Comedy is not a pursuit for the faint of heart, and that goes for audiences and comics alike. Lately, there’s been a widespread and mercilessly drawn-out public debate over what exactly counts as “offensive,” and how that may or may not be something quite separate from old-fashioned hate– you know, the classics, like racism, misogyny, homophobia. Meanwhile the term “safe space” has become so common, so misused and abused, that invoking it comes with some seriously heavy baggage that makes it almost impossible to use without infuriating some people and inspiring others to swoon.
Mary Houlihan & The Yellow Dress in “This Could Be Anything”
Tuesday September 6, 8 p.m. at Over the Eight: FREE.
As the name suggests this one is a bit of a mystery. It’s a musical, but who knows what about? Written by indie pop musician Dan Weiss (with his band the Yellow Dress) and comedian Mary Houlihan, whose regular show, Cartoon Monsoon, usually includes a fair amount of funny singing, it definitely has a lot going for it. Sure, “comedy musicals” don’t always end well, but I have a feeling this one is going to be good.
It’ll also feature comedians like Carmen Christopher, Susan Casey, Pat Wise, Tim Platt and Joe Rumrill. As if that’s not enough, there’ll also be songs about “friendship and bravery.” If you’re curious to know any more details, then I guess you’ll just have to go and find out for yourself on Tuesday.
Friday September 9, 7:30 p.m. at UCB Chelsea: $10.
Do you ever imagine Seinfeld still on TV? It’s a pie-in-the-sky dream so long as Seinfeld is busy getting coffee and complaining about college students, but it’s nice to think about, right? If, however, that’s not enough to scratch your Seinfeldian itch, then fear not, because there’s always Improvised Seinfeld.
At this semi-regular show, former UCB Maude team, Bellevue (who wrote a pretty good new episode of Seinfeld a while ago), perform a fully improvised episode of Seinfeld based on an audience suggestion. I’ve seen the show a few times myself and it is startlingly close to the real thing—the tone, the episode structure and even the actors playing the main cast (the Elaine stand-in, Cathryn Mudon, is an especially close dead-ringer for Julia Louis Dreyfus). So if you can’t even imagine it, then stop thinking about it and see it for yourself.
Deep Space Live!
Friday September 9, 8 p.m. at the Annoyance Theater: $10.
In an effort to cope with the impenetrable loneliness of space travel, NASA scientist Sam Weiss (played by comedian Sam Weiss) has taken to hosting a weekly late night talk show. Because, honestly, what better way to deal with the existential ennui of being thousands of miles away from any other human beings than hosting a talk show?
This week also happens to be your last chance to catch Deep Space Live, which will feature guest appearances from the likes of the voices in Weiss’s head, some aliens and comedians including Sam Taggart and Ben Hosley.
The Famous Awards
Sunday September 11, 6 p.m. at the Bushwick Public House: FREE.
Next Sunday, comedian Kady Ruth Ashcraft will host the first ever Famous Awards—a one-of-a-kind award show that will celebrate and crown the world’s most famous individuals. You know, those traditionally unsung heroes of this world. Selfless and brave, every one of them.
The event promises to feature “a red carpet, step and repeat, champagne toasts, and most importantly, awards celebrating the 2016 accomplishments of famous people.” The show itself is free, but also be aware that it is 100% black tie mandatory.
Pasic and Platt: The Orgy
Monday August 29, 8 p.m. at Union Hall: $5
Mo Fry Pasic and Tim Platt are two comedians who have teamed up a few times in the past to disgust, bring dread and even break up. Now, the two are moving their show to Union Hall where they’ll be taking the next logical step and hosting an orgy. Sort of. As the event description explains, they’ll be hosting this show as “a modern couple trying to organize an orgy for, undeniably, the wrong reasons.” It’ll be a show with fewer fast, ridiculous comedy scenes and more slow, serious acting around a ridiculous idea. They’re also joined by a bill packed with other great comedians and actors, including Carmen Christopher, Aaron Jackson, Betsy Kenney and Anna Drezen.
“Honestly, I just wanted a festival and to throw a big party,” says Coree Spencer of her forthcoming Cinder Block Comedy Festival. As lighthearted as that seems, Spencer organized the festival on her terms in order to challenge the ongoing status quo in the comedy world.
Thursday August 25, 9 pm at Union Hall: $10
Hosted by Lacey Jeka and Kristen Buckels (Between Two Bushes), this show is stacked. I mean seriously, you’re telling me that you’ve got Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone– who by the way also host some great shows together— and Brett Davis, the cult-obsessed audience antagonizer, plus a great young man named Gary Richardson, all on the same bill?
Also, the show is only $10? And it’s on a Thursday and at a reasonable hour? Wait, there’s a flyer for it? Uh, yes please. Like, on all accounts. This show might only last one night, but, oh man, what a summer fling it will be.
The Dan + Joe + Charles Show
Tuesday August 19, 8 pm at the New York Distilling Company: FREE
Here’s a little history lesson: Dan (Licata) + Joe (Pera) + Charles (Gould) used to host this stand up showcase on a monthly basis at UCB East, but, apparently, that wasn’t enough for the people. They demanded more and more shows—one young man even self-immolated outside of the Two Boots next to UCB crying “I just want this show to be weekly!” before expiring in a flash of flames.
Sundays With Ana: Maximum Minimalism
Sunday August 7, 8 pm at Over the Eight: FREE
This long-running monthly show, hosted by Ana Fabrega, has a rotating theme and guest list each month. This time around, the theme is “Maximum Minimalism” or what Fabrega promises will be a show with “no bells or whistles,” just “a simple night of comedy/performance.”
As with most comedy Fabrega does, there’s almost definitely something else there—what it might be, however, is anyone’s guess. The performers for this month’s show include standup Eliza Hurwitz and Nightcap host Ikechukwu Ufomadu.
The Open Mic Roast of Riley Soloner
August 1 at Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Brooklyn. This show is free and starts at 9:30 p.m. More info on the event page.
Comedian Riley Soloner is hosting an open mic in which he will let anyone in the audience—including complete strangers—roast him in any way they want. Soloner is an improviser and comedian probably best known for his appearances on The Chris Gethard Show, but if you’re unfamiliar with him, that’s fine. He still would like you to roast him. In what the event page describes as “a truly bold and stupid move,” Soloner crowd-sourced this show via Facebook, where people requested that it be “a roast” and “sad.” Please don’t let him down—say something vile to his face.