Halloween is nearly here, and New York comedy freaks are knocking on your door in expectation. This week we have pole dancing mixed with stand-up (guess where most of the audience’s attention will be), campy 80’s horror movie drinkathons, and merciless mockery of comedy’s biggest names by some of its very smallest. So take a break from jamming razors into candle apples or injecting poison into Tootsie Rolls, and enjoy the best live independent comedy shows the city has to offer this week.
Wednesday, October 23rd
Heavy Metal Laser Plane
Legion Bar, 8 p.m. Free.
The sensitive Staten Islander is truly the rarest of species, so don’t miss the chance to see the hilarious J.F. Harris headline this show, alongside the loveable toughness of Guy Branum (Chelsea Lately), Virginia crush-merchant George Gordon, and spiky Chicagoans Chip Dwyer and Julia Solomon.
Thursday, October 24th
Funny Thing Happened
Poco, 8 p.m. Free.
Big laughs, small plates. Lower East Side tapas bar Poco hosts an eclectic comedy show that starts with original sketch videos and closes with a few choice dishes of standup. Village Voice Best of New York comedian of the year Mark Normand bats cleanup, alongside Doug Smith, Taylor Ketchum and more. Jawaan Carmona, Sooyah Jun and Conor Boylan host the nonsense, and most drinks are an old-school L.E.S. price of $5 all night.
Friday, October 25th
Sleepaway Camp: The Drinking Game
Creek and the Cave, 11.55 p.m. Free
If you’ve never seen 1983’s camp classic slasher flick Sleepaway Camp, this is the Halloween to fix that glaring hole in your life. And if you have seen it? Watch it again and get playfully drunk doing so! Comedians Ben Conrad and Coree Spencer host a Sleepaway Camp-themed drinking game, whose rules include: drink when someone gets killed, drink when someone wears inappropriately short shorts, and drink when anyone is mean to Angela. Attendees are encouraged to dress in early 80s summer wear, and heckling the film is encouraged.
Saturday, October 26th
Schtick a Pole In It
R Bar, 7.30 p.m. $15 (tickets here)
This is a show where standup comedians tell jokes while pole dancers perform next to them. And it’s even MORE fun than it sounds. Hosts Dan Goodman and Joanna Ross are revealing the ancient connection between comedy and sexy dancing: two noble arts where people desperate for love contort their bodies and souls in disturbing ways for five minutes of a stranger’s attention. Kurt Metzger, Chris Calogero and others bring the jokes… and Purell for the pole.
Sunday, October 27th
6th Annual Shtick Or Treat
Littlefield, 8 p.m. $8 in adv./ $10 on the door (tickets here)
This is a slice of goof gold. Every Halloween, working New York comedians get together to do impersonations of their far more successful colleagues. Some of the mimicry is terrible. Some is unnervingly accurate. It’s all funny. Expect sets from a fake Ellen Degeneres, Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Joan Rivers, and many, many more.
Tuesday, October 29th
UCBeast, 8 p.m. $5
In this show, improv pros and stand-ups do what they do best and then switch places to try their hand at the other discipline. It’s wonderful to watch stand-up comics in particular realize just how hard improv is, in front of an audience gleefully watching them writhe in pain. This week features Rob Cantrell (Colbert Report, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell), Jermaine Fowler (In Living Color, MTV’s Guy Code), and Michelle Wolf (MTV’s Girl Code, Carolines).
Tom Cowell is a comedian. Follow him on Twitter @mrtomcowell. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with all listing suggestions.