NYC Comedy Picks for Week of January 5, 2009

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 1/5/09

  

Marc Maron (Whiplash), Andy Blitz (Entertaining the Bartender), and Reggie Watts (Whiplash)

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 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours, tonight including Kumail Nanjiani, Helen Hong, Emily Epstein,

Chelsea White, Chesley Calloway, Meg Cupernall, Mark Normand, Luke Cunningham, Sean Donnelly, Blaine Perry,

Matteson Perry, Aalap Patel, and John Morrison—at John Morrison's Ochi's Motel (6:30 pm & 9:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] stellar stand-ups including comedy genius Andy Blitz (long-time writer for Conan O'Brien), Laurie Kilmartin (Comedy Central, VH1), Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central's Live at Gotham), and Brent Sullivan (Funny.com), plus musical group Wild Yaks at a free weekly comedy show in Brooklyn hosted by the razor-sharp Jena Friedman: Entertaining the Bartender (8:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] and a free weekly show featuring some of the finest comics in the country—tonight including Marc Maron (David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, HBO, Comedy Central), Reggie Watts (comedic freestyle beatbox genius), Patrick Borelli (Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central, ESPN), and Adam Lowitt (The Daily Show)—hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen (Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central) at Whiplash (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 25 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.

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

Tonight's 6:30 lineup includes fine stand-ups Kumail Nanjiani, Helen Hong, Emily Epstein, Sue Funke, Hilary Schwartz, Mark Normand, Dan Cartwright, Luke Cunningham, Matt Ruby, Gilad Foss, Sean Donnelly, Blaine Perry, and John Morrison.

And the 9:00 pm show includes talents Chelsea White, Chesley Calloway, Meg Cupernall, Lisa Kaplan, Cathie Boruch, Celeste Conrad, Francoise Gordon, Josh Comers, Don Weir, Matteson Perry, and Aalap Patel.

Ochi's Motel is hosted at 6:30 by Sean Donnelly and Blaine Perry:

  

...and at 9:00 pm by Aalap Patel and Matteson Perry:

  

To be entered into the weekly random drawing for performers,

please send email to ochismotel@gmail.com.

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)

 

 

  

Laurie Kilmartin, Andy Blitz, and Jena Friedman

Entertaining the Bartender with Jena Friedman

Razor-sharp and delightfully dark stand-up comic Jena Friedman (playwright of 2008 FringeNYC show Refugee Girls; for a stand-up video about sexual predators, eggs, and Tai food, please click here) hosts this entirely free weekly comedy show in Brooklyn. This is actually a version of an acclaimed show Jena used to do in a Chicago bar run by a gal named Tammy. When the bar started out it was often near-empty, so Jena began the show to entertain her friend and develop steady traffic. On both counts, it was a wild success...

Tonight's superb guests are

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

Late Night with Conan O'Brien since 1999; also a thoroughly unique stand-up

whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable;

to read about Andy's memorable hosting of Crash Test last year at UCBT, please click here),

Laurie Kilmartin (VH1's Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's Premium Blend,

Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, CBS' The Late Late Show,

FOX, 236.com, for stand-up video about hookers and dating, please click here),

Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central's Live at Gotham; for superb stand-up video about religion, gay  marriage, and dumplings, please click here), and

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

and musical guest Wild Yaks.

8:30 pm at Sound Fix Records, 110 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg Brooklyn; free

Take the L subway to Bedford Avenue and walk four blocks to N 11th Street

 

 

  

Leo Allen and Marc Maron...

  

...and Patrick Borelli and Reggie Watts

Whiplash with Leo Allen: The Finest in Stand-Up Comedy, Free

Leo Allen is one of the most sharp, honest, and likeable stand-ups working in NYC. Leo was a writer for Saturday Night Live from 2002 through 2005. He's also performed two Comedy Central Presents 1/2-hour specials (one by himself and one with his writing partner Eric Slovin); done stand-up on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.; and acted on Ed and Sex and the City. Leo has now taken over the Monday-at-11:00 pm UCBT spot made super-special by Aziz Ansari's Crash Test and Jeremy Levenbach's Cavalcade! (in fact, Whiplash is produced by Jeremy).

Tonight's thoroughly wonderful guests are

Marc Maron (exceptionally passionate and personally revealing star who's a comic's comic highly respected for his observations; frequent guest on Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien; performed solo comedy special for HBO Comedy Half-Hour and two solo specials for Comedy Central Presents; many other TV appearances include being a regular on Comedy Central's Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; performed a popular off-Broadway one-man show, Jerusalem Syndrome, which he then turned into a 2001 book; co-hosted Morning Sedition on Air America Radio, and hosted The Marc Maron Show on LA's KTLK-AM; currently developing a killer set about his recent divorce that's as fine and rich as any theatrical production),

Reggie Watts (musical improv comedy genius; winner of 2007 Andy Kaufman Award; cast member of the new Electric Company; scary talented vocalist, beatboxer, and musician whose unique skills will likely amaze you; to learn more, please visit ReggieWatts.com; for video samples of what Reggie does, please click here and here and here; and keep an eye out Reggie's upcoming new album),

Patrick Borelli (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central's Premium Blend,

ESPN's Cheap Seats, SuperDeluxe's Thunderpoint, Video Power Hour), and

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).

If you love comedy, make a habit of attending this stellar free weekly extravaganza.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 1/6/09

    

Breathtakingly brilliant comics Livia Scott, Janeane Garofalo, and Glennis McMurray & Eliza Skinner of I Eat Pandas (Sweet)

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 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours, who tonight include Meg Cupernall, Vicky Kuperman,

Lisa Kaplan, Cory Jarvis, Doug Adler, and John Morrison—at John Morrison's Broadway Motel (6:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] star comic book writer, comics columnist, and New York Times bestselling Star Trek novelist

Peter David joining in on a lively & hilarious discussion about comic books at Comic Book Club (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] witty writers offering delightfully smart observations about where we've been and where we're going

on topics ranging from pizza to vampires in the free Brooklyn show Adult Education (8:00 pm),

three full hours of improv for only five bucks—tonight featuring UCBT house troupes

Bangs, Whorenado, The Law Firm, Bastian, and The F*cking Kennedys—at Harold Night (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] and superstar & comedy genius Janeane Garofalo (HBO, FOX, movie star), magical

comedic chameleon Livia Scott (Conan O'Brien, Goodnight OJ), brilliant musical improv duo

Eliza Skinner & Glennis McMurray (I Eat Pandas), Michelle Collins (VH1, FOX), Ben Schwartz (SNL,

David Letterman, Robot Chicken, Hot Sauce), and more at the wonderful Seth Herzog's Sweet (9:00 pm).

 

Broadway 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, Broadway's one-item food or drink minimum applies to everyone.)

A breathtaking 25 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.

Tonight's lineup includes talents Meg Cupernall, Vicky Kuperman, Lisa Kaplan, Laura Spaeth, Phoebe Robinson, John Clark, Tim Ryan, Cory Jarvis, Doug Adler, and John Morrison.

Broadway Motel is hosted by Cory Jarvis and Doug Adler.

 

To be entered into the weekly random drawing for performers,

please send email to motelme@gmail.com.

6:00 pm at Broadway Comedy Club, 318 West 53rd Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

$5 cover plus one-item food or drink minimum

 

 

Comic Book Club

Hosted by Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler and Pete LePage,

who enjoy discussing comic books while getting laughs.

Tonight's very special guest is beloved comic book writer, novelist, and columnist Peter David.

David's written for numerous comics series, including The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, She-Hulk, Supergirl, Fallen Angel, and Dark Tower. He's also written dozens of books, including many New York Times bestselling Star Trek novels and comics-related novels.

And for the past 15 years, David has been writing a highly popular column for the

Comics Buyers Guide titled But I Digress.

David is a very witty, talented, and prolific writer with a highly impressive body of work.

If you're at all interested in comics, Star Trek, or writing in general, this is

a terrific night to visit the always-fun CBC.

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 two current faves, a delightful visit from Kevin "Batman" Conroy and a hilarious evening with Daily Show writer Eliot Kalan, please click here and here.)

Also be sure to watch a Penguin vs. Batman debate that uncannily predicted John McCain's campaign strategy by clicking here.

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

 

 

Adult Education: The Year in Review

This free monthly comedy show hosted by Charles Star tackles a subject with humorous "lectures." Tonight's topic is The Year in Review.

The official description:

"From Astroland to Yankee Stadium, Patrick Di Justo (author of forthcoming book The Science of Battlestar Galactica; contributing editor at Wired Magazine) takes us on a tour of the people and things that collapsed, died, or evolved away in 2008.

"Crusty, daucy, cheesy pizza expert Adam Kuban (founder and editor of Weblog Slice) reviews the year in pizza, during which the humble pie made technological advances yet remained true to its roots.

"Joe Garden (Features Editor for The Onion, and co-author of upcoming The New Vampire's Handbook) considers the year in vampires.

"Trendspotter Marian Salzman (author of 15 books) explains why the buzzword for 2009 will be reboot."

This promises to be smart, witty, and lots of fun.

Doors at 7:30, show at 8:00 pm at Union Hall, 702 Union Street at 5th Avenue

in Park Slope, Brooklyn; free

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

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

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

 

 

Harold Night

The Harold is longform improv, pioneered by Del Close.

Tonight, five improv troupes—

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

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

 

 

  

Glennis McMurray & Eliza Skinner of I Eat Pandas, and Janeane Garofalo...

    

...and Seth Herzog, Michelle Collins, and Livia Scott

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

Janeane Garofalo (quite simply, one of the most influential, and hilarious, comics

of our time; most recently co-host of The Majority Report on Air America Radio and co-star of the upcoming season of FOX's hit series 24; sample quote: "I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth."; for two decades of impressive credits, please click here),

Livia Scott (brilliant comedic chameleon who's a stellar stand-up and sketch comic, and also an extraordinary actress; Late Night with Conan O'Brien, world-class sketch groups Meat and Dirty Jeans & Thunderchief, host of NYC comedy show Livia's Castle of Enchantment, 2008 ECNY Award-nominated one-woman show Goodnight, O.J.),

Eliza Skinner (half of genius award-winning improv musical groups I Eat Pandas, and also member of Baby Wants Candy; MTV's Damage Control); drummer and singer in comedic alt band Stickerbook; co-starred in the 2008 FringeNYC award-winning hit musical Gem!: A Truly Outrageous Parody; co-host of UCBT monthly comedic freestyle rap competition The BEATdown),

Glennis McMurray (other half of genius award-winning musical improv group I Eat Pandas; performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien; co-starred in the 2008 FringeNYC award-winning hit musical Gem!: A Truly Outrageous Parody; writes a popular blog; for samples of Glennis' sketch comedy, please click here and here),

Michelle Collins (VH1's Best Week Ever and All Access, MTV U, The Al Franken Show, FOX News' Red Eye, YouCantMakeItUp.org; for a memorable chat about the power of penises over vaginas, please click here), and

Ben Schwartz (member of star improv/sketch troupe Hot Sauce; 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; actor in upcoming feature films Everybody's Fine (opposite Robert De Niro), Frank Whaley's New York City Serenade, and Mystery Team (premiering at Sundance); co-author of upcoming humor postcard book Grandma's Dead: Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals).

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 1/7/09

   

Leslie Goshko (Manhattan Monologue Slam) and Violet Krumbein (Human Painkiller)

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

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

five free hours of improvisation in The PIT's Super Free Wednesday (7:00 pm-midnight),

[TOP PICK] a competition among top comedic & dramatic short-scene performers—including

razor-sharp & hilarious Leslie Goshko (above left)—at the Manhattan Monologue Slam (7:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] Violet Krumbein demonstrating she's one of the most darkly funny talents in NYC,

and the debut of "a one-man family sitcom," in the double-bill Human Painkiller and Sertainly Seth (8:00 pm),

superb comics Jessica Delfino, Ray Devito, RG Daniels, and Vicki Ferentinos,

plus improv troupe Fat Penguin, at the free Shrink (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] an entirely improvised musical from genius improv duo Eliza Skinner

and Glennis McMurray, and an improvised soap opera, in the double-bill

I Eat Pandas and Hot Lather: As the Diamond Burns (9:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] and a free, laid-back, and occasionally magical variety show where virtually anything can happen on a School Night (11:00).

 

 

Kurt Braunohler and Pat Shay

The PIT's Super Free Wednesday

For four hours every Wednesday, The PIT provides free shows featuring its improv house troupes. Vacation Island and The Wilhelm perform at 7:00 pm; Big Black Car and Fancy Dragon go on at 8:00 pm; and The Baldwins and Sid Viscous show their stuff at 9:30. Rounding out the evening are The Faculty, consisting of The PIT's superb improv instructors, including such talents as Ali Farahnakian, Kurt Braunohler, Ptolemy Slocum, Jen Nails, Pat Shay, Kevin Scott, and Rebekka Johnson.

If you then feel sufficiently inspired, you can participate in the free show Improdome at 11:00 pm, which allows audience members to get on stage and improvise with each other in trios for 5-7 minute sets.

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

 

 

Manhattan Monologue Slam

This monthly event allows skilled actors to perform a brief one-person scene, be it comedic or dramatic, and then be judged by casting directors, managers, and other pros in the industry.

Tonight is extra special because it features all the previous winners of 2008—who include superb comedic actress & stand-up Leslie Goshko. (For Leslie's MMSlam-winning comedy sketch about Internet dating, please click here; and for her bit on "the End Times Awareness Carnival," please click here.)

Come to cheer Leslie on; and also to experience talent you typically won't encounter via the NYC comedy scene.

Tickets are normally $15, but you can pay only $10 by clicking here, printing out the flyer, and bringing it with you to the show.

Doors open at 6:30 pm, show is at 7:30 pm at the Zipper Theatre, 336 West 37th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues); tickets are $10 with flyer you can print by clicking here

 

 

Violet Krumbein: Human Painkiller and Seth Kirschner: Sertainly Seth

A delightfully oddball one-woman sketch comedy show, and the debut of a one-man show, for a mere five bucks.

The evening kicks off with Violet Krumbein, a very appealing young actress who's performed on Comedy Central, Adult Swim, and UCBT Harold Night improv troupes Tantrum and Whorenado. (For a sample of Violet's sharp acting and vocal skills, please click here.) Tonight Violet demonstrates she has one of the most disturbingly inventive comedic minds to grace an NYC stage via a show she wrote and performs solo—with the aid of a dancer's grace, impeccable timing, and myriad props...including an unforgettable life-size doll. Imagine combining the playfulness of Sesame Street with the dark side of Andy Kaufman and you'll get some glimmer of what's in store for you. Not for every taste; but if you feel adventurous, don't miss this breathtakingly original show by the beautiful and delightfully twisted Ms. Krumbein. Directed by Megan Neuringer (VH1's Best Week Ever, All Access).

The double-bill then continues with the premiere of Seth Kirschner's "one-man family sitcom" in which a high school student must deal with his fears of—wait for it—acting. Yes, it sounds painful; but UCBT giving it a Wednesday night prime time slot indicates it may be worth checking out. Directed by Todd Blass.

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

 

 

  

Jessica Delfino and RG Daniels

Shrink

This free weekly show tonight features superb comics Jessica Delfino, Ray Devito, RG Daniels, and Vicki Ferentinos, plus improv troupe Fat Penguin.

8:00 pm at Otto's Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street (between Avenues A and B); free

 

 

 

Glennis & Eliza: I Eat Pandas and Hot Lather: As the Diamond Burns

Two unique improvisation shows for a mere five bucks.

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; and they

recently starred in the Fringe festival hit Gem! A Truly Outrageous Parody,

which won two FringeNYC 2008 Awards.

Eliza will soon be moving to LA. Don't miss one of your final chances

to enjoy these comedic wizards at play on an NYC stage.

The double-bill then continues with 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.

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

 

 

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 typically wonderful free show makes possible.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 1/8/09

  

Derrick (Cage Match), Jessi Klein (Stripped Stories), and Hot Sauce (Cage Match)

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

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

[TOP PICK] superb comedic actress Amanda Duarte performing a one-woman show about working in  the entertainment biz: Lucky Pink Wonderland (7:00 pm),

Baron Vaughn (MTV, Shoot the Messenger), Roger Hailes (Chappelle's Show, VH1), Kevin Allison (The State), and Greg Johnson (President Johnson) at a free weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate, and Max Silvestri: Big Terrific (8:00ish pm),

[TOP PICK] brilliant comic Jessi Klein (Comedy Central, VH1, NBC, CNN, Adult Swim),

Ryan McKee (Modest Proposal magazine), and Cock Lorge (raunchy comedic singer) as guests on the

best sexy storytelling comedy show in NYC: Margot Leitman's & Giulia Rozzi's Stripped Stories (9:30),

[TOP PICK] and two extraordinarily talented star improv troupes, Derrick and Hot Sauce,

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

 

    

A few of the faces of stellar actress/writer Amanda Duarte

Lucky Pink Wonderland

I first met Amanda Duarte when she was kind enough to visit my screenwriters workshop for an evening of cold readings. She was an exceptionally skilled and quick-thinking actress while performing the movie pages; but what was even more notable were her off-hand comments during our critiquing afterwards. At one point Amanda said a scene was "funny as balls." I remarked that I'd never realized balls were comedic. Amanda instantly replied, "Take my word, Hy. I've seen a lot more of them than you have." It was then I realized that in addition to being a stellar actress, Amanda is a razor-sharp wit.

Both qualities are in ample evidence in Amanda's one-woman show, which explores the crazy behavior of celebrities, and the highly unglamorous life of performers seeking to attain their own fame. Some sample moments:

Hollywood star teaching her 4-year-old adopted trophy-daughter the right values by ordering a Diet Coke: "Emma, what does Mommy say? It's not a diet, it's a live-it. Now drink it up and be pretty."

A fading star in a restaurant: "I'm just trying to have lunch with my friend here today, so no autographs, okay? Oh. Sorry. I'll have the garden salad."

Failed actress turned waitress trying to force alcohol at noon on a fellow waitress in AA who just landed a TV role: "Let's celebrate with a drink! Really, one little glass isn't gonna hurt, is it? Look, you're being rude. Well, glad I don't have to live like that. Thank God I don't have a drinking problem, 'cause I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't have a drink."

Like Amanda, the show is smart, funny, raunchy, memorable...and recommended.

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

 

 

  

Greg Johnson, Kevin Allison, and Baron Vaughn...

  

...and Max Silvestri, Gabe Liedman, and Roger Hailes

Big Terrific, hosted by Gabe Liedman & Max Silvestri

Gabe Liedman & Jenny Slate (adorable and foul-mouthed comedy duo Gabe & Jenny; for hilarious Jenny video, please click here) and Max Silvestri (VH1's Best Week Ever, weekly podcast Best Night Ever, videos for 236.com) host this free weekly Brooklyn show.

Tonight's superb guests are

Baron Vaughn (MTV's The Gamekillers, VH1's Awesomely Oversexed and

Best Week Ever, co-star of weekly NYC live political comedy show Shoot the Messenger;

recently taped concert film The Awkward Kings of Comedy; for a radio interview, please click here),

Roger Hailes (exceptionally sharp, personable stand-up; Chappelle's Show,

VH1's All Access; writer for Comedy Central and MTV;

for sample videos, please click here and here),

Kevin Allison (member of legendary sketch comedy troupe The State, HBO's Flight of the Conchords, VH1's Best Week Ever,  Comedy Central's Reno 911, one-man show F*** Up),

Greg Johnson (sharp, quick-witted stand-up comic who co-hosts the NYC comedy extravaganza The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show, which won the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Variety Show).

8:00ish pm at Sound Fix Records, 110 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg Brooklyn; free

Take the L subway to Bedford Avenue and walk four blocks to N 11th Street

 

 

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

Stripped Stories

Sexual storytelling with a comedic slant.

Tonight's fascinating theme is "Obsessions."

Expect shocking and highly entertaining yarns from stellar guests

Jessi Klein (deliciously honest, brilliant, hilarious stand-up star; Rolling Stones' comedy

"Hot List;" Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn;

VH1's Best Week Ever; NBC's The Today Show; CNN; The Showbiz Show with David Spade;

voice of Lucy on Adult Swim's Lucy the Daughter of the Devil;

for a video stand-up sample about which celebrity would save

 the most Jews, and on email etiquette, please click here and here),

Ryan McKee (co-founder of Modest Proposal magazine), and

unique raunchy singer Cock Lorge.

Plus there'll be hilarious tales from the two sensual hosts, Giulia Rozzi (MTV, VH1's Best Night Ever podcasts) and Margot Leitman (Late Night With Conan O'Brien, VH1, Spike TV); and "audience interviews, sex games, and hookups...hopefully."

Come to laugh, to get turned on, and to make choices you'll regret in the morning.

This is a wonderful show, and highly recommended.

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

 

 

vs.

Cage Match: Derrick vs. Hot Sauce

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.)

Tonight's very special bout features two of the finest improv troupes in the country—each of which is a star comedy group and prodigious creator of popular comedic films.

Derrick consists of three sharp and enormously appealing performers,

Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson, who in addition to being world-class improvisors are sketch comedy stars via their wildly popular YouTube videos—

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

The guys also recently completed first feature comedy film, which they

wrote, composed, and star in—and which was accepted to premiere at Sundance!

(To view the trailer of Mystery Team, please click here.)

These hard-working performers will be appearing at two more shows within just the next two days: their monthly sketch show Street Legal at UCBT on Friday at 11:00 pm, and their free weekly stand-up show This is New York on Saturday at 8:00 pm at LIC Queens. But tonight will be extra special because of these comics' stellar improv skills...and because they'll be competing with peers.

Very ably stepping up to the plate against Derrick will be sharp-witted & lightning-quick comedy troupe 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; actor in upcoming feature films Everybody's Fine (opposite Robert De Niro), Frank Whaley's New York City Serenade, and Derrick's Mystery Team; 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.

Hot Sauce regularly performs at UCBT; recent shows have included The Dirtiest Sketch in New York Contest and Hanukkah with Hot Sauce!.

When two teams of such brilliant comics compete, there's really 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 1/9/09

   

Genius comics Aziz Ansari (Headlining at Comix) and Chris Gethard (Magic Box of Stories)

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

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

a world-class improvisor and utterly unique comic trying out his special brand of silliness in a debut solo show: Eugene Cordero (7:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] one of the funniest stand-ups alive, and a TV & movie celebrity who stars in MTV's hit sketch comedy show Human Giant and will soon be co-starring in NBC's sitcom spinoff of The Office, performing a deliciously long, fluid set in his trademark laid-back style headlining at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Aziz Ansari (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] one of the most razor-sharp and uproariously funny storytellers in the country performing this extraordinary new one-man show that should not be missed: Chris Gethard's Magic Box of Stories (8:00 pm),

a groundbreaking and surreal improv troupe tackling our new hard times

in Centralia: The Really Great Depression (8:00 pm),

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

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

and a sketch show (with some improv thrown in) from the superb stars of Derrick (11:00 pm).

 

Eugene Cordero

Eugene Cordero is a brilliant improvisor who performs in troupes Reuben Williams, The Buffoons, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company.

Tonight, however, Eugene goes solo with a try-out show demonstrating his stand-up and sketch comedy skills.

Eugene is a delightfully unique comic who combines silliness and surrealism in bold ways that no one else would even think of. Part Steven Wright, part four-year-old, and wholly original, Eugene is always a perfomer worth catching.

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

 

 

   

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari is one of the best stand-up comics on the planet. His razor-sharp mind and fluid, down-to-earth style (honed by extensive improv and sketch training) are unmatched by almost any other comic working today.

In addition, Aziz is co-star with Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer of MTV hit sketch comedy series Human Giant; has performed on HBO's Flight of the Conchords; and will be co-starring in an upcoming NBC spinoff of its hit sitcom The Office.

If you like to laugh and have fun, this is a can't-miss pick, and highly recommended.

Please Note: You can save $5 off the $30 cover tonight or $25 cover before day of show on Saturday (i.e., pay $25 or $20 per ticket) by ordering online with discount code HyReviews.

Please also note there's a two-item minimum;

with tax & tip, figure on spending an additional $13 or up.

Tonight & Saturday at 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between

8th & 9th Avenues); $25 per ticket tonight or $20 for Saturday

if you order online today using discount code HyReviews

 

 

  

Brilliant comedic storyteller Chris Gethard will shower us tonight with his magically hilarious tales

Chris Gethard's Magic Box of Stories

Chris Gethard is one of the most talented and brilliant storytellers and improvisors in New York. Chris can be seen every Friday night as a member of ace improv group The Stepfathers, and every month as a member of the razor-sharp storytelling show the The Nights of Our Lives. Chris is also the author of the book Weird New York.

And tonight Chris lets his storytelling prowess fully shine as he asks audience members to pick story titles out of a box filled with his wondrous, unforgettable, and jaw-droppingly funny tales. Since Chris has many more tales in the box than can be told during this 90-minute slot, every performance is fresh and unique.

Please note that if you attended a previous evening of Magic Box, you shouldn't hesitate to come back tonight. Once Chris performs a story, he removes it from the box, so you're guaranteed to never hear the same tale twice.

Come catch this rising star demonstrate why he should be famous in a show that gets my highest recommendation.

8:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $10

 

 

 

Centralia: The Really Great Depression

Acclaimed improv troupe 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: "On the heels of its successful runs of Uncle and Au Bon Panic, Centralia is back withan improvisational journey through the new Hard Times, weaving surreal and hilarious tales inspired by market nosedives, corporate bailouts, and bank implosions. As we teeter on the brink of new Hoovervilles, breadlines and asking a brother to spare a dime, Centralia delivers its patented brand of script-less scenes, songs and mayhem. Featuring the amazing musical talents of Stuart Bogie (Antibalas, TV On The Radio, Fela)."

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

 

 

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 stand-ups 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 Dave Rubin Project 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)

 

 

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 $10

 

 

Derrick Comedy: Street Legal

Derrick is three sharp and enormously appealing performers,

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

proven themselves to be both stars and improvisation champions,

winning a breathtaking 11 improv matches in a row in 2007 at Cage Match...

and breaking several all-time records while at it.

The guys also make wildly popular YouTube videos—

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

And they also recently completed a feature comedy film, which they

wrote, composed, and star in—and which will premiere at Sundance!

(To view the trailer of Mystery Team, please click here.)

In tonight's show, they perform sketch comedy live,

and throw in an improv session to boot.

These wonderfully inventive writer/actors are continually creating,

so even if you've seen this show before, don't hesitate to come tonight;

the trio will be performing all-new material.

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 1/10/09

Don't miss your last chance to see stand-up comedy genius Aziz Ansari tonight headlining at Comix

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

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

[TOP PICK] a musical made up on the spot from magical Chicago improv group

Baby Wants Candy (2:00 pm and 10:00 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),

an exciting new NYC show developed at Chicago's legendary iO theatre in which veteran

improvisors create a play on the spot based on audience suggestions: New Play (7:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] star improvisation from writers & performers at 30 Rock, The Colbert Report,

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

[TOP PICK] one of the funniest stand-ups alive, and a TV & movie celebrity who stars in MTV's hit sketch comedy show Human Giant and will soon be co-starring in NBC's sitcom spinoff of The Office, performing a deliciously long, fluid set in his trademark down-to-earth style headlining at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Aziz Ansari (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm),

sharp NYC comics at a free stand-up comedy show hosted by star sketch/improv troupe Derrick in Queens' Long Island City: This Is New York (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] one of my all-time favorite improv troupes—which in 2008 broke the Cage Match record

for winning streaks with 18 triumphs in a row, and has now taken over UCBT's prestigious prime-time

Saturday night slot—the brilliant and daring members of Death by Roo Roo (9:00 pm),

organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track! (9:00 pm),

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

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

[TOP PICK] Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, quick-paced

theatrical comedy show at The Complete Performer (10:30 pm),

[TOP PICK] and three of the finest improv trios in the country—C, C + C Improv Factory,

Hot Sauce, and Outlook of the Poet—each performing stellar long-form improv

at tonight's Saturday Night Slumber Party (midnight).

 

Baby Wants Candy

Baby Wants Candy is a Chicago-based troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the "choreography" are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. For brief scenes from previous shows, please click here.

Note: This current NYC run ends tomorrow.

2:00 pm & 10:00 pm at Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street (7th Ave., south of Christopher)

Tickets are $20 at the door, $22 online

 

 

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 $10

 

 

New Play: Improvised Theatre in One or Two Acts

Chicago's legendary iO Theatre developed an improv form called Play in which comics took an audience suggestion and then created "a play of two acts or less" on the spot. Bringing this exciting comedic game to NYC are Chicago-trained improv veterans Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report, member of acclaimed Chicago improv troupe 4 Square, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials), Deb Downing, Ed Herbstman, Katie Caussin, Melanie Hoopes, Jonathan Karpinos, and Kelly Haran, with direction by Sandy Marshall.

According to the official description, "the ensemble writes a play while they are performing it, streamlining the cumbersome and often wasteful 'process' traditionally used to develop scripts. Eliminating rewrites, readings, rehearsals, and other distractions, the cast of New Play harnesses the power of live theatre with no preparation, opening (and closing) a brand new play each week.

"New Play doesn't rehash the stereotypes of well-known theatrical styles or authors for easy laughs. Instead, the cast explores original stories and characters every show, as if in the voice of some yet undiscovered playwright. The results range from poignant to hilarious, and occasionally both at the same time.

"The show may contain strobe lights, loud explosions, nudity, objectionable themes, and gunfire. Or it may not."

If you love both improv and theatre, how can you resist?

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

 

 

 

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

Let's Have a Ball

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

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

7:30 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $10

 

 

   

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari is one of the best stand-up comics on the planet. His razor-sharp mind and fluid, down-to-earth style (honed by extensive improv and sketch training) are unmatched by almost any other comic working today.

In addition, Aziz is co-star with Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer of MTV hit sketch comedy series Human Giant; has performed on HBO's Flight of the Conchords; and will be co-starring in an upcoming NBC spinoff of its hit sitcom The Office.

If you like to laugh and have fun, this is a can't-miss pick, and highly recommended.

Please Note: You can save $5 off the $30 cover (i.e., pay $25 per ticket)

by ordering online with discount code HyReviews.

Please also note there's also a two-item minimum;

with tax & tip, figure on spending an additional $13 or up.

8:00 pm & 10:30 pm at Comix, 353 West 14th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues);

$25 per ticket if you order online using discount code HyReviews

 

 

Donald Glover, DC Pierson, and Dominic Dierkes of Derrick

This Is New York

Derrick is three sharp and enormously appealing performers,

Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson, who are sketch comedy

stars via their wildly popular YouTube videos—

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

The guys also recently completed first feature comedy film, which they

wrote, composed, and star in—and which was accepted to premiere at Sundance!

(To view the trailer of Mystery Team, please click here.)

In this weekly free show in Queens' Long Island City, these impressively

multi-talented comics host a comedy showcase featuring NYC stand-ups

...and also themselves performing both stand-up and sketch.

Tonight's guests haven't been announced, but they're typically fine NYC comics.

8:00 pm at The Creek and The Cave, 10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens; free

From Manhattan, take the #7 subway to the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue stop (one stop after Grand Central); exit on Jackson Avenue and walk one block north to 49th Avenue

 

 

Death by Roo Roo: Your F*cked Up Family

Arguably the gutsiest improv troupe in NYC, and unquestionably among the finest groups in improv history, the brilliant comics of Death by Roo RooAnthony Atamanuik, Liz Cackowski, Neil Casey, John Gemberling, Curtis Gwinn, Adam Pally, and Gavin Speiller—interview an audience member about family and then act out his or her life story

via improvised scenes. Always razor-sharp, sometimes scary, and usually hilarious.

9:00 pm at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $10

 

 

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.

9:00 pm at The Magnet Theatre, 254 West 29th Street (off 8th Avenue); tickets are $5

 

 

The Harvard Sailing Team

The Harvard Sailing Team, which won the 2008 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.

9:30 pm at The Peoples Improv Theater, 154 West 29th Street (off 7th Avenue); tickets are $10

 

 

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 $10

 

 

Ted Greenberg: The Complete Performer

It would be hard to go wrong with a show from Ted Greenberg, the Emmy Award winning writer for seven seasons of Late Night with David Letterman. So it's not surprising this 30-minute act was a hit at this year's FringeNYC, often selling out performances.

The Complete Performer is a parody of typical NYC acts in small venues—improv, mind reading, card tricks, playing with the audience. It's essentially a comedy club act, but with gags in place of standard jokes. (If you're okay with having surprises spoiled, you can get a feel for Ted's approach by clicking here.)

Come enjoy quirky laughs from this seasoned pro; and hang out afterwards to chat with Ted, who's one of the friendliest Emmy winners you're ever likely to meet.

10:30 pm at Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street (between 6th Avenue & Varick); tickets are $15

 

 

 and

Saturday Night Slumber Party: C, C + C Improv Factory, Hot Sauce, and Outlook of the Poet

A trio of the sharpest and most hilarious three-man improv troupes in the country

perform at this midnight show for a mere five bucks.

 

C, C + C Improv Factory—consisting of Chuck Dauble (Chuck D. & Jawnee Show), Charlie Sanders (Conan O'Brien, Reuben Williams), and Charlie Todd (Improv Everywhere, Reuben Williams)—was the 2008 Champion of Cage Match, beating out some of the most spectacularly skilled improvisors working today.

Among CCCIF's most memorable performances was in September 2008 when they received the audience suggestion "prison." They began by slowly building a backstory about three friends who travel the globe and were thrown into jail on the suspicion of being witches. After exploring a myriad of ramifications (e.g., Charlie Todd pointed out that as men they should actually be accused of being warlocks), the tale exploded into another dimension when Charlie Sanders revealed he did indeed have magical powers...via a mystical portal in his ass. When Sanders persuaded his friends to escape that way, they discovered that he actually wasn't quite a man during their capture; and that they were now trapped inside him—to say the least. As Sanders laughed demonically, making the audience virtually see flames greedily rising alongside him, he proclaimed "Thought ye were in prison before! Now I have testicles again...and they be YOU!!!" Through words, body language, and the power of suggestion, these guys created millions of dollars of special effects on stage...and an unforgettable epic horror tale jam-packed with laughs.

The trio were also a standout—amidst over 150 troupes— at July 2007's Del Close Improv Marathon, expertly demonstrating how to keep raising the stakes throughout a long-form improvisation by playing three guys revealing all the lies they've been suppressing while they've hung out together: e.g., one of them admits that despite his frequent television references, he actually never watches TV; then that he's Amish; and finally that he's blind. The exploration of the logical ramifications of each revelation led the audience into hysterics.

 

Sharp-witted & lightning-quick Hot Sauce was the 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; actor in upcoming feature films Everybody's Fine (opposite Robert De Niro), Frank Whaley's New York City Serenade, and Derrick's Mystery Team; 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.

 

Outlook of the Poet is the newest of these groups, but has proven to be an equal in talent and skill—for example, it won the 2008 pic epic 3-on-3 Improv Tournament.

The troupe includes brilliant improvisor Ben Rodgers, who's the pitch-perfect and thoroughly hilarious co-announcer of Cage Match; and who's also the only person in the history of Cage Match to compete solo! Ben wowed audiences in 2008 with his ability to take over the stage and conjure complex tales filled with quirky characters using only his quick-witted imagination, acting skills, guts, and charisma.To read a description of the electric night Ben won against one of the very finest improv troupes in the country, Death by Roo Roo, please click here; and to read about Ben's defeat by the aforementioned C, C + C Improv Factory, please click here.

The troupe's other members are Jonathan Gabrus (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, VH1's Best Week Ever, writer and star of Spike TV sitcom The Void) and Gavin Speiller (member of improv troupes Death by Roo Roo and the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, and sketch group Rogue Elephant).

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

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 1/11/09

  

Joselyn Hughes (Sunday Night Stand-Up), Katina Corrao (Beauty Bar Comedy), and Chelsea Peretti (Electro Shock Therapy)

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 (paid show at 7:30 pm, free show at 9:30 pm),

typically stellar stand-ups at what's often among the funniest free productions in NYC,

from hosts Greg Johnson and Jacqueline Novak: President Johnson (8:00 pm),

razor-sharp stand-ups Matt McCarthy (Comedy Central), Giulia Rozzi (VH1, Stripped Stories),

Joselyn Hughes (Macho!), and Brent Sullivan at RG Daniels' free Sunday Night Stand-Up (8:00 pm),

[TOP PICK] the last chance for a while to see a musical made up on the spot

on an NYC stage by magical Chicago improv group Baby Wants Candy (9:00 pm),

terrific comics Jackie Kashian (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Timmy Williams

(Whitest Kids U' Know), Dan St. Germain (MTV), Shawn Hollenbach (here! TV, The Back Room),

and Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central) at Vince Averill's & Jesse Popp's

free show Beauty Bar Comedy (9:00 pm),

and a Golden Globe viewing party from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by superb stand-up

comics Chelsea Peretti (Comedy Central, Variety SHAC), Steve Hoffstetter (CBS, ABC, VH1),

Brian Barry (currently in Broadway's Pal Joey), and David Smithyman (Australian gay stand-up) at a

free gay-themed show hosted by Brad Loekle: Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour (11:00 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 $10; 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 ($10) & 9:30 pm (free) at UCBT, 307 West 26th Street (off 8th Avenue)

 

 

  

Greg Johnson and Jacqueline Novak

President Johnson

This is one of the best comedy shows in New York—and is entirely free.

It's hosted by sharp, quick-witted Greg Johnson (check out his hilarious blog by clicking here) and Jacqueline Novak (Comedy Central Live Tour, XM Radio, CollegeHumor.com; for "response to heckler" video, please click here).

Tonight's guests haven't been announced, but the lineup usually includes some of the finest stand-up comics in New York.

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

 

 

  

Matt McCarthy, Joselyn Hughes, and Giulia Rozzi

Sunday Night Stand-Up with RG Daniels

This free weekly stand-up comedy show features both established talents and up-and-comers. It's hosted by RG Daniels (quirky experimental comic; influences include Woody Allen and french fries).

Tonight's superb guests are

Matt McCarthy (razor-sharp comic; Comedy Central's Live at Gotham; co-host of biweekly LIC live comedy extravaganza The Matt and Katina Show; national TV ads for Verizon Fios, Guinness, etc.; for stand-up videos about unsolicited advice and measuring love, please click here and here),

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

for a video sample, please click here),

Joselyn Hughes (Comedysmack.com, Maxim radio, co-star of sketch duo Macho!; for video questioning the effectiveness of rape whistles, please click here), and

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

8:00 pm at Three of Cups downstairs lounge, 83 1st Avenue (off 5th Street); free

 

 

Baby Wants Candy

Baby Wants Candy is a Chicago-based troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the "choreography" are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. For brief scenes from previous shows, please click here.

Note: BWC's current NYC run ends tonight with this performance.

9:00 pm at Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street (7th Ave., south of Christopher)

Tickets are $20 at the door, $22 online

 

 

   

Timmy Williams, Dan St. Germain, Shawn Hollenbach, and Katina Corrao...

  

...and hosts Vince Averill and Jesse Popp

Beauty Bar Comedy

This long-running free weekly comedy show is hosted by Vince Averill (Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, DC Comedy Festival) and Jesse Popp (Comedy Central's Premium Blend).

Tonight's terrific guests are

Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents half-hour special; for Last Comic Standing

stand-up video about Jackie's salesman dad, please click here),

Timmy Williams (member of star comedy group Whitest Kids U' Know, which currently has a TV show on the Independent Film Channel; writes a sharp comic book blog),

Dan St. Germain (MTV; for reenactment of Dan's breakup, please click here),

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

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).

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

 

 

    

Steve Hoffstetter, Chelsea Peretti, and Brad Loekle

The Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

Brad Loekle (cast member of TruTVís weekly The Smoking Gun Presents, co-host of Sirius Radioís weekly OUT Q, columnist for monthly magazine Key West Gay Rag) hosts this gay-themed weekly stand-up comedy show. It's entirely free if you're okay with standing; otherwise plan on ordering food or a drink if you prefer sitting at a table.

Tonight features a Golden Globe Awards viewing party from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm

followed by these top NYC stand-up comics:

Chelsea Peretti (exceptionally fresh, smart stand-up comic; Comedy Central's Live at Gotham; member of superb comedy troupe Variety Shac; writer for Village Voice, Details, Playgirl, Jest,

blackpeopleloveus.com, and Rejection Line: 212/479-7990),

Steve Hoffstetter (Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, ABC, VH1, host of The National Lampoon Radio Sports Minute Or So, voted #1 college comedian of 2008),

Brian Barry (currently performing on Broadway opposite Stockard Channing in Pal Joey), and

David Smithyman (Australian gay comic; for stand-up video about riding the F train, please click here).

8:00-11:00 pm for Golden Globe Awards TV viewing, 11:00 pm for stand-up show

at Therapy, 348 West 52nd Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues); free

 

 

Alternatively, consider seeing a funny and/or musical

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

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

or, in some cases, for as little as $3.50 each—

please read Hy on Theatre Discounts.

 

 

NYC Comedy Picks for Tonight

 

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Email: hy@hyreviews.com