There's still cause for laughter in the new year. This month's picks span the spectrum from traditional to strange, so we've laid it all out for you! And so it goes.
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 for shows in (and near) the city. From sure-thing hilarious to fingers-crossed, "Oh God! I hope this works" affairs, Funny Events is your connection to sketch, standup, improv and everything in between and out of the box.
The Improv Shop's Harold Night at Brennan's Thursday, January 2nd 8p.m. | Free
Right out of the gate and into the New Year the Improv Shop has temporarily moved from its home above Pat's Bar and Grill and is operating out of Brennan's Wine and Tobacco in the Central West End. If pockets are holiday-thinned and you're in need of a chuckle but don't just want to sit and listen, Harold Night is the way to go. It's a tried-and-true improv show that is based entirely on audience suggestion. Whether it gets weird or stays in line is really up to you.
In case you're not familiar with improv and the above wasn't explanation enough, it's quite simple: The performers set up a scenario, ask for suggestions, and the audience then shouts out whatever they will. Its a "choose your own comedy adventure," if you will -- think live Mad-Libs. You provide the setup and they deliver the punchline.
From the Pancake Master himself, Googolplexia, presents the The 13th Annual XRII Bonanza Blowout Spectacular! First and foremost will be the Arm-Wrestling Competition that took place between set breaks last year and has been carried over to 2014. There are four bands most certainly on the bill: the Capuchin Punks, Prank Monkey, Seaby & The Rules and Vanilla Beans -- and one, Dubb Nubb, that's reportedly in limbo.
To add to the fun Bare Knuckle Comedy has brought in a caravan of comics on a mini-tour of the Midwest to sandwich in jokes between the bands. The headlining comedy spot has been awarded to Joe McAdam with Nick Rouley and the Puterbaugh Sisterz backing him up. McAdam is one of the driving forces behind the Late Live Show which was based out of Chicago, ventured to Los Angeles, and is now back in the Windy City. He's also the irreverent genius behind the Godzilla Remix Project, which the Huffington Post called one of the "7 Websites You Should be Wasting Your Time on Right Now."
All-in-all XRII is going to get weird. I'm willing to bet an unknowing passerby would either join in on the festivities for fear of missing out or pick up the pace and cross the street because what's happening inside just doesn't make sense. Each band will have a 30 minute set, there were will be arm-wrestling during breaks and the jokers will be all up in the mix. For the un-medicated with ADHD this night will be paradise; for the itinerary-based adventurers, not so much.
Continue to page two for more comedy in St. Louis.
O'Fallon Out Loud at Rendezvous Cafe & Wine Bar Saturday, January 18 8p.m. | $10
O'Fallon Out Loud is a recurring show at Rendezvous Café, but this month the Funny Bone's A-Team has assembled a bit further West. Each of the comics booked for January's installment regularly hosts and features at the Westport location, so if you've made it to the Funny Bone in the past year there's a good chance you've caught a glimpse of the good-time guarantee these guys have to offer you. Andrew Frank and Max Fitzgerald pack the punch of young enthusiasm and the due diligence of well-crafted writing. Both have contributed to the monologues of St. Louis Up Late and perform more than a couple nights of week at both feature shows and open mics. If practice doesn't make perfect, at least you'll have a much better idea of what you're doing -- and both Max and Andrew understand the value of a finely-tuned punchline.
On the other side is Keith Cissell who's been a part of the Funny Bone family for years. His outlook on life is as quirky as it is positive, and he is happy to take you along with him. The producer and host of the show, Shaun Arredondo follows a similar suit; his light-hearted but genuine style is a breath of fresh air to the shock and awe a lot comics are attempting.
Did you know that the smart-aleck behind the wheel of Cash Cab is a fully functioning, Comedy Central Presents-worthy stand up comic? Game show hosts are a different breed, but the bridge between standup comic and host has been navigated more than a time or two with winning results. Alex Trebek told jokes, but Drew Carey is funny, get it?
Ben Bailey is a shining example on the winning side. His sassy nature behind the wheel proves laughable behind the microphone.
There is a certain nonchalance to cab drivers. The "I'm a professional and you need a ride, so sit down and I'll take it from here" attitude is just the style he adopts as he approaches the frustrations of being behind the wheel in New York City. And it's not just cab jokes and well-crafted complaints; the man is a pro -- if you're in need of laugh, he'll get you there.
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