This week in Cheap Laughs, we have the best VHS crap on the internet, Ira Glass’ dream improv perfomance, ravishing Finnish poker players, Bieber-powered pole dancing, relaxed gay manners, and the superstars of six-second jokes. In other words, we’ve got what you need. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, May 21
There are some things on the internet that just make you feel glad to be alive. Everything Is Terrible! is one of those things. The Chicago-based site scavenges through thrift stores and garage sales for the worst (and therefore best) cringe-inducing VHS tapes in existence. For their live shows, E.I.T.’s chief crap-hunters unveil their trashiest new finds wearing cloaks and gold VHS tapes around their necks, like high priests of pop culture garbage. Oh, they’re also trying to assemble humanity’s largest collection of copies of Jerry Maguire on VHS for no reason. So if you have one kicking around, they’ll add it to the pile of 4,667 and counting.
Mike Birbiglia’s Dream
UCB Chelsea, 7 p.m. $5.
This American Life star Mike Bribigilia likes to tell stories, and then have his dream cast of improvisers act out scenes inspired by his life. This is that show. It happens on a semi-regualr basis, but not frequently enough that you should miss this opportunity to go. Christina Gausas, Tami Sagher, Chris Gethard, and Connor Ratliff are phenomenal improvisers, and Birbiglia is a tremendous comic storyteller. A show like this for five bucks is a steal.
Thursday, May 22
“…While You Were Breeding”: Kristin Newman In Conversation with Rachel Dratch
The PIT, 8 p.m. Free.
Sitcom writer Kristin Newman (How I Met Your Mother, That 70’s Show) chats with Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch (author of Girl Walks Into A Bar) to celebrate the publication of her new travel memoir. Kristin and Rachel will swap stories, read from their books, and fondly recall that time Will Forte drove over Kristin’s foot in the Dominican Republic. They’ll also touch on the best way to hook up with a Finnish poker player, and the amount of booty to show while vacationing in various countries.
Friday, May 23
Heavy Metal Laser Plane
Legion, 8 p.m. Free.
The bourbon-throated Dan Soder stops by this venerable Williamsburg showcase to top a great line-ups of stand-up comics. He’s a regular visitor to Conan, has a Comedy Central Half Hour under his belt, and will be a lot of people’s favorite comic in a few years. Catch him now for early bragging rights. Dave Chappelle opener Joyelle Nicole joins him, along with the Wolf of Wall Street‘s Aaron Glaser, Charles Gould and Taylor Ketchum.
Saturday, May 24
Schtick A Pole In It: Bieber vs. Brown Edition
R Bar, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m. $15 online here.
This might be the best combined stand-up comedy and pole-dancing show in history. Granted, there aren’t many of them. But can imitators be far behind? Tonight’s theme is Justin Bieber versus Chris Brown. Dancers must decide whether to swing their limber hips to one of pop’s two real bad boys. The comics have an easier time: make a few gags about the two biggest punch-lines in music. Simeon Goodson is one comic in particular to look out for.
Sunday, May 25
This N’ That, 8 p.m. Free
This is the kind of low-stress, goof-around show that used to be everywhere in Williamsburg and reminds us of the neighborhood’s vintage 2008 period of fun. Comics Joel Kim Booster, Courtney Maginnis and Patrick Schroeder gather in a gay bar with their favorite stand-ups, tell high quality dick jokes, and then stick around for (naturally) very impressive karaoke. It’s a ball. Phoebe Robinson, Casey James Salengo, and Sachi Ezura are ones to watch on the bill.
Tuesday, May 27
UCBeast, 8 p.m. $5.
New York has quietly built a block of comics absolutely killing it on Vine. Bill Stiteler and Tony Zaret are two: alternative comics mastering the six-second clip medium for jokes, bits, and out-there funny shit. They host fellow Vine star Andrew Marbach tonight: a New Jersey comic stacking up hundreds of thousands of views for his work.
Tom Cowell is a comedian.