NYC Comedy Picks for Week of September 10, 2007

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 9/10/07


Frank and Aztec Bacon

A 90-minute gals vs. guys improvisation double-bill. The all-female group is Frank: Elizabeth Blue, Leslie Collins, Julie Dulude, Caroline Goldrick, Mary Jacobson, Desiree Nash, and Abigoliah Schaumaun. The all-male troupe is Aztec Bacon: Anthony Batista, Jamie Cummings, Jonathan Kaplan, Matthew Love, Ben Masten, Steve Miller, James Rich, and Cole Stitelman. Says Ben Masten, "Watch in amazement as our scenes about professional sports and home repair are balanced out by Frank's scenes about feelings and emotional commitment."

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




Lizz Winstead & friend, and author Mark Crispin Miller

Shoot the Messenger

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

Tonight's scheduled guests are Mark Crispin Miller (author of Fooled Again: How The Right Stole The 2004 Elections) and comedian Dean Obeidallah (Comedy Central's Axis of Evil, one-man show I Come in Peace).

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.




Kate Hess & Shelly Stover, and improv troupe Bombardo

 We Kate Shelly and Bombardo

This all-female show kicks off with We Kate Shelly, a comedic duo

consisting of the highly talented Kate Hess and Shelly Stover

and guided by director Andy Secunda (The Swarm).

The double-bill then continues with improv group Bombardo: Emily Askin, Chelsea Clarke, Emily Felt, Marcy Jarreau, Beth Newell, Aubrey Plaza, and Erica Warnock.

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



Crash Test

Hosted by Aziz Ansari (one of the best stand-up comics on the planet

and co-star of MTV hit sketch comedy series Human Giant).

 Guests are typically superb comedians trying out new material;

 and this is often among the flat-out funniest shows in New York.

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


Post-Show Note: Tonight was actually guest-hosted by Baron Vaughn and Matthew McCarthy. The audience initially seemed annoyed that Aziz wasn't there, but soon warmed up after both comics proved to be hilarious, offering up great material and even better chemistry. Also outstanding were two of the guest comics, Margot Leitman and Victor Varnado, who each killed with fresh, smart storytelling.



NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 9/11/07


Comedy veteran Kurt Braunohler; Comic Foundry editor-in-chief Tim Leong

Comic Book Club

Hosted by Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler and Pete LePage,

who enjoy discussing comic books while getting laughs.

Tonight's industry guest is Tim Leong (editor-in-chief of

Comic Foundry, a new magazine about the comic book biz).

And tonight's funny guest is Kurt Braunohler (co-host with the

brilliant Kristen Schaal of the enormously popular NYC live comedy

extravaganza Hot Tub Variety Show, and co-star with Kristen in the

Web video series Penelope: Princess of Pets.

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



Chicks & Giggles

Carolyn Castiglia hosts a lineup of talented female comics.

Tonight's scheduled guests are Ann Carr & Katina Corrao (Comedy Central),

Brandy & Sara (stars of The Kissing Booth),

Katie Halper (Laughing Liberally at Town Hall),

Laura Mannino (California Comedy Festival),

Carla Rhodes and her dummy Cecil (The Cutting Room),

and Matt McCarthy (Montreal Comedy Festival) as Little Orphan Annie.

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




John Mulaney, Pete Holmes, and God's Pottery (Wilson Hall & Krister Johnson)


Hosted by the sharp & witty Seth Herzog (VH1's Best Week Ever).

Tonight's terrific lineup includes John Mulaney (one of the sharpest and funniest stand-up comics around; for some samples, please click here and here); Pete Holmes (cartoonist for The New Yorker; wonderful co-host of UCBT's monthly open mike stand-up show Gutbucket; VH1's Best Week Ever and All Access, Comedy Central's Premium Blend; for a video sample, please click here); and God's Pottery (Wilson Hall & Krister Johnson performing their delightful parody of a Christian folk singing duo).

8:30 pm at The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street (corner of Stanton Street); tickets are $5



NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 9/12/07


Two Girls for Five Bucks and Purple Monkey Dishwasher

Two Girls For Five Bucks is talented sketch comedy duo Cathleen Carr & Daiva Deupree, who perform frequently in both NYC and Boston. For a few sample MP3 audio clips—most notably, the top one in which Daiva chats with Cathleen's vagina—please click here.

The other half of this double-bill stars Purple Monkey Dishwasher, a new NYC-based sketch comedy group consisting of head writer David Irons and writer/performers Mark Gessner, David Jacks, and Zoe. For a sample video, please click here.

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




Dave Hill and Elna Baker bravely coping with rejection

The Rejection Show

Jon Friedman hosts a delightful parade of rejected material

by extraordinary writers and performers. Tonight's guests include

Dave Hill (who's written for The New York Times, Salon, HBO, and the

eerie Web site Black Metal Dialogues; and written and performed for VH1,

Spike TV, The Learning Channel, and the fabulous Smoking Gun TV series);

Elna Baker (brilliant writer, storyteller, and comics creator whose If You See Something

was the best one-woman show at last year's FringeNYC);

Oren Brimer (writer/director/producer of short funny films for

and; for numerous samples, please click here);

and members of the band Shank Bone Mystic.

There'll also be music from fabulous comedic rockabilly band The Defibulators.

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



Mike Dobbins: A Stand-Upish Set of Koo Koo

Time Out New York describes Mike Dobbins' one-man show as follows:

"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."

To read the complete review, please click here.

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



Invite Them Up

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

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

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

has been updated yet, please click here.

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



Margot & Giulia are two fun-lovin' gals...who are world-class storytellers

Stripped Stories: Tales Told Out of School

Sexual storytelling with a comedic slant, tonight offering frank confessions about school days and lessons in lust from Carolyn Castiglia (VH1, host of twice-weekly NYC live comedy show Chicks & Giggles); John Flynn (stellar storyteller at UCBT's The Nights of Our Lives, co-writer & co-star of Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made. Ever!); band The Bordeaux Twins (which will provide sex songs); and the two sensual hosts, Giulia Rozzi (VH1's Best Night Ever podcasts) and Margot Leitman (Late Night With Conan O'Brien)—or, as Margot likes to describe it, "newly married Giulia Rozzi and the eternal bridesmaid Margot Leitman." In addition, there'll be "a spontaneous audience interview, sex games, and a drunken afterparty in Sadie's Lounge." Come to laugh, to get turned on, and to learn some things you can actually use in life. This wonderful show often sells out, so it's recommended you buy tickets in advance by clicking here.

9:30 pm at Mo Pitkin's, 34 Avenue A (between East 2nd & 3rd Streets); tickets are $5



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 9/13/07


Amy Heidt introduces you to horrid women; then Rachael Mason shows you how to break up with them

Booze Cruise and Half Empty

This double-bill offers a parade of characters so horrible that you have to laugh.

In Booze Cruise, Amy Heidt takes you on a corporate cruise and, says, Time Out NY, "introduces you, with spot-on and very funny impersonations, to five dysfunctional women you'll instantly recognize and love to loathe." For samples, please click here and here.

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

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



Viceroy ace improvisor Mary Theresa Archbold showing her hand

Viceroy and The YesAndersens

The top half of this double-bill features charming, quick-witted and irresistible Mary Theresa Archbold, who recently won the Best Actor Award at the 2007 FringeNYC Festival for her wonderful semi-autobiographical show Jazz Hand. Tonight Mary and her improv troupe Viceroy—Scott Cierski, Mark Grenier, TJ Mannix, Michael McFarland, Chris O'Neill, Marian Rosen, and Matthew Stillman—will be attempting to rule you with laughter.

The other half of this show spotlights improv group The YesAndersens, consisting of Brigid Boyle, Luke Franklin, Jon Kern, Louie Pearlman, Nicole Cascio, Alexis Saarela, Ed Snible, and Roy Koshy.

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



Derrick Comedy: Street Legal

Derrick is three sharp and enormously appealing young performers,

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

apparently do anything. They make wildly popular YouTube videos—

for some samples, please click here and here and here

and in this show will be performing sketch comedy live.

(And directly afterwards, in Cage Match, they'll be

showing off their formidable improv skills...)

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




Cage Match: Derrick vs. Krompf

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

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

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

Numbers can be misleading, and that's the case for last week's audience vote: a crushing 149-24 against then-champion Chubby Chase. Yes, these fast-food enthusiasts started out slow (especially odd considering the improv suggestion they were handed, rage, seemed like a comedy gift); but they picked up the pace as they went on, eventually performing lots of funny, high-energy scenes—at one point culminating in an orgy of simulated man-on-man action.

The main reason for the chubs' downfall was simply that their challenger was Derrick, consisting of charismatic comics Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson. The trio came up with a slew of inventive, witty scenarios that kept the audience laughing and happy throughout...while their enormously likeable personalities earned the audience's adoration.

Tonight's contest should be especially interesting, as the challenger is also a very inventive and appealing audience favorite: Krompf, consisting of Neil Casey (member of UCBT's weekly hit show Death by Roo Roo), Ryan Karels, Amey Goerlich, and Joe Wengert (member of UCBT's weekly hit show Reuben Williams).

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 9/14/07


I haven't experienced improv group Penny yet; but among its members is the wonderful Amber Petty (center of photo above), who helped create one of my all-time favorite comedy troupes, Working Girls. Penny's other members are Trisha McAlpin (photo left) and Jessie Schupack (photo right). Expect something special from these gals.

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



F'd Up

An improvised therapy session from Paul Downs, Alan Fessenden,

Elana Fishbein, Marcy Jarreau, Leslie Korein, Louis Kornfeld, and Peter McNerney.

This new show is free tonight, presumably in the hopes of hooking audience members to come back and pay week after week after week...just like in real therapy.

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



Now That's What I Call Rogue Elephant

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

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

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



Ms. Jackson

"They're all street, all the time." Five women—pictured left to right, Jessica Allen, Bayne Gibby, Stephanie Kasen, Caitlin Miller, and Tara Copeland—who've won the 2004 ECNY award for Best Improv Group, and have repeatedly been a Time Out New York Critic's Pick.

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



The Stepfathers

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

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



Stellar storyteller and tonight's host Giulia Rozzi...


...and genius comedic improvisor/performer Glennis McMurray

Chicks & Giggles: Friday Night Premiere!

Chicks & Giggles has a weekly 8:00 pm Tuesday slot at Mo Pitkin's,

but is now expanding to this second weekly show on Fridays.

The stellar comediennes helping launch this premiere are

emcee Giulia Rozzi (VH1's Best Night Ever podcasts; co-host of monthly

NYC hit live comedy show Stripped Stories; for a video sample, please click here);

Glennis McMurray (Late Night with Conan O'Brien; half of acclaimed musical improv

group I Eat Pandas; writes popular blog; for video samples, please click here and here);

Jess Wood (HBO's Def Jam Comedy; for documentary about her, please click here);

Jennifer Garam (founded writing school Writeous Chicks; writes popular blog);

and Claudia Cogan (Logo Network, Sirius OutQ).

10:00 pm at Time Out NY Lounge at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street (off 8th Avenue); $5



The Made-Up Musical

Veteran improvisors Scott Glover and John O'Donnell,

accompanied by a rotating cast that might include

such talents as Tara Copeland or Eliza Skinner

—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 $5



Death by Roo Roo: Your F*cked Up Family

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

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



Pete Holmes and TJ Miller


UCBT's monthly open mic show for stand-up comics.

If you're simply looking to laugh, this show can be

lots of fun, or deadly, depending on who shows up.

But if you're a comic yourself, it's a fine opportunity

to perform in front of an exceptionally sharp audience.

Hosted by Pete Holmes (VH1's Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's

Premium Blend and Motherload; writer for;

cartoonist for mags ranging from The New Yorker to Cosmo Girl)

and TJ Miller (ESPN Hollywood, PBS' The Standard Deviants,

ABC's upcoming Carpoolers; writer for and

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


Post-Show Note: TJ Miller couldn't attend, so Pete Holmes'

friend Matt Goldich (see below) substitute hosted.

The two of them were brilliant, and killed.

Even when a particular comic wasn't great, a sharply observant comment

about the set from Holmes or Goldich made it all worthwhile;

and two hours flew by, filled with laughter.



NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 9/15/07

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


...and Matt DeCoster and Will Hines want to get you riled up

Lathan & Amram: Get Psyched! and Hines & DeCoster: 7 Fights

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

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

The other half of this double-bill is a hilarious sketch show written and performed by Will Hines & Matt DeCoster, formerly of acclaimed improv group Monkeydick (plus Will recently burned up the stage with sibling Kevin as The Brothers Hines at UCBT's Cage Match).

Titled 7 Fights, the show includes such scenes of contention as a political debate in which a guy with a bloody harpoon through him blithely denies he's been impaled. In a word, fun.

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



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: On the Jitney

The Harvard Sailing Team (which was superb in SketchFest NYC 07)

performs their special brand of fresh, witty, imaginative sketch comedy.

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



Reuben Williams: As Seen on TV

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

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



Hot Sauce Blacks Out

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

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

As for what to expect tonight, here's their description:

"2006 Cage Match Champions Hot Sauce perform improv like sex—

quick, funny and late at night. Stay up past your bedtime

to watch Hot Sauce destroy every rule you can think of.

Moving at breakneck speed, Hot Sauce does upwards of

800 scenes in 50 minutes. Don't be surprised if you black out."

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



NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 9/16/07



The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre's signature show, which features a monologist telling stories based on audience suggestions and a group of top improvisers (sometimes including celebs such as SNL's Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz) creating scenes based on the stories. There are two shows every Sunday which share the same format, but are otherwise entirely different because everything is improvised. The 7:30 pm show is $8; it 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. 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)



Matt Goldich and Chris Jurek

Can You Imagine?

This biweekly comedic variety show is hosted by Matt Goldich (Comedy Central's

Premium Blend, NY1's The Call, contributor to book Bar Mitzvah Disco;

killed this Friday night with brilliant friend Pete Holmes at UCBT's Gutbucket;

for a stand-up sample, please click here) and Chris Jurek (for video samples

that include both Matt Goldich and Pete Holmes, please click here and here).

Tonight's scheduled guests are Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, The Late Late Show), Andrea Rosen (VH1's All Access, Comedy Central's Stella, member of NYC monthly live comedy show Variety Shac),  Roger Hailes (for a video sample, please click here), and Scott Blakeman (Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, NBC's Sunday Today; for political stand-up sample, please click here).

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



Faceboyz Open Mike Night

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

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

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

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

Sign-up is at 9:00 pm sharp.

You get eight minutes maximum for your act.

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

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

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

No online reservations available; simply pay at the door.

Again, this show isn't for everyone.

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

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

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



Alternatively, consider seeing a funny and/or musical

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

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

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

please read Hy on Theatre Discounts.




Finally, consider catching the final day of extended shows

from the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival.

For complete information on the FringeNYC Encore Series,

please click here.



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