammed into 2½ hours—at John Morrison's Ochi's Motel (6:30 pm & 9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] Daily Show correspondents John Oliver (Comedy Central's Terrifying Times),

Rob Riggle (Saturday Night Live, The Office), and newest addition Wyatt Cenac, plus

This Is It! host Adam Lowitt, at a show created by the former Co-Executive Producer

of The Daily Show: Rory Albanese and Friends (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] political sketch comedy, plus an interview with renowned wit and author Kurt Anderson about his upcoming humor book The Real Thing—and undoubtedly about a great deal more—

at Liz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] top storytellers, writers, and stand-ups Tom Shillue (Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central),

Rob Kutner (writer for The Daily Show), Rick Shapiro (HBO), Chris Mata (Comedy Central),

and more at Liam McEneaney's free Tell Your Friends (8:00ish pm),

[TOP PICK] razor-sharp & hilarious stand-up comic John Mulaney (Conan O'Brien, VH1)

and versatile comedic actress Ann Carr at a pseudo talk show hosted by a

a made-up Hollywood icon at Andres du Bouchet: Born With A Stage Name (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] and some of the best improvisors in NYC—tonight including Michael Delaney,

Bobby Moynihan, and John Gemberling—performing in pairs at Couples Skate (11:00 pm).

 

Ochi's Motel

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

with 4½ 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 2½ hour show; producer

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

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

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.

Plus if you stick around till the show's end to support your fellow comics,

 you have a chance at winning the cash from the kitty, along with smaller prizes.

Ochi's Motel is hosted & booked by Sean Donnelly and Joe Powers.

 

To be entered into the weekly random drawing for performers,

please send email to ochismotel[at]gmail.com.

There are two shows tonight, at 6:30 and 9:00 pm (with entirely different sets of comics).

6:30 pm & 9:00 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues)

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

 

 

    

John Oliver, Rory Albanese, and Rob Riggle

The Daily Show's Rory Albanese and Friends

The Daily Show's former co-executive producer & multiple Emmy Award winner Rory Albanese hosts this monthly show; and he's put together quite an event.

Tonight's thoroughly wonderful guests include three Daily Show correspondents:

John Oliver (genius who's one of the very finest—and nicest—stand-up comics in the biz;

delightful & hilarious news correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;

recently aired a superb hour-long Comedy Central special, Terrifying Times; is co-writer/star

of The Department for BBC Radio 4, and host/star of BBC stand-up radio show Political Animal),

Rob Riggle (hilarious, organic, honest; correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;

other credits include Saturday Night Live, The Office, Arrested Development, Human Giant),

Wyatt Cenac (newest correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;

for a blacks vs. gays competition, please click here), plus

Adam Lowitt (staffer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; host of NYC live comedy show It Is It!; for a video stand-up sample, please click here).

Please Note: You can save $5 off the $20 cover (i.e., $15 per ticket)

by ordering online with discount code HyReviews.

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

$15 online with code HyReviews, plus two-item food or drink minimum

 

 

  

Kurt Anderson and his upcoming book The Real Thing, 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 NYC show Drink at Work, please click here.)

Tonight's guest is Kurt Anderson, founder of legendary satire magazine Spy (to which I owe some of my proudest article sales), previously a columnist for The New Yorker and now for New York magazine, contributor to such other renowned mags as Vanity Fair and Time; writer for TV , film, and stage; co-creator and host of Studio 360, a Peabody Award-winning cultural radio show reaching 500,000 listeners weekly; and author of the novels Heyday and Turn of the Century. Tonight he'll be discussing his upcoming book of humor essays titled The Real Thing.

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

and read a March 2008 New York Times article about the show by clicking here.

8:00 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

 

 

    

Tom Shillue, Liam McEneaney, and Rick Shapiro

Tell Your Friends

This free weekly comedy show 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 host is "Mr. Mystery."

And the superb guests are

Tom Shillue (Comedy Central Presents half-hour special, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; storytelling podcasts; host of acclaimed NYC monthly comedy show Moonwork; comedy CD Overconfident!; for stand-up samples, please click here and here),

Rick Shapiro (when at his best, a hilarious hyper & unrestrained stand-up who's a breath of fresh air—but Rick can be wildly inconsistent, so expect an adventure; credits include HBO's Lucky Louie and PoCreations Radio; a hit show at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival; performances at virtually all the top comedy clubs in NYC; and comedy CD Unconditional Love),

Rob Kutner (writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and author of the new book Apocalypse How: Turn the End-Times into the Best of Times! about how to cheerily meet the inevitable upcoming End of Days), and

Chris Mata (Comedy Central's Premium Blend, mun2's Loco Comedy Jam,

SITV's Latino Laugh Festival; blogs for 236.com and The Huffington Post).

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

 

 

    

John Mulaney, Andres du Bouchet, and Ann Carr

Andres du Bouchet: Born With A Stage Name

Andres du Bouchet is a writer for & performer on FOX's Talkshow with Spike Feresten, and has also performed on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and Comedy Central's Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, and ESPN's Cheap Seats. To watch Andres explain song lyrics, please click here; and for lots more videos, please click here.

Tonight Andre pretends to be a tad more famous than he actually is, "celebrating his 35 fictional years as a Hollywood icon with fascinating interviews, powerful film clips, titillating stories, and stiff drinks." Helping pull off this show that mixes stand-up with semi-improvised sketch are two superb performers:

John Mulaney (one of the most razor-sharp and hilarious stand-up comics in the country; frequently appears on VH1's Best Week Ever; performed stand-up twice on Late Night with Conan O'Brien; won the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Male Stand-Up Comedian; to watch videos of John's two Conan sets, please click here and here) and

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

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

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

 

 

    

Bobby Moynihan, John Gemberling, and Michael Delaney

Couples Skate

Some of the best improvisors in NYC pair up tonight

and perform, often for the first time, as duos.

Hosted by Sean Clements (30 Rock) & Brandon Gardner (for sample sketch, please click here).

Tonight's superb lineup consists of

Michael Delaney & John Gemberling,

Bobby Moynihan & Birch Harms, and

Craig Rowin & Jesse Falcon.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 7/22/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

a screening of charming & funny political cartoons followed by a panel discussion about the news with opinionated NYC comedians at the Scott Bateman Animation Show (7:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] razor-sharp stand-ups Pete Holmes (one of the quickest, funniest comics in the country;

VH1, Comedy Central), Greg Johnson (co-host of award-winning NYC Friday comedy show),

Joselyn Hughes (exceptionally smart, down-to-earth comic; co-host of Slumber Party),

Sean Patton (founder of New Orleans Comedy Festival), Allyson Smith (Montreal Festival),

and more at a hot new show mixing sketch & stand-up: Sweet Haven (8:00ish pm),

Alex Robinson (writer/artist of graphic novels Box Office Poison, Tricked, and the upcoming Too Cool to

be Forgotten) joining in on a lively & fun discussion about comic books at Comic Book Club (8:00 pm),

three full hours of improv for only five bucks at Harold Night (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] world-class comics John Oliver (genius stand-up and correspondent for The Daily Show),

Chris Gethard (brilliant storyteller and UCBT star improvisor for troupe The Stepfathers), and

Greg Johnson (co-host of award-winning NYC Friday comedy show), plus Josh Charles (star actor)

and more at one of the finest & funniest shows in NYC, the wonderful Seth Herzog's Sweet (9:00 pm),

and two top NYC improv troupes, Hot Sauce and The Brothers Hines (11:00 pm).

 

Scott Bateman self-portrait

Scott Bateman Animation Show

Finally—the perfect lead-in for The PIT's 8:00 pm Comic Book Club.

Scott Bateman is a prolific and witty cartoonist who produced an animated short

a day for an entire year. Scott's work can be found at Plum TV's Scott Bateman Presents; at Salon.com, for which he creates a weekly animated series; and on YouTube, where you'll find such unlikely stuff as Scott's animated versions of PIT improv troupes. To get a feel for his work, check out Scott's public service announcement about VD (which actually aired on prime time) by clicking here.

Tonight Scott will show some of his political cartoons and then host a panel discussion about the news with sharp NYC comics. As the official description puts it, "Think The McLaughlin Group, but funny on purpose."

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

 

 

Sweet Haven

This exciting new show comes from sketch troupe Peoples Republic of Komedy, whose members learned how to be funny in Seattle and then sunk all their savings into making a mark in NYC. They're off to a great start with this new weekly extravaganza, which uses sketch (and even a theme song) to create a comedic framework for their stand-up guests.

Tonight's superb lineup consists of

Pete Holmes (razor-sharp & lightning-fast mind, and one of the finest stand-ups in the country;

VH1's Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Motherload;

writer for CollegeHumor.com; cartoonist for mags ranging from

The New Yorker to Cosmo Girl; host of UCBT's monthly open mic extravaganza Gutbucket),

Greg Johnson (sharp, quick-witted stand-up comic who co-hosts the weekly

NYC comedy extravaganza The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show,

which won the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Variety Show),

Joselyn Hughes (co-host of biweekly NYC live comedy show Slumber Party; for video questioning the effectiveness of rape whistles, please click here),

Sean Patton (LES' The Tommy Danger Show, founder of the New Orleans Comedy Festival;

for a stand-up audio clip about vitamin-coated condoms, please click here), and

Allyson Smith (popular Vancouver-based comic; Montreal Just for Laughs Festival; "soft yet honest approach to humor").

8:00ish pm (doors open at 7:30) at Rififi, 332 East 11th Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues); $5

 

 

Alex Robinson self-portrait

Comic Book Club

Hosted by Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler and Pete LePage,

who enjoy discussing comic books while getting laughs.

Tonight's guest is award-winning comics writer/artist Alex Robinson, whose graphic novels

include Box Office Poison, Tricked, and the upcoming Too Cool to Be Forgotten.

To get a feel for the smart, playful vibe of Comic Book Club, please check out its podcasts—

that is, audio recordings of previous shows in their entirety—by clicking here.

(And for my fave, a delightful show with Kevin "Batman" Conroy, please click here).

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—

RAGNARÖCK, The F*cking Kennedys, The Law Firm, Bangs, and Whorenado—

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

 

 

   

John Oliver and Chris Gethard...

   

...and Seth Herzog and Greg Johnson

Sweet

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

Seth is one of the finest hosts around—and this is one of the best comedy shows in NYC.

Tonight's thoroughly wonderful guests include

John Oliver (genius who's one of the very finest—and nicest—stand-up comics in the biz;

delightful & hilarious news correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;

recently aired a superb hour-long Comedy Central special, Terrifying Times; is co-writer/star

of The Department for BBC Radio 4, and host/star of BBC stand-up radio show Political Animal),

Chris Gethard (one of the most talented and brilliant storytellers and improvisors in New York; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, Happy Hour, author of book Weird New York),

Greg Johnson (sharp, quick-witted stand-up comic who co-hosts the weekly

NYC comedy extravaganza The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show,

which won the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Variety Show), and

Josh Charles (superb actor who's performed in HBO's In Treatment and ABC's Sports Night; movies including Hairspray, Dead Poets Society, Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, S.W.A.T., and Four Brothers; and NYC theatre including Neil LaBute's The Distance From Here, for which he and other cast members won a 2004 Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble).

Also promised are "some very special guests."

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

 

 

 

Hot Sauce and The Brothers Hines

Two top NYC improv troupes for a mere five bucks.

First up is sharp-witted & lightning-quick Hot Sauce, winner of

the 2006 Cage Match Improv Championship. The trio consists of

Gil Ozeri (SNL; animator and creator of Team Gibba),

Adam Pally (written for ABC; performed for MTV, Comedy Central,

UCBT's The Nights of Our Lives), and

Ben Schwartz (freelance writer for SNL's Weekend Update and

Late Show's David Letterman monologues;

staff writer for Adult Swim's wonderful Robot Chicken;

short filmmaker for SuperDeluxe.com; co-author of upcoming humor

postcard book Grandma's Dead: Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals).

For video samples of these talented guys' work, please click here and here).

The double-bill then continues with The Brothers Hines. This two-man team is Will Hines (member of genius UCBT Friday night troupe The Stepfathers; produces videos for AOL), and Kevin Hines (member of UCBT Harold team The Scam). And yes, they really are brothers—which, when they're cookin', lets this duo create amazing improv scenes by virtually reading each other's minds.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 7/23/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

[TOP PICK] dozens of the finest talents at the Upright Citizen Brigade—meaning many of the best

best improv and sketch comedy performers in New York—gathering to strut their stuff and provide

sneak peeks of upcoming productions at UCBT's Happening Summer Showcase (7:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] some of the finest comedic music talent in NYC, including wonderful singer/songwriters

Shayna Ferm and Mindy Raf, plus the Wau Wau Sisters, Dynasty Handbag, and Stace & Kell,

hosted by Logo TV's Julie Goldman: Offensive Women (8:00ish pm),

[TOP PICK] eight stellar storytellers trying to fool the audience, ably abetted by

host Andy Christie (The New York Times) at The Liar Show (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] genius comics Todd Barry (HBO, Conan, Letterman) and Andy Blitz (staff writer for Conan),

plus stellar stand-ups Jared Logan, Heather Fink, Megan Ganz, Brent Sullivan,

and more at a spectacular edition of Gelmania (9:00ish pm),

deliciously funny & luminous gals Brooke Van Poppelen, Joselyn Hughes, and

Margaret Champagne entertaining you with their own stand-up & stories, and also

bringing in sharp NYC comics to perform, at their Slumber Party (9:00 pm),

improvised political satire, and an improvised soap opera, in the double-bill

The Spin Room and Hot Lather: As the Diamond Burns (9:30 pm),

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

For details, please click here.

 

TV Alert: South Park is one of the funniest shows in TV history—

and also one of the most consistently superb, over an amazing 11 seasons.

On tonight's repeat, Stan learns the true meaning of Easter...and wishes he hadn't.

Set your TiVo to 10:00 pm or midnight at Comedy Central

to shatter your illusions.

 

A horde of UCBT stars show how high they can soar at this fun event

UCBT's Happening Summer Showcase

Many of UCBT's shining stars—a small army of talented improv and sketch comedy performers, who you can explore by clicking here and then clicking the photos on the right—will be demonstrating off what they can do via back-to-back shows running for over two hours. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know some of the finest comics in New York...and to nab a sneak peak at productions coming up this summer and fall.

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

 

 

 

Adam Newman and Shawn Pearlman

Faux Show

Weekly comedy show hosted by

Adam Newman (CMT's Prankville'd, VH1's Best Week Ever blog, co-host of

monthly NYC live comedy show Street Meat; host of weekly NYC live open mic comedy show

Blowtorch Slaughter; half of musical comedy duo Uber Luber Death Metal) and

Shawn Pearlman ("If you're in a bad neighborhood, blowing a rape whistle

is like ringing a dinner bell;" for stand-up videos, please click here and here).

Tonight's guests haven't been announced, but they're likely to be talented stand-up comics.

7:30 pm, Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

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

 

 

    

Shayna Ferm, the Wau Wau Sisters, and Mindy Raf

Offensive Women

This monthly event hosted by Julie Goldman (cast member of Logo TV's

The Big Gay Sketch Show) spotlights top female comics.

Tonight's show focuses on superb comedic singer/songwriters and musical acts:

Shayna Ferm (one of the sharpest and finest comedic singer/songwriters in the biz; recently released her first album, Blonde; member of world-class sketch group Fearsome; for samples of Shay's songs, please click here),

Mindy Raf (like Shay, brilliantly funny and sexy writer/singer;

VH1's Best Week Ever, relationship columnist for CollegeHumor.com,

comedy writer for WABC, actor on SuperDeluxe.com's The Post Show,

plays super-feminist character Leibya Rogers: "When I sing, your soul jumps out

of your body and nestles in between my legs;" for video sample, please click here),

Wau Wau sisters (Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Isaac Mizrahi Show, John Cameron Mitchell's feature film Shortbus, NPR's The Next Big Thing),

Dynasty Handbag (performance artist Jibz Cameron, described as "a hybrid of Charlie Chaplin and Gumby;" for an assortment of quirky video clips, please click here), and

Stace & Kell ("sorority sister singing duo").

8:00ish pm at The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street  (corner of Stanton Street); tickets are $10

 

 

The Liar Show

Eight funny people tell amazing stories. Six of the tales are absolutely true...but two of them are a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibbers. Hosted by Andy Christie (The New York Times).

The storytellers are Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central; Backstage's "Ten Standout Comics"), Peter Lubell (NPR; Independent Film Channel), Jim O'Grady (The New York Times), Steve Osborne (NYPD Gang Squad Detective), Faye Lane (Beauty Shop Stories), Jeffery Rudell (NBC's The Apprentice), Ed Gavagan (Moth GrandSlam Champion), and Juliet Wayne (Moth finalist).

Please Note: You can save $5 off the $20 cover (i.e., $15 per ticket)

by ordering online with discount code HyReviews.

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

$15 online with code HyReviews, plus two-item food or drink minimum

 

 

Big Black Car and Fancy Dragon

This free weekly show features the two PIT improv teams above,

each of which performs for about 30 minutes. For a video sample of Big Black Car,

please click here; and for a video sample of Fancy Dragon, please click here.

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

 

 

Gelmania

Wow. It doesn't get much better than this lineup:

Todd Barry (wryly brilliant stand-up who's one of the very best in the biz;

Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien,

Comedy Central Presents; HBO's Flight of the Conchords, Lucky Louie, and Sex in the City;

Comedy Central's Freak Show, Dr. Katz, and Shorties Watching Shorties;

Adult Swim's Space Ghost, Aqua Teen Hunger Force,  and Tom Goes To The Mayor;

recently acted in the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film The Wrestler;

check out Todd's newest comedy CD From Heaven),

Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being a writer and performer for

Late Night with Conan O'Brien since 1999; to read about Andy's memorable

hosting of Crash Test last year at UCBT, please click here),

Jared Logan (hilarious kinetic comic; named Best Comedian by the Chicago Comedy Awards; won Detroit's contest for Comedy Idol; for stand-up video about fast food and comic books, please click here; for set on scary things, including toy ads for girls, please click here),

Heather Fink (nominated for the 2008 NY Emerging Comic Award;

for videos demonstrating Heather's acting skills, please click here and here),

and more.

This show will likely be incredible. If you can attend, do.

9:00 pm (doors open at 8:00) at Rififi, 332 East 11th Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues); $5

 

 

  

Your hosts Margaret Champagne, Joselyn Hughes, and Brooke Van Poppelen at...

Slumber Party

This twice-monthly event is described as "the sort of variety show that happens when

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

Actually, it's a show hosted by three of the most talented women in comedy. And just being in the same room with Brooke, Joselyn, and Margaret—who in "real life" are the best of friends—is a cause for joy.

More specifically, these lovely & hilarious gals are

Margaret Champagne (Carolines, UCBT; for acting reel, please click here),

Joselyn Hughes (for video questioning the effectiveness of rape whistles, please click here), and

Brooke Van Poppelen (Carolines, Laugh Factory; for a video sample, please click here).

Tonight's stand-up comedy guests haven't been announced, but this powerhouse trio have lots of friends and admirers, so expect some fine comics to come by.

And also keep an eye out for a sketch show titled Macho: Grow a Pair that Joselyn and Brooke will be premiering in Chicago on July 10-11. Anything from this duo is bound to be special.

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

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

 

 

 

Hot Lather: As the Diamond Burns and The Spin Room

Two unique improvisation shows for a mere five bucks.

First up is As The Diamond Turns from Hot Lather, an improv group that specializes

in the soap opera format. Its members include some powerhouse performers:

Mike Cavanaugh, Matt Fisher,  Jon Gutierrez, Molly Lloyd, Anna Rubanova, Achilles Stamatelaky, Mike Still, Abra Tabak, Andree Vermeulen, and Paul Welsh,

with direction by Rob Webber.

The double-bill then continues with The Spin Room, which takes a current political news story chosen by the audience and then improvises scenes about it. The troupe consists of Jeremy Bent, Beth Cartier, Guy Cohen, Timothy Cooper, Eric Hollerbach, Barry Lank, Beth Newell, David Siegel, Matt Stillman, and John Robert Wilson, with direction by Doug Moe.

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

 

 

Justin Purnell

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 7/24/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

a quirky sketch duo and a new comedy troupe in Rue Brutalia and Sexual Sexual Sketch Show (6:30 pm),

Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell relating their YouTube-documented romantic adventures

live on stage—possibly accompanied by visits from some of the gals—on Double Date Us (7:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] superb comedic storytellers Kambri Crews, David Cope, and Leslie Goshko, plus top comics including Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report), John Morrison, Ross Hyzer, and Diana Saez, telling funny, poignant, and at times unforgettable tales about their relatives at this summer's final edition of the vivacious Sara Benincasa's Family Hour (7:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] one of the most charming & entertaining groups in NYC (and winner of the 2008 ECNY Award

for Best Musical Comedy Act), fresh off appearances on Comedy Central and the prestigious

Montreal Comedy Festival, performing a laugh-packed musical: The Apple Sisters (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] Pangea 3000, one of the best sketch troupes in the country and a highlight of last month's

SketchFest NYC 08, plus ace improvisor/writer/storyteller Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Death by Roo Roo)

performing an autobiographical one-man show about his experiences with drugs & booze, in

the double-bill Pangea 3000 Recommends the Beatles and Pissing My Pants on Vine (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] superb comics Wyatt Cenac (correspondent on The Daily Show), Leo Allen (Conan O'Brien,

Comedy Central, writer for SNL), Donald Glover (Conan O'Brien, troupe Derrick, writer for 30 Rock),

and Vince Averill (Comedy Central) at the hilarious Joe Mande's & Noah Garfinkel's Totally J/K (8:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] genius comic John Oliver (The Daily Show), plus razor-sharp Kumail Nanjiani (Comedy Central),

Todd Levin (Comedy Central, The Onion), and Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1)

at Dan Allen's & Ray Devito's stand-up showcase íSacapuntas! (9:00 pm),

fine stand-ups at a gay-themed show hosted by Jenny Rubin: The Back Room (9:00 pm),

a very popular comedy site's talents coming out from behind the Net tonight,

accompanied by hilarious comics Pete Holmes, Jacqueline Novak,

and Christian Finnegan, at CollegeHumor.com, Live on Stage (9:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] and energetic & inventive improv troupes Death by Roo Roo and Veal

competing for audience laughs & votes at the raucous Cage Match (11:00 pm).

For details, please click here.

 

Tonight on TV

    

Iliza Shlesinger

Many have a love/hate relationship with NBC's Last Comic Standing.
The show can make careers; but it can also opt for shallow nonsense over substance.

Unfortunately, last week was very much the latter,

resulting in an episode best described as mind-numbing.

The embarrassingly juvenile aspect of the series reached new levels when

the comedy challenge was to match the wit and wisdom of—wait for it—Carrot Top.

If you didn't see the resulting disastrous attempts at prop comedy...good for you.

It was even worse than you imagine.

Also painful was the continuing disrespect and misogyny shown to

Iliza Shlesinger (above) and, by extension, to women everywhere.

Shlesinger repeatedly complains that she's picked on by fellow contestants for being the only woman in the group. And she's right. But those guy's are apparently just reflecting the attitudes of LCS' producers. For example, this episode began with Shlesinger being doused with water so the audience could ogle her wet top. And next's week challenge takes place in that bastion of female empowerment: the Playboy mansion.

As for the actual comedy performances at the end, Papa CJ demonstrated he barely has three minutes of material. (If you have to spend most of a short set picking on an audience member, think hard about crafting more and better jokes...)

On the other hand, I very much enjoyed Paul Foot's work. His style is different enough to need more than a few minutes to win over an LA audience, though; so, not surprisingly, he didn't. (Of course, he also shouldn't have been stupid enough to challenge Shlesinger, who's not yet a great comic but is utterly in her element on that LA stage.)

With the ouster of God's Pottery and Paul Foot, virtually the only reason to continue watching this season is to enjoy Brit bassist Jim Tavaré. So if there's no LSC report here next week, you'll know I decided life is too short.

If you're seeking TV comedy tonight, though, consider Comedy Central's The Gong Show. It doesn't champion depth, but at least it's funny. And tonight's guest judges include two comedy giants, Brian Posehn and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

As for the show that directly follows it—Comedy Central's shabby watered-down version of LCS titled Reality Bites Back—it's only worth catching if you fast forward to the bits where host Michael Ian Black makes snarky remarks in perfect deadpan. Michael, we love you; but was this really the best gig your agent could find?

Last Comic Standing airs 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on NBC.

The Gong Show airs 10:00 pm and midnight on Comedy Central.

Reality Bites Back airs 10:30 pm and 12:30 am on Comedy Central.

 

Jason Kalter & Jon Pack of Rue Brutalia

Rue Brutalia and Sexual Sexual Sketch Show

Two sketch shows for five bucks.

The evening kicks off with Rue Brutalia, i.e., Jon Pack and Jason Kalter,

a comedy duo who perform odd, quirky sketches.

To obtain a feel for these guys' work, check out a saga

about a cartoon character with no balls, and another about two guys

who are the same man, by clicking here and here.

The double-bill then continues with something titled Sexual Sexual Sketch Show.

This appears to be a new troupe; but your guess is as good as mine.

6:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5

 

 

Dave and Ethan: Double Date Us

Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell challenged pairs of women to double date them,

then documented the results on YouTube. Tonight they relate their tales live on stage...

along with guest appearances. "And possibly even a live date."

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

 

 

    

David Cope, "Auntie" Sara Benincasa, and Ross Hyzer...

    

...and John Morrison and Kambri Crews

Family Hour with Auntie Sara

In this unique weekly comedy show, everyone tells jokes and/or stories related to

their family. It's hosted by comic/actress Sara Benincasa, whose many credits include correspondent for MTV's Choose or Lose Campaign and host of Tub Talk with Sara B. on Nerve.com. (For a video sample, please click here.)

Plus—if luck is with you—addictively delicious free cookies

courtesy of stand-up comic & baking master H. Alan Scott.

Tonight is the season finale of this show. If you haven't experienced it yet,

this evening is a great time to do so. The superb guests are

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),

Peter Grosz (staff writer for The Colbert Report; star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials; member of Chicago's Second City acclaimed improv troupe 4 Square, and half of the current UCBT improv show 2 Square),

John Morrison (host of NYC monthly comedy showcase Morrison's Motel and co-producer of weekly open mic show Ochi's Motel),

David Cope (comedic storyteller, and member of Sweet Haven sketch troupe that runs hot new Tuesday night comedy show at Rififi; for videos of David relating an encounter with a prophet and reading his romance novel, please click here and here),

Leslie Goshko (exceptionally sharp comedic actress/writer, and 2008 Manhattan Monologue Slam Champion; for Leslie's award-winning comedy bit about Internet dating, please click here; and for her bit on "the End Times Awareness Carnival," please click here),

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

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

Diana Saez (DC Comedy Festival; XM Radio; created/produced Washington DC's

first all-female comedy showcase; for stand-up videos, please click here and here),

Greg Barris (MTV2's All That Rocks, Carolines),

and Pat O’Shea and Charlie Kasov.

7:30 pm at Ochi's Lounge at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

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

 

 

Photo on left: Rebekka Johnson, Kimmy Gatewood, and Sarah Lowe

Photo on right: Sarah Lowe, Rebekka Johnson, and Kimmy Gatewood

The Apple Sisters: The Musical

The delicious Apple SistersKimmy Gatewood, Rebekka Johnson, and Sarah Lowe, with Tom Thomsen on keyboard—have sung, danced, and naughtily joked their ways into New York City's heart. This homage to 1940s girl groups like The Andrew Sisters has been one of the great successes of 2007, having done 10 original shows, sold-out performances at comedy festivals around the country, and recently winning the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Musical Comedy Act.

Tonight the gals have put together their best bits, along with new material, to create a laugh-packed musical running over an hour. Featuring FDR, pickles, and God, it's full of fun and surprises.

From the official description: "The Apple Sisters are Candy, Cora, and Seedy. Their mother, Ms. Reddy Apple, was a vaudeville star and she passed down the legacy to her three girls! The trio present their live show, broadcast on WXYZ AM Radio, straight to the troops in Germany, and present the show on stage at the Peoples Improv Theater in their first and favorite home, the Big Apple! Be a chum and always use Doramad Toothpaste, now with Thorium!"

To get a feel for the production, please click here & here & here & here.

The show tends to sell out, so it's recommended you buy an advance ticket

online ($9.19, including service charge) by clicking here.

8:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street; tickets are $8 at the door

 

 

  

Ace sketch comedy troupe Pangea 3000 and superb storyteller Anthony Atamanuik

Pangea 3000: Recommending the Beatles and Anthony Atamanuik: Pissing My Pants on Vine

Two stellar comedy shows for a mere five bucks.

First up is world-class sketch troupe Pangea 3000, which consists of

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

These guys have blown the roof off with such instant classics as a spelling bee

for fart noises, and a doctor announcing devastating news and then going off to calmly eat a chicken sandwich while family members panic. To view two of Pangea 3000's surreal tales of games guys play, involving whoopee cushions and tag, please click here and here; and then come let these exceptionally clever writer/performers make you laugh hard and often.

The double-bill then continues with Pissing My Pants on Vine, a one-man autobiographical show about doing drugs and booze while writing for children's television from the wonderful Anthony Atamanuik (actor on NBC's 30 Rock; hilarious reporter who covered the New Hampshire primaries for The Huffington Post; ace storyteller on NYC monthly comedy show The Nights of Our Lives; member of champion improv troupe Death by Roo Roo—which will tonight be battling at Cage Match for its 11th victory in a row!).

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

 

 

Totally J/K

Hosted by quick-witted best buds Noah Garfinkel and

Joe Mande, the 2008 ECNY Award winner for Best Emerging Comic.

(For dueling birthday videos, please click here and here; for their

recent appearance on The McLaughlin Group, please click here;

and for other videos, please click here and here.)

Tonight's superb guests are

Wyatt Cenac (newest correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;

for a blacks vs. gays competition, please click here),

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

two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials, Ed, Sex and the City; co-headlining at the Comix Comedy Club on July 25-26),

Donald Glover (writer for NBC's 30 Rock; multiple appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien; member of three-man improv/sketch comedy troupe Derrick, which is a star

both on stage at UCBT and on the Web via their wildly popular YouTube videos—

for samples, please click here and here and here and here), and

Vince Averill (Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, DC Comedy Festival, co-host of weekly NYC live comedy show Beauty Bar Comedy).

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

 

 

íSacapuntas!

Dan Allen and Ray Devito host this monthly show focused on sharp stand-up comedy.

Tonight's thoroughy wonderful guests are

John Oliver (genius who's one of the very finest—and nicest—stand-up comics in the biz;

delightful & hilarious news correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;

recently aired a superb hour-long Comedy Central special, Terrifying Times; is co-writer/star

of The Department for BBC Radio 4, and host/star of BBC stand-up radio show Political Animal),

Kumail Nanjiani (rising stand-up star; Comedy Central's Open Mic Fight; terrific one-man show Unpronounceable about experiences with Islam—for my review, please click here; to get a feel for Kumail's style, please check out his very funny stand-up about the dark side of video games, odd memories, and the many ways cell phones are eliminated in horror films by clicking here),

Todd Levin (Comedy Central's Premium Blend, The Onion, popular blog Tremble,

host of NYC live comedy show Todd Levin's TV Book Club), and

Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Fresh Faces of Comedy, VH1's Best Week Ever and All Access; E!, Oxygen Network, Discovery Channel; Fashion Police writer for US Weekly).

9:00 pm at Crash Mansion, 199 Bowery (at Spring Street); $7 cover plus two-drink minimum

 

 

Jenny Rubin, Dave Rubin, Paul Case, and Shawn Hollenbach

The Back Room

Gay-themed comedy (with both gay & straight comics),

hosted by the charming Jenny Rubin (WE TV).

Tonight's guests haven't been announced, but will probably include

Back Room co-producer Paul Case (MTV, D-Listed Radio),

Back Room co-producer Shawn Hollenbach (here! TV's Busted), and

Back Room co-producer Dave Rubin (here! TV's Topical and Hot Gay Comics).

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

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

 

 

CollegeHumor.com, Live on Stage

The folks behind highly popular Web site CollegeHumor.com get on stage tonight, along with top stand-up comics Pete Holmes, Jacqueline Novak, and Christian Finnegan.

Please note the comedy of CollegeHumor.com isn't for every taste—like, for example, mine. But the site clearly understands its audience; and if you're one of the folks it appeals to, this is a great opportunity to hear behind-the-scenes stories and watch material too raw even for the Web.

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

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

 

 

vs.

Cage Match: Death by Roo Roo vs. Veal

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.

(For a spirited weekly report on the wrestling aspect of Cage Match, please click here.)

The current reining champ at Cage Match is arguably the gutsiest improv group in NYC: Death by Roo Roo, consisting of uniformly brilliant comics Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Jackie Clarke, Brett Gelman, John Gemberling, and Curtis Gwinn. This juggernaut doesn't merely walk over opponents, it pounds them into the ground. So far this season DBRR has trounced 10 troupes in a row, winning a total of 1,081 audience votes vs. a mere 422 for all its opponents combined.

Tonight's contender is Veal, which will pose a new kind of challenge: It's a musical improv troupe that not only makes up scenes, but also lyrics and music to bring them to glorious life. The group says it "loves making up songs together, especially about love, death, San Francisco, and raping." Its members consist of Kristin Aldrich, Doug Gordon, Ashley Hale, Abby Holland, Jason Nettle, Susan Pickover, Christopher Scott, and Andrew Weiss, with improv piano accompaniment from the wonderful Frank Spitznagel.

Will the audience prefer the tough, street-smart Roo Roo, or a group who charms with tuneful rhymes?

There's no telling what'll 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 7/25/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

a one-woman show from talented writer/actress/improvisor Ellie Kemper (7:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] deliciously funny Kate McKinnon performing a one-woman show about pill-popping

fairy princesses, plus sketch/improv duo Nick Kocher & Brian McElhaney, in the double-bill

Kate McKinnon: Disenchanted and BriTANick: Begging for Approval (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] 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),

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

[TOP PICK] two superb improv troupes joining forces in Centralia and Project:Projekt (9:30 pm),

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

laid-back improvisors performing a cozy show, and celebrating a member's birthday,

at the Manhattan Comedy Collective (10:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] one of my all-time favorite improv troupes—which has currently trounced 11

challengers in a row at Cage Match—the brilliant and daring members of Death by Roo Roo (11:00 pm),

the odd and unsettling dark comedy of sketch troupe Murderfist (11:00 pm),

and a free opportunity for you to perform improv with UCBT veterans at Jammin' with Ralph (12:20ish am).

 

Ellie Kemper

Ellie Kemper is a terrific comedic performer who's acted on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and FUSE's The P.A.; is a member of popular improv troupe fwand and half of improv duo KEMPAS; and writes for The Onion and McSweeney's. Tonight she performs a one-woman show.

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

 

 

  

Kate McKinnon deconstructing fairy tales; and Nick Kocher & Brian McElhaney of BriTANicK

Kate McKinnon: Disenchanted and BriTANick: Begging for Approval

A hilarious one-woman show, plus comedy from an unusual sketch duo, for a mere eight bucks.

Disenchanted comes from delightful comedic actress Kate McKinnon, who's a

cast member on the Logo TV series The Big Gay Sketch Show. In a series of vignettes, Kate turns fairy tales upside-down and exposes their dark sides as you "watch the beloved fairy princesses of your childhood pop a few Klonopins and eat themselves into a coma." The material is generally funny; but what makes this show magical is the quality of Kate's stellar performances. This is a sharp, witty actress who "gets" both verbal and physical comedy down to her bones. Don't miss any chance to catch this rising star.

The double-bill then continues with sketch/improv duo BriTANicK, consisting of Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher. To get a feel for these young performers, check out their videos about post-sex desires and drug cravings by clicking here and here.

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

 

 

    

Pete Holmes, Leo Allen, and Andrea Rosen...

  

...and Greg Johnson, Larry Murphy, and DC Benny

The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show

This is one of the best comedy shows in New York.

It's hosted by Greg Johnson (sharp, quick-witted stand-up comic) and

Larry Murphy (genius comedic chameleon & voiceover actor who performs all the

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

Home Movies, O'Grady, Computer Lab, Word Girl, and Sunday Pants;

sketch performer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien; announcer for

ESPN's Cheap Seats;  for an animated VO reel, please click here).

Tonight's stand-up comics haven't been announced yet; but as you can see from last week's guests (above), the lineup is usually stellar.

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

 

 

Back: Will Hines, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, and Bobby Moynihan

Front: Chris Gethard, Shannon O'Neill, and Silvija Ozols

The Stepfathers

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

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

 

 

  

Centralia & Project:Projekt

Two acclaimed comedy troupes, Centralia and Project:Projekt, join forces for one night to rock the house with improv.

Centralia consists of Kevin Scott, Jay Rhoderick, and Matt Higgins (Comedy Central, PSNBC; former improv instructor at Yale School of Drama; also founding member of improv troupe Burn Manhattan; three-time finalist for the Andy Kaufman award; for a stand-up sample, please click here). The official description: "Centralia is known as one of the boldest, most inventive, ground-breaking improvisation groups to ever hit a New York stage. See the performers the Daily News called 'the purest form of theatre,' the Chicago Sun said is 'advancing the art of improvisation,' and the Village Voice said watching is 'like having a front row seat at a stranger's dream.'"

Project:Projekt consists of Joe Schiappa (comedic actor, and director of numerous fun productions including the off-Broadway comedy Matt and Ben) and Nathan Phillips (CBS, CNN, BBC; one-man show Bill the Billboard).

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, Carrie Sipple, and Jeremiah Murphy

Manhattan Comedy Collective

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.

Tonight's theme is high school.

And there's likely to be a party-like atmosphere because troupe member Carrie Sipple's birthday is this weekend.

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

tickets are $10 if you mention either HyReviews or Dogville Blog at the door (otherwise $15)

 

 

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

 

 

 

Murderfist: Rabbit Hole Junction

Sketch group Murderfist creates dark comedy sketches that are unsettling, and may elicit more discomfort than laughs. (For example, to watch a somewhat grueling tale of an unlikely gay couple done in the style of a silent film, please click here.) But if you like East Village performance art, you'll probably like this troupe.

The official description of tonight's show:

"The most outlandish sketches you will see in NYC. Moments after setting off on their quest for one thousand testicles, Murderfist slipped between the cracks of reality. Somewhere between Seventh Avenue and the gates Hell, late night comedy festered and boiled. Witness as the stars align on the last Friday of every month and brand new sketch material spews from the inter-dimension truck stop that is Rabbit Hole Junction."

11:00 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th 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 The Law Firm, which consists of superb talents Dominic Dierkes, Jonathan Gabrus, Sue Galloway, Nate Lang, Gil Ozeri, Adam Pally, Ben Rodgers, and Gavin Speiller.

12:15ish am at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); free

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 7/26/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

a free monthly stand-up comedy show in Tompkins Square Park that typically features a mix

of top comics and up-and-comers determined to create Laughter in the Park (6:00 pm),

a free monthly sketch and character-based comedy show: Delusions of Spandex (7:00 pm),

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

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

[TOP PICK] the delightful Erin Hall singing silly, sly songs while nestling

a large instrument between her legs in Erin and Her Cello (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] several entirely improvised musicals from genius duo Glennis McMurray

& Eliza Skinner (accompanied by pianist Frank Spitznagel) as I Eat Pandas (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] musical comedy duo Booth & Pat joining forces with a world-class sketch troupe

specializing in physical comedy and music: Drop Six (8:00 pm),

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

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

[TOP PICK] Chicago-based TJ Jagodowski & Dave Pasquesi, who are among the most  revered

long-form improvisors in the world, spontaneously creating a one-hour play in TJ & Dave (10:00 pm).

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

organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track! (10:30 pm),

sketch comedy plus typically fun guests at Random Hookups with Slightly Known People (10:30 pm),

and a small mob of talented comics pretending to be in a High School Talent Show (midnight).

 

Laughter in the Park

Among the wonderful things about New York is events like this:

a free monthly stand-up comedy show in Tompkins Square Park.

The lineup hasn't been announced, but it's typically a mix of up-and-comers

and top talent (e.g., last month was headlined by star Ted Alexandro).

Enjoy fueling your laughter with sunshine and fresh air.

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Tompkins Square Park, East 7th Street and Avenue A; free

 

 

Becca Jones & Phaea Crede take the month off, but provide able replacements

Delusions of Spandex

Delusions of Spandex is a monthly sketch comedy & funny character show. It's normally hosted by adorable female duo Phaea Crede & Becca Jones (for videos of the gals goofing around, please click here and here), but tonight will be taken over by these two fine comics:

Abbi Crutchfield (frequently plays Dr. Eric Newberry, feminist motivational speaker who teaches class on self-defense via everyday items, e.g., "How to Use a Mascara Wand as a Shiv") and

Luke Thayer (co-host of Brooklyn biweekly live show Living Room Comedy).

Guests haven't been announced, but are typically up-and-coming sketch troupes.

7:00 pm at Parkside Lounge, 317 East Houston (between Avenues B and C); free

Take the F subway to its Second Avenue stop and walk three blocks east

 

 

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

 

 

  

Erin Hall

Erin and Her Cello

Erin Hall is a stellar musician and delightfully subtle comedic singer/songwriter. Tonight she shows off what she and her cello can do in this solo show.

For a looped video series of Erin performing, please click here; to hear tracks of Erin's CD, please click here; and to purchase tickets for tonight's show online, please click here.

8:00 pm at the Ars Nova Theatre, 511 West 54th Street (off 10th Avenue); tickets are $20

 

 

Glennis & Eliza: I Eat Pandas

Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner are simply geniuses

at taking a suggestion from the audience and creating

an entire musical based around it, using only their imaginations,

immense talent, and the aid of their wonderful improv pianist

Frank Spitznagel. Each of these gals is a powerhouse performer;

what they manage to create together tends to be sheer magic.

You don't have to take my word for it, either;

the duo won the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group.

Don't miss any chance to enjoy these comedic wizards at play.

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

 

 

 

Comedic musical duo Booth Daniels and Patrick Frankfort, and Drop Six

Drop Six Variety Hour

Drop Six is a superb NYC-based sketch troupe that makes great use of physical comedy and music. The group consists of Mary Theresa Archbold (for my review of this star's funny & touching 2007 FringeNYC show Jazz Hand, please click here), Tim Girrbach, Alicia Levy, Jason Salmon, Rodney Umble, and director Larry Rosen. This group's honors include Best of the Fest selection by Second City at the 2006 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. And their Drop Six: Mr. Lucky show killed at last year's FringeNYC, placing in my top 15 of the festival (out of 188 wildly diverse & competitive productions). For a brief medley of memorable Drop Six moments, please click here.

Tonight features new sketches, plus a visit from comedic musical duo Booth Daniels and Patrick Frankfort, a.k.a. Booth & Pat. Patrick sings and plays guitar; Booth sings and does percussion ...mostly via his voice. To watch these guys in action, 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. 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

 

 

  

Dave Pasquesi and T.J. Jagodowski

TJ & Dave

Chicago-based TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are widely considered among the finest long-form improvisors alive. Just by feeling their way through moment by moment, they create one-hour tales that most authors couldn't match with months of labored writing.

The duo is performing tonight and Sunday night. Highly recommended.

10:00 pm at Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street (on 7th Avenue, south of Christopher); $20

 

 

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

 

 

 

Luth, DeLancey, and Maccarone of Slightly Known People

Random Hookups with Slightly Known People

Slightly Known People—Erik Bowie, Mel DeLancey, Stu Luth,

Dan Maccarone, and Josh Mertz—performs funny songs and sketch comedy.

In this weekly show SKP invites other talented comics

 to come play along with it for an evening.

Tonight's guests haven't been announced, but  you can check

for a last-minute update by clicking here.

For a hilarious SKP video deconstructing Billy Joel, please click here.

For a review of the show, please click here.

10:30 pm at The Green Room, 45 Bleecker Street (off Lafayette); tickets are $12

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.

 

 

 

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

High School Talent Show

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.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 7/27/08

Tonight's recommendations for the best in New York City comedy

(in chronological order, with top picks marked by colored brackets) include:

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

fine stand-ups Tom McCaffrey (Comedy Central, VH1), Dan Allen (Comedy Central), Matt Ruby (Flying Carpet),

David Cope (Sweet Haven), and more at Sam Brown's & Timmy Williams' free Scum and Villainy (8:00 pm),

acclaimed comic Mike Dobbins (A Stand-Upish Set of Koo Koo), stand-ups including

Chris Di Fate and Jason Good, and Amanda Baramki & Calise Hawkins playing Southern gal

hosts providing free baked goods at Free Brownies, Y'All (8:00ish pm),

improvisors pairing up at a showcase for inventive & funny duos: Ampers&nd (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] sharp stand-ups Adam Lowitt (The Daily Show), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central), Greg Johnson (award-winning co-host of hot Friday comedy show at Rififi), and Ryan Conner

at Vince Averill's & Jesse Popp's free Beauty Bar Comedy (9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] and Chicago-based TJ Jagodowski & Dave Pasquesi, two of the most  revered

long-form improvisors in the country, spontaneously creating a one-hour play in TJ & Dave (10:00 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)

 

 

Tom McCaffrey crafting his routine for tonight...

    

...and Matt Ruby, hosts Timmy Williams & Sam Brown, and David Cope

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 that's currently starring in a TV show on IFC.

Tonight's fine stand-up guests are

Tom McCaffrey (Comedy Central's Premium Blend, Shorties Watchin' Shorties, and Secret Stash Movie; VH1's All Access; The Onion),

Dan Allen (Comedy Central's Premium Blend; fun comedy site FlockOfMullets.com and blog TaoOfDan.com; host of monthly NYC live comedy show íSacapuntas!),

Matt Ruby (host of monthly NYC and Queens LIC live comedy extravaganzas Flying Carpet and We're All Friends Here),

David Cope (comedic storyteller, and member of Sweet Haven sketch troupe that runs hot new Tuesday night comedy show at Rififi; for videos of David relating an encounter with a prophet and reading his romance novel, please click here and here), and

Brent Sullivan (for video about crying while reading The Giving Tree, please click here).

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

 

 

  

Free Brownies, Y'All

Amanda Baramki and Calise Hawkins play good ol' Southern gals while hosting this show

featuring free brownies and talented stand-ups.

Tonight's scheduled guests include

Mike Dobbins (2008 ECNY Award nominee for one-man show A Stand-Upish Set of Koo Koo,

about which Time Out New York's Jane Borden wrote, "His singular point of view, wholly

unique voice and completely disarming performance style hook fans and fellow comics

instantly. Rather than telling jokes, he turns his ideas into tiny one-act plays

where he is every character, the director and, at times, the orchestra,

while flying through nonsensical premises that somehow land on their feet."),

Chris Di Fate (member of sketch comedy troupe VooDooWop Pictures; for stand-up videos

about hitting it from the back and doing Viagra, please click here and here), and

Jason Good (for a PSA from Willie Nelson about alternative energy, please click here).

8:00ish pm at Rififi, 332 East 11th Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues); tickets are $5

 

 

Ampers&nd

A showcase for talented improvisation twosomes.

Tonight's duos haven't been announced,

but some fine scenes usually arise from this show.

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

 

 

    

Adam Lowitt, Greg Johnson, and Katina Corrao...

  

...and hosts Vince Averill & Jesse Popp

Beauty Bar Comedy

Vince Averill (Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, DC Comedy Festival) and Jesse Popp (Comedy Central's Premium Blend) host this free comedy show.

Tonight's sharp stand-up guests are

Greg Johnson (quick-witted stand-up comic who co-hosts the weekly

NYC comedy extravaganza The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show,

which won the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Variety Show),

Adam Lowitt (staffer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; host of NYC live comedy show It Is It!; for a video stand-up sample, please click here),

Katina Corrao (HBO's Daddy, Comedy Central; co-host of biweekly LIC live comedy extravaganza The Matt and Katina Show; for video samples, please click here and here), and

Ryan Conner (for hilarious stand-up video about public bathroom issues, please click here;

for sketch about writing sketches, please click here).

9:00 pm at Beauty Bar, 231 East 14th Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues); free

 

 

  

Dave Pasquesi and TJ Jagodowski

TJ & Dave

Chicago-based TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are widely considered among the finest long-form improvisors alive. Just by feeling their way through moment by moment, they create one-hour tales that most authors couldn't match with months of labored writing.

The duo's current NYC run is ending tonight. Highly recommended.

10:00 pm at Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street (on 7th Avenue, south of Christopher); $20

 

 

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 $3.50 each—

please read Hy on Theatre Discounts.

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Tonight

 

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Copyright © 2008 Hy Bender

Email: hy@hyreviews.com