This week in Cheap Laughs, we have nautical sketches, a marathon of jokes from a city comedy institution, Norwegians, coders, bullwhips, bullshits, and a drinking game that may reinvent theater itself. We’re well worth your time. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
See also: Michael Che: Comedic Climbing
Wednesday, June 11
UCB Chelsea, 9.30 p.m. $5.
There are a lot of great sketch comedy groups in New York. And guess what? Boat is one of them. They excel at vicious, brain-worm ideas that seem simple and throwaway, but stay in your head and make you crack up days later. Like “Epic Weatherman Fail“, a compilation of a weather forecaster mispronouncing the city of Schenectady, but pronouncing other disturbing words perfectly well. Or “Seven Signs You’re Being Dragged Into A Relationship” (see above), a ripe satire of both commitment-phobic men, and the bullshit listicle culture we all love to loathe.
Producers Club, 8 p.m. Free.
Many people in New York (perhaps most) have never been to a comedy show. Perfectly understandable, right? But then you see lineups like this — with no cover charge — and you wonder how on earth that’s possible. MTV star Chris Distefano, John Oliver’s blogger-in-chief Josh Gondelman, Tonight Show writer Mike Drucker, indie comic darling Hari Kondabalu and a host of others will all perform at this show, for free, tonight. Stand-up comedy is not a predictable art form. But this is as close to a 100% certain good time for zero dollars as you can get.
Thursday, June 12
CSL @ Kabin: 7th Anniversary Marathon Show
Kabin Bar, 7 p.m. Free.
For seven years, Comedy as a Second Language (“Kabin” for short, after its home) has been a linchpin of independent comedy in the city. It’s a free show that regularly features drop-in sets from the likes of Zach Galifinakis, Louis CK et al., and curates an excellent bill each week. Tonight is a marathon anniversary show: 77 comics perform over a nine-hour span (7 p.m.- 4 a.m.). No one will sit through all of it. But swing through and treat it as an excellent buffet of free comedy. Stop by, see some show, drink at the bar, then come back and fill your plate at your leisure. But be warned: seats fill up fast.
Friday, June 13
…And I Am Not Lying
UCBeast, Midnight. $5.
Manhattan’s best variety show is back this month. Aparna Nancherla, one of New York’s hottest rising talents, will be there. You may have seen her doing standup on Conan, or as a writer/performer on the cruelly short run of Totally Biased. She’s exceptionally funny, and weird in a totally accessible way. In addition to her jokes, the show features bullwhip (yes, bullwhip) and lasso artistry from Chris McDaniel, live funk band Pink Fabric, storytelling with Natasha Rothwell and booby burlesque from Sake Fevah. Saturday, June 14
Videology, 10 p.m. Free.
Comedyology is a combined stand-up comedy and short film show, housed in the back of an independent video store. Tonight sees a tense film debate from Brooklyn comics Tynan Delong and Brendan Eyre,short films from Joel Walkowski and Dan Perlman, plus stand-up from Mike Recine, New Yorker cartoonist Erik Bergstrom, and angry young man Nate Fridson. Sixpoint Brewery is also letting the hosts sell $4 cans of Apollo Rad all night, ensuring you a very cheap as well as entertaining evening.
Sunday, June 15
Comedy Hack Day
Littlefield, 7 p.m. $10.
Comedy Hack Day brings together comedians and software developers for a weekend to build funny apps. This Sunday, the finalists will demonstrate their hacking work for a panel of judges and the audience. Reggie Watts and SNL‘s Sasheer Zamata will be weighing in on the best of the apps, and probably telling some jokes too. Comedy nerds and nerds who love comedy? This show could have been coded just for you.
Sunday At The Lounge
Three of Cups, 7 p.m. Free.
Finally: a Sunday night stand-up show that’s on early enough to still let you watch Game of Thrones. And just in time for the finale, no less. It plans on being a loose, old school showcase. Tonight’s lineup is a fine one: absurd talk show host and author Chris Gethard, Seth Meyers writer Michelle Wolf, and the operatic Matteo Lane.
Tuesday, June 17
TinyRhino: The Theatrical Drinking Game
Littlefield, 8 p.m. $10 (w/ one free beer).
This may be an exciting new theatrical art form. Or just an artsy excuse to get drunk. But who cares either way? This show is production company UglyRhino‘s take on a 10-minute play festival, with a twist. Each month it commissions six playwrights to write short one-act plays, and each one MUST include the same five dramatic elements (e.g. “someone pulls a knife” or “plot involves long-lost cousins”). They might show up at any time, in any order, and with any frequency. When they do? The audience drinks. It’s sure to be a sloppy, dramatic mess. Attend if your liver dares.
Tom Cowell is a comedian. Follow him on Twitter @mrtomcowell. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with all listing suggestions.