This week in Cheap Laughs, we have the power of song, the King of Wrong, boobs, bulges, the Greek letter pi, a geek Sunday high, and the worst VHS tapes on earth, lovingly preserved on the internet. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, March 11
Stand-Up and Sing!
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $8
Can a great joke-teller also be a great singer? We’re no geneticists, but we say “probably not, although it might be fun to find out.” That’s the concept of this show. A handful of excellent comedians perform a stand-up set, and then close their act with a karaoke tune of their choosing. Who will have the best pipes on the night? Will it be Dave Hill, who already looks like a Sixties English rocker? Or will it be Corinne Fisher, who could pass for an Iggy Azalea–ish teen pop act? The only way to know is to go.
Thursday, March 12
Awful DJ: The $100 Show
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m. $5
The hilarious sketch group Awful DJ long ago cracked the secret code of show business: If you want to fill a venue, promise to give away cash. At every Awful DJ performance, one audience member is always guaranteed to walk away with $100 in cold, hard currency. Given how quickly this could invite financial ruin, we’re not surprised to hear this is their last show at UCB. But they’re going out with a bang, and have suggested that they may give away even MORE bucks than usual. Attend for a drunken evening of games, prizes, videos, and other fiscally unsustainable marketing techniques.
Friday, March 13
And I’m Not Lying
UCBeast, 11.59 p.m. $5
Breasts, bulges, jokes, and stories: Jeff Simmermon’s midnight variety magic continues to light up the East Village this weekend. Tonight features burlesque performances from the fragrant Clara Coquette and modish male Brief Sweat. Stand-up is supplied by Sue Smith, and there’s storytelling from Comedy Central star Joe Zimmerman. Variety shows like this are a great destination for out-of-town visitors. If they don’t “get” New York sipping a cheap beer at UCBeast (built on the ruins of a dirty movie theater), while boobs and banana hammocks swing in their face and comedians tell salty tales — all for $5 — then, frankly, they were never going to get it.
Saturday, March 14
Pine Box Rock Shop, 7 p.m. Free
Today your Twitter feed will be full of references to #PiDay. Don’t worry: Sean Combs didn’t change his name again. It’s about the number pi, which, to four decimal places, is 3.1415. And today is 3.14.15. So it’s Pi Day. Try to contain your nergasm at this monthly show, which features $3 lagers and — for one night only — free pie. Your headliner is the very tall and nerdy-looking (but not actually nerdy) Joe List. Joining him will be the powerful grump Scott Chaplain and permanently unimpressed Janelle James.
Sunday, March 15
Brooklyn Brain Jam
Littlefield, 1–7 p.m., $12
This event calls itself “the ultimate celebration of cerebral entertainment, which is another way of saying it’s a big ol’ nerd-fest. Comedian Saad Sarwana presents a Sci-Fi Spelling Bee (Q: How do you spell the Klingon word for “good luck”? A: Q-A-P-L-A, of course). Kevin Geeks Out is a pop-culture kaleidoscope. Plus the Found Footage guys swing through with more bizarre finds from our VHS past. It’s an all-day thing, so take it all in.
Monday, March 16
Ask Me Another
The Bell House, Doors 6.30 p.m. / Show 7.30 p.m. $20
Veep actress and lifelong bee-hater Anna Chlumsky is the guest of honor at this comedy-quiz show recorded live for WNYC. Host Ophira Eisenberg will be putting the My Girl icon through her trivia and puzzle paces, while bearded Brooklyn bandleader Jonathan Coulton lobs questions about Macaulay Culkin from the wings. NPR tries to bill the show as a blend of Puzzlemaster Will Shortz and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, but it’s way funnier than that.
Tuesday, March 17
The Stand, 8 p.m. $5 with code ‘villagevoice’ here
There are many raw, sharp-edged comedians living in and around New York City. That “Tough Crowd” school of jokes is one of the East Coast’s biggest cultural exports. But there is no one more raw than Nick DiPaolo. The Boston native just released his latest album (Another Senseless Killing), and there is no one better at tapping into the gender rage and secret Republican impulses that (let’s be honest) lie within us all. Tonight DiPaolo headlines this independent show at the Stand alongside Janeane Garofalo.