This week in Cheap Laughs, we have badass women, Irish gays, pizza, and shame. Now that’s what we call a night on the town. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, March 25
My 1992 Diary
UCB Chelsea, 9.30 p.m., $5
Everything changed for Dawn Luebbe the day she discovered her old diary from 1992. She took to Tumblr to broadcast and comment on the hormone-addled rantings of her eleven-year-old Nebraskan self, and what followed was internet love, laughter, and a book deal. Come hear her relate harrowing true stories from her awkward pre-teen years as a Midwest giantess. With hard evidence of diary entries, poetry, photos, and home videos, she’ll transport you back to those heady days of 90210 fever and Kurt Cobain fan poetry. She is joined by guest comedians and storytellers to celebrate that awkward phase of life, when everything you knew about sex came via Salt ‘N Pepa.
Thursday, March 26
Drinking Game NYC: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Union Hall, 8 p.m., $15
Each month, Drinking Game hires goofy actors to perform cult-movie classics for a live audience. Each movie comes with a list of buzz words and phrases. When you hear one, a bell rings and everybody drinks. This show is a lock. Does anyone NOT like this movie? We’ve yet to meet that guy. So come on down to Union Hall and celebrate Ferris, Cameron, Sloane, Ben Stein, and your oldest, true friend: alcoholism.
Three of Cups, 7.30 p.m., Free
Part stand-up, part storytelling, part interview, “Hindsight” features NYC’s top stand-ups telling funny, true stories, then facing follow-up questions from the hosts and audience. This month’s lineup includes the magnificent Big Jay Oakerson, awkward jewel Joe Pera, Hadiyah Robinson, and Mary Houlihan. The highlight of the evening is always the audience interrogation of the comedian. If you’re ever on trial for your life, don’t hire a lawyer. Have your accuser cross-examined by the crowd at this show. They miss NOTHING.
Mike Shvenderman: Junkie
Lovecraft, 8 p.m. $5
Comic Mike Shvenderman has lived quite a life. His degenerate past involved a dash of heroin abuse, a smattering of withdrawal, and the odd unfortunate encounter with a pimp. Tonight he films his hour-long stand-up show, entitled Junkie, which reflects all that sordid history, and also functions as a form of intervention. Shvenderman says he’s using this show as an olive branch to three friends who need help with drug issues yet refuse to acknowledge it. But he assures us it’s not a downer gig: more an excuse to “mock my own dreary past and laugh along at my asinine behavior.” Plus, who doesn’t love a redemption story?
Friday, March 27
Various venues, times, and prices
A lot of “keyboard warriors” type their stand against sexism in the comedy world: Facebook posts about the lack of female late-night hosts, tweets about the obnoxious “women aren’t funny” canard, etc. But this is your chance to actually leave the house and DO something. Comedians Natalie Wall and Shaina Stigler are running a three-day event featuring performances, mixers, panel discussions, and more to get to the bottom of comedy-related gender issues, and what to do about them. It’s a dope idea. Get on board at www.badassery.nyc. The event kicks off tonight at Littlefield.
Not a Sex Dungeon
Stairs Bar, 7.30 p.m., $5
Award-winning sketch comedy duo Temple Horses present talented city comedians in a great location that is most certainly NOT a sex dungeon. $3 Budweisers and $5 mixed drinks lube up the patrons, and the show is building nice buzz from comedy groupies of all kinds (and this one in particular). The Rocky Balboa of comedy, Mike Recine brings the pain this evening, alongside the charming filth of Neil Constantine and wry detachment of Janelle James.
Comedy Killed the Video Star
Videology, 11.30 p.m. Free
Hosts Amanda Baramki and Robbie Collier invite stand-ups to ridicule the worst music videos of all time. It’s like Beavis and Butt-head but with actual jokes. This month’s show theme is Hair Metal, featuring truly unexplainable videos from Billy Squier, Damn Yankees, Twisted Sister, and — the most ponderous band to ever have a hit record — Journey. Van Halen is on standby as a palate-cleanser. Mystery Science Theater maven Frank Conniff will attend, alongside impish genius Reid Faylor and the bayou’s Amber Nelson. It’s also free, and there is free pizza if you RSVP for a slice at email@example.com
Saturday, March 28
The Shame Game
Union Hall, 8 p.m., $8
For the first time ever in Cheap Laughs history, this show features TWO PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS.
Why? (1) Because we dig the ones made by lunatic besties Soojeong Son and Ginny Leise so much (see the one above about New York’s recent outbreak of “summer”). And (2) Because this week’s performer, David Smithyman, just delivered this wonderful report (also above) about gay parades and St. Patrick’s Day for Comedy Central’s Nightly Show. As its title suggests, The Shame Game is all about divulging shameful secrets onstage. It’s vulnerable, raucous, and absurd: Last time out included Michelle Wolf’s text fight with a moronic personal trainer and a live performance of the “you had me at hello” scene from Jerry Maguire. It’s nuts in a great way.
Sunday, March 29
If You Build It
UCBeast, 8 p.m., $5
No show bats a thousand, but this UCBeast showcase comes very close. Week in, week out, this is a can’t-fail lineup of funny bitches. Guy Branum‘s pop-culture podcast Pop Rocket is a breakout headphone hit, swarthy comedy savant Sam Morril writes some of the best jokes in town, and WASP-y waif Kate Hendricks swings her pearls and Ralph Lauren accessories as weapons. Hosted by Kara Klenk.
Monday, March 30
The Knitting Factory, 7.30 p.m., $10
Lane Moore’s brutal takedown of cynical singledom returns to the Knitting Factory, as she goes through her Tinder profile live onstage, and mocks every new and hideous cliché invented by the site’s worst users. Her guest is Jordan Carlos from The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, and together they’ll be processing the giant Tinder bombshell that is the new “Limited Swipes” policy. Oh, and a word of warning: If you’re single and on Tinder, for God’s sake turn your phone off when you’re at the show. If you don’t, you risk popping up on the big screen for all the crowd to see (and, let’s be honest, judge mercilessly).
Tuesday, March 31
The Stand, 8 p.m., $5 with discount code ‘villagevoice’
Tonight, The Stand shall rock once again to the sound of another audience discovering two of the funniest women in the country. Jessica Kirson destroys crowds with the efficiency of a jet engine, and at a similar volume. Carmen Lynch is the opposite, her six-foot frame transmitting nervy, neurotic observations that murder audiences just as reliably. Hollywood: Give these ladies sitcoms already. It’s about fucking time.
Tom Cowell is a comedian.