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This week in Cheap Laughs, we have brassy sketches, oddball mensches, nacho bitches, Hannibal’s nieces, squeaky-clean pieces, and the chance to be black for one glorious night. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, January 14th
The Producers Club, 8pm p.m. Free
Clean comedy has had a rough couple of months, as Bill Cosby’s sparkling image dissolved faster than roofies in a wine spritzer. Thankfully, Tony Deyo is here to save it. He works clean in a way that seems effortless rather than preachy, and a twofer of late-night TV appearances last year let America see one of the nicest guys in comedy get his due. Seriously, this guy is so all-American, he designs marching-band shows in his spare time. Marching bands! Go see him for free in midtown tonight, along with wunderkind Alingon Mitra and the bewitching Joanna Ross.
Livia Scott Sketch Program
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5
Livia Scott is the kind of brassy, ballsy sketch performer SNL Hoovers up on the reg, so try to catch her and her deeply eccentric sketch show before she’s claimed by the 30 Rock machine. With some of the best UCB writers and performers by her side (many of whom overlap with her other stellar sketch group, Legs for Days), it’s a lock for a good, weird time. If you’re lucky, you may also see an appearance from Winifred Butts, the woman who hates everything.
Thursday, January 15th
Dan + Joe + Charles Show
UCB East, 10 p.m. $5
Sarah Tollemache is one of the best joke writers in New York. Her semi-awkward stage persona hides a comedy brain sharper than an ice pick. She’s the belle of the ball tonight at UCB’s preeminent home for alternative stand-up, the Dan + Joe + Charles Show, run by punk rock wolf-boy Dan Licata, lovelorn Jewish eccentric Charles Gould, and Buffalo’s last remaining industry Joe Pera. Also joining them are strange twins Stone and Stone and the delightful Gary Richardson. And get there early for pre-show entertainment: Tomas Delgado serenades you with his classical guitar. It’s just that kind of show.
Friday, January 16th
I’m Afraid of Dying
Over the Eight, 8 p.m. Free
This is a lighthearted comedy show about death. Performers are invited to share their feelings about the only experience we will all one day have in common: the icy hold of the Grim Reaper. There will be sketches, characters, stand-up, and stories, but every performer must record their last words with you as their witness. Don’t miss affable Chicago booze-hound Bob Palos or giant powerhouse (and celebrated mash-up DJ) Dan Chamberlain.
This show isn’t cheap per se, but damned if it’s not the best bang-for-the-buck comedy show in New York City this week. Gary Gulman is one of the very few living comics to have performed on every late-night talk show currently on air, and will be the next giant ex-Bostonian comic to break huge (CK, Burr, Gulman: You heard it here first). Add Yannis Pappas, Jackie Kashian, and high school sweethearts Casey Balsham and Robby Slowik to the mix? You have yourself a guaranteed good time. Also, the hosts give out free nachos. That’s pretty cool.
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Sunday, January 18th
Comedy Night at the Knit
The Knitting Factory, 9 p.m. $5
Hannibal Buress did New York comedy a huge service by running his show at the Knitting Factory for four years, far longer than his growing fame and fortune would have suggested. And he’s done us another solid, by not letting the show die, but bequeathing it to three great young fellow Chicago comics: Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and Clark Jones. They’re now bringing the cream of the city’s talent to Williamsburg every week. Tonight is a Murderers’ Row of hot young shits: Brooke Van Poppelen, Damien Lemon, Mike Lawrence, and many more take the stage. Plus, a special guest we can’t name.
Monday, January 19th
The Knitting Factory, 8.30 p.m. Free
Comedy is going toe to toe with music at big venues all over New York these days, and the Knitting Factory is not immune. In addition to weekly Sunday shows, this monthly Monday slot is hotter than a lava tamale. Kerry Coddett and co-host, Hot 97 DJ Cipha Sounds, will get the room rocking for headliner Nore Davis. Joining him will be the whip-smart Janelle James, Jason Sáenz, and many more.
The Black Experience
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5
Are you black? If not, did you ever wish you could be for a night? In this show, you’re officially allowed. The Black Experience is a one-man sketch show by Jonathan Braylock that lets you say it once and say it loud, “I’m black and I’m proud.” Braylock (a real, live black person) takes you on a no-holds-barred journey through the tropes and notes of African American culture, with detours on how to laugh, how to eat, and how to talk during movies (yes, really). The show is subversive, smart, and completely hilarious. You’ll be screaming “Amen” in your seat.