Cheap Laughs: The Best Free Indie and Alt Comedy This Week
Thank God all the humorless New Yorkers have left for the Hamptons. For a few more blissful weeks, Gotham is the exclusive preserve of mockable tourists, tragic hipsters on Tecate benders, and that special breed of clown pirates called "comedians." Funny runs through this town like storm runoff in August: head to any one of these picks for indie comedy this week and GET WET WITH IT.
Monday, August 5th
The Big Dumb Summer Music Festival
UCBeast, 8 p m. $5.
Love the idea of attending this summer's hottest music festivals but 100% opposed to sleeping in a tent? This is the show for you. Comedian Matthew Starr gathers New York's equally lazy and funny for a one-night only musical comedy fest-tacular. Nate Smith (Inside Amy Schumer), Shalyah Evans (MTV's Girl Code), Aaron Jackson (What I Did For Love), and Alan Starzinski (Sandino) will make you glad you're not in line for a porta potty.
The Meaning of Life
2A Bar, 8 p.m. Free.
Do you enjoy growing as a person, while still laughing at others' ignorance and/or poor choices? Then this is the show for you. Comedians Jono Zalay, Joe Zimmerman, and Taylor Ketchum invite fellow standups to explore important questions in science, philosophy, politics, while sharing stories of life-changing events. But don't worry: its not all click-clapping and turtlenecks. You'll get dick jokes too. Comedy Cellar regular Mark Normand headlines a murderer's row of comics, supported by Sasheer Zamata (pictured above). Neither of them knows the secret of existence.
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Niagara Bar, 8 p.m. Free.
Bulging a little over the waistline? Well, we're too far into bathing-suit season to fix it now. So grab a drink and bring your muffin top down to Erik Levi's relaxed comedy show at Niagara and laugh about your love-handles. Comedians Matt Pavich, Seth Zakuala and Sean Mallory promise not to tease you.
Thursday, August 8th
Three of Cups, 8 p.m. Free.
Laugh about New York's simmering class struggle (i.e. the fact that you're poor) in this old school punk dungeon of a venue, where downtown grunge meets the new-in-town dork. Hosts Myka Fox and Evan Davis make destitution fun, as does haranguing headliner Paul Hooper.
Friday, August 9th
The Big Gulp
Legion Bar, Free
Don't tell Bloomberg: this is 64 ounces of fizzy, fatty funny. Morgan Miller and Jack Wilkinson run this high-calorie room. This week, new Comedy Central half-hour alumnus and recent Conan guest Dan Soder headlines. There are drink specials, prizes, and a lot of enlarged heart fun in this Williamsburg monthly show.
Brit Pack Theater, 9pm. Free.
It doesn't get much more weird, underground, and blissfully cheap than this. Lukas Kaiser and Hoff Matthews run a free show, giving away free pizza and a shit-ton of free booze at this bizarre downtown hostel/loft space. We didn't think this kind of thing could happen in Soho anymore, but are thrilled it does. If Andy Warhol ran a comedy show in 2013, it would look like this. Diminutive comedy lunatics John F. O'Donnell and Andrew Short headline, and will entertain you prettier than a screen-printed Marilyn Monroe (probably).
Tom Cowell is a comedian. Follow him on Twitter @mrtomcowell.