From Lenny Bruce to George Carlin to Hannibal Buress, comedy has always spurred social change. This week, you can have a tangible and immediate impact on the community affected by the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, thanks to a fundraiser at the Bell House featuring Hasan Minhaj and Michelle Buteau. Plus, there are plenty of other great shows for you to check out in support of free speech — and high-quality dick jokes.
Wednesday, July 29:
Stand Up for Charleston
The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $20 in advance
Remember that shooting about three shootings ago? Well, comedy producer Sam Varela does and is holding a fundraiser for the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, tonight at the Bell House. While thinking about these kinds of violent events is pretty depressing, you can do your part while actually enjoying a night of fun and not-too-soon laughter. VH1’s Michelle Buteau and The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj head a stellar lineup that also features Seaton Smith, Guy Branum, and Naomi Ekperigin.
The Mash-Up Show Hosted by Luis J. Gomez & Adrienne Iapalucci
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 8 p.m., $5 online with code MASHUP
When you see two comedians onstage at the same time, it’s usually a well-practiced professional duo or one of those times when a show has gone way off the rails. The Mash-Up Show splits the difference, giving pairs of comedians who normally don’t share the stage the opportunity to play off each other in creative, silly, unexpected ways. Among the comedy odd couples this month are tall stoner Dan Soder and short, cerebral Louis Katz.
Thursday, July 30:
Your Showcase of Showcases
Q.E.D. Astoria (27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria), 7:30 p.m., $10
Anthony DeVito is an underrated delight. He’s a tiny, hairy Italian full of great energy and even greater jokes. He can light up a dead room and make a good crowd roar so hard that nobody hears the thud when you fall out of your seat from laughing. So it’s an exciting night of comedy when he’s the host and you get to spend the whole evening with him.
Friday, July 31:
DSK (710 Fulton Street, Brooklyn), 9:30 p.m., Free
Animation Block Party is a four-day celebration of all things animated, from blockbusters to indie shorts. This year, they’re including Picture This!, a hybrid animation/stand-up show that tasks professional animators and graphic designers with illustrating a comic’s set in real time. Inevitably, that leads the comics down a whole new path, for a one-of-a-kind experience. Nick Vatterott and Michelle Wolf head up a stellar lineup of comedians and animators from MTV, Nickelodeon, and Guy Code.
The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 10 p.m., Free
Take the weird and wacky “news” stories you see on BuzzFeed, Reddit, and your local news channel’s human-interest segment, then add comedians, jokes, and characters and you get Infauxmation! This Denver favorite makes its NYC debut at the Creek and the Cave this week. The show features Sam Morril, who has plenty of experience commenting on ridiculous “news” thanks to his many appearances on Fox News’s Red Eye; the unique and always hilarious perspective of Ben Kronberg; and Leah Bonnema’s smartmouthed common sense.
Late Night Basement
Livestream NYC (195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn), 9 p.m., Free
Gary Vider is one of a small handful of comedians featured on this year’s America’s Got Talent. And while America is just getting to know him, New York has been loving his dry, sharp wit for a while. He’s the featured comedian on this late-night style talk show, hosted by multitalented comedy phenom Jo Firestone. Bonus: The first twenty people to RSVP on Eventbrite (and show up) receive a ticket for a free beer.
Josh Gondelman and Vladimir Caamaño
The Standing Room (47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City), 9 p.m., Free
Vladimir Caamaño is that rare combination of very funny and very nice. He’s the kind of comedian who makes a crowd feel safe, warm, and fuzzy the minute he walks onstage. We can probably thank his parents for that, whose cross-cultural quirks he gently and lovingly skewers throughout his act. So it’s fitting he joins New York’s Comedy Sweetheart, Josh Gondelman, in this preview show at LIC’s newest venue.
Saturday, August 1:
First Saturday (See You in Hell and Dark Spots)
The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 8 p.m., Free
A longtime Creek favorite joins forces with a fresh new gem for a one-two punch of free shows. See You in Hell has been putting comedians through, well, hell for some time now, with onstage challenges like arm-wrestling and freestyle rapping. Nick Vatterott and Joe Zimmerman will be part of the crew facing their demons this month. And speaking of demons, new kid Dark Spots asks comedians to face their actual demons (and believe me, comedians have plenty). For August, now-sober Pat Dixon, Ian Fidance, and Taylor Ketchum will all mine their addicted pasts for comedic gold.
Stop Making Sense
Freddy’s Bar and Backroom (627 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn), 7 p.m., Free
Alana Eisner hosts this showcase of stellar up-and-comers. Remember how awesome we said Anthony DeVito was a few paragraphs up? Well, he’s still that awesome, and this time you can catch all that charming goodness for free!
Sunday, August 2:
Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street), 8 p.m., $20
Godfrey is not just a comedian, he’s an experience. His charisma and personality fill the room even before he finishes his first joke, impression, story, or act out. He can annihilate a room in a short fifteen-minute set, so imagine what a full hour will be like!
If You Build It
UCB East (153 East 3rd Street), 8 p.m., $5
This excellent weekly lets you squeeze the last drop out of the weekend with some of the best comedians the city has to offer. It’s hosted by the incredibly funny, super-ballsy Kara Klenk, who keeps the show rocking from start to finish.
Monday, August 3:
Open Door Comedy
The Open Door (110 John Street), 8 p.m., Free
Guy Code heartthrob (and new dad!) Chris Distefano headlines this weekly free showcase, but don’t sleep on under-the-radar gems Paul Hooper and James L. Mattern. Hooper is a surprisingly pleasant and low-key mix of the Southern charm of his upbringing, the crabby old man–ness of a longtime New Yorker, and the chemical imbalance of his serious OCD. Mattern, who used to be known to club crowds throughout the city as “Maddog,” is just about the exact opposite end of the spectrum. His high-energy, highly interactive sets bounce around from sports to sex to TV shows like a teen off his Adderall.
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 10 p.m., Free
You could sum up Adrienne Iapalucci as “the Daria of comedy,” but that would be seriously shortchanging both the comedic and personal depths of her hilariously dark sets. Her dry, sarcastic takes on suicide, weight gain, and bad relationships will have you laughing at the absurd bleakness of life, or at least feeling good about the current state of your own. It Boy Joe List and Broke A$$ Game Show’s Derek Gaines will also be on hand to lighten the mood.
Tuesday, August 4:
Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street), 9:30 p.m., $15 (email NY@comedyjuice.com for limited free guest list)
Todd Barry is the consummate “comedian’s comedian.” His mastery of jokes, crowd interaction, and meta-humor draw admiration from the lowliest open mic-er to Louis CK, who produced his most recent special, Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour, and released it for $5 a pop on his own site. Sometimes the comic’s-comic term is thrown around to describe acts that are maybe a little too high-concept or artsy for general consumption, but Barry has so many levels, you’re bound to connect to at least one of them.
The United Ladies of Comedy: New York City
Treehouse154 (154 West 29th Street, 2nd floor), 9:30 p.m., $7 in advance
Maria Shehata is a dynamo of jokes and personality, so it’s no wonder she’s the center of an international documentary. After filming in London, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, the crew touches down in NYC for a show including the funny, dry-witted, and bilingual Carmen Lynch.