This week in Cheap Laughs, we have a veritable mix of highs and lows. Big-time auditions are up against municipal sewers. Gourmet restaurants take on awkward sexual cupping. And the grand old order of the Illuminati Party must compete with…that dumb movie you love to hate. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, March 4
The Producers Club, 8 p.m., Free
The Midwestern charm of Kevin McCaffrey alone should get you to this Midtown showcase. The Ball State graduate (yes, there is a college actually named that) made his television debut on Letterman eighteen months ago and won all the hearts over there. It didn’t hurt that he’s a frequent monologue contributor to The Late Show, and often acts in its sketches. Once, Dave even hosed him down with a fire extinguisher. To his knowledge, this is an honor Kevin shares only with Richard Simmons. The lineup is also stacked with other great comics, such as Jess Wood and Christy Coffey.
Littlefield, 7.30 p.m., $5 in advance / $8 at the door
Public Services is an all-new variety show from Jo Firestone (Punderdome 3000) and alt-comedy superproducer Jeremy Levenbach (the fellow who runs UCB’s Whiplash and Big Terrific). The show features a staged reading of an original sewer-themed soap opera called Public Services. Why has no one set a sitcom in a sewer before? Buy a ticket. You’ll absolutely find out. The performance also features Delocated‘s Jon Glaser, up-and-coming comedians, and notable nobodies: the exact crowd you’d expect to find at a municipal human waste facility!
Thursday, March 5
Just for Laughs Showcase
The Creek and the Cave, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., Free
It’s that time of year again: Montreal auditions. The Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, held every year in Montreal, is a preeminent stage for exposing young comedy talent to the entertainment industry. And to keep it fair(ish), the fest holds auditions at clubs all over the city in February. There are two showcases at the Creek tonight, the first hosted by Montreal alumnus Dan Soder, the second by upstate Razor Scooter wolfboy Casey James Salengo. Comedians will be doing their very best short sets, so it’s a veritable Whitman’s Sampler of the finest jokes flying around New York City at the present moment. Go. It’s a real trip.
Friday, March 6
Fuck That Movie
Videology, 7 p.m., $5
Joel Kim Booster and Anna Drezen host a comedy show perfect for movie snobs at this old-school Williamsburg video store. They assemble a panel of esteemed guests to discuss the movies they hate most. From Oscar-bait-prestige bullshit to lesser-known indie dreck, they cover it all, and let the audience choose the “winner” (by which they mean “terrible-est flick”). Guests include delightful Irish comic Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, and more.
On the next page: Someone named a show after a Barenaked Ladies lyric and we’re not even mad about it[
Saturday, March 7
Chika Da China Da Chinese Chicken
Palisades, 8 p.m., $5
From Bobcat Goldthwait opening for Nirvana to Neil Hamburger warming up audiences for the Hard-Ons, punk music and stand-up comedy have an illustrious shared history. Tonight, zine-producer and PR joker Dan Licata hosts a one-off show at Palisades in Bushwick, combining punk bands and comics. Come for the jokes of Joe Pera, Chris Gethard, and Shakir Standley. Stay for the sweet sounds of area bands Low Fat, Getting High, Flagland, and Washer. Pogo-ing and mosh madness are par for the course.
Comedy at Stonewall
Stonewall, 8 p.m., $5
Comedian Matt Ruby created a fake start-up company, Vooza, to make fun of all the ridiculous clichés and jargon infesting the tech world. The videos have been so successful, he’s now fielding requests from real tech firms offering to pay him to shoot videos making fun of them. Comedy: It really can bring people together through merciless mockery. Ruby is joined by Molly Austin and Sydnee Washington at this storied venue. Vamp siren Chrissie Mayr hosts.
Amber Nelson‘s stage persona might be described as “slightly soiled Southern belle.” Whether it’s falling out of the back of a pickup truck or finding herself in the Middle East with no idea how she got there, Nelson is a go-to for hilarious, gothic stories of weird stuff happening. All of the stories on this show are awkward and sex-related, so strap in for some dirtiness. Or, if you prefer, strap on. No judgment.
Monday, March 9
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m., $5
A couple of years ago, Onion staffer Dan Klein, College Humor‘s Kelly Hudson, and Fallon writer Arthur Meyer pranked the GoogaMooga food and drink festival in Brooklyn. They handed out fake menus for a restaurant called FUDS (pronounced “foods”) that promised “a Journey in Food-Taste From Mouth to Toilet, Traveling the Ultimate Expanse of the Greeko-Japo Dining Experiences.” The menu’s fare included “bean pleasers,” “Bill Clinton sandwich,” “shirtless loin of hakt,” and “crab dorks.” It led to a book deal, and now their wonderful fake cookbook is launching with this wonderfully dumb event, featuring over a dozen comedians doing little short two-minute sets about the ridiculous world of food.
Tuesday, March 10
UCBeast, 9.30 p.m., $5
Kara Klenk’s education-themed comedy night is like graduate school, except even more pointless. She picks a handful of comedians to deliver lectures on esoteric but fundamentally worthless topics, peppered with wonderful jokes. This evening, the operatic Matteo Lane will discuss female vocal range and the women who have ruined diction in singing. Then Ashley Brooke Roberts presents her “Guide to the Social Order of Mall Workers.”
Hustle crew Alexis Guerreros and Mike Cannon pack the Stand on the regular with their flash-promoted Illuminati shows. Get on the list quick and you get in for free. Fail to do so? Prepare for a potentially long and sad wait in the standby line. You have a week, so get on it. Guests for this show include Laurie Kilmartin, Monroe Martin, and hip-hop/comedy crossover impresario Cipha Sounds.