Comedy critics' picks: More comics to bust our guts


Critics’ picks

The ComedyFest is over, but is it ever really over in Vancouver? Not judging by the acts coming to town this season.

Brian Regan
(March 17 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)
Regan continues to pack theatres across North America without the benefit of any TV exposure, save for the odd talk-show set.
The Draw: Arguably the funniest man in comedy, Regan is the rare comic’s comic who actually appeals to fans, too.
Target Audience: Prudes love him because he works clean, but don’t let that get in the way of a solid belly laugh. The guy is a master.

Jay Mohr
(March 30 at the River Rock Show Theatre, Richmond)
Ever wonder who started all those Christopher Walken impressions? Look no further than Mohr, who, while not a full-time impersonator, does a whole host of other great ones.
The Draw: Mohr tells tales out of school. His stories about partying with Tracy Morgan are priceless, complete with a spot-on impression.
Target Audience: Like almost every other comic, the man has his own podcast now: Mohr Stories. Fans of it, sports radio, and mid-’90s SNL are sure to be in attendance.

Penn & Teller
(March 30 at the Red Robinson Show Theatre, Coquitlam)
You don’t like magic? Then you’ve never seen Penn & Teller. But that would be impossible, since they’re everywhere. So you do like magic after all.
The Draw: These guys are one of the top draws in Vegas at their own theatre. It’s art, comedy, skepticism, and wonder all rolled into one show.
Target Audience: The little kid in all of us. Sounds sucky, but hey, it’s magic!

Neil Hamburger
(April 6 at the Waldorf Cabaret)
Tired of slick professionals with their clever patter? Looking for more riddles and phlegm in your comedy? Hamburger is the ticket.
The Draw: The man is a spectacle to behold, with his old tuxedo, comb-over, and juggling three drinks while delivering his act.
Target Audience: If you’re in on the joke, he’s a riot; if you’re not, he might cause one.

John Pinette
(April 14 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)

Here’s another comic in the Regan vein: next to no TV exposure, works clean, sells out theatres. Why? Might have something to do with him being extremely funny.
The Draw: If you feel bad about your eating habits, the larger-than-life comic will make you feel better on his Still Hungry tour.
Target Audience: The odd fan might be hoping to catch a glimpse of Edna Turnblad, but this is strictly standup, not a touring production of Hairspray.

Darrin Rose
(April 22 at the Arts Club Revue Stage)
The surprise of the Canadian TV season is Mr. D, Gerry Dee’s sitcom. The show is actually funny. Rose is one of a few standup comics in the series with supporting roles.
The Draw: He won’t be the smartass buddy on his Chasing Manhood tour but he was nominated for Best Male Standup at the 2011 Canadian Comedy Awards, so there’s a chance he might still be a smartass.
Target Audience: Mr. D and Video on Trial may not be setting the Nielsen ratings on fire, but they have their die-hard fans.

Darryl Lenox
(April 26 to 28 at the Comedy MIX)
Lenox is one of the best comics to ever come out of Vancouver. Okay, he’s American, but he lived 14 years in the city and this is where his act developed.
The Draw: You won’t hear a more knowledgeable and hilarious American take on Canada and Canadians.
Target Audience: Armchair philosophers. The man exudes a confidence and calm on-stage like few others, and his comedy gets deep.

Lewis Black
(May 4 at the Red Robinson Show Theatre, Coquitlam)
The real-life personification of Network’s Howard Beale, only Black has been mad as hell for a lot longer.
The Draw: One of these days the guy’s head is going to explode. This might be the night.
Target Audience: Kids raised by their grandparents.

Joan Rivers
(May 5 at the River Rock Show Theatre, Richmond)
She’s more than a Shopping Channel shill. Joan Rivers is one of the grand dames of comedy, with the mouth of a sailor who has Tourette’s.
The Draw: A month shy of 79 when she plays here and she’ll still put on a fast-paced 90-minute show.
Target Audience: Rivers might skew to an older crowd but that’s a shame, especially since many of them will walk out after about the fifth time she yells the C-word.

Robin Williams and David Steinberg
(June 8 and 9 at the River Rock Show Theatre, Richmond)

Two comedy legends on one stage at the same time, but this is a sit-down affair. The Canadian ex-pat Steinberg will be asking the questions when he can squeeze them in.
The Draw: While not technically a comedy show, any time you get two accomplished comics together, sparks are going to fly.
Target Audience: Jokes and conversation on the subject of comedy—two nights yet! This is comedy-nerd nirvana.

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