Alternative comedy is essentially the hipster genre of comedy (in a good way). Basically, if alt comedy was a person, they’d wear skinny jeans and glasses without lenses (in a good way). Alternative comedians are not considered mainstream and stray away from the standard template of writing and performing jokes. Some well-known alt comics include Sarah Silverman, Bo Burnham, Marc Maron, Demetri Martin, Kate Berlant, Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo. These comedians don’t typically perform in the big clubs, and rather work on their craft in smaller, more intimate rooms. These quirky comedians sometimes get hate for their vision, but they seem to be doing just fine in the comedy community.
One example of an alt comic is Demetri Martin. Martin is arguably one of the most famous comedians in the alt scene. His witty one-liners and coy delivery diverge from the typical stand-up routine. Instead of seeing him at clubs like The Comedy Cellar or The Hollywood Improv, you’d probably see him at UCB or even maybe the basement of a karaoke bar. Although these places may be lesser known, it doesn’t make him any less of a comedic genius. In fact, he’s got a couple specials out, and a movie!
Another example of a comedian/musician who veers from traditional stand up is Bo Burnham. Burnham puts a theatrical twist on alternative comedy; with his clever songs and absurd act-outs, Burnham’s creativity transforms into a contagious energy that impresses the audience. What’s even more remarkable is that he started his career on Youtube as a mere 16-year-old! Many of his punchlines comment on social issues and can be perceived as controversial at times. Despite his digression from standard jokes, his songs, poems, and performance, in general, give him a unique perspective on otherwise mundane subjects.
You can see all sorts of comedic genres at Stand Up NY–make a reservation today!