Fall arts preview: Comedy critics' picks: Dark princes and gossips ready to slay us
While the city waits patiently for the promised re-opening of Yuk Yuk’s (four new Lower Mainland clubs under its banner were to open in the summer of 2010; as of press time zero have), there’s still lots going on comedywise at venues throughout town.
The September Series (September 22 to 24 at Lafflines)
The Vancouver Comedy Fest has moved to February 16 to 26. To make the transition, Will Davis is offering a mini festival of sorts at the new Lafflines Comedy Club in New Westminster, now located in the former Burr Theatre on Columbia.
The Draw: The city’s best local comics vie for a spot on XM Satellite Radio. Each night is headlined by Brooklyn’s Reese Waters, who was recently seen on the Late Show With David Letterman.
Target Audience: Since nobody actually has XM radio, this is your chance to hear the spots live and in-person.
Vancouver International Improv Festival (September 26 to October 1 at Performance Works)
It’s hard to believe producer Alistair Cook’s baby is now 12 years old. Ah, they grow up so fast. This week of shows continues to be the most affordable festival in town, so be like an improviser and just say yes.
The Draw: Halifax’s Picnicface is everywhere, including the VIIF. They’ve got their own new series on the Comedy Network (PICNICFACE), a book published by HarperCollins (Picnicface’s Canada) and an upcoming feature film (Roller Town). Can you say “hot”?
Target Audience: Comedy fans who like theatre. Or is it theatre fans who like comedy? Either way, people who love to laugh.
Tom Rhodes (October 6 to 8 at the Comedy MIX)
Rhodes’s act is universal. Or it would be if there were comedy clubs elsewhere in the cosmos. The American standup performs all over the world. This year alone he’s played in Ireland, Bali, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore.
The Draw: A comic with a world-view beyond North America? What a refreshing change.
Target Audience: It’ll be your usual assortment of club patrons who head down for a night of anonymous laughs, but no doubt there will be some who remember Rhodes from his last visit here, in 2005.
Kathy Griffin (October 15 at the Orpheum)
If this is October, it must be Kathy Griffin. The outspoken redhead is becoming a yearly fixture in these parts.
The Draw: Sure, we hear lots of Hollywood gossip anyway, but how are we to know what to really think of it all without Griffin’s saucy spin?
Target Audience: Griffin is the comedian of choice for anyone who’s ever sneaked a peek at the checkout glossies.
Jim Jefferies (October 22 at the Rickshaw Theatre)
Ever hear of the Dark Comedy Festival? Probably not, since it takes place in Toronto and this year is its inaugural run. But it’s doing one stop in Vancouver with comedy’s prince of darkness, Aussie Jim Jefferies.
The Draw: Comedy isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Jefferies, along with Rob Mailloux and David Andrew Brent, will ram that point down your throat.
Target Audience: People who giggle at funerals and love the word cunt.
David Sedaris (November 5 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)
What? An acclaimed author on the list? He may not be your typical comedian, but Sedaris is, without a doubt, everybody’s favourite humorist.
The Draw: Let’s face it, who has time to read books when there are so many status updates to catch up with on Facebook? Let the writer himself do the dirty work while you just sit back and laugh.
Target Audience: If you like your comedy on the page, this is the show for you.
Rodney Carrington (November 12 at the Red Robinson Show Theatre)
Yee-haw! The country crooner is bringing his gee-tar and cowboy hat to Coquitlam. Besides being a legitimate C & W artist, Carrington is a genuine good ol’ standup comic.
The Draw: The drawl. That and waiting for his ode to boobies, “Show Them to Me”, where random females rise and flash their God-given talents stageward.
Target Audience: Those who are still cryin’ over the cancellation of Hee Haw.
Just For Laughs Comedy Tour (November 18 at the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey, and November 19 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)
The annual cavalcade of comedy stars takes a British turn this fall. Canadian standup and host of CBC’s The Debaters Steve Patterson introduces us Canucks to a quartet of funny accents.
The Draw: Matt Kirshen, Stephen K. Amos, Terry Alderton, and Sean Meo may not be household names on this side of the Atlantic, but they’re well-known mirthmakers in the mother country.
Target Audience: If you know that Pippa Middleton has a sister, you’re an anglophile. Put down your tea and crumpet and get to the theatre. You’ll laugh until you guffaw.
Glenn Wool (November 24 to 26 at the Comedy MIX)
His name is Glenn. With his mulletish hair and white-trash mustache, you’d immediately peg him as a regular on My Name Is Earl. But don’t let his looks deceive you. The dude is as sharp as a razor blade. He got his start here in Vancouver but is now a man of the world, having moved to England in 1998 and then, more recently, to Los Angeles.
The Draw: It’s a rare comic who can slay you with laughter while commenting on life’s most pressing concerns.
Target Audience: While he’s hugely respected in his field, Wool flies under the radar in North America. Whoever stumbles across his act comes away an instant fan. Who says you can’t go home again?