This week in Cheap Laughs, we have dead dads, doodle pads, after-school for grown-ups, post-Ferguson pick-me-ups, boobs, baby vomit, and the healing power of science. Let’s get into it. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, December 3rd
Good Cop Great Cop
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5
One of the hot sketch-writing teams fresh out of UCB, Good Cop Great Cop are getting a lot of plaudits for their Comedy Central-produced Web series, New Timers. It asks the question: “If the apocalypse hit New York, would all the awkward tension around interacting with other humans go away?” Their answer is no. Tonight, they perform their collection of sketches entitled “Nancy Pelosi” for half the time slot. Then, we see a new show: “The Dead Dads Club.” In 2010, Kristen Bartlett’s and Jason Gore‘s dads died within months of each other. Together, they formed the Dead Dads Club — an unstoppable grief-fighting force that had to write comedy to survive. It’s a show about what it’s like to lose a parent and realize that you are going to die, too, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But they swear it’s funny.
Thursday, December 4th
The Bitch Seat
The PIT, 9 p.m. $8
This is the talk show where host Lyssa Mandel invites her guests to share poignant and/or painful creations from their teenage years, live on stage. That’s right: the most cringe-inducing poetry, songs, drawings, and videos from humanity’s most awkward phase. Mandel talks the sharers through their pain, in the hope that healing (or at least laughter) happens. Think Judy Blume meets Dr. Phil. Tonight, watch Myq Kaplan sing a song he wrote about camp, and see David Carl share some of his disturbingly creative school projects. It could get very weird.
Friday, December 5th
You Deserve It
Q.E.D., 9 p.m. $5
Calling all residents and fans of Astoria: The new performance-slash-learning space Q.E.D. is now open for business, and it’s pretty cool. Owner Kambri Crews’ vision for the building is that of a local hub for comedy, creativity, and continuing education of all kinds. Think of it like an after-school club, but for grown-ups. Tonight you can see New Orleans transplant Arial Elias host Jermaine Fowler, Nick Mullen, Marcia Belsky, and a host of others for just five bucks. While you’re there, check out the class offerings: Right now, Q.E.D. is offering courses on everything from crochet and calligraphy to sign language and juggling.
Saturday, December 6th
An Uncomfortable Conversation About Race
The PIT, 12 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. $30
This could be the perfect Prozac for your post-Ferguson depression. Comic actress Keisha Zollar and her co-producers are sick of everybody talking past each other on race. So she’s putting everyone in a room to talk about it. The discussion involves culture-makers of all kinds and colors, and everything is on the table. There are no stupid questions. A three-camera shoot will capture all the delicious tension and tight-lipped grins for posterity, and the plan is to turn these discussions into the most honest, funny, living conversation about race it is humanly possible to have. Ambitious. Scary. Who else wants to go?
Sunday, December 7th
W. Kamau Bell
SubCulture, Doors 6 p.m. / Show 7 p.m. $15
W. Kamau Bell is a dad and an African American man. He also recently lost his gig as a talk show host and rabble-rouser on the FX channel. Ferguson? Show business bitterness? What vomit feels like on your shoulder? All of these topics and more will be covered on this New York leg of his nationwide tour. The title of the hour he’s currently doing is “Oh, Everything.” Which gives you a clue as to what he’ll be discussing. And if you want a taste of how his mind works (beyond the vast archive of his canceled show’s bits immortalized on YouTube), check out his outstanding recent essay on Michael Brown in Vanity Fair.
Raunchy and Risque
The Creek and the Cave, 10 p.m. $7
Don’t bring your mother to the Creek tonight. This new show is trying to inject some old-school vaudeville and cabaret salaciousness into stand-up comedy. Strictly R-rated, it blends dirty joke-tellers with morally liberated burlesque performers. Comics Derek Gaines and Monroe Martin join charming, clothing-phobic she-devils Holly Ween and Zoe Ziegfeld.
Monday, December 8th
Jen Kirkman: I Seem Fun
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m. $15
Jen Kirkman was a writer for Chelsea Handler and her opening act on tour. Her podcast — I Seem Fun — sounds like it should be total garbage. She just sits in her house and talks to herself. Yep, it’s a totally improvised, unfiltered monologue where she basically picks a fight with the world. Yes, it sounds unlistenable. But it isn’t. It’s charming and oddly compelling. So if you want, you can go see her do it live tonight.
Tuesday, December 9th
UCB East, 9.30 p.m. $5
Calling all science nerds: Get out of that locker the jocks stuffed you in, and come on down to UCBeast. Universe City is a brand-new podcast from comedians Joe Zimmerman, Jono Zalay, and Raj Sivaraman. Between them, they have two Ph.D.’s and one NCAA membership (it’ll be quite clear who has what). Each week they discuss the most exciting science news and how hard science generally makes them. Tonight they’re doing a special live show. They’ll probably talk about that thing that landed on that comet, why it maters, and why it brings us one step closer to making Interstellar a reality.