Last Thursday, New York’s next wave of great comics came out to participate in an event that has been the talk of the comedy community every Halloween for the last nine years. Schtick or Treat is a Brooklyn tradition where New York’s younger comics all put on costumes and accents and take the stage as a comedy legend- dead or alive. New York’s aspiring headliners took over the Knitting Factory stage and it’s so much fun for the audience, but even more fun for the comics. If you’ve ever been to sleep-away summer camp or seen a summer camp movie, then you’ll know the vibe. It’s that end-of-the-summer, lets-all-get-dressed-up-and-make-fun-of-the-counselors vibe. It’s silly, it’s stupid, it’s laugh-out-loud and sometimes fall-down funny, even when someone bombs. Or maybe especially when someone bombs. It’s a party in every sense of the word.
Matt Ruby and Mark Normand hosted and it was a phenomenally fun night with a few celeb spottings in the audience like Impractical Jokers’ Sal Vulcano, New York Comedy Club owner Emilio Savone and his wife, and Michael Che even came out on stage to intro a Leslie Jones impression- at least I think it was the real Michael Che. You never know at Schtick or Treat.
There were 42 sets performed that night, here are some of the best. Enjoy our awful photos and then head over to Mindy Tucker’s website With Reservation to see her phenomenal photos of the evening. They’re beautiful and do proper justice to the amazing job the comics all did putting together their costumes.
Special thanks to Schtick or Treat producer Luisa Diez for the invite out! What a blast.
Borat. Doug Smith put on a suit, a stache and his best Kazakhstani accent to channel the spirit of Borat. Jagshemash, he was very very funny and not just for his impression, but also for ripping on the now infamous incident where UCB kicked out an alleged rapist. If you don’t know what UCB is, Borat explained it’s where adults pay large sums of money to brainwashing Gypsy called Amy Poehler.
Howie Mandel, 1980’s edition. Not sure if everyone in the hip Brooklyn room is completely familiar with 1980’s Howie Mandel, but Robert Dean as Howie was dead on perfect. He had a hand bag (a bag shaped like a hand) and knew every Howie-ism right down to breathing patterns, and repeatedly saying wut? Whut? Whuuut???? Perfection.
Triumph the Insult Dog. Paws down, the best set of the night goes to Matt Wayne as Triumph. Right from the start where Team Triumph came out with blankets to hide behind, you knew this was going to be hilarious. Using nothing more than a sock puppet and what may have just been a pen, Triumph came out and slayed, roasting the other performers and the audience. It went a bit inside, as it should with the funniest line being that “most of these fuckers are just here to get a picture taken by [comedy photographer] Mindy Tucker. I’m here to be validated!!!” There was also a joke about host Matt Ruby being up Mark Normand’s ass who was in turn up Amy Schumer’s ass like a terrible human centipede. It killed.
Weird Al Yankovic. Cross dressing was definitely a big theme at this year’s Schtick or Treat, but nobody did it better than Maria Wojciechowski as Weird Al. Points for the visual. Double points for actually playing the accordion and triple points for writing an original Weird-Al-esque song about reality TV to the tune of Sia’s Cheap Thrills.
John Wayne Gacy. A comedy set based on John Wayne Gacy in full killer clown costume along with an “assistant.” This could have failed so very badly. It didn’t. Ed Larson killed with one of the weirdest sets on a very weird night.
Gallagher. To be honest, the impression itself may have been good, it may have been awful. I don’t remember the set. But just having the balls to go out there and smash a full watermelon, without warning, with a giant mallet- and none of that pussy splash protection for the front row either. Well done Danny Felts.
Andy Kaufman. I’m sure an Andy Kaufman impression makes the list every year and there are of course many ways to pull off an Andy Kaufman move. This year’s Andy Kaufman included a parody of Kaufman’s famous Mighty Mouse routine by Kyle Ayers using a phonograph- no surprise there- but switching it up and going with Wrecking Ball on an old phonograph? It killed. Excellent choice. But that wasn’t all, the scene got amped up with a Jerry Lawler wrestling bit complete with a full table slam.
Andrew Dice Clay. Okay, admittedly in a world full of decent Dice impressions, Jason Burke’s wasn’t the best Dice impression we’ve ever heard. But using the Donald Trump grab them by the pussy speech as material made it all work out. Bonus points for actually lighting and smoking a cigarette. Dice would approve.
Rachel Feinstein with Amy Schumer. Amy Schumer made two appearances at Schtick or Treat- first solo, and informing the front row that they were in the splash zone, meaning they will see her vagina, and then later as support for a set by — as Rachel Feinstein. Liz Magee and Casey Balsham looked great, they sounded great and the material was spot on hilarious. Aaaaaaaameeeeeeeeeeeee help me!
Chris Farley/Matt Foley. Mike Celona was flawless as Matt Foley/Chris Farley. A definite highlight. “How can I get on Aaron Haber’s email list?”
A few honorable mentions. Two dancing acts both killed. The Reformed Whores channeling Broad City dancing was an absolute riot, flailing around the floor in perfect Abbi and Ilana weirdness, and Brendan Sagalow and Mike Feeney as the Blues Brothers performing Soul Man had killer moves. Got to give props for some killer impressions of some comedians dead and alive, that were spot on. Sebastian Maniscalco (Matt Marango), Richard Pryor (Cyrus McQueen), Emo Philips (Jono Zalay), Gilda as Judy Miller (Lindsay Boling) and Maria Bamford (Rosebud Baker) singing were especially impressive, but we gotta give the impression MVP to Jordan Temple’s Jerrod Carmichael. It’s one thing to be able to imitate Pryor or Sebastian or Bamford who have very imitable traits. But to figure out Carmichael’s gimmick, that’s real talent. Ian Fidance did a bizarre but funny bit about strip club bouncer Willy Wonka, Melissa Stokoski’s Natasha Leggero set may not have caught fire, but the outfit was fabulous, and a cross-dressing Sam Kinison act courtesy of Leah Bonnema had great material and everyone loved the Jackass closer thanks to Eli Sairs, Joel Walkowski and Jeff W.
Great job by everyone involved, can’t wait until the 10th annual.