Five comedy shows

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  • NYC Improv Fest

  • Photograph: Brian Friedman

    Comedy Central Presents Russell Brand

    Russell Brand

  • Photograph: Phil McCarten

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA- JUNE 12: Comedian Daniel Tosh performs on Comedy Central's...

    Daniel Tosh

NYC Improv Fest

NYC Improv Fest
Given the Peoples Improv Theater's dramatic new Gramercy digs—including two performance spaces and a welcoming bar—it follows that the staff would want to invite improvisers from around the country to take part in a few days of performances, workshops and panels. This inaugural festival has plenty of New Yorkers on the bill, including a reunion of improv troupe Neutrino, along with appearances from Chicago star Jet Eveleth and Toronto's vaunted 2-Man No-Show. Peoples Improv Theater, 123 E 24th St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-563-7488, thepit-nyc.com). Times and prices vary. Mar 21--24.

The Secret Policeman's Ball
This marquee-name variety show, which raises funds for Amnesty International, was a phenomenon when it first took place in London in the mid-'70s. One of the men responsible, John Cleese, welcomed several of his fellow Pythons, as well as musicians like Pete Townshend and Sting, all while raising awareness and resources for the cause. This year marks the show's first performance in the U.S., and its lineup is as impressive as in years past: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Russell Brand and Reggie Watts join Mumford & Sons and Coldplay. With all the snark, satire, music and mad delight to be had, it's easy to justify the ticket price. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com). Sun 4 at 7pm; $55--$500.

Daniel Tosh
With Tosh.0 regularly giving The Daily Show and The Colbert Report a run for their money in the ratings, it's clear that Daniel Tosh's legion of fans is growing. Prepare to see them turn out in force for his Tosh Tour Twenty Twelve, as the comedian showcases his barbed stand-up material with a charming spark. We also love beleaguered, dark slacker Kyle Kinane, who opens. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (livenation.com). Apr 13 at 7, 10pm; $101--$800.

VCR Party
Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett of the Found Footage Festival have devoted much of their time to old VHS tapes, and what a passion it is: This spring, as they finish up their latest evening of campy treats in preparation for another U.S. tour, the duo kicks off a new monthly video-related comedy night at Nitehawk Cinema. The evening features sly commentary over their latest painfully earnest discoveries; the funnymen will also welcome fellow collector Derrick Beckles from TV Carnage, stand-up Leo Allen and others. Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-3980, nitehawkcinema.com). Mar 20 at 9:30pm; $11.

Hannibal Buress
If you haven't seen this former SNL and 30 Rock writer (who also hosts a weekly show at the Knitting Factory) crack into a full hour, now's the time: Buress's demeanor is still laid-back and laconic, and his jokes still fiercely freaky. But these days, his entire act is imbued with a confidence that makes his presence even more magnetic. Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway between 49th and 50th Sts (carolines.com, 212-757-4100). Apr 12, 15 at 8pm; Apr 13, 14 at 8, 10:30pm. $31 plus two-drink minimum.

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