Cheap Laughs: The Best in Indie and Alt Comedy This Week 12/18 - 12/25

Punk queen Kathleen Hanna stops by Employee of the Month at UCB Chelsea this Wednesday.
Punk queen Kathleen Hanna stops by Employee of the Month at UCB Chelsea this Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of Aliya Naumoff

Consider the phrase "ho ho ho". It denotes festive laughter, but how much will you really laugh this holiday season, given what you're about to endure? Crappy gifts, airports, family racists, "a very special Christmas episode" of every awful show, eggnog, criminal knitware, relatives who just found God, relatives who just found cock (his wife was crushed), tinsel-rash, lying to children, brussels sprouts, gas triggered by brussels sprouts... hardly a big bag of giggles, is it? You deserve some real laughs in your system to survive Christmas. We're here to help. Behold our round-up of the best in independent New York comedy this week.

Wednesday, December 18th

Employee of the Month UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5

Catie Lazarus hosts this live podcast, interviewing people lucky enough to have the best jobs in the world. It's a Jimmy Fallon meets meets Fresh Air kind of thing. Previous guests include Gloria Steinem and Rachel Maddow. This week, punk rock and Bikini Kill legend Kathleen Hanna swings by to talk about her new Riot Grrrl documentary "The Punk Singer". Also in attendance Tony-nominated actress Maria Dizzia (star of that unforgettable spanking scene in Louie), author and prison reform activist Piper Kerman ("Orange is the New Black") and journalist Jon Ronson ("The Psychopath Test").

Upcoming Events

Thursday, December 19th

The Fruitcake Holiday Variety Show The Creek and the Cave, 9.30 p.m. Free

Comedians don't really have an office to throw them an office holiday party, but thankfully, the Creek and the Cave are stepping up. Funny Jews Nick Naney and Eytan Kurland team up with Shabbos goy Bill Stiteler for a free Holiday-themed variety show featuring stand-up from The Daily Show's Matt Koff, music from Buckwheat Groats, and sketches from the cream of New York's young clown community. So if you want to watch up-and-coming comics make boozy holiday mistakes (or perhaps make some with one), this is the show for you.

Friday, December 20th

Big Long Sets UCBeast, 7.30 p.m. $5

If you're looking for a sure thing, this show is it. Letterman alumnus Adam Newman hosts two deeply funny veteran comics, working out their headlining sets without headliner prices. Paying just $5 to see Sean Patton (Conan, Fallon, Comedy Central) and Rob Cantrell (Marijuana-logues, Last Comic Standing) is ridiculously good value. So go.   Saturday, December 21st

Comedy At Stonewall The Stonewall Inn, 7.30 p.m. No cover, two drink minimum

Dilemma: you want to do something fun, but your tourist visitors are hung up on doing "something cultural" in New York. Why not take them to the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement - the Stonewall Inn and its infamous riot - and stay for a real murderer's row of stand-up. Chrissie Mayr hosts a bill so good it's almost embarrassing: Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central), Jared Logan (Best Week Ever), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central's Comics to Watch), Chip Dwyer (Act Three Comedy Writers Podcast) and a few special guests will show you a gay old time.

Monday, December 23rd

The Fucking Tom Cruise Christmas Special UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5

Brandon Gulya is one of those uncategorizable comic weirdos that New York excels in producing. Since you're clearly procrastinating about going home for the holidays (just 48 hours to go!), pay him a visit and cherish his insanity. Catch a double bill of his one-man shows, "Who Are You People and Why are You Watching Me?", and a half-hour showcase for Gulya's one (and only, and terrible) impression: Tom Cruise. Because when you think "symbol of Christmas", what comes to your mind? That's right: fucking Tom Cruise.

Tuesday, December 24th

Nasal Vice: X-Mishegoss Eve Jimmy's No. 43, 8.00 p.m. No cover, two drink minimum

Attention all humor-seeking Jews, non-Christians, and non-Believers everywhere: finally there's something to do on Christmas Eve beyond Chinese restaurants. Don't want to celebrate the birth of a radical Jew 2000 years ago? Come watch fairly un-radical Jews complain about minutiae, including Mike Lawrence (Comedy Central's "Half-Hour"; Conan), Joe Dixon (Atheist Bible Study), Eli Lebowicz (Comix), Eitan Levine (the PIT). The night of unholy humbuggery is hosted by Ben Asher.

Tom Cowell is a comedian. Follow him on Twitter @mrtomcowell. Email with all listing suggestions.

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