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This Week in Indie Comedy, Spend an Evening With the Undateable Chris D’Elia, 8/19/2015

Ever since Whitney hit the airwaves, a Chris D’Elia ticket has been a high-demand item. And with a third season of Undateable on the way, it’s a good thing Chris is doing seven shows at Carolines this weekend. But if you miss out on the few remaining tickets, there are plenty of other opportunities to see hot headliners and fresh voices all week long.

Wednesday, August 19:

Downward Spiral
Oliver’s Astoria (37-19 Broadway, Queens), 8 p.m., Free

Queens is becoming the center for independent comedy in NYC, as evidenced by the new shows in new spaces popping up on a weekly basis. The very newest of these is Downward Spiral, produced by a fearsome foursome of funny women, including comedian/producer extraordinaire Peggy O’Leary. The inaugural outing includes pre-show happy hour, 2-for-1 draft beer, and a hot lineup with Tonight Show writer Mike Drucker and the hilarious Blair Socci.

Sean Donnelly
Carolines (1626 Broadway), 7:30, $20

Carolines has a reputation as being more of a “road club in the city,” its weekends packed with headliners from around the country. But it also offers the special treat of local favorites doing a full headlining set normally only available to the lucky folks in all those other cities. And it’s hard to think of someone you’d want to spend an hour with more than Sean Donnelly, whose warmth and everyman charm never fails to delight.

Thursday, August 20:

Stand Up on the Spot
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 8 p.m., $5 with code VOICE

Did you miss Sean Donnelly’s carefully crafted hour at Carolines last night? Then check out the exact opposite tonight, when he performs a short set based entirely on audience suggestions. He’ll be completing this awkward, hilarious, and unpredictable exercise with Christian Finnegan and Luis J. Gomez.

Center City
The Standing Room (47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City), $5

This young group of comedians, originally from Philly, puts on one of the best monthly parties in the city — one that just happens also to be a comedy show. This month is sure to be an extra-big party, as it’s Center City mainstay Tom Cassidy’s birthday and the lineup includes Last Comic Standing’s Zainab Johnson.

How May We Hate You? Live!
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 7:30 p.m., $8 in advance

Ever wonder what the concierge at your hotel was really thinking as he smiled and detailed the pros and cons of every single Broadway show currently playing before you shrugged and decided to just go see a movie? Well, now you can hear it told, sung, and joked about by a group of hilarious comedy and musical theater performers.

Friday, August 21:

Mike Recine Album Taping
New York Comedy Club (241 East 24th Street), 7 and 9 p.m., $19

Mike Recine embodies all the contradictions of the modern man. His comedy is animated by an old-school Jersey code of Right and Wrong, tempered by a surprising sensitivity. Whether recounting experiences with his autistic brother or predicting the things our grandchildren will call us prejudiced for, he brings a refreshing and funny perspective to unexpected and unique topics.

Saturday, August 22:

Virgin Sacrifice
Drom (85 Avenue A), 1:45 p.m., $18

Even if you’ve been to a show so bad you were left wondering, “Was that his first time?” you probably haven’t actually watched an absolute comedy virgin tell their first joke…until now. This Los Angeles favorite is in town for five shows as part of FringeNYC, including a Saturday-afternoon event that will throw a statistician into the comedy volcano. Don’t worry, there are three seasoned veterans on hand to ensure you get some laughs in, no matter what else happens.

The Comedienne Project
Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place), 8:45 p.m., $18

“Ugh, girl comedians only talk about sex and their periods” is something that, unfortunately, a lot of people still think. With the Comedienne Project, performers Corinne Fisher and Katie Hannigan and director Ted Alexandro present a performance that says, “In your face!” to that stereotype, with long sets featuring material about anything and everything else.

Sunday, August 23:

Chris D’Elia
Carolines (1626 Broadway), 7:30 p.m., $42

Chris D’Elia is one of the most consistently enjoyable comedians working today. His high energy can infect any crowd as he builds entire pocket universes of absurdity with jokes, act-outs, and voices. If you don’t worry you’re laughing so hard you can’t breathe at least twice during the hour, you might want to get both your eyes and ears checked.

20 & Out (The Broccoli Murder, the DiCaprio Dance, and Other Stories From My Twenty Years as an NYC Cop)
Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place), 8:45 p.m., $18

Criminals are dumb, and real-life cop-turned-comedian Mark Demayo has twenty years’ worth of hilarious stories to back that up. Add in love, marriage, and raising children and you get a great experience that straddles the line between a one-man show and a stand-up special.

Comedy at the Knitting Factory: Brooklyn Comedy Festival Kickoff
The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn), 9 p.m., $5 in advance

It’s fitting that this stalwart of Brooklyn comedy is kicking off the 2015 Brooklyn Comedy Festival. The always strong show has a fittingly killer lineup for this special event, with Michelle Buteau, Yamaneika Saunders, Jon Laster, and John Early.

Monday, August 24:

Open Door Comedy
Open Door Gastropub (110 John Street), 8 p.m., Free

Before he was a Daily Show correspondent, Hasan Minhaj performed stand-up and sketch around the globe. Tonight, catch Hasan without the green screen, along with an incredible lineup including Tom Cowell, Boris Khaykin, Jeffrey Joseph, and Aparna Nancherla.

Tuesday, August 25:

Deep-er-ness
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $10

Joe Zimmerman likes getting deep…right onstage in front of everybody. Each month, he invites some of his favorite comedians to perform stand-up sets that go beyond the superficial, then to sit down with Joe for a ridiculously deep conversation. This month, anxiety-ridden Joe List is in the hot seat, which is sure to bring out a combination of laughing-at and laughing-with.

The RoastMasters!
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 10 p.m., Free

You know how when your parents got divorced, it meant twice as many toys and trips to get ice cream and pizza? Well, that’s what’s happening with L.A.’s original Roast Battle, and NYC is the kid who gets to benefit from dual custody. While one half of this East Coast Hydra is a stripped-down, gritty version at New York Comedy Club that harks back to the show’s L.A. origins, the RoastMasters will bring the circus — fresh from the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival — to the Stand. Comedy super-couple Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane will be on hand to dole out judgment as pairs of comics dish out verbal violence in an effort to grab the brass ring of this tournament-style series.

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PARTY GRAS

Laissez la nouvelle année rouler! Mardi Gras comes early this year — it falls in mid February — but Drom sets the good times rolling tonight, to ring in the new year Fat Tuesday–style. Professor Cunningham and His Old School crank the hot jazz with special guest Svetlana, while burlesque stars like Dirty Martini and Julie Atlas Muz bump and grind till the beads drop. Emceed by American Horror Story’s Mat “Seal Boy” Fraser, this will be a night to remember…although reserved-table ticketholders get unlimited drinks, so those memories may be hazy at best.

Wed., Dec. 31, 8 p.m., 2014

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Rebirth Brass Band

This eight-piece, three-decades-old metal outfit makes a big brassy noise that blasts asunder the borders separating funk, jazz, gospel, and R&B, all in the name of second-line celebration. Their new Move Your Body is as disciplined and hard-grooving as ever, although I’m still a little nostalgic for the 2001 rap album that introduced “Rockin’ on Your Stinkin’ Ass” and “Pop That Pussy.”

Fri., Aug. 1, 11 p.m., 2014

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GEEKS GO GLAM

The intersection of geekdom and libido has long been underestimated, but it’s our understanding that great imagination and great sex go hand in hand. This weekend, burlesque troupes Epic Win, D20, and Rawr underline that point in silver lipstick at Nerdlesque Festival 2014, a sexy celebration of all things dorktacular. Friday and Saturday performances at Highline Ballroom and (Le) Poisson Rouge are bursting with talent, but the jetpacks start peeling off in a special preview tonight at DROM. Meanwhile, the ecdysiasts edify with classes like “Stripping the Superhero.” It all wraps up with a Sunday brunch at Beauty Bar, complete with Rock Band and other video game delights.

Thursdays-Sundays, 6 p.m. Starts: April 3. Continues through April 6, 2014

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Hailu Mergia and Low Mentality

Former Walias Band leader Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian keyboardist whose 1985 solo album was one of the year’s more significant international reissues, has begun to perform again a decade after moving to Washington DC, where he drives a cab for a living. Here he tops a top-notch all-night showcase, a co-presentation of the Barbès and Electric Cowbell labels, that includes Mali ngoni master Cheick Hamala Diabate and the band Feedel, which is led by another Walias Band alum, saxophonist Moges Habte. With Elikeh, La Mecanica Popular, Slavic Soul Party, La Sabrosa Sabrosura, Pitchblak Brass Band.

Sat., Jan. 11, 8 p.m., 2014

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Tribecastan

“Corned Beef and Sake,” “Night Train to the Ukraine,” “Persian Nightingale,” and “Bwiti” (a Gabon-ian religious ritual) are just four of the cross-cultural recuperations and mashups found on New Songs From the Old Country, the fourth (and best) album by a band specializing in making old and foreign music new again. John Kruth is the main composer behind this deft ensemble with a floating membership and a claim to being the best fake internationalists since Three Mustaphas Three.

Fri., Sept. 27, 7:15 p.m., 2013

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Oddisee

This DC-based rapper has maintained a cult following longer than some hip-hop characters can keep a major label interested, yet he’s never made a full foray into the mainstream. Melding conscious, thought-provoking raps with string-heavy instrumental backing and traditional melodic structures, the lack of radio material is assuredly part of his pigeonholed status. Still, the man born Amir Mohamed el Khalifa raps with the power of predecessors like Rakim and borrows from the sonic junkyard of groups like A Tribe Called Quest.

Sat., Oct. 12, 8 p.m., 2013

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Nellie McKay

This uke-slinging, piano-swinging avenger of the oppressed has never sounded better: Expect nuggets from throughout McKay’s remarkable oeuvre, which includes her Rachel Carson tribute “Silent Spring—It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature,” subversive political-pop parfaits (if you haven’t seen her taste-challenging “Caribbean Time” video, do so now), and random bursts of classic Americana from Dave Frishberg, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Neil Young, and Charles Mingus.

Sat., Sept. 21, 7 p.m., 2013

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Carmen Souza

The Lisbon-born Cape Verdean singer sounds crazy like a Ross (Annie) or a Mitchell (Joni) in the best possible sense on her effervescent new Kachupada, a dazzling blend of highwire jazz improvisation, French accordionism, African roots music, and smart, sublime kookiness. It’s a foaming polyrhythmic puddle of unceasing acoustic amazement from top to bottom and you probably shouldn’t miss her.

Fri., June 14, 9:15 p.m., 2013

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BOMB THE STEREO

Once a D.C.-based Baltimore Club DJ best known for remixing tracks like Waka Flocka Flame’s “No Hands,” Dave Nada left the DMV on the strength of Moombahton, the fusion dance genre he stumbled upon when he slowed Dutch house to reggaeton tempos in order to better rock a party for his younger cousin. More than three years later, the genre is only getting bigger, and the recent Moombahton Forever compilation (to which Nada and his DJ partner Matt Nordstrom contributed the opening track) stands out as one of its strongest full-length releases. Tonight, it will set aside all sorts of bass-heavy Latin musics when its founder headlines an event that features, among others, Bomba Estereo’s Li Saumet, Que Bajo’s Uproot Andy, and Geko Jones.

Fri., Feb. 1, 10 p.m., 2013