Who: Marion Grodin, Jared Freid, Louis Katz, Sam Morril, and Chloé Hilliard
What: A Very Jewish Christmas
Where: Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves., 212-367-9000
When: Wednesday, December 24, $25 (plus two-beverage minimum), 7:30 & 9:30
Why: Four Jewish comedians and one raised in a Hasidic community bring the laughs on Christmas Eve
Who: Judy Gold
What: A Jewdy Gold Christmas
Where: Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway, 212-757-4100
When: Wednesday, December 24, and Thursday, December 25, $31.25, 7:30
Why: Star of The Judy Show — My Life as a Sitcom and 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother spends Christmas in New York City telling jokes about being a tall, gay Jewish comedian
Who: Eric Idle, Victoria Clark, William Ferguson, Marc Kudisch, Lauren Worsham, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by Ted Sperling, the New York Metro Pipe Band, and the Collegiate Chorale
What: Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), by Eric Idle and John Du Prez
Where: Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
When: Monday, December 15, and Tuesday, December 16, $15-$145, 8:00
Why: Outrageous musical evening by the creators of Spamalot, based on Monty Python’s Life of Brian: “Baroque-N-Roll” featuring such songs as “Hail to the Shoe,” “We Love Sheep,” and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”
CHRISTMAS WITHOUT TEARS (DOES THIS TREE MAKE ME LOOK FAT?)
The Cutting Room
44 East 32nd St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Friday, December 5, and Monday, December 8, GA $40, VIP $75 (plus $20 food/drink minimum), 8:00
Spinal Tap star and multiple Simpsons voice Harry Shearer and his wife, musician and songwriter Judith Owen, will be celebrating the season as only they can December 5 and 8 at the Cutting Room with their unique touring variety show, “Christmas without Tears (Does This Make Me Look Fat?).” A fifteen-year tradition previously known as “Judith Owen and Harry Shearer’s Holiday Sing-a-Long,” the evening is broken into two segments, the first consisting of holiday classics (“Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) and originals (“F&*k Christmas,” “Jesus Was a Dreidel Spinner”) performed by Shearer, Owen, and surprise guests, which in the past have included such celebrities as Weird Al Yankovic, Richard Thompson, Catherine O’Hara, Christopher Guest, and Donald Fagen. (The 2014 guest list features Evan Christopher, Davell Crawford, Tom McDermott, Teddy Thompson, David Torkanowsky, Mario Cantone, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Amy Engelhardt, the Gregory Brothers, Artie Lange, Amy Miles, and Alice Ripley appearing at stops either in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Evanston.) For the second act, the audience receives specially designed songbooks and is invited to sing along to a collection of carols until mayhem ensues. Every year, Owen and Shearer release a seasonal song; this year’s treat is their jazzy version of Spinal Tap’s “Christmas with the Devil.” Proceeds from the first show, which will have a decidedly more Creole feel, will benefit the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic & Assistance Foundation, while the December 8 show benefits the Actors Fund.
After taking a break the past two holiday seasons, Aimee Mann is back with her annual noël celebration. “The Return of the Aimee Mann Christmas Show” comes to New York City on December 13 at the Town Hall, with Aimee joined by Ted Leo, her partner in the new band the Both. Special guests for the evening, which will feature a mix of original music, holiday classics, video, sketches, and more, include Bangles leader Susanna Hoffs, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton, and comedian Fred Armisen. In preparation for the tour, which will make stops in Tarrytown on December 10 and Westbury on December 12, the Both has released “Nothing Left to Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue).”
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince St. between Lafayette & Mulberry Sts.
Sunday, November 9, free, 1:00
“How does one begin a book?” Bob Odenkirk asks at the start of his new tome, A Load of Hooey (McSweeney’s, October 2014, $20), which is part of the Odenkirk Memorial Library. “A letter, a word, soon a sentence, then another, and suddenly, a paragraph is begotten — a two-sentence paragraph. Dickens, Melville, Odenkirk, all have faced the same question, and only one has failed. Melville. ‘Call me Ishmael.’ Talk about giving up.” The Illinois-born, Emmy-winning, very-much-alive Odenkirk, who partnered with David Cross on the TV cult classic Mr. Show and played legal eagle Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad — a role he is reprising in the upcoming spinoff Better Call Saul — will be at McNally Jackson on November 9 at 1:00, reading from and signing copies of Hooey, which includes such “new short humor fiction” as “One Should Never Read a Book on the Toilet,” “My Education, or, the Education of a Me, or, I Not Dumb,” “Hitler Dinner Party: A Play,” and “Martin Luther King Jr.’s Worst Speech Ever.” Later on, Odenkirk will be heading over to the Gramercy Theatre for a book release show that is part of the New York Comedy Festival; tickets for the 7:00 performance are $40 and include a copy of the book, the cover of which boasts, “Inside is funny things.”
“What are my qualifications to write this book? None, really,” comedian Jim Gaffigan writes at the beginning of Food: A Love Story (Crown Archetype, October 21, $26), the follow-up to his 2013 bestseller, Dad Is Fat. “So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. Okay, to some I might not be considered that fat, but the point is, I’m not thin. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating, I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book. . . . First of all, how do you know they really feel passionately about food? Well, obviously, they are not passionate enough to overdo it. That’s not very passionate. Anyway, I’m overweight.” The stand-up comic and married father of five, who has appeared in such films as The Love Guru and on Broadway in That Championship Season and has publicly shared his desire for Hot Pockets and bacon, among other edibles, will be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble on October 20 at 7:00 to read from and discuss his new book, which features such chapters as “Not Slim Jim,” “The Buffet Rule,” “Cup of Gravy,” “Salad Days,” “Kobe Beef: The Decadent Meat,” “French Fries: My Fair Potato,” and “Hot Pockets: A Blessing and a Curse.” Seating will begin at 5:00 on the fourth floor, with priority given to those who have purchased a copy of the book; the event will conclude with a signing.