This week in Cheap Laughs, we have movie stars, trashy bars, improv legends, characters with edges, comic-book hits, tasseled tits, retired cops, and exhilarated immigrants. It’s like a Scorsese film, but funnier. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, October 1st
Ask Me Another
The Bell House, Doors 6.30 p.m. / Show 7.30 p.m. $20.
Ethan Hawke is the guest of honor at this live taping of the NPR trivia/comedy/music/whatever-goes quiz show at The Bell House. The crowd will attempt to keep their Reality Bites/Before Sunrise fangirl instincts in check, as host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton conduct the proceedings. Expect the relaxed, casual intimacy of game night at a friend’s house. Except with a giant friggin’ movie star present.
Thursday, October 2nd
Trash Bar, 8 p.m. $7.
Improv/sketch comedy duo Blonde on Blonde takes over this legendary Williamsburg dive bar, hosting a night of original characters from the NYC comedy community. Your $7 ticket at the door gets you open bar privileges from 8 to 9 pm. That and the all-night $5 PBR/whiskey special should ensure your laugh-hole is well lubricated. The UCB’s Laura Wilcox (above) and Josh Sharp are two performers in particular to look out for, but it’s a talented bill in general. Plus, you should use any excuse to visit Trash Bar: It’s good to see comedy in a place that looks and feels at least a little dangerous and punk-rock.
Friday, October 3rd
Messing With Adsit
Theatre 80, 10.30 p.m. $20.
Scott Adsit was a star on 30 Rock and is universally considered one of the best improvisers of all time. Susan Messing isn’t nearly as famous, but is just as good/better. It’s rarefied air up there. These two make-it-up Jedi command the Theatre 80 stage for a gem of a late-night show this evening. If you have any affinity for improv whatsoever, this is a spectacular opportunity to see two performers at the very top of their game.
Jana and Lauren present:
The Magnet Theater, 7 p.m. $7.
This show is a genuine lab for new material. Jana Schmieding and Lauren Olson host a monthly character showcase of eight badass sketch-comedy actors performing new original characters. Tonight’s performers include David Carl (creator of Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet), Rob Cuthill of Hulu’s Quick Draw, and Jamaal Sedayao (Born to Karaoke).
Saturday, October 4th
Days of Future Laughs
The Stand, 6 p.m. $5.
It’s time again for New York Comic Con, and few comedians loom larger in that subculture than Mike Lawrence. His act skews nerdy; he’s a regular on nerdy TV show @midnight; he hosts a comic-book podcast, and titled his first album with a Wolverine reference (Sadamantium). So he’s pretty damned into comic books. Tonight he hosts a free-flowing conversation with fellow Marvel addicts at The Stand. If any of the references above appeal to you, go. You will be among your people.
Comedy at Stonewall
The Stonewall Inn, Doors 8 p.m. / Show 8.30 p.m. $5.
Musical improv troupe Happy Karaoke Fun Time entertain the Village’s sweetest crowd of gays and gay-friendlies at Stonewall tonight. Courtney Maginnis and Chicago’s Chelsea Hood are among the stand-up comics supporting, and Chrissie Mayr hosts the ever-loving shit out of it. If you’re not gay, you should take any chance to visit the venue, which just feels cool to be in. There’s a lot of important history within those sweaty walls. And if you ARE gay and have never visited Stonewall, a secret committee revokes your gay card and makes you move to Wisconsin to be a dull, straight copier salesman or something. So hop to it. Consider it your homo hajj.
Sunday, October 5th
Stand Up and Take Your Clothes Off
The Kraine Theater, 8 p.m. $15.
Stand Up and Take Your Clothes Off celebrates its three-year anniversary tonight with an early Halloween show. Stand-up is provided by Kate Hendricks, Kerryn Feehan, and many others. Burlesque striptease is from Kitten Kent (Girl Detective), Rosey La Rouge, and Divina Gransparkle. The show operates under a simple premise. It’s an all-female affair: The stand-up comics do stand-up, and the burlesque performers take all their clothes off. It’s not rocket science.
Monday, October 6th
20 & Out
The PIT, 8 p.m. $10 ($1 with student I.D.)
20 & Out is a one-man show about the 20-year police career of retired NYPD Detective (and now full-time comic) Mark DeMayo. A misspent youth growing up in Astoria somehow led to Mark joining 3,000 other recruits into the Blue Wall in June 1992. Twenty years later he retired on a good pension and some priceless stories, which are now paying his bills. DeMayo is a great raconteur: charismatic, gentle, and hilarious. If all cops were this likable, we’d cheer every traffic stop.
Tuesday, October 7th
I’m New Here: Can You Show Me Around
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m. $10.
Englishman Jon Ronson wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test, and Michael Fassbender’s recent cult hit, Frank. Irishwoman Maeve Higgins is an accomplished comedian and storyteller who tours all over everywhere. Since they’re both relatively fresh off the boat, they run a show devoted to new New Yorkers. Each month they conduct live interviews with other strangers from strange lands who have just made New York their home. The show is like a time machine, where you can relive your own terrifying, exhilarating first months in this crazy burg.