If you’re looking for a way to celebrate New Year’s Eve before the ball drops and your resolutions kick in, there are several options for entertainment in Salem.
You can immerse yourself in music at a ’70s disco night at Gulu Gulu Cafe, or get funky with Big ‘Ol Dirty Bucket at Opus.
You can also lose yourself in laughter at Salem Theatre Company, where a lineup of three comedians will welcome 2014 with a flurry of punch lines.
The Gulu Disco Ball is not just an exercise in nostalgia, said Salem disc jockey Scott Buchanan, who has hosted the show the past two years.
“In the ’80s and ’90s, we had hip-hop, which sampled a lot of the disco songs,” he said. “So, people know the songs that may not know the originals.
“We get a mixture of everything,” he said. “People who went through the era, people who know it from hip-hop music and a young crowd who want to have fun — who don’t want to have a stale New Year’s.”
Buchanan was born in Scotland in 1975 and has no personal memories of the ’70s, but he enjoys the music and has drawn big crowds the past two New Year’s Eves.
“I think it’s fun dance music,” he said. “We play pretty much all the disco hits, all the top 40 hits that were popular in the disco era.”
Buchanan, who goes by the stage name Radio Scotvoid, will play songs by acts like Donna Summer, Barry White and the Bee Gees, and he plans to suspend a disco ball from the ceiling.
He will play music from vinyl records on turntables in addition to playing digital versions of songs.
“I want people to hear how it originally sounded,” Buchanan said. “But I’ll also play a computer program, where I can extend each song.”
A video jockey, George Peterson — who uses the name VJ Beyonder — will also take videos of dancers and project them on a large screen behind the DJ.
“Plus, it’s fancy dress, all the old clothes. We’ll have best dancer, best costume,” Buchanan said. “It’s really simple. It’s not expensive; it’s just good old- fashioned fun, I think.”
Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket, which originally formed at musicians’ parties in Lynn, will play its signature funk music at Opus Underground.
“It’s almost a triumphant return, because it’s been a couple of months since we’ve been in Salem,” said Brett Badolato, a founder of the band. “We’ll play a lot of funk music, hip-hop, blues and soul — all originals. We do have a few surprises.”
The group will record its second album at Plaid Dog Studio in Allston in January and will play some of that material at the show.
“We’ll be collaborating on it with some of our all-time heroes, including members of Parliament Funkadelic and Galactic,” said Badolato, referring to two of the biggest bands associated with funk music.
Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket is a big ol’ band, with 11 members playing keyboards, drums, guitar and bass, and horns that include a trombone, trumpet and two saxophones.
Vocals are carried mostly by Sarah Seminski, whose nickname “L’il Shrimp” belies her big voice, and she is joined by rapper and emcee Micah Casey.
In addition to playing its new tunes, Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket may come up with something unique for the event.
“I’m talking with the band about doing some ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in funkiness,” Badolato said.
If New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection, it can also be an occasion for raucous humor.
“New Year’s is a great time for stand-up, because people like to get out and laugh,” said Dave Rattigan of Beverly, who will headline a show at Salem Theatre Company.
Jesse Bickford, who will host the show, was recently voted best new comic in Maine, Rattigan said.
“Jesse reminds people of Jim Carrey,” he said. “He’s a really funny guy and has already headlined a few colleges.”
Bickford and Rattigan will be joined by Abhishek Shah, a native of India and engineer by day who is an emerging talent in Boston’s comedy scene.
“There’s a lot of looking at America with new eyes, so to speak, the immigrant experience,” Rattigan said. “He touches on that in a way that I think is very entertaining.”
Rattigan, who has been working at clubs in the region for around 20 years and runs the production company Scamps Comedy, said he is one of five professional comics who come from Beverly.
“There is something about Beverly,” he said. “I don’t know what it is.”
Rattigan has played other North Shore venues on New Year’s Eve, and he’s looking forward to appearing on Salem Theatre Company’s intimate stage.
“I like the performance space at Salem Theatre Company,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
If you go What: Gulu Disco Ball, Big Ol' Dirty Bucket, New Year's Eve Comedy (2 shows) When: Tuesday, Dec. 31 Where: Gulu-Gulu Cafe, 247 Essex St., Salem; Opus, 87 Washington St., Salem; Salem Theatre Company, 90 Lafayette St., Salem, 7 and 9 p.m. Information: Gulu Disco Ball, $15, 978-740-8882; Big Ol' Dirty Bucket, tickets $25 only at Opus, 978-744-9600, Gold Blood & Associates opening, 21+, music starts 9 p.m.; STC New Year's Eve Comedy, $25 at www.salemtheatre.com or 866-811-4111.