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Sketch comedy! Cartoonists and comedians team up for Gowanus comedy night

Sketch comedy! Cartoonists and comedians team up for Gowanus comedy night
The pen is mightier than the pun: Comedian Maria Bamford performs at a previous Picture This! show.
Sam Varela

We are calling it a draw.

A California comedy show looking for a foothold in Brooklyn is pairing up comedians and cartoonists for a night of drawn-out laughter at Littlefield in Gowanus on March 3. The event, dubbed Picture This!, boasts an ever-rotating cast and new collaborations every edition — which means no two performances are the same, an organizer said.

“Whoever gets matched up, that is only happening that night,” said producer Sam Varela. “If you like what you see, it’s one night only.”

In Picture This!, comedians and storytellers give their spiel while illustrators and animators do drawings based on their routine, which are projected on a screen above the presenter.

Previous shows have included heavy-hitters such as comedians Margaret Cho and Maria Bamford. The Littlefield show will includes comedians Michelle Buteau, who has appeared on the late-night circuit and Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” and Aparna Nancherla, who worked on “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” Illustrators will include Edmond Hawkins, who does graphics for “Saturday Night Live,” and Jim Tozzi, co-creator of the Adult Swim show “Xavier: Renegade Angel”.

Every scribbler brings a different style or strategy to the table, Varela said. Some choose to sketch what is being described in the moment, while others build a larger narrative based on the arc of the comedian’s story. That wild-card factor, dependent on the whims of the illustrator, is part of the draw, Varela said, and what keeps people coming back to the show again and again.

“It really depends on what our animators want to do,” Varela said. “One of our head animators is a big fan of the whole Loony Toons erasing body parts thing, while another likes to sort of layer stuff as the story progresses.”

The show began in Los Angeles and has travelled as far afield as New Zealand and Toronto. Now Varela, a recent transplant to Bedford-Stuyvesant, is looking to make it a monthly occurrence in New York as well. Varela said she and host Brandie Posey chose Littlefield for its status as a New York comedy institution, but have not yet settled on a permanent location for the show.

Picture This! at Littlefield (622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, www.littlefieldnyc.com.) March 3 at 8 pm. $8 ($5 advance).

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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