It’s that time of year again when people spend a lot of money on festivities so they can be surrounded by inebriated amateurs screaming into the night for any hope of changing the self-wrought shambles of their lives.
Or, you can stay at home to watch a ball drop (snicker) on a celebrity-filled television extravaganza, all while you complain about never having heard of any of these people.
But if neither of those sound appealing, congrats, you’re probably one of the amateurs, or a vapid celeb of some sort yourself. Either way, I say nuts to both of those decisions. Instead, go see a comedy show!
There are lots of great shows all weekend that need audience members. For starters, you will want to hit any of the final three shows at the Comedy Studio. Rick Jenkins will host in the original location, the third floor of the Hong Kong in Harvard Square. Don’t worry, they will reopen in early 2018 at Bow Market in Union Square; Rick told me at their annual Christmas party that the new location is going to bigger and better, with food from restaurants inside the market available tableside. And don’t forget, one of the best things about the Studio at this time of year is that comics who are home visiting their families for the holidays often drop in. While I can’t promise anything big, there’s often a good chance of it.
You can also spend Sunday night at The Cellar down the street with Jenkins and comedian DJ Hazard. Get the full lineup and purchase tickets in advance at the Comedy Studio’s website (as of this writing, the Saturday show is sold out).
I’m not going from best to least recommended, but this next suggestion is the most plentiful. ImprovBoston in Central Square Cambridge will be hosting NYE improv comedy shows almost hourly starting in the late afternoon. The four, six, and seven o’clock shows are perfect for kids, if you happen to be stuck without a babysitter because your parents are out having fun. The 8pm and 9pm shows, while possibly a little dirtier, are intended for anyone 16-plus, are perfect if you have a couple of high schoolers along with you. Then, the 10pm show featuring IB’s National Touring Company is strictly for 21-and-over adults, not because of language or nudity, but for the complimentary champagne toast. More info and tickets can be purchased at improvboston.com/nye.
The longest-running comedy club in Boston, Nick’s Comedy Stop, will be featuring Boston born-comedian (now residing in Los Angeles) Kyle Ploof. Not only is he hilarious, he’s been rocketing up the comedy ladder since moving to Hollywood, with festival acceptances including the New York Comedy Expo and multiple appearances on HBO as the Dancing Zebra, among other characters, on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Kyle and friends do two shows, at 6pm and 8pm, on New Year’s Eve.
If you live closer to the southern slice of Eastern Mass or want to be close to the home of the Patriots, the Comedy Scene at Patriot Place in Foxboro is featuring the “unique high-energy style” of road comic Mike Hanley.
If you’re more of a north-of-the-city type, the newly-remodeled Chevalier Theatre will be featuring Gary Gulman. He’s been in and out of town, popping up on shows around the area over the past few months in preparation for this spectacle. Even if you were lucky enough to see Gary on one of those shows, go see him again on New Year’s Eve if you can, because the jokes he’s been preparing are some of his best. You can also brush up on Gulman via Netflix or whatever your favorite comedy watching tool may be.
Or maybe you’re in the city, in which case you might want to check out Sam Morril at Laugh Boston. You’ve seen Sam on Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, and Red Eye on Fox News.
The team behind the annual Boston Comedy Festival is also having its own New Year’s Eve Spectacular at the Rockwell Theatre in Davis Square, featuring the man behind the fest (and last week’s Stand Up To Cancer: A Night for Helen Crimmins) Jim McCue headlining, joined by longtime Boston comedy staple Tom Dustin, and the hilarious and charming Emily Ruskowski. Tom is a multiple comedy contest winner, including the Sam Adams Comedy Festival, and Emily has been killing since she moved back to Boston from DC a few years ago. Shows at 8pm and 10pm, the earlier one perfect if you want to ring in the new year at Saloon next door.
If you’re looking for New Year’s laughs on a budget, the NYE Comedy Extravaganza at Sixth Gear Cask & Kitchen in Southie is for you. The show features a diverse lineup including the pun-tastic Josh Day, the cerebrally absurd Zach Brazao, and the raunchy Tricia Auld bringing the ruckus. Plus musical comedy from comedian and filmmaker Vinnie Pagano. The show is hosted and organized by Chris Kinback. No need for tickets. Just show up, laugh, have fun, and get back home safely. Show starts at 8pm.
Finally, for the second year in a row, Australian comedian and star of the FX series Legit and the Jim Jefferies Show Jim Jefferies will take center stage at the Wilbur Theatre. Jim, who rose to popularity through his jokes of incredibly dirty and overly farcical stories, will be performing two shows a night, at 7pm and 10pm, every night from Friday, December 29 though the end of the year.