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This week in Cheap Laughs, we have balls dropping, new jokes popping, shameful tales, hellish fails, essential immigrants, and the one and only Colin Quinn. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, December 31st
The Naked Comedy Show
The Creek and the Cave, 11.45 p.m. Free
Terrified of another monotonous New Year’s Eve? How about something unique that you don’t have to dress up for? (Or dress for at all?) Nine up-and-coming New York comics have agreed to perform entirely in the nude, just for you. That’s right: As the ball drops, these clowns drop theirs too. It’s a coed affair, with both men and women showing off their birthday suits. Only 60 tickets are available and they are almost certain to sell out. Be aware, no photography or filming is allowed during the show. However, the audience has the option (but of course, no obligation) of being as naked as they like. So if that’s your thing, bring your best thong.
Friday, January 2nd
50 First Jokes
The Bell House, Doors 7.30 p.m / show 8 p.m. $10
Each year, a mix of 50 veteran and new-blood comics come together to tell the first joke they’ve written for the new year, kicking off the 2015 comedy scene in the most appropriate way possible. Michael Che will be there, along with Sasheer Zamata, Ben Kronberg, Brooke Van Poppelen, and 46 more. Your host John F. O’Donnell keeps the energy up.
The Shame Game
Union Hall, Doors 8.30 p.m / show 9 p.m. $8
Are you full of shame? Of course you are. Everybody is. And this is the ideal show to exorcise some of those disgusting inner demons. Soojeong Son and Ginny Leise invite comedians to bare their most shameful stories, in hopes of being crowned the King or Queen of Shame. Each regales the crowd with a story about some of the worst things they’ve ever done, before the panel leaps in to interrogate and peel away the details of their depravity.
Saturday, January 3rd
See You in Hell
The Creek and the Cave, 8 p.m. Free
What if a comedy show was run by Satan? Doug Smith and Matt Wayne try to answer that question, putting up the best stand-ups in New York and then attempting to ruin their performances with ever more ridiculous dares, stunts, and derailments. Come for the jokes, stay for the abject humiliation. Challenges may include “Yoga Hell” (perform stand-up while doing poses) or “Edward Cheez Whizz Hands Hell” (hold a can in each hand and take a blast every time you tell a joke). It’s dumb and wonderful.
Sunday, January 4th
The Creek and the Cave, 8 p.m. Free
Tom McCaffrey is funny and dark and odd. He’s one of the comics working in the city and on the road who may not get a lot of plaudits, but works his ass off and tells great jokes. The Creek deserves some sort of “Service to Comedy” medal for providing a regular stage for visiting headliners to work out material and hash out new bits. That’s what’s happening tonight. If you’re local, stop by.
Monday, January 5th
Colin Quinn: Breuklyn
Over the Eight, 7.30 p.m. Free
Colin Quinn, the totem-like spirit animal of New York City comedy, is recording a new special. It’s called “Breuklyn”, a bastardized spelling of the borough’s original Dutch name (since Breukelen, as we all know, is a small Netherlands municipality in Utrecht). It’s a meditation on the borough that birthed him: all the history, character, quirks, and flaws of it. Since his one-man shows about world history and the U.S. Constitution, Quinn has excelled at deconstructing big scary topics in funny ways. We doubt this will be any different. Watch him work out the kinks here, for free, before it’s performed and taped later in January.
Tuesday, January 6th
I’m New Here: Can You Show Me Around?
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m. $10
New York is a city of dirty, interloping foreigners. And frankly, we make the city better. Two of Gotham’s favorite new immigrants, U.K. author/filmmaker Jon Ronson and Irish comedian Maeve Higgins, host an evening of new writing, great stand-up, and fresh interviews with other strangers from strange lands who have made New York their home. If you’ve fallen out of love with the Big Apple this year, come have it renewed by hopeful new faces fresh off the boat.
Tom Cowell is a comedian.