Fall arts preview comedy critics' picks: Vancouver's comedy scene is set to kill

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      This list of nine comedy events could have been replaced with another nine, no problem, so it’s hardly exhaustive. The number of worthwhile shows to see this fall is exhausting, though, but with proper diet and exercise—and plenty of rest—you should be able to hit them all and keep your job, which you’ll need to be able to afford all of them.

      Alonzo Bodden 

      (September 18 to 20 at Yuk Yuk’s)

      He’s no stranger to these parts, but it’s been a few years since the former Last Comic Standing champ has paid us a visit.

      The Draw: Thoughtful and intelligent, with strong opinions told in joke form. You gotta love that.

      Target Audience: Both his standup special and his podcast are titled Who’s Paying Attention?. You’d better be if you want to follow along.


      Paul F. Tompkins 

      (September 20 and 21 at the Fox Cabaret) 

      It’s always a comedy bender when Tompkins comes to town, but this time that’s also the name of the series put on by the Fox Cabaret. Tompkins is the first guest.

      The Draw: Two nights; two different shows. Tompkins does what he’s known best for (standup) on the Saturday, then joins the gang of Sunday Service the next night for an evening of cutting-edge improv comedy.

      Target Audience: Both Tompkins and Sunday Service have rabid followings. Put them together and you’ll be drunk with laughter.


      Chris Porter

      (September 25 to 27 at the Comedy MIX)

      The Ugly & Angry standup (not casting any aspersions—it’s the name of his Netflix special) is also very funny. And sure, his looks and frustrations at life’s stupidities have something to do with it.

      The Draw: He finished third on NBC’s Last Comic Standing back in 2006 and has only gotten better since.

      Target Audience: Everyone loves Grumpy Cat, so why not grumpy comic?


      Russell Peters

      (September 27 at Rogers Arena)

      Another year, another arena tour for Canada’s own superstar of comedy. This time he brings along Vancouver’s own Darcy Michaels to open for him.

      The Draw: While he’s a star all over the world, he’s just beginning to make inroads into the United States, most recently serving as a judge on Last Comic Standing, where he was evaluating the work of fellow comics. But Canadians know he’s best at delivering the goods himself.

      Target Audience: You know who you are. His racial ribbing targets all and his fans eat it up.


      Harland Williams

      (September 28 at the Comedy MIX)

      Hey, little buddy. You like absurd silliness? The giant ball of goofiness, Harland Williams, is just the thing for you. You’ve seen him in movies, heard his voice in cartoons, but it all started with standup.

      The Draw: He’s currently starring in the Canadian sitcom Package Deal, filming in Vancouver. While here, he may as well book a night of standup. It’s an off-night Sunday for the MIX, but Williams is a big-enough draw to make it worthwhile.

      Target Audience: You’ll love this walking, talking ’toon whether you’re a fan of animation or not.


      Northwest Podcast Fest

      (October 2 to 5 at various locations)

      Vancouver’s getting in on the live-podcast craze that’s sweeping the world with its very own podcast festival. Instead of listening to them in the privacy of your own earbuds, now you can experience them in person with other human beings.

      The Draw: Sklarbro Country (featuring identical-twin standups Jason and Randy Sklar), the ironically named Duncan Trussell Family Hour, The Art of Wrestling With Colt Cabana, and the Savage Lovecast (with everyone’s favourite sex columnist, Dan Savage) are just four of the shows you can get the scoop on before they hit the Internet’s airwaves, if such things exist.

      Target Audience: People with jobs that don’t involve a lot of interaction who can sit and listen to their favourite podcasts all day.

      Norm Macdonald serves up unfiltered laughs at the Vogue on October 4.

      Norm Macdonald

      (October 4 at the Vogue Theatre)

      This is actually part of the Northwest Podcast Fest, but Macdonald is the only act doing straight-up standup.

      The Draw: Hands down one of the funniest and most unusual minds in all of comedy, the seemingly unfiltered Canadian has a podcast of his own. As great as it is, his standup is even better, in all its darkness and light.

      Target Audience: Fellow death-obsessed iconoclasts who aren’t afraid to be challenged about their cherished beliefs.


      Orny Adams 

      (October 23 to 25 at Yuk Yuk’s)

      The obnoxious kid from Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedian documentary has gone and turned himself into a powerhouse comedian.

      The Draw: The guy is a real testament to hard work paying off. Of course, it helps that he’s actually funny, too.

      Target Audience: No doubt there will be some fans of Teen Wolf there to see Coach Bobby Finstock, but try to separate the two, will ya?


      Tig Notaro

      (November 14 at the Rio Theatre)

      We haven’t seen Notaro in these parts since her battle breast cancer and the unexpected death of her mother– in short, since her release of Live which detailed these not so hilarious events in typically hilarious and droll fashion despite the tragic nature.

      The Draw: Louis C.K. posted Notaro’s now-famous set where she announced her cancer, turning her from a comic’s comic to full-fledged star. If she’s good enough for Louis C.K., she’s good enough for you.

      Target Audience: Think Todd Barry in slightly feminine form. No emoting, prowling or posing. Her Boyish Girl Uninterrupted Tour is the pause that refreshes.


      Just For Laughs Comedy Tour

      (November 14 at the Orpheum)

      Death, taxes, and the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour. Those are the only sure things, only the last one is a lot more fun.

      The Draw: It’s Montreal’s famous gala show, only in the comfort of your own city. You would pay to see Demetri Martin, Jon Dore, Todd Glass, or Levi MacDougall on their own. Put them all on the same bill and it’s a no-brainer, folks.

      Target Audience: People who like to get their standup on TV will feel popular, like they’ve invited 2,500 friends over to watch the JFL gala.