Some comedy shows are intricately planned from start to finish — this is not one of them.
“Radness,” a monthly comedy night at Union Hall organized by comedians Lukas Kaiser and Cipha Sounds, is an anarchic mix of stand-up, improv, and hip-hop, where the hosts often start the show with as little idea of what is going to happen as the audience does. It was also supposed to have finished eight months ago.
“We started it in March,” Kaiser said. “It was called ‘March Radness’ — to fit with March Madness.”
Kaiser and Cipha weren’t looking to make the show more than a one-off gig. They have a lot of other shows around the city — among other events, Kaiser hosts “Showcasey Jones,” a show-and-tell night for adults, and Cipha, a well-known Hot 97 DJ, hosts the “Take it Personal” improv show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade theater in the East Village.
But “Radness” was so much fun, the duo did it again in April. And May. And June…
“We fell in love with Union Hall and the Brooklyn audiences,” Kaiser said. “There’s something really special about that room. It’s great.”
Since then, the show has attracted big names from both the stand-up and improv worlds, including Hannibal Buress (“30 Rock”), Wyatt Cenac (“The Daily Show”), Jay Pharoah (“Saturday Night Live”), and Anthony Atamanuik (“30 Rock,” the Upright Citizens Brigade). Using Cipha’s connections, the pair has also snared hip-hop artists like Talib Kweli and Schoolboy Q to play the show.
But the big names are only a small part about why “Radness” is special, Kaiser said — the real draw is the intimacy.
“The key to ‘Radness’ is the chemistry between me, Cipha, and the audience,” he said. “We sometimes just get up there and hang out with the crowd for 20 minutes up top.”
That can result in some truly weird moments. One time, the pair performed an improv set with Atamanuik, who then lovingly heckled the duo for the rest of the show.
“It was just hilarious and stupid and weird and everyone had a great time,” said Kaiser.
“Radness” at Union Hall [702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638–4400, www.unionhallny.com]. December 19 at 8 pm, $6.