This week in independent NYC comedy has literally everything: young upstarts, grizzled veterans, pole-dancing ladies, podium-gripping men, and a very special show inspired by the works of Billy Joel. If you’re not enjoying quality comedy entertainment for just a few bucks this week, well, we’re disappointed. You’ve let us down, you’ve let yourself down, but most importantly… you’ve let The Piano Man down. Here are our picks for the best independent/alt comedy shows over the next seven days.
Wednesday, November 20
Broad City Live
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5.
Now’s a good time to catch the live version of cult web series Broad City before everyone yaks about their TV show next year. Produced by Amy Poehler, the show follows young female idiots Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as they screw up around New York City, and should air on Comedy Central in early 2014. See them now, so you can brag insufferably about “the live show being better” later!
Thursday, November 21
The PIT (Peoples Improv Theatre), 9.30 p.m. $10.
One of many heads in MTV’s all-conquering 90’s comedy Hydra The State, Kevin Allison has made a name for himself at the raunchier end of comic storytelling. RISK! is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share.” So expect a lot of sex, death and poop stories (i.e. good ones). Tonight’s raconteurs are Blaise Allysen Kearsley, Alex Edelman, Slash Coleman and Joel Kim Booster.
Sketches From An Italian Restaurant: A Billy Joel Sketch Show
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5
The premise of this show is that Billy Joel is the greatest recording artist of all time, which is a longer way of saying it’s based in truth. Comedians Dru Johnston and Don Fanelli bring you a sketch experience inspired by this god of a man and his tremendous songs. There’s singing, there’s dancing, and by golly there’s a PowerPoint presentation! Look for a tiny moment when one character, very briefly, maybe plays a piano.
Saturday, November 23
Schtick a Pole In It
R Bar, 8 p.m. $15.
The bro-mance between comedy and indie bands is over: make way for the torrid affair between stand-up and pole dancing. Schtick a Pole In It presents hilarious comedians like Chappelle Show‘s Christian Finnegan and young killers George Gordon and Greg Stone, alongside crazy hot pole pros. The theme for this month’s show is Rock-vember, and dancers will be performing to classic rock and metal. The comedians will be trying to sleep with them. Free giveaways of Hacienda Vieja Tequila all night will soothe the pain of striking out.
Sunday, November 24
The Great Debate Variety Hour
The Creek and the Cave, 8.00 p.m. $5
Which is better: standing up or sitting down? Honey mustard or spicy? These are the kind of questions settled here, where comedians improvise deep debates over utterly pointless issues. This was the show that blazed with ACTUAL controversy earlier this year, as the question of paying comedians burned with the heat of a thousand suns (see video above). But normal service is now resumed, so expect a vigorous discussion of Gobots vs. Transformers or somesuch bollocks. Stand up From Dan Licata and Kenny Deforest, plus skilled debating from Justy Dodge, Subhah Agarwal, Chris Laker and Maddog Mattern will stir you mightily.
Tuesday, November 26
Tutu’s, 8 p.m. Free
Hacks (industry slang for lazy comedians who tell tired jokes) is a prize beast in the stable of free weekly comedy shows in Bushwick. This week Meg Cupernall, Nate Fridson, and Nick Turner are the decidedly un-hacky professionals entertaining the crowd, as they enjoy the free drinks being given away to select audience members just for having a good time.
Tom Cowell is a comedian.