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:

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.



There’s never a bad time for a fringe festival, not even when it’s frigid outside. So get FRIGID inside: The annual theater festival returns to the Kraine and Under St. Marks theaters for three weeks of original, funny, and thought-provoking performances. Or performances that you might hate, but be glad you went to, because risk and open-mindedness is the soul of fringe. Fresh off Super Bowl season, Bloody Shakespeare Company’s R3G seems especially appealing — as any combination of Richard III and NFL star Ray Lewis would. Power Out’s Let’s Play Play, based on YouTube videos of people playing video games, is about friends-for-hire who get caught in an awkward love triangle. FRIGID is also unique in that artists take 100 percent of the profits made from ticket sales.

Feb. 18-March 8, 7 p.m., 2015



The success of the World Cup this summer in the traditionally fútbol-indifferent U.S. shows that while we may not love soccer quite yet, we can’t get enough of filling in tournament brackets. At the Down Under Improv Festival, Horse Trade Improv Group and Gotham City Improv will feed our bracket jones as they host 18 teams (six per night) competing in 20-minute sets to get into Sunday’s final. Another similarity to soccer: Scoring big in improv requires thinking on your feet.

Aug. 21-24, 7 & 8:30 p.m., 2014



Shakespeare isn’t often a trending topic on Twitter (well, not unless Richard III suddenly shows up in an English car park), but Theater in Asylum thinks that another of the bard’s rulers should have a social media presence. Director Paul Bedard sets this adaptation of the tragedy “in a twitter centric world with live feeds on every wall.”

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 5. Continues through July 20, 2013


Bah, Bum-Bug!

Reading is fundamental. Reading naked is just fun—at least according to the brainy beauties behind Naked Girls Reading. The group was founded in 2009 by girls who like to do just that and wanted to share it with lucky audiences nationwide. Why? Why the hell not. For the holidays, they’re back for their annual reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, starring neo-burlesque babe Nasty Canasta (a/k/a “The Girl with the 44DD Brain”) as a nude Scrooge. God bless them, every one!

Wed., Dec. 19, 9 p.m., 2012



J. Stehen Brantley drops the ball in his new play, set on New Year’s Eve in 1983. Protagonist Martin is hoping for a quiet evening in, but some old acquaintances he’d just as soon forget stop by uninvited to help him raise a glass. And they bring a gun.

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 1. Continues through Sept. 17, 2011