For those in search of laughter or curious about the on-goings of the comedy scene in St. Louis, we will be making monthly recommendations of shows in (and near) the city. From sure-thing hilarious to fingers crossed, Oh God! I hope this works, Funny Events is your connection to sketch, stand-up, improv and everything in between and out-of-the box.
Voce is a brand-spanking new venue on Tucker, fashioned as a jazz club, that will also function splendidly as a comedy room. Their inaugural comedy show brings Dan Chopin who has over twenty years of stand-up experience landing him on the Bob & Tom Show, Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime. Chopin delivers a set chock-full of well-contrived one-liners, stories of the farcical world we live in and even a few comedy songs that are, in his words, "as timely and relevant as they are pointless and silly."
Opening the show will be Josh Arnold and Rob Durham. Arnold and Durham have teamed up for a number of shows in the past and they make a great match. Josh's stories are eccentric yet eloquent and undoubtedly self-deprecating -- a great compliment to Chopin's decidedly more tame material. Rob Durham is yet another St. Louis comedy veteran, who's been in the game for over ten years. He's even published a book, Don't Wear Shorts on Stage that is now also a blog featuring stories from his career and advice he gives and relays from other professional comics.
Ryan Stout has a week of performances lined up including three shows on Saturday night and two on Friday. His comedy resume boasts a regular spot on Chelsea Lately, appearances on Conan, Comedy Central's Live at Gotham and in 2008 he won the Boston International Comedy Festival's stand-up competition.
Stout is offensive on an intellectual level and explores the boundaries of morally questionable subjects with an objectivity that is hard to come by in the world of comedy. His holier-than-thou attitude is reinforced by his flippant insincerity, which just goes to show that an asshole is only kind of an asshole, just as long as he's likable.
Comedians You Should Know Featuring Drew Michael and Marty DeRosa
8 p.m. Thursday, January 23. The Firebird
Comedians You Should Know is the brainchild of six comedians from Chicago and it is comedy entrepreneurship at its finest. The statement it makes is clear; You don't have to live in New York or Los Angeles for grade A comedy; there's a lot happening right here in the Midwest. Two of the collective's members, Marty DeRosa and Drew Michael are bringing their talents to our city. Michael's routine hits on relationships and ex-girlfriends and does so splendidly, but the real moneymaker for him is his muses on God, religion and Hitler. His comedy is as articulate as it is irreverent and genuinely witty. DeRosa, on the other hand, has a commendable knack for crowd work and professional wrestling facts. If you want a preview, check out his podcast, Wrestling with Depression. Local comedian Bobby Jaycox is also on the bill. His act is energetic and snarky; it's not often a guy can tell you to go to hell and leave a smile on your face, but Jaycox certainly can.
Late Nick's Comedy Open Mic 10:30 p.m. Every Sunday. Nick's Pub
If you are especially fond of being hungover on Monday, then may I strongly suggest "Late Nick's," one of the weekly comedy open mics in the city. Reminders on Facebook will tell you the show starts at 10:30 with host Kenny Kinds, but as it's an open mic, punctuality is not a big concern. There are ten or so comics that regularly perform on the show and an array of other locals and out-of-towners that make it a point to regularly stop in for their four to seven minutes of stage time.
The bottom line on Nick's is free comedy. There's no two-drink requirement and you're going to see the same comics you'd see at the Funny Bone or any of the other pop-up shows around the city. As always though, no flat bills and be prepared to articulate "Good night, Officer" to the individual in blue watching the front door on your way out.
Kelsey McClure is a comedian, Producer of Comedy in the Lou and author of a beard blog.
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