SNL’s Cecily Strong and a Gowanus Version of Sundance: This Week in NYC Comedy


This week in Cheap Laughs we have Dad sidekicks, $100 sketch kicks, jungle lasers, naked blazers, Buffalo kooks, daisy dukes, and the world’s greatest crowd-work show. Here’s our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.

Wednesday, October 15th

Running Late With Scott Rogowsky
UCB Chelsea, 11 p.m. $5.

Scott Rogowsky has built a live late-night talk show from scratch, and after many years of hard graft it’s hitting its stride, satisfying hot crowds with “big get” guests. Oh, and his late-night sidekick is his dad. How sweet is that? Tonight, SNL‘s star desk performer, Cecily Strong, joins TV’s everyman actor, Richard Kind. You know him as the guy from absolutely everything. And watch for Nick Naney doing a guest stand-up set. He’s utterly deranged, in the best way.

Awful DJ: The $100 Show
UCB Chelsea, 9.30 p.m. $5.

Make a night of it at UCB. Before the Running Late show, check out Awful DJ. Theirs is a sketch show wrapped up in a bizarre game show format. It shouldn’t work, but it triumphantly does. Also, every show, one lucky audience member will win $100. That’s not a typo. Awful DJ will give someone in the crowd a crisp Benjamin Franklin this evening. It’s not every day you go to a $5 comedy show and walk away with $95 extra.

Thursday, October 16th

Lasers in the Jungle
UCBeast, 7 p.m. $5

John Oliver’s HBO show, Last Week Tonight, has been ripping hilarious shit up in the social-media world, and a big reason why is on the UCBeast stage this evening. Josh Gondelman is Oliver’s online-content supremo, and is an archly hilarious clean comic. He’s also one of the two brains behind the brilliant Twitter parody account Modern Seinfeld. Tonight he’s joined by dark-horse New Jersey sweetheart Chris Calogero and BET’s Hadiyah Robinson.

Friday, October 17th

The Naked Comedy Show
The Creek and the Cave, 11.45 p.m. $5.

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Seven stand-up comics will perform sets clad only in their birthday suits. The last time this show happened, back in the summer, it was pandemonium. Vice TV was there to film it, the crowd got an insane contact high from watching it, and everyone went home from the theater immediately to have sex. It was pretty great. This one may match it. The audience has the option (but zero obligation) to get naked. The organizers simply ask that you NOT shoot photos or video during the fun (not cool, bruh), and to perform no lewd or sexual acts during the show. Save that for later.

Saturday, October 18th

Josie Long and Maeve Higgins’ Fantastic Show
Union Hall, Doors 7.30 p.m. / Show 8 p.m. $10.

Josie Long is one of the U.K.’s most successful young political comedians. She’s happy talking about feminism or xenophobia, but equally comfortable discussing bears, rock-climbing, or why getting dumped is the worst feeling in the world behind amputation. Tonight she will perform her recent Edinburgh hour special, called “Cara Josephine.” Hers is a rare visit to the East Coast, and it’s a very cheap ticket for the value of the experience. Plus she’ll be joined by semi-permanent resident and Irish storytelling genius Maeve Higgins. Bargain show.

Sunday, October 19th

Joe’s Video Show
Littlefield, Doors 7 p.m. / Show 7.30 p.m. $5.

Joe Pera is from Buffalo. He specializes in a low-intensity delivery that slowly ropes a crowd in, then obliterates it with one absurd, folksy joke tag after another. Tonight he’ll perform a little then introduce a self-curated collection of sketch and weird videos he finds funny. Many of them are seeing the light of day for the very first time. Think of it as a Gowanus version of Sundance, but for outsider art and comedy bits.

Monday, October 20th

Mike Birbiglia: Working It Out
Union Hall, Doors 6:30 p.m. / Show 7 p.m. $20.

Comedian, filmmaker, and NPR poster boy Mike Birbiglia is a phenomenally successful road performer. His shows command top dollar in clubs and theaters all over the country, and when he’s in New York, he’s usually in some high-dollar venue like the Beacon. As the show title suggests, tonight he’ll be working out new material, so the ticket price is a relative steal. He’ll be telling some stories, taking requests, and welcoming a guest or two for an informal evening of comedy.

Tuesday, October 21st

What’s Your Fucking Deal?
UCBeast, 8 p.m. $5.

Big Jay Oakerson is one of the greatest crowd-work comics of his (or any) generation. Watching a guy as skilled as him fuck with an audience is a joy to behold, and he’s built himself his own show. Jay hosts “What’s Your Fucking Deal?” and invites his favorite room-workers to practice the dark art of making fun of strangers. In the past, Jay has used an ingenious technique to keep the show fresh: After each comic, the front row gets up and moves to the back, giving the next performer a brand-new set of targets. Let’s hope UCBeast lets him do it, because it’s quite a thing to witness.

Tom Cowell is a comedian.