It feels like we’re living in a golden age of comedy in the city, or rather, you’ve got a friend who keeps saying that to you. How could you make her happy this Christmas? Go beyond a simple gag gift and get her a gift that a comedy fan can study like the Talmud, or at least mine for a bunch of laughs. Don’t look to us for those gifts though, instead look to these awesome Brooklyn comedians who we found to give some gift recommendations.
Jon Benjamin: Jazz Daredevil – Well, I Should Have* ($16 from Bandcamp)
Jon Benjamin doesn’t like jazz or know how to play piano. But he recorded a real jazz album with real studio musicians and you can really buy it. The video Benjamin made to promote the album is hilarious, so if the actual album is half as funny I think it’d be worthwhile. It’s probably not going to be your favorite jazz record ever, but I bet it’s definitely the best fake jazz record of all time.
Brandon Bird’s Sears Print Series ($20 – $50 from Brandon Bird)
Brandon Bird makes some of the best pop culture art around: paintings of Sears stores around the country. It’s often equal parts hilarious and sad, and this series of paintings of the outside of various Sears locations is no different.
A $200 Bindle ($89.99 – $350 from Bindle Bros)
Late Night Basement contributor Kemp Baldwin made a video and website for his fake bindle company, but he’ll actually send you one if you want to give him a couple hundred bucks. The New York Times even approves (and confused the hell out of the rest of the internet – ed).
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg ($30 at your local bookstore)
The perfect gag gift. Give all 927 pages to your most competitive friend and tell him you “couldn’t put it down.” See how many pages until he’s in on the joke.
A ticket to see Hamilton on Broadway ($177 – $477 from Hamilton on Broadway)
It’s pricey but the experience is transformative. Resale tickets for the show on Ticketmaster are hefty but if you can wait until next year to see it, you can buy from the show’s website at half the price.
Another ticket to Hamilton
Either for you to attend or for whoever you got the first ticket for to attend a second time. It’s definitely the kind of experience that needs a second go around. It’s a broadway show featuring an all black and hispanic cast rapping about Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers. The performers are literally dripping with talent. It’s actually gross how talented they are. It’s gratuitous. It made me mad– I don’t know how you’ll feel about it. Basically watching them will evoke all kinds of emotions you didn’t even know you had, inspire you to dig deep artistically, and remind you why you continue to live in a freezing cold #pizzarat infested city.
A scarf — to wear on the way to see Hamilton ($11.83 from Forever 21)
It’s cold out there, stay warm kids. Forever 21 has some great knit scarves.
Eugene Mirman – I’m Sorry (Your Welcome) ($60 vinyl box set from Subpop)
A relative newcomer to the comedy sce—I’m kidding. Seriously, it’s Eugene Mirman. This album, or rather THESE ALBUMS, include the entire world of everything. Yes, sure, there is a brilliant stand up performance, but that doesn’t even begin to prepare you for a 45 minute cry, a sound effects library, and 195 orgasms. Did I mention the outgoing personal messages and Russian lessons? I didn’t. It’s on there. 9 volumes, 7 LP’s, 500 tracks in all. This should cost 8 billion dollars, and that would be totally fair. Lucky for you, it’s not. A very lovely package gift full of genius, that also looks amazing in your home. It’s a beautiful shade of pine green, so consider it an interior decorating gift as well.
Maeve Higgins – Off You Go ($13.95 from your local bookstore)
Maeve is so good at writing things. Unbelievably poetic, vulnerable, human and super intelligent. “Human” seems like a weird word to describe someone- well—HUMAN, but Maeve embodies pretty much what you would want your human best friend to be and always has you feeling an instant connection, just off a page. Join Maeve’s journey from Ireland to NYC and all the adventures it holds. I strongly suggest that you go see her do any of the things she does live in NY, but I really want you to buy one of these for both you AND your friend AAAND then also be sad that you aren’t friends with Maeve, because she sends the greatest text messages. Thank you Ireland, for adult beverages and Maeve Higgins.
Night Train With Wyatt Cenac tickets ($5 from Littlefield)
This is more of a “pick a Monday and go laugh your face off with your friend” gift. Wyatt’s been hosting his show at Littlefield for the past 3 years. Congrats! It’s home to the best comedians you definitely know and some people you really need to know about. You also never know if a random musical might pop up in the middle of the show. I have nothing to do with that. Swear. Go early and get good seats. Buy a bunch of drinks for your friends. Marvel at the Gowanus area’s snazzy shit everywhere. Not the canal. Don’t go near that.
Be not us for a night (Could cost anything. Could be anywhere.)
Maybe just two of you. Maybe a group. Gift a thrift store shopping excursion. Dress up and stay in character all night. Are you a group of Mormons rebelling and slamming down car bombs? A couple of soccer mom’s plotting to release animals from the Bronx Zoo? Whatever you want. Talk loudly wherever you are. Use your imagination because it’s important! Also, level up on improv skills.
Mitch Hedberg – Strategic Grill Locations ($9.49 on Amazon)
Mitch Hedberg was the first full standup comedy album I listened to. And I was immediately in love with his beautiful maze of a mind. His jokes predate Twitter in their beautiful, concise, surreal, satisfying faux-simplicity. He was a true original.
Nick Vatterott – For Amusement Only ($9.99 on iTunes)
Nick Vatterott is one of my favorite comics to watch around town. He’s endlessly inventive, engaged, and brilliantly looks at the form of standup on a level that’s mind boggling. He released an album last year called For Amusement Only and it’s worth every penny and more. He makes you appreciate standup in a real deep way.
Buddhify 2 ($4.99 at the App Store/$2.99 on GooglePlay)
I have a lot of anxiety. And my friend and fellow comedian Jacqueline Novak recommended this app to me with different guided meditations to tackle different parts of your day. They’re mostly 5 to 15 minutes long with a few shorter, a few longer. But they’re a very manageable way to help calm your mental demons without being too aggressive about it, and you can use them as much or as little as you please. I have found they are well worth the investment for anyone with an overactive mind hoping to get even one thing done in a day.
Previously: Check out Brooklyn’s best chefs talking about the best gifts for foodies