Cheap Laughs: The Best Indie Comedy in New York This Week, 9/17 – 9/23/2014


This week in Cheap Laughs, we have special ed improvs, sexual Mazel Tovs, a talent show, anniversary blow, liberal lions, albino sirens, and the powerful energy of Macaulay Culkin. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.

Wednesday, September 17th

Stand-Up on the Spot
The Stand, 8 p.m. $15.

New York’s favorite improvised stand-up show is back, with possibly their best line-up yet. Deceptively soft-spoken, former Philly special ed teacher Mike Vecchione is one of the funniest comics on his feet working today. He’s joined by the brilliantly perverse Kurt Metzger, Janeane Garofalo and host of other rock solid performers. Unpredictable, anarchic and good-natured, “…On the Spot” is one of those wild NYC comedy nights you can always make time for.

Awkward Sex and the City
Littlefield, Doors 8 p.m. / Show 8.30 p.m. $10.

People can’t get enough of other people talking about sex. Maybe it’s our primate nature: we love being voyeurs to another ape’s sex life, even after the fact. Plus, who doesn’t love a good story of sexual failure and embarrassment? Tonight’s willing over-sharers include charming New York TV writer and comic Brooke Van Poppelen, Daily Show scribe Matt Koff, and Indian-American rageaholic Subhah Agarwal. Come watch them relive their most anxious, intimate moments, and learn from their colossal mistakes.

Thursday, September 18th

Gowanus Idol
The Bell House, Doors 8 p.m. / Show 8.30 p.m. $20.

The wee little neighborhood of Gowanus is having a talent show. But this being Brooklyn, the talent on display is rather powerful. Part of Eugene Mirman‘s borough-wide comedy festival happening every night this week, Gowanus Idol brings such performers as NPR’s Ira Glass, Amy Schumer, Voice cover girl Bridget Everett, Hollywood’s Amber Tamblyn, and many more than can be listed.

Friday, September 19th

Anniversary Weekend At The Stand
The Stand, 11.59 p.m. $15.

The Stand comedy club turns three years old this weekend. Hard to believe, since they seem like they’ve been around for ever, classing up the city’s stand-up scene with (shock, horror) great food, a convivial bar, and smart booking. There will be a carnival atmosphere around the place for a few days, so try to catch some. Maybe cap off your Friday carousing with this late show. It features Rory Albanese, a comic who can do/has done it all, running the Daily Show for years, doing half-hours on Comedy Central, and now show runner at Larry Wilmore’s forthcoming Minority Report. Worth catching.

Sunday, September 21st

Hari Kondabalu
Carolines, 7.30 p.m. $16 with discount code “cocoabutter”

Hari Kondabolu is a political comedian who nonetheless understands that being funny is more important than being righteous. The New York-born and Seattle-trained comic is a former community organizer, and he’s had a great few years. There have been specials, a Letterman spot, and the Fresh Air Terry Gross interview (which is like a liberal Oscar). Now he’s headlining Carolines on Broadway for the weekend, and the Sunday show is a great deal if you’re young, hip, and have the dough to swing a (heavily discounted) ticket.

The Macaulay Culkin Show
Shea Stadium, 8 p.m. $5.

First off: the Macaulay Culkin Show has nothing to do with Macaulay Culkin. But the title probably got you to read this, so it’s doing its job. Hosted in the delightfully DIY Bushwick music space Shea Stadium, it’s a happy-clappy alt-comedy shit-show, and we mean that in the nicest way. Greg Barris, Giulia Rozzi and Lorelei Ramirez are worth your $5 if you happen to be on the far reaches of the L train this evening.

Tuesday, September 23rd

Northern Discomfort
The Stand, 8 p.m. $5 with code “villagevoice”

It probably won’t surprise you that one of the smartest NY comics on issues of race is Victor Varnado. He’s an African-American man with albinism. So he’s had to commit to a lifetime of thinking about color. Catch him tonight for very little money, and also read his stuff. His recent thoughts on what constitutes a racist joke were non-hysterical, thought-provoking, and wise. But don’t think it’s all heavy shit: he tells dick jokes too. The dependably brilliant Dan Soder will also be attendance.

Tom Cowell is a comedian.