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Performance Picks: Comedic Compliments, Native Satire, All the Feels

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Center for the Humanities)

This Isn’t Funny!: I, An Moron
Wednesday, November 8 at CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery, 7 pm: FREE

Comedy is a strange thing. Many write it off as merely jokes with little meaning, but comedy is one of our biggest and most pervasive cultural forces. So, be careful what you joke about, because hey, jokes do matter and it’s extremely easy to be very funny without tearing down marginalized groups. I see it happen literally all the time. Anyway, tonight you can see performance artist Dynasty Handbag perform their new work that riffs on “white activism” (#resist by buying this shirt about feminism!) and solo shows made by privileged heterosexual women with little self-awareness, which I also see happen all the time. After the performance concludes, the artist will be joined by Morgan Bassichis, Dominique Nisperos, Keisha Zollar, and moderator Bess Rowen for a discussion about the role of comedy in times of political unrest, and how one can utilize the genre to productively take on the establishment.

THURSDAY

(flyer via Union Hall)

Boast Rattle
Thursday, November 9 at Union Hall, 10 pm: $10 advance, $12 day of

Ah, roasts. No, I don’t mean cookouts or that ceremony where you put the whole pig in the ground and take it out after a while. I am talking about the weird comedic ritual of hurling insults in a way some take as complimentary, ultimately. In my opinion, it is too easy to resort to cheap shots in a roast. Unless maybe you are roasting a white man who does not have many redeeming qualities. In any case, at this show you needn’t worry about expecting to laugh at any cruel or dumb retorts. In fact, Boast Rattle is a night of fierce compliments. So, you can sit back and watch Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Mike Drucker, Adam Conover, Shalewa Sharpe, and even Bizzy The Dog cook up their best words of praise to each other. Plus, this edition of the show is part of the New York Comedy Festival, so maybe you will feel fancier in the audience.

FRIDAY

(flyer via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Every Feeling I’ve Ever Felt
Friday, November 10 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

When it comes to feelings, composer and musician Ellen Winter has many of them. So many, in fact, that she’s written an entire show to expose them all to you. Her one-night-only show at Ars Nova (where she also interned several years back) not only has a hefty dose of emotions all along the spectrum (and probably more than one or two tears), it also serves as a showcase of songs she’s written over the years, from renditions of punk songs past to new material from her upcoming solo album. With some rare actual good news coming from the most recent local elections and the inevitable advent of chillier weather and seasonal depression, I have also been feeling many types of feelings. It can always be a treat to experience them with a roomful of others, set to a handful of songs.

SATURDAY

(photo: Theo Cote)

Don’t Feed The Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant
Now through November 19 at La MaMa, 7 pm (Sundays at 2 pm): $25, $20 students/seniors

One (and certainly not the only) group who has faced hundreds of years of oppression that still continues today is Native Americans. Though their land and livelihood is still largely disregarded today, illuminated by movements like that of Standing Rock and more, the struggles they face are not always splashed on the (virtual) front pages of the news. And when Native or Indigenous people are portrayed in fictional media, it’s equally uncommon that they themselves are the ones telling the stories or even playing the roles. That all gets turned on its head at Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective’s “greatest sideshow of Indigenous people you’ll ever see.”

Created by Murielle Borst-Tarrant of Spiderwoman Theater with music direction by Kevin Tarrant, Don’t Feed The Indians takes common Native stereotypes and subverts them in a satirical, musical night performed by actual Native artists. May the future only bring more and more work like this.

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Performance Picks: Murder Mystery, Spaghetti Puppetry, and Poetry Marathons for the New Year

WEDNESDAY

(image via Future Forms / Facebook)

(image via Future Forms / Facebook)

Future Forms
Wednesday, December 28 at Throne Watches, 8 pm: FREE 

Mary Houlihan, Joe Rumrill, Sam Taggart, and Julio Torres’s recurring comedy show Future Forms is a tasty treat, and probably one of the only shows you can say you’ve seen in a watch showroom. I mean, with the impending closure of spaces like Cake Shop, and DIY spaces getting all hush-hush for fear of getting shut down, perhaps we’ll all soon be watching shows in the aisles of grocery stores or something like that. Which could be fun, but the lighting leaves something to be desired.

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Week in Comedy: Orgies, Dancing and… Murder?

(Photo: via Union Hall)

(Photo: via Union Hall)

MONDAY

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.

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Week in Comedy: Summertime Stories and Imaginary Films

THURSDAY

(Photo: Summer Fling)

(Flyer via Summer Fling)

Summer Fling
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.

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Celebrate Pride Week With These LGBTQ Comedy Shows

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

This week, New York City hosts its Pride Week and celebrates the LGBTQ community with events, parties and, of course, the annual pride parade. Celebrating this community seems especially important in the light of the tragic mass shooting at gay Orlando nightclub Pulse. At the same time, after any national tragedy, it’s important to at least occasionally laugh—that way you can be momentarily distracted from the depths of despair and hopelessness. Luckily, there are ways to do both. So, in honor of NYC Pride Week—and to take your mind off how much the world sucks—here are the best LGBTQ-centric comedy shows happening next week.

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Performance Picks: Pup Benefit Show, Holiday Bonanzas, and a ‘Smutcracker’

(Photo via Revjen Miller / Facebook)

(Photo via Revjen Miller / Facebook)

If you’ve decided that Stairwell Theater’s scatological Ubu Rex seems a little too extreme for you, there’s no shortage of oddball performance events around every corner this week. But sorry to all you straight-laced folk out there, none of them are particularly traditional.

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5 Live Comedy Shows That Riff On Themes, From Lust to Hate

Sure, comics are notorious navel-gazers, but the fun themes at these recurring shows encourage them to dig for more than just belly button lint.

HowILearnedThe How I Learned Series
July 29, 8 pm at Union Hall: $6 advance, $10 at the door
The latest installment of this series, “You Don’t Have To Go Home But You Can’t Stay Here,” promises to be worth the price of admission. This show about getting kicked out of bars, being the last loser at a party, “the pursuit of fun,” and stupid decisions will feature Isaac Oliver, Ophira Eisenberg, Nancy Balbirer, Kate Greathead, Lynn Bixenspan and host Blaise Allysen Kearsley.

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Talks and Readings: School Stories, Awkward Sex Moments, and Zach Braff

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Summer vacation might have students hightailing it to the nearest exit, but Union Hall wants to rope you back into the world of teachers and books for “How I Learned to Make the Grade: Stories About School,” where master storytellers, including author and comedian Sara Benincasa (Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom) and actor/comedian Jeffrey Joseph (The Tonight Show), will share their tales of playground humiliations and homecoming regrets. Of course, now that we’re all grown-ups, beer and cocktails will be available to ease the angst.
Wednesday, May 27, doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Union Hall, 702 Union Street (Park Slope).

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Bowie, Bayside, and Taylor Negron: 4 Anniversary Shows Not to Miss

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Some of our favorite institutions, parties, and performances are celebrating big milestones in the next days. Why not join in the festivities?
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