Fall arts preview 2017 comedy critics' picks: Standup heavies are set to kill

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      We could take up twice the space with the number of quality acts coming up this fall. Other than the ones below, you should also check out Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath, Nick Offerman, Deanne Smith, Erik Griffin, Rob Pue, and a live taping of CBC Radio’s The Debaters. Let Google lead the way to info on those shows—and others you may find along the way.


      Taylor Williamson

      At Yuk Yuk’s on September 29 and 30 

      Taylor Williamson’s got talent. That’s what the judges on America’s Got Talent think. He was the runner-up in Season 8, losing out to a Japanese dancer who wasn’t anywhere near as funny.
      The Draw: He’s only 31 but Williamson has been at it a long time. He did his first late-night talk show set when he was just 20.
      Target Audience: He’s a young Mitch Fatel type, if that means anything to you. If not, just go and enjoy his awkward silliness.


      Bill Maher

      At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 14 

      Say what you will about Bill Maher (and nobody’s short on opinion about the guy), but with the current president of the Divided States of America, his voice is needed more than ever.
      The Draw: His HBO series Real Time makes political discussions fun, but here he’s unfettered by guests; it’s the monologue portion of the show on steroids.
      Target Audience: Some progressives call Maher an Islamophobe. Christians don’t like his strong atheist views. And Trumpists think he’s fake news. Everyone else, though, thinks he’s a comedic voice of reason.


      Just for Laughs Canadian Comedy Tour

      At the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on October 13; at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on October 14 

      Death, taxes, and the annual Just For Laughs tour. That’s all we can count on. Every fall we know the good folks in Montreal will bring a topnotch gala show to the rest of Canada.
      The Draw: The suave and sexy Sugar Sammy hosts, bringing out American comics Alonzo Bodden and Gina Brillon. It’s a smaller group than normal but that just means more time for each of them.
      Target Audience: When JFL gives a stamp of approval to a comic, you know you’re getting a solid professional who knows how to deliver laughs. Here you’re getting three, all headliners in their own right.


      Lachlan Patterson

      At the Comedy MIX from October 19 to 21 

      Phil Hanley

      At the Comedy MIX from October 26 to 28 

      These are two different shows but we’ve put them together here because Patterson and Hanley both got their starts in Vancouver. Patterson now lives in L.A., while Hanley is in New York. Both have become big shooters in comedy and are playing the downtown club one week apart.
      The Draw: Hanley and Patterson headline all the top clubs in North America but it’ll be a homecoming for them at the MIX, where it all started for them.
      Target Audience: Nostalgic Vancouverites and those who want to get in on what’s hot before they feel like they’re just bandwagon-jumping.


      Gad Elmaleh

      At the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on November 4 

      Elmaleh is as big as it gets in standup comedy—in Europe. And he’s getting close to that stature on this side of the world, too. The Moroccan Frenchman is a workhorse in his quest to conquer America and is impressing crowds and fellow comics alike.
      The Draw: It’s hard enough speaking a second language, let alone being funny in it. On purpose. Elmaleh speaks four languages, but he’ll be performing in just the Queen’s English.
      Target Audience: Cosmopolitans and open-minded citizens who don’t think foreigners are coming over and taking away North American comedians’ jobs.


      John Mulaney

      At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 10 

      Mulaney destroyed in his first visit to Vancouver in 2015. Then again, he destroys pretty much everywhere he goes.
      The Draw: He’s the Ivan Decker of America. Not quite as good, naturally, but way more famous. Thankfully he’s got the chops to back it up.
      Target Audience: Mulaney’s NBC sitcom was so bad most people never saw it. Those who did have purged it from their memory so he’s still golden in the standup-comedy world. And deservedly so, because he’s that good.


      Jon Reep

      At Yuk Yuk’s from November 16 to 18 

      You might be a redneck if… No, wait, that’s another good ol’ boy southerner. Reep is the “Metro Jethro”, the hick from Hickory.
      The Draw: He probably hates still having this credit but he was the winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing in Season 5. That counts for something.
      Target Audience: If you missed him at Lafflines back in 2009, now’s your chance. He doesn’t get out this way too often.


      Bobby Lee

      At Yuk Yuk’s on November 30, December 1 and 2 

      The former Mad TV cast member is nuts. And he’s not afraid to show them… Almost. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Lee wander through the audience in his tighty-whities.
      The Draw: He’s unpredictable and hilarious, a unique presence on the standup scene.
      Target Audience: If you just want to laugh without thinking too hard, Bobby Lee can help you.