Spring arts preview 2019 comedy critics' picks: Big names bolster the calendar

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      The JFL NorthWest comedy fest is all done for another year. Get over it. As you recover from all your laugh-related injuries, start getting out to more shows, a little at a time.


      Kenny Robinson

      At Lafflines on March 1 and 2

      He’s a Canadian legend who doesn’t get out West all that often.
      The Draw: Such is Canadian show business that you maybe haven’t heard of this legend, but that’s no knock on him. Perhaps it’s his potty mouth that has kept him out of wider circulation.
      Target Audience: True patriots who love freedom of speech.


      Whose Live Anyway?

      At the Molson Canadian Theatre on March 1; at the River Rock Show Theatre on March 2 and 3

      How about a little improv from some of the world’s best and funniest? There’s more to comedy than standup.
      The Draw: Ryan Stiles (who started his career in Vancouver), Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis, Joel Murray, and Bob Derkach provide the spontaneous laughs based on your suggestions.
      Target Audience: TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? has been on the air in some form or another since you were a baby. The live version is just as funny.


      Ian Bagg

      At the Comedy MIX from March 7 to 9

      The B.C.–born Bagg has been living south of the border for virtually all of his long career, but he loves coming home to where it all started.
      The Draw: Silly, quick as a whip, and inclusive, Bagg offers one of the best live shows in the business, with unparalleled crowd work.
      Target Audience: His act stands up to multiple viewings due to the largely interactive nature of it. But don’t worry; he won’t harass you unless you harass him first.


      Gary Gulman

      At Yuk Yuk’s on April 12 and 13

      Finally! Or should we say “Finally?” Gulman has been scheduled to play Yuk Yuk’s twice in the past two years and has cancelled both times. Here’s hoping third time’s a charm.
      The Draw: He’s been one of the best and smartest comics working for over a decade, but it’s only in the last few years that his name has become better known among the masses. If you’re one among the masses who has yet to learn of him, get out there to the club to see what all the fuss is about.
      Target Audience: Gulman has been giving, essentially, a master class on Twitter lately with tips aplenty for comedians. His students will want to watch the master in action, notebooks in hand.


      Terry Fator

      At the Molson Canadian Theatre in Coquitlam on May 4

      He won Season 2 of America’s Got Talent and hasn’t looked back since. The ventriloquist’s million-dollar prize is peanuts compared to the five-year, $100-million contract he received from the Mirage in Las Vegas the following year.
      The Draw: With the Hard Rock Casino next door, it’ll be like going to Vegas without leaving home.
      Target Audience: Who doesn’t love talking puppets? C’mon, you know you do.


      John Cleese

      At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 25

      Funny walks, funny talks with funnyman John Cleese, best known for… pretty much anything he’s ever done, not least of all Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers.
      The Draw: It’s John Cleese! Say no more!
      Target Audience: Maybe you’ve got to be of a certain vintage to rush out to hear an old man talking, but he’s worth it.


      Trevor Noah

      At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 14 and 15

      How does this guy, head of the World’s Fakest News Team, find the time to tour? It seems Noah visits us at least once a year. Not complaining, mind you, just wondering.
      The Draw: The South African expat has slowly ingratiated himself into America’s heart after the breakup with Jon Stewart. He’s proving his mettle every night.
      Target Audience: With Trump still trumping all news, we desperately need a good laugh at his expense.