Schtick or Treat: The Most Fun You Can Have Celebrating Halloween as an Adult

All photos by Mindy Tucker

Schtick or Treat is happening Monday night at the Knitting Factory; show starts at 8pm sharp, get there early! Get tickets!

It’s one of the best annual traditions in New York (and Los Angeles) stand up comedy. Every year a hoard of up and coming great comics spend weeks planning their Halloween performance, paying homage to the most recognizable voices (dead or alive) in comedy.

Schtick or Treat presents comedy roasting comedy with the sincerest form of flattery- imitation. And it’s a show with virtually no boundaries. The show has a reputation of going over the line, and every year the performers fall over themselves to top last year’s most shocking act. More specifically, dozens of young comics take the stage to celebrate Halloween by putting on costumes, accents or both, to perform as comedy legends. The impressions range from downright awful (but still hilarious) to spot on perfection, but its not really about delivering a clone perfect performance. It’s about the sets.

Matt Ruby and Mark Normand host the event which takes place on both coasts, along with a few dozen performing comics and plenty more in the audience. Mark summed it up perfectly. “The whole show is boys and girls of all backgrounds being completely irreverent and indecent. You know, comedy. It’s unstable and insecure people mocking and paying homage to more famous unstable and insecure people. But the beauty of the show is it’s really a giant satire of the comedy scene today. Every year it shifts and we’re there to showcase it. It’s a lotta fun! ”

Matt shared some of his favorite Schticky Treaty memories with me, naming Matt McCarthy as one of SoT’s MVPs (Ruby loved his Dr. Demento, but also says he kills every year). He also gave love to Jim Tews for his Gallagher schtick, Robert Dean who took on Super Dave, Jason Burke’s Andrew Dice Clay doing Trump, and Abbi Crtuchfield as Ali Wong. And Eli Sairs, Joel Walkowski and Jeff Wesselschmidt will once again will have to hit the stage last, because every year their performances wreck the stage for anyone else. There’s always clean up, and it’s usually disgusting.

Mark Normand had a long list of acts that were unforgettable. “Just off the top of my head some Stand outs are Gallagher on roller skates, Andy Kaufman getting shot out of a cannon, the gay blue collar comedy tour all blowing each other, Kramer getting heckled then paying a Black guy to scream the N word, Krusty the Clown abusing Sideshow Mel, Jimmy Fallon over the top laughing at an irate Bill Burr when he wasn’t being funny and of course woody Allen bombing then leaving with a young Asian girl or Tracy morgan yelling about getting everyone pregnant then getting hit by a Walmart truck.”

Luis Diaz – one of the best comedy producers in NYC or anywhere for that matter says Schtick or Treat is her favorite show of the year because its so much fun. She remembered a few more all time greats. “Christi Chiello as Mary Catherine Gallagher from SNL JP McDade’s Anthony Jeselnik who roasted the other “comics” on the lineup, Erik Bergstrom, Anthony Devito, and Matt Wayne as “the inside of Richard Lewis’ head,” Julio Torres as emotionally insecure Dane Cook, everything Justin Williams, Jim Tews, Robert Dean, Maria Wojiechowski, and the Wildcats ever did. Liz Magee and Casey Balsham as Amy Schumer and Rachel Feinstein, Nick Vatterott as Charlie Chaplin detangling headphones, Will Winner and Kyle Ayers as dueling Andy Kaufmans, Julia Johns as Iliza (dressed like a giant pussy, telling WWII jokes that all had pussy punchlines!). I could literally go on forever! And this year is going to be even better!”

“It’s very cool to see how the show’s evolved over the years,” Ruby said. “Now there’s a bunch of younger comics who get all dressed up and do elaborate bits and try to make their mark like it’s a big deal. And I love how it’s the one show where comics don’t take off after their sets. Everyone sticks around to experience it as a group. One of the few times where the comedy scene really comes together and has fun with each other. It’s not about getting on TV or honing a bit. It’s one time and then it’s gone and it’s all about that night and that moment. Pretty damn cool.”

It’s seriously the most fun you can have in late October. Not everyone dresses up, but plenty do- so sometimes its a challenge to figure out who is performing under the dresses, fake mustaches, wigs, and makeup. It’s the perfect party for anyone who has outgrown Halloween parties, but still want to do something to celebrate.

Schtick or Treat is happening Monday night at the Knitting Factory; show starts at 8pm sharp, get there early! Get tickets!

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