Fall arts preview: Comedy critics' picks: Comedy’s big guns roar into Vancouver

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The summer doldrums are officially over; it’s time to bring in the heavy hitters now that Vancouverites will head indoors to watch comedy again. There is no shortage of top-notch funny people performing around the Lower Mainland this fall.

Iliza Shlesinger
(September 20 to 22 at Yuk Yuk’s)
The winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing’s sixth season currently brings the snark to the syndicated dating show Excused.
The Draw: Shlesinger is more than just an extremely pretty face; her standup act is ballsy, opinionated, and funny.
Target Audience: If you’re on a first date, beware. Shlesinger’s got a season’s worth of barbs under her comedic black belt.

Kyle Kinane
(September 22 at the Biltmore Cabaret as part of the Olio Festival)
Kinane is an American standup comic, but if there were such a thing as the comedy Olympics, he could compete for Canada: he titles his website “Shooting for Third”. It’s that self-deprecation that endears the master storyteller to this bronze medal–loving nation.
The Draw: When you think of beards in comedy, you think of Zach Galifianakis, Kyle Kinane, and Graham Clark. And two of those three will be on this show, as Clark is one of Kinane’s openers, along with the intermittently bearded Sean Devlin, Kyle Bottom, and Adam Pateman. The baby-faced Paul Anthony hosts.
Target Audience: Lovers of well-told personal tales and pogonophiles alike.

Russell Brand
(September 28 and 29 at the River Rock Show Theatre)
Brand may be a preciously affected rock-star-wannabe ponce, but he’s also a rock-solid and surprisingly intelligent standup comic.
The Draw: Despite being a comedic superstar, Brand wades into the crowd like no other. He’ll wander the aisles, sit on punters, and, when the show is done, immerse himself in the adoring masses awaiting him, signing anything thrust in his face, be it animate or inanimate.
Target Audience: Swooning females hoping the self-described former sex addict lands in their lap.

Lisa Lampanelli
(October 26 at the Red Robinson Show Theatre)
Comedy’s Queen of Mean is one cruel jewel. She lets no racial or sexual epithet go unused and makes up plenty more along the way in her dialogue with the audience. And they, in turn, lap it up.
The Draw: Lampanelli’s over-the-top assaults are so cartoonish nobody takes them seriously. Everyone wants a taste of her venom.
Target Audience: Self-confident self-loathers who can take a jab aimed right at their insecurities.

John Pinette
(October 26 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)
They say write what you know, so it’s no surprise the plus-size comic spends a good chunk of his stage time on the subject of food. But nobody does it funnier.
The Draw: Watching Pinette get worked up over no-carb bread or joyless salads is hilarious no
matter which side of the health divide you’re on.
Target Audience: Anyone who has ever struggled with a diet.

Brent Butt
(November 23 at the River Rock Show Theatre)
Hiccups and Corner Gas have been off the air for a while now, so the king of Canadian comedy has been able to get back to his roots: standup. Butt recently killed at the Blue Bridge Comedy Festival gala in Victoria.
The Draw: Butt has been working under the radar at clubs and comedy rooms around the city to build up new material, interweaving it with some of his timeless classics for his theatre shows.
Target Audience: Rider Nation will feel a special kinship with the Saskatchewan native, but the long-time Vancouver resident’s comedy is universal.

Just For Laughs Comedy Tour
(November 24 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)
Men and women sure are different, aren’t they? Okay, it’s a tired premise but you can’t stop comics from exploring the bottomless topic. This year’s travelling gala is the relationship edition.
The Draw: Don’t have time for numerous comedy shows this season? The annual comedy caravan features four headliners in one convenient location: host John Heffron, Jim Breuer, Godfrey, and Debra DiGiovanni.
Target Audience: Fans of the televised spectacles know that the JFL producers put on a slick, professional show.

Dana Gould
(December 6 to 8 at the Comedy MIX)
Patton Oswalt once introduced Dana Gould as the founder of alt-comedy. That may or may not be accurate, but the man is a legend in comedy-nerd circles.
The Draw: Gould spent about seven years writing and producing The Simpsons before rededicating himself to standup. Those are pretty awesome credentials, but don’t expect any Homerisms.
Target Audience: Gould is known as a comic’s comic, so lots of your favourite local jokesters will probably be in attendance. But as Gould said in an A.V. Club interview: “It’s a bad business model when your fans are the people who get in free.”

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