This week in Cheap Laughs, we have hot tubs, heckling clubs, honest flubs, half-chubs, and a Beastie Boy backup dancer. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, March 18
New York Comedy Club, Doors 7:30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $10 with code JCUBED here
Most city comedy clubs have “street teams,” those ubiquitous characters selling tickets in Times Square. Some stretch the truth to make a sale (“Chris Rock is here tonight!”). Others are very professional and models of hard work. New York Comedy Club’s team is the latter. In fact, they were so good, they recently bought out the owners and took over the club themselves. New ownership has meant hipper, more diverse shows, with this brand-new night a good example. Come to see possibly the greatest host in town, James Mattern, and stay for the laser-like jokes of Sheng Wang and the rollicking stories of Leah Bonnema — and linger late for the sloppy after-show party.
Your Showcase of Showcases
Eastville, 9 p.m., $8
The UCBEast isn’t the only comedy club in the East Village. Sharing a building with bohemian landmark KGB Bar, Eastville puts together solid lineups on the regular, mixing up-and-comers with veteran city comics. Tonight, the classic Jewish neurotic Lenny Marcus shares stage time with the sweaty Nick Turner, baffled Aparna Nancherla, and Louis C.K.’s Madison Square Garden opener Greer Barnes.
The Stand, 10 p.m., $5 here with code GRIFT
Head down to The Stand tonight to see Ted Alexandro. A stalwart city stand-up, he just branched out into the Web series game with his award-winning Teachers Lounge show. A former teacher himself, Alexandro skewers the foibles and frailties of beaten-down educators with the help of cameos only a legendary local comic could snag. Dave Attell as the school photographer? Jim Gaffigan as the nutritionist? Why haven’t you subscribed to this already? See Alexandro tonight at Grift, one of The Stand’s strongest showcase nights. He’ll be there, alongside a gaggle of other vets, as well as rising stars like Nimesh Patel.
Thursday, March 19
The Heckler Show
Stand Up NY, 8 p.m., $10
This is the only show we’re aware of that actually encourages the audience to heckle the comedians during their performance — but yell at your own risk. You can say whatever you want, but so can the comics. So wear your least mockable outfit, and make sure there’s a thick skin underneath. Christian Finnegan, Chrissie Mayr, and the bruising Kevin Brennan are three in particular to watch out for.
Stand-Up On the Spot
The Stand, 8 p.m., $15
Stand-up can be similar to a magic trick. Good comedians sell the illusion that they’re saying these things for the first time, and audiences sometimes buy it. This show is ACTUALLY magic. Part stand-up, part improv, every performer is 100% improvising their set based on suggestions from the audience. And tonight you can see one of the best guys to ever do it: Big Jay Oakerson. He’s so good, he did it for an entire album.
Reductress: The Brotherhood of Women
The Bell House, Doors 7 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $18
Alongside The Onion, Reductress makes some of the most brilliantly biting satire on the internet. Mercilessly mocking the conventions of female-centered media, they produce headlines like “Creator of Rape Documentary Talks About Hair Care” and “Vision Board Your Way to His Dick.” Tonight, the site hosts a live event with precisely the same tone. Performers include Sara Benincasa and Anna Drezen. Oh, and thanks to their sponsorship, Sixpoint beers are $4 all night. So go ahead: Sink some suds, gain some weight, and remain unlovable!
Friday, March 20
Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $10
We all love erotic fan fiction. We all love competitions. But is there any way to bring those two things together? Yes! Yes, there is! Union Hall hosts another installment of its semi-regular literary smut-fest this evening, with dirty birds like Jared Logan, Dave Hill, and Ashley Brooke Roberts battling it out to be crowned Queen of All Clit-Lit. Prepare to get hot and very bothered.
Saturday, March 21
The Graham Bar, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., Free
Bushwick residents: If you can’t bear the thought of another weekend ruined by horrific L disruptions, stay local. The Graham Bar is now home to a 100% free weekly comedy show that’s kicking ass and taking names. Tonight, trash-talking princess Liza Treyger joins mustachioed misanthrope Doug Smith and prominent local weirdo Joe Rumrill. There’s also a dirty dance party afterward, so there is no reason whatsoever to leave your neighborhood this Saturday.
Monday, March 23
Filthy Stinkin’ Rich
Over the Eight, 8 p.m., Free
Are you filthy stinking rich? Of course not. You’re reading the Village Voice, not Heartless Plutocrat Monthly. But here’s good news for anyone on a budget: This Williamsburg show is completely free, and it’s pulling out all the stops for its one-year anniversary. There will be drink specials. There will be candy. There will be hot dogs served on skateboards (it’s an eccentric kitchen, but the food is legit good). Look out for the charming Andy Sandford, Yik Yak star Tony Zaret, and the stately Sarah Tollemache.
Hot Tub Hijacks Night Train
Littlefield, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $5
Before they both left for Los Angeles, Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal ran the hottest alt-comedy show in Brooklyn: Hot Tub. Their Monday-night Littlefield berth was filled by Wyatt Cenac’s Night Train, but now, in a storyline straight out of the WWE, the Hot Tub Twins are back to hijack their time-slot for one night only. Joining Kurt and Kristen are Eugene Mirman, Maeve Higgins, Matt Wayne, and a sold-out crowd of fans, baying for comedy blood.
Tuesday, March 24
Dale Radio Live
The PIT, 8 p.m., $10
Dale Seever (a/k/a James Bewley) returns for another live episode of Dale Radio, NYC’s favorite basement talk show hosted by a fictitious person. His amazing guest of honor is Bridget Everett, the foul-mouthed cabaret star and Amy Schumer pal who remains the only performer in history to have a Beastie Boy as a backup dancer (look for Ad-Rock in the video above).
Not Suitable for Television: An Evening of Material Rejected From TV
Littlefield, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m., $5
Television is a brutal business, with rejection a certainty at every turn. Shows like this one? They ease the pain. Let’s say your animated pilot starring Janeane Garofalo is rejected by a network. Bummer, right? But on the other hand, you can do a live performance of it at this show…with Garofalo herself reading it! It’s not the fame and fortune of a successful show, but it’s creatively fulfilling. And that’s what TV is all about, right? (Answer: no.) Come join writers from Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Daily Show, and Weekend Update, and hear the rejected TV ideas America just wasn’t ready for.
Tom Cowell is a comedian.