Who: Carol Burnett
What: Carol Burnett: An Evening of Laughter & Reflection
Where: Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway between West 74th & 75th Sts.
When: Friday, September 16, and Saturday, September 17, $59.50-$179.50, 8:00
Why: Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 11, at 10:00 am for two special appearances by legendary comedian extraordinaire Carol Burnett, who will be at the Beacon Theatre on September 16 & 17 for two evenings of conversation built around audience questions, based on the opening minutes of The Carol Burnett Show, so every night will be different. “I love the spontaneity of these evenings. I never know what anybody is going to say or do or ask, so it keeps me on my toes,” the eighty-two-year-old Burnett said in a statement announcing the event. In addition to starring in her hugely influential variety series, the Texas-born Burnett has also appeared in such films as A Wedding, The Four Seasons, and Annie, starred onstage in such shows as Once Upon a Mattress, Plaza Suite, and Love Letters, and written such books as One More Time and This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection. Be sure to keep a look-out for that famous earlobe tug.
Colin Quinn likes to tackle big subjects. In 2010, the actor and comedian took Broadway audiences on a journey through the history of the world in Long Story Short. In 2013 at the Barrow Street Theatre, the gruff Brooklyn-born comic explored American history in Unconstitutional. In his latest seventy-five-minute one-man show, The New York Story, based on what he claims will be his only book, The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America, Quinn examines the development (and death) of the New York persona. “Our tourist attraction is the people. Nobody else had people like this,” he says near the start of the show. “Smoking cursing rude sarcastic pushy loud fast-talking outspoken. It’s not a pleasant personality but it was entertaining and honest.” Slowly ambling across Sara C. Walsh’s old-time set, which features a classic New York City stoop, a laundry line of drying clothing, stacks of wooden crates, and small flags from many nations, Quinn discusses the Indians, the Dutch, the British, the Germans, the Irish, the Jews, the Italians, the Puerto Ricans, and the blacks, not afraid to be politically incorrect as he details what each ethnicity, religion, and race contributed to New York City. He’s no stranger to edgy material: He hosted the politically oriented comic talk show Tough Crowd, was formerly the anchor of “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live, has a recurring role on Girls, and played Amy Schumer’s father in Trainwreck. He can be wickedly funny about each group while respecting their individual heritages, but he’s also clearly upset about where we are today, seemingly drained of our uniqueness as New Yorkers. “First of all: positivity, inclusion, non-judgmentalism, those are all great qualities to have,” he points out. “But not in New York. This city was supposed to be the sanctuary city for the judgmental, the obnoxious, the non-positive. That’s the thing. And somewhere along the way we decided to appropriate the rest of the country’s positivity.” The show, which begins with Odyssey’s “Native New Yorker” and concludes with Ace Frehley’s “Back in the New York Groove,” is directed by Jerry Seinfeld, who also helmed Long Story Short. It includes projections of city monuments and subway signs that are sometimes hard to make out, and Quinn often seems to be trying too hard to hit his mark instead of being more natural. But his verbal delivery is superb, speaking to the audience like he’s sharing a beer with us instead of lecturing like a professor, rambling through broken sentences as he uses his gruff Brooklyn Irish accent to expound on the state of the city he, and we, love. “The immigrants are the only ones who are still authentic,” Quinn explains. Amid all the laughs, the truth hurts. Tickets for the show are allocated geographically, from $56 for the Coney Island and Red Hook seats in the rear to, getting ever closer to the stage, $76 for Hell’s Kitchen and $96 for Washington Heights and Yonkers.
Who: Judy Gold
What: A Jewdy Gold Christmas
Where: Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway, 212-757-4100
When: December 23-25, $31.25 - $102 (VIP), 7:30 or 8:00
Why: Six-foot-three Jewish lesbian mother Judy Gold, who has appeared in such popular one-woman shows as Judy Gold Is Mommie Queerest, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom, and Jewdy, Jewdy, Jewdy!!! and currently cohosts the Kill Me Now podcast, will be back at Carolines this week for her annual skewering of the holiday season from her unique perspective. Offering support are Josh Gondelman and recent podcast guest David Feldman. As a bonus, on January 4, Gold will be at Feinstein’s/54 Below for “54 Sings The Muppet Christmas Carol,” playing Scrooge; the evening also features John Treacy Egan, Jeff Hiller, Andrew Chappelle, Allison Guinn, Molly Pope, and others.
Who: Marion Grodin, Jon Fisch, Gary Vider, Gregg Rogell, Sherry Davey, and Jon Laster
What: A Very Jewish Christmas
Where: Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West Twenty-Third St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves., 212-367-9000
When: Thursday, December 24, $25 (plus two-beverage minimum), 7:30 & 9:30
Why: While the goyim come together to celebrate Christmas Eve with a big family dinner and a visit to church, it has become traditional for comedy clubs to host special December 24 gigs aimed at the Chosen People. At Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea, “A Very Jewish Christmas” will feature predominantly but not exclusively Jewish laugh makers at 7:30 and 9:30, with Marion Grodin, Jon Fisch, Gregg Rogell, Gary Vider, Sherry Davey, and Jon Laster.