How hard can Brooklyn laugh at itself? We’ll find out this week, when the first ever Brooklyn Comedy Festival takes over the borough’s most unintentionally ridiculous neighborhood: Williamsburg! It’s where everyone dresses like a trendy clown, so it’s fertile ground for comedy. Here are our picks for the best of the festival, and the rest of New York comedy for the next seven days: BROOKLYN COMEDY FESTIVAL SPECIAL EDITION!
Monday, August 19th
Game Night: Festival Edition, hosted by Kyle Ayers and Will Winner
The board-game themed comedy show kicks off this year’s festival, and promises to be a booze bath powered by drink specials from Jameson Whiskey (a festival sponsor). This week features performances from Totally Biased writer Aparna Nancherla, legendary New York standup Jeffrey Joseph and the unforgettable Nick Vatterott (see below). Plus a free after-party will take over Union Pool at 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 20th
Grocery at The Brewery
The Brooklyn Brewery
8:30 p.m., $5.
Manhattan institution Comedy at Arlene’s Grocery crosses the river to take over the cavernous confines of the Brooklyn Brewery. The bone-dry Sheng Wang, public access superstar Chris Gethard and new Daily Show writer Matt Koff (see video above) will delight you. And if they don’t, you’re in a brewery. They make liquid fun.
Wednesday, August 21st
Heavy Metal Laser Plane
8 p.m., Free.
John Anderson and I host MTV Guy Code and Letterman star Chris DiStefano, supported by the insanely funny Rob Cantrell, Subhah Agarwal and Emily Fleming.
Thursday August 22nd
The Very Funny Characters Welcome Who Know Comedy Show, hosted by The Oakwood Boys
8:30 p.m., $5
SNL writer Mike O’Brien is the first among equals at this oddball show featuring great character performances, plus brutally funny standups Josh Rabinowitz and Kevin Barnett. If you’re not watching O’Brien’s web series “7 Minutes In Heaven” where he interviews celebrities in his closet and then tries to kiss them, you’re really not living a good life. Another free after-party follows at 11pm at The Graham.
Friday August 23rd
Comedy as a Second Language: Brooklyn Edition
The Brick Theater
11 p.m., $5.
The CSL show at Kabin in the East Village is the real deal: a showcase for the very best of the New York’s new blood, along with comics visiting from out of town bringing A-game to put us snobby Gothamites on notice. The line-up tends to be hush-hush, but Zach Galifianakis and Jim Gaffigan have been recent drop-ins. Bookers Rebecca Trent, Sean Patton and Chesley Calloway bring the show to Brooklyn for one night only.
Saturday, August 24th
Late Night Writers’ Panel Happy Hour
5 p.m., Free.
Want to write for a late night show? Leave early from the terrible job you already have and catch this happy hour with two young late night writers–Emmy Blotnick (from Nikki and Sara Live) and festival co-producer Evyatar Gour will tell you how incredibly difficult but wonderful it is.
Brooklyn Comedy Festival Closing Night Double-Bill
Two totally different shows: 9pm-10.30pm, 10.30pm-1am, $8 gets you into both.
Two shows in one end the inaugural festival: a lethal standup show, followed by a performance from one of the best sketch comedy groups in the city: Murderfist. They’re the people who brought you 1-800-FatBoyz and Painting with Penis. If you don’t find these funny, you shouldn’t have friends or oxygen.
Sunday, August 25th
Sunday Night Stand Up
Three of Cups
8 p.m., Free.
If you steadfastly refuse to leave Manhattan for comedy this week, we grudgingly respect your throwback borough prejudice. So we’ll throw you a bone. RG Daniels has run this perfectly-formed weekly show from punk venue Three of Cups for five years, and consistently books great performers who deliver A+ shit. Rising star Joe DeRosa (from Louie and Bored To Death) headlines this week: catch him here before he blows up even bigger.
Tom Cowell is a comedian. Follow him on Twitter @mrtomcowell.