Playing the Occupation for Laughs

One comedian derided the group of Occupy Wall Street protesters in the front row as Ivy League nerds. Another ridiculed the “mic-check” format of public speaking favored by protesters since they have been prohibited from using bullhorns. Even their nonviolent protest methods came under fire.

“You need a little knife in the gut once in a while,” joked the comedian Danny Vitale, during a comedy night held for the protesters at the Yippie Museum Café on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village on Wednesday night.

Mr. Vitale said that even the Peace Movement of the 1960s had a need for some muscle, citing the claim that the Hell’s Angels were used as a security force at the 1969 Altamont Speedway Free Festival.

“There have always been some guys on the left who have to be a little strong-arm,” he said.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters based in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan have been nothing if not vocal — in chants and signs and Twitter posts — in expressing their discontent with the disparity of wealth in America. But on Wednesday night, it was time to chant down the protesters, at a session that was a mix of a roast and a celebration of the downtown protest.

One after another, a string of comedians and advocates took the microphone and picked apart the past month of activity among the Zuccotti regulars. Behind the performers, the room’s rear wall was covered with protesters’ cardboard signs, brought up from Zuccotti Park. And to the performers’ right was a huge mural of a marijuana leaf.

The evening was organized by the comedian and activist Randy Credico who has been a fixture at Zuccotti Park and has been arrested twice during demonstrations in recent weeks. Mr. Credico called the evening Occu-Palooza: Comic Relief for the OWS-ers, and he said the comedy nights would be held every Wednesday night at the cafe for as long as the protest lasted.

The Yippie Museum seemed like a fitting locale for a protest-related event, given the museum’s motto that “a Yippie is a Hippie that’s been beaten by the cops.”

Museum officials say their mission is to preserve the history of the Youth International Party, the Yippies, formed by Abbie Hoffman and others in the 1960s.

Mr. Credico M.C.’d the event, and he immediately announced a ban on “mic checks,” the popular practice among protesters of amplifying each others’ voices by repeating them en masse.

Mr. Credico asked the crowd for predictions as to when the police would “come in and crush” the park.

One comedian, Scott Blakeman, cited the violence in Oakland involving Occupy Wall Protesters there and called the protesters in New York City fortunate because the police here “haven’t used munitions yet.”

“Give them time,” an audience member yelled.

Another comedian, John Byner, performed impressions of Ed Sullivan and John Wayne. Following him was the 97-year-old comedian Irwin Corey, who took the microphone and said, “If it wasn’t for John Wayne, we would have lost the Vietnam War even in the movies.”

Mr. Corey seethed against the America’s founding fathers, against religion, and against the federal debt. He told the crowd about the time the Communist Party would not accept him because they considered him an anarchist. He then introduced his son, Richard Corey, who came up and played an autoharp and sang “We Shall Overcome,” but changing the lyrics to “We Shall Overthrow.”

The comedian Barry Crimmins took the microphone and delivered a rant against some of his more conservative upstate New York neighbors. He praised the Occupy Wall Street movement for not protesting at the White House or at Capitol Hill, but rather “going to their bosses,” on Wall Street.

Mr. Credico passed around a Halloween mask of Bernard L. Madoff, into which he asked people to place cash donations for the comedians.

At one point, a member of the protesters’ sanitation committee for the park asked the crowd to donate trash bags and other items, and then he fired off a few of his own jokes.

Leanne Lord, a comedian, told the audience that she went to “U.C.L.A.,” by which she did not mean the University of California at Los Angeles, but rather Hunter College in Manhattan, the acronym in this case standing for “the university on the corner of Lexington Avenue.”

As it happened, the turnout of protesters was a bit thin early on — the comedy session coincided with a large march that resulted in several arrests — but Mr. Credico said on Thursday morning that many marchers arrived at the cafe after midnight and that the comedy jam lasted until 8 a.m.

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