This week in Cheap Laughs, we have a send-off for Dave, Seinfeld’s fave, un-dateable trolls, Canadian goals, and the most fun you can have in a gay bar without actually having sex. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, May 20
Love for Letterman: A Tribute to The Late Show
The Stand, 10 p.m., $5
Jerry Seinfeld just appeared on Dave’s Ed Sullivan Theater stage for the last time, armed with his first ever Letterman stand-up set. He performed it again, word for word. That’s how much this moment means to comics: They all remember the jokes they told Dave. Tonight, to mark the occasion of ol’ Duck Lips’ last ever show, a handful of stand-ups will revisit their debut Letterman sets to a packed house at the Stand. Joining them will be Eddie Brill, Letterman’s longtime stand-up booker, who you can bet will tell some wild stories. At 11:30 p.m., the crowd will migrate upstairs for a live screening of Dave’s final broadcast.
Thursday, May 21
Running Late With Scott Rogowsky
Carolines, 9.30 p.m., $8.25 here with discount code RLSFAN
Robert Klein might be the most influential living stand-up comic. Seinfeld and Larry David both agree that without him, there is no them. Klein’s was the first stand-up special on HBO, ever. Add that to a legion of albums, TV, and film roles, and it adds up to a remarkable 50-year career in the joke business, ever since he auditioned for the Second City in 1965 with his randomly selected scene partner, Fred Willard. Klein is Scott Rogowsky’s guest tonight, alongside the man organizing a Global Family Reunion (you human? You’re invited!), A.J. Jacobs, plus Dale Seever, irrepressible host of Dale Radio.
Friday, May 22
The Creek and the Cave, 8 p.m., Free
If you’ve ever been tempted to date a comedian, come to the Creek tonight and be mercifully cured of that desire. On this show, unattached stand-ups perform and then host JoAnna Ross interviews them about their dating life. If past shows are any indication, questions will be invasive, such as “What bathrooms have you had sex in?” and “Why are you so not relationship material?” Queries will also be fielded from the audience, Twitter, and write-ins. The crippled over-sharers discussing their intimate failures tonight include Tim Dillon, Myka Fox, and Zach McGovern.
Saturday, May 23
The Pit, 8 p.m., $10
Rapping is hard. Rapping while telling a story, building believable characters, and making it all up as you go along? That’s really, really hard. But North Coast have been making that look easy for over five years. A self-styled hip-hop improv troupe, they create a unique collage of comedy, hip-hop, and beatboxing. It’s a fun hook, using the best bits of rap (brashness, bravado, and bullshitting) to eliminate the worst parts of improv (silence, awkwardness, and awkward silence). A lot of shows proclaim, “You’ve never seen anything quite like it.” In North Coast’s case, that is actually true.
Sunday, May 24
This N’ That, 8 p.m., Free
You probably don’t have to go to work tomorrow, so why not enjoy two-for-one drink specials at a gay bar while less-than-sober comedians make you laugh? Come for the jokes of Jacqueline Novak and Anthony DeVito; stay for the post-show karaoke with drag diva Hamm Sandwich. Celebrate Memorial Day hungover with a raspy voice and regrets. It’s not an offensive way to spend the holiday: Had those brave servicemen not sacrificed their lives for this great country, they’d be doing the same thing.
Monday, May 25
Littlefield, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $10
A cross between Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Hunger Games, BeerProv is a Canadian import show where a rotating cast of comedians improvise scenes based on audience suggestions. Performers are systematically eliminated by audience vote during the show until only one player remains. He or she is crowned BeerProv Champion, and is given the opportunity to drink from the BeerProv Mug of Champions. It must be something deep inside the Canadian psyche: Victory can only be enjoyed by drinking suds from something Stanley Cup–shaped.
Tuesday, May 26
Just for Laughs Showcase
The Stand, 8 p.m., $15
Selection for the Montreal Just for Laughs comedy festival (something that comedians treat a little like the NFL combine) is entering its final phase. Tonight, a handful of hopefuls will try to make a final good impression on the festival’s bookers and secure a showcase spot in sunny Quebec. You should go down and watch. The only stipulation? You cannot be “industry.” Meaning, you cannot work in television or film. For those who are unsure, there’s an easy way to tell. Are you a slimy lizard in a cheap suit and pinky ring, accustomed to draping a greasy arm over naïve young shoulders and whispering in fluent halitosis, “We’re gonna do great things, baby”? If the answer is yes, stay away.