For those in search of laughter or curious about the goings-on 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, standup, improv and everything in between and out of the box.
To kick things off, you're going to have to make a choice, because I didn't feel like I could make it for you. The first week of April is a special one, as there are two very different yet most excellent opportunities to appease your comedy appetite on the same day.
Jeremy Essig is clever, strange and delightfully cynical. He's based out of St. Louis, but the man is on the road a lot. He has been a staple on the scene for as long as I can remember and is one of the few who has grown out this city's comedy bubble. And he's not far from, well, popping. In the past year Jeremy has performed at Caroline's in New York City, toured with Brian Posehn -- who remarked "Jeremy should be headlining" (Look, proof!) -- and probably hit every Funny Bone on the face of the Earth.
Essig is headlining two shows at the Dubliner, which has become yet another key room in St. Louis. It's booked by Dan Chopin, who, upon your arrival, will escort you and/or your party to a table himself. The room isn't huge and neither is the stage; it's really close to ideal for comedy, and it's got that whole, "Oh there's a room up here. I had no idea" vibe going for it.
Second City is the McDonald's of improv comedy, only it makes Tina Feys and Bill Murrays instead of cheeseburgers and fries. It's the powerhouse that fed Saturday Night Live the best of the best, and some years later it's still running strong.
From Chicago to St. Louis to all over the whole wide world, Laughing Matters takes the improv experts on tour. For those of you who have trouble sitting still and keeping quiet during a comedy show (or any show for that matter), then boy, oh boy, is this the show for you. Audience participation is not only encouraged -- it's necessary! The show is not completely off the cuff though; there are scripted elements as well: It's not a straight improv performance. There are sketches too!
I'm not entirely sold on the idea that comedy can be taught, but hey, Second City is. (Or perhaps it saw a monetary opportunity from human beings' innate desire to pay to be laughed at.) Nonetheless, if you'd like to try your hand at improv and learn the basics of funny, the Master Class, a course taught by the actors of Second City, will be held Friday, April 5, at 2 p.m. at the Touhill's Lee Theater.
Jilly's Comedy Showcase Friday, April 19, at Jilly's Steakhouse Show: 8 p.m. / Tickets $5
Once a month Bobby Jaycox assembles a team of comics and makes them drive all the way out to High Ridge for the Jilly's Comedy Showcase. And for fair warning, Bobby announces at the start of every show, "This place reminds me of a Waffle House: If you don't like smoking, you can get the fuck out." That's right! You can eat your dinner, watch a comedy show and have a goddamn cigarette at the same time.
It's worth the drive. The room is always packed, and the audience is there for one reason only: to laugh. The locals are easy-going and fully aware (for the most part) the city slickers onstage think they're just a bunch of Busch-drinking, truck-driving rednecks (except for the dude in the Affliction shirt). But who's judging who? The crowd will dish it out just as the comics do, and at the end of the show there's nothing but handshakes and high-fives all around.
Chandrasekhar is one of the men behind Broken Lizard (no, not that lizard). And you don't know him from that, there's a good chance you'll recognize him from Super Troopers. In between writing and directing, Chandrasekhar takes his standup on the road, regularly making stops at both colleges and nontraditional comedy venues. His style is simply silly; he says he's becoming a woman because his boobs are growing. It's not highbrow, but it's also not a shot-to-the-groin groaner, either. Chandrasekhar skates the line of indecent. There will certainly be dick jokes, and they'll certainly be funny.
Now for those of you who are curious why there is comedy on a music blog, it's because music and comedy, while different, do on occasion work quite well together. Bare Knuckle Comedy and Comedy in the Lou have teamed up to create Gus, a show that will attempt to combine dancing and laughter. Laughs will be provided by Omaha, Nebraska's Zach Peterson, who started doing standup because he hated the experimental electronic music he was making at home and either Douglas Terry or Jason Earl Folks. The dance portion is also TBA (Acorns to Oaks was originally booked but a scheduling conflict arose).
Local Jon Venegoni will be on this bill as well, and the MCs for the evening are BKC's Kevin White and Comedy in the Lou's Kelsey McClure (disclosure: yep, that's me). The show is completely free and definitely falls under the "Oh God! I hope this works" category.
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