It’s the third week of January. There are no songs about the third week of January. You know why? Because the third week of January sucks. If you’re single, you’ve started worrying about Valentine’s Day. You can’t stay home because you do that every year and it means the Chardonnay spins and sexting Rick. If you’re in a relationship, you’re worrying too. Is it too late to get a reservation somewhere good? And what is “good” on Valentine’s–$150 for a table by the bathrooms and glorified tapas? Whoopee. You know what? Just forget about the whole thing and go watch comedy. Here are the best independent and alternative comedy shows happening in NYC this week.
Wednesday, January 15th
Bucky: Here and Now
UCBeast, 10 p.m. $5.
UCB mainstay Sasheer Zamata makes her debut on Saturday Night Live this week. Celebrate that with a performance from one of the improv groups that helped make her name. Bucky perform a fully improvised show called “a monoscene,” like a one-act play in which characters move in and out of only one “location.” They’re experts at it: heck, Lorne Michaels thinks he can make money out of one of them. So you KNOW it’s a good show.
Thursday, January 16th
The Armando Diaz Experience
The Magnet Theater, 10 p.m. $7.
Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show in history. Each performance, a guest storyteller shares true stories from their life, which are then re-enacted (with a large dollop of comic license) by some of New York’s top improvisers. This week’s guest monologist is NPR host and comedian Ophira Eisenberg, author of “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy”. So you KNOW her stories will be very good indeed.
Friday, January 17th
One and One Bar, 7 30 p.m. Free.
This show is a steal. Headliner comedians in Manhattan, in a hip neighborhood, on a Friday night, for free? What a deal. Cranky Pants features Mike Lawrence, America’s new favorite alpha-nerd and breakout performer of Comedy Central’s surprise hit show @Midnight. Joining him are Mystery Science Theater 3000 hero Frank Conniff, and up and coming talents Kevin Froleiks and Bob Palos. Lucas Connolly and Ben Conrad host.
Over the Eight Bar, 7.30 p.m. Free.
This solid Williamsburg comedy show is a lot cheaper than its druggy namesake, and probably a lot more fun. Justin Flanagan is a funny blast of shambolic South Jersey, and Subhah Agarwal delivers hilariously pissed-off second-generation immigrant feminism. Lawrence DeLoach will host and introduce you to other talents you don’t know, but should.
Saturday, January 18th
Death By Roo Roo: Your F’d Up Family
UCB Chelsea, 9 p.m. $10
Call this an improvised journey into your family’s dysfunction. The UCB’s very finest improvisers invite audience members to share stories of their family’s screwed up ways, and turn them into scenes of comic magic. Come on: it’s your DUTY to attend and share that UNBELIEVABLE thing your Dad did at the Christmas dinner table last month. People need to know.
Sunday, January 19th
Week at the Creek: Sheng Wang
The Creek and the Cave, 7 p.m. Free.
Every comedian is unique, but there are a broad strains of stand-up you can group performers in. Taiwanese-Texan Sheng Wang might be the best “bone dry” guy out there. All jokes, zero goofing around: if you don’t laugh? He doesn’t care. But that won’t happen. His writing is so good, he doesn’t need to dance around the stage to entertain you. Take this opportunity to see him for free this week, and doing a long set, at The Creek’s workout series.
Monday, January 20th
Spike Hill, 7.30 p.m. Free.
Cure that case of the Mondays with the best free comedy ANYWHERE within 100 feet of the Bedford L stop. Stoner twins The Lucas Brothers feature this week, basking in the glow of their new Fox animated series. Joining them is a bill of crowd killers: naughty little boy Sam Morril, black Caesar Seaton Smith, and reluctant gentile Mark Normand.
Tom Cowell is a comedian. Follow him on Twitter @mrtomcowell. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with all listing suggestions.