This week in Cheap Laughs, we have childless joy, Flan-man’s “ya boy,” BuzzFeed GIFs, Underbelly whiffs, a 10-year anniversary, a fitting tribute, and a show designed to get discerning college students in flagrante. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, September 3rd
The Bell House, Doors 7 p.m. / Show 8 p.m. $15.
Chelsea Handler staff writer and roundtable regular Jen Kirkman is now unemployed, thanks to the sudden end of her meal-ticket show. But her loss (and attendant lack of health insurance) is our gain. The L.A.-based comic is in NYC this week, working out new material for an upcoming special at The Bell House. Expect jokes about divorce, the many levels of show-business hell, and the joys of a childless existence. Her New York Times bestseller, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids, was wonderful. We’re guessing she’ll be wonderful tonight too.
Gandhi, Is That You?
Lucky Jack’s, 9 p.m. Free.
Is this the best free comedy show on the Lower East Side? Yes. We’re going with yes. This weekly Lucky Jack’s institution has had all the New York drop-ins of distinction — your Louis CKs, your Jim Gaffigans, etc. — and earns that kind of visitor thanks to continually packed crowds, great booking, and the light touch of hosts Lance Weiss and Brendan Fitzgibbons. Christian Finnegan and Giulia Rozzi are two to watch out for at this show, as well as “The Flan Man” himself, New Jersey’s own Justin Flanagan.
Thursday, September 4th
BuzzFeed Live: We May Only Do This Once
The Bell House, 7 p.m. $10.
We’re not sure about this, but we’re going to embrace it anyway. That sentence could sum up the whole world’s reaction to BuzzFeed and its cheerful, GIF-ified conquest of the internet. Now they’re experimenting, and trying to replicate their viral success in a live format. We don’t know much about this show, except that it’s co-hosted with feminist site The Toast, and involves the sweetly silly folks at BuzzFeed Labs. They’re the nerds who created this browser plugin that plays riotous studio audience laughter whenever you tweet a joke. So, to sum up: We know almost nothing about this show’s format or content or about the talent involved. But it will probably give us 17 reasons to feel glad we went to it.
Saturday, September 6th
The Creek and the Cave, 10 p.m. Free
It’s the third anniversary of Underbelly tonight, one of the most anarchic, brilliantly creative shows in New York City comedy. Here’s how it works: Each month, stand-up comedians from alt-comedy haven The Creek and The Cave create characters, sketches, videos, presentations . . . ANYTHING at all that isn’t stand-up. Then they perform it for an audience of their peers. It’s like a UCB thing with quality control, rapid turnover and zero “preciousness.” In other words, it’s a gem of a show. Reid Faylor, Andrew Short and the hilariously twisted, brutally funny Kelly Fastuca book it and run it. Any comedy fan in town should grab a Tecate and go wish them three more years.
Monday, September 8th
Sweet: The 10th Anniversary
The Slipper Room, Doors 8 p.m. / Show 9 p.m. $7.
This is quite a week for anniversaries. Many comedy nights in town last a year. A few last two, or even three. Seth Herzog has been running Sweet for a decade, and shows no real sign of stopping. For an indie show with no formal club support, a run like that is astonishing. This week, Seth is hosting three shows (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) at faithful venue The Slipper Room. It’s tough to guarantee cool celebrity drop-ins. But in this case, we make an exception. There WILL be drop-ins, and given how many A-list comedy stars have done so over the years, expect some very good ones indeed. Buy tickets (or get there) very early. All shows will sell out.
You Are Not Alone
The Magnet, 7 p.m. $7.
This show is an admirably understated yet earnest tribute to Robin Williams. Uniting writers and artists who wrestle with their mental health, improvisers will create scenes inspired by essays written about personal battles with “the Black Dog” of depression. Hosted by Gold and Goldberg (a/k/a The Golden Boys), “You Are Not Alone” hopes to spread awareness and correct misconceptions about depression, all while entertaining and having fun.
Tuesday, September 9th
The Stand, 8 p.m. $5 with discount code “villagevoice.”
Josh Carter and Ray DeVito run this biweekly show. It could have been designed in a lab to get discerning college students laid. Let’s count the ways that’s true. 1) It’s extremely affordable (just $5 in advance with a discount code). 2) It’s at The Stand, the city’s strongest new full-time comedy venue, which projects the date-perfect vibe of “relaxed swank.” 3) It features can’t-fail lineups: this week, you can see a movie star (Janeane Garofalo), a mad hatter (Nick Vatterott), a punk talk show host (Chris Gethard), and a tall Latina genius (Carmen Lynch). So go. Get laid. Make a video. Put it on the internet. Send us a link.
Tom Cowell is a comedian.