This week in Cheap Laughs, we have Mad Men, shameless women, sudden impressions, mortified adolescents, and lines around the block for jokes. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.
Wednesday, May 13
New York Comedy Club, 7.30 p.m., $10 here with promo code ‘JCUBED’
Comedy Central picked fourteen comedians last week to produce half-hour stand-up specials. Few names on the list make people happier than Sean Donnelly‘s. The bearded Irish American personifies “avuncular.” His act is half wit, half world-weariness, all heart. He’s at New York Comedy Club tonight with Edinburgh festival winner Alex Edelman and human puppet Joe Machi. Come for the show, and stay for the boozy post-show party that will go as late as your liver can take.
Sterling Cooper All-Company Meeting
UCB Chelsea, 8 p.m., $5
Mad Men is the greatest TV show of the moment (feel free to disagree in the comments but you are wrong). And as it stomps out its final episodes, you may want to take every opportunity to wallow in its references and aesthetics. For example, what if Don Draper’s agency held one final meeting to discuss company business, but all the familiar characters were too hungover to attend? Sketch group Awful DJ are running that meeting, and play some agency lifers pitching new ads, smoking, drinking, and capturing the glory days of late-Sixties New York. Feel free to wear a suit, chiffon dress, or a fur coat (and nothing else).
Tastemakers: A Variety Show for the Filthy Rich
The Annoyance Theater, 9.30 p.m., $5
Some super-rich megastars are hosting this variety show to single-handedly make or break the careers of the poor peons auditioning for them. Clearly, there must have been some scheduling snafu, because these wealthy culture mavens aren’t hosting the event at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, but in a basement directly under the Williamsburg Bridge. We’re sure the assistant responsible has already been fired. The humble acts hoping to woo wealthy patrons include improv hip-hop act North Coast and Friends of the People‘s Halle Kiefer.
Friday, May 15
Jerry gets paranoid about his girlfriend’s past when her iPhone automatically connects to the wi-fi at Newman’s apartment.
— Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday) June 3, 2014
The Bitch Seat
Union Hall, 7.30 p.m., $8
Josh Gondelman writes for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and is the creator of the Modern Seinfeld Twitter account. It’s a collection of perfect, 140-character pitches for imaginary Seinfeld episodes, which unpack the social mores of the smartphone era in the same way the actual show obsessed over Nineties minutiae. He’s the guest of honor at this live talk show, where host Lyssa Mandel invites guests to present poignant or painful creations from their adolescence on stage (poetry, drawings, songs…anything embarrassing). The theme for tonight’s show is “Formal Dances,” so bring your cummerbund.
Saturday, May 16
Union Hall, 8 p.m., $8
Liza Treyger is a bold pick for a show about shame, because she appears to have very little of it. The Chicago comic is one of the strongest “just don’t give a shit” confessional comics in the city at the moment. So if she talks about something she’s ashamed of, you can bet it’s really, really bad. Joining her are comics Janelle James and Jordan Temple, and talk show host Ikechukwu Ufomadu, who has been described as the son that Woody Allen and Frank Sinatra never had (probably by his agent).
Center City Comedy Live
The Stand, 10 p.m., $15.
The transplanted Philly comedy ensemble Center City brings its show back to the Stand tonight, and the guest of honor is Yamaneika Saunders. The Baltimore native is frank about weight, race, and rage, but finds a way to make the yelling funny every time. She also hosts a podcast on the Stand Up Labs network called Rantin’ and Ravin’, which is worth an hour of your time.
Monday, May 18
Snap Impression Live
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m./Show 8 p.m., $6
Snap Impression is a gameshow podcast that pits comedians against one another to see who can do the best off-the-cuff impressions of celebrities, fictional characters, and historical personages. Think you could do instant impressions of Johnny Carson, then Angelina Jolie, then a person with their hand stuck in a toaster? Well, contact show hosts Andy Beckerman and Ramsey Ess. They’ll probably want to book you.
Tuesday, May 19
The Stand, 10 p.m., $15 (or free here with discount code ‘VIPLIST’)
There are lines around the block for this show on the regular, partly due to the high quality of the acts on stage, and partly due to the ease of obtaining free tickets (which are valid so long as seating permits). In other words, if you want to be guaranteed a seat, either get to the club hella early, or pay for a ticket. Tonight, Comedy Central storytelling star Ari Shaffir joins Massachusetts rage-merchant Nick DiPaolo, nerd king Mike Lawrence, and many more.