The Best St. Louis Comedy Shows: February 2014

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TJ Miller

It's a standup heavy month but with a whole lot of flair. Both Mary Mack and TJ Miller wound up canceling shows last year but are headed back to town for a second go. A local favorite and comedy powerhouse makes yet another move and Valentine's Day is cause for laughter.

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.

Bare Knuckle Comedy in the Elvis Room Saturday, February 1 8PM Doors | $10

From the back room at Cicero's to a stint at The Demo, the boys are back on The Loop. The kickoff show in Blueberry Hill's Elvis Room will feature two comics out of Chicago, live music and pancakes. Ian Abramson and Tommy Mac will split the bill with local and musical support from The Psychedelic Psychonauts who are also responsible for the show time pancakes.

Bare Knuckle Comedy pops up a lot on the "Best of" radar because it is one of the few and at times only monthly comedy show in the city that is regularly switching it up. While the format and core value of including elements of standup, sketch and improv to every show remains constant, the content and variations of each show are always new. So while you may have seen a Bare Knuckle show, rest assured you've not seen this one.

Note: Courtesy Diner's Dr. Dan plays with the Psychedelic Psychonauts so you won't be getting your Moma's pancakes, you'll be getting so much more.

TJ Miller Saturday February 15 at The Firebird 7:30 Doors | $15

If there's one show to see this month, this is the big ticket. TJ Miller is a bionic comedy force not to be stopped. Unless of course he has a film to shoot in which case he'll just cancel a few shows. As was the case last May when TJ said "Sorry Demo! I've got a movie to make!" But this go around a cancellation is out of the question as his trek across the country has been dubbed "The No Cancellations Tour."

Miller is first and foremost charismatic, a trait he is willing to abandon for the sake of strange. Like a jack-in-the-box, he's sporadic in the most endearing sense, you know what to expect just never when. He's got years of improv, sketch and standup under his belt and celebrates the experience of each every time he steps on stage. Though I've not personally seen them all, I'd doubt any two TJ shows are the same and that's what separates him from the rest. He shares in the experience of each show and is willing to take the risk of embracing spontaneous ideas.

Mary Mack Wednesday February 26 at Foam Coffee and Beer 8PM Doors | $10

Mary Mack was scheduled to stop in St. Louis this past October but show night fell on Game 2 and was cancelled out of fear of an empty room. Oh, Sports. Thankfully she wasn't too offended we chose our beloved Cardinals over her and is coming back to us.

Mack's humor is quirky and dry with unexpected turns. Her quiet approach is a welcome change of pace to the boisterous and over-the-top voice so many comics have adopted these days. It's as if she is inviting you to sit down and listen as opposed to demanding it. From time to time she'll pick up her mandolin and encourage you to sing along. She's like the shy friend at a party who when she finally decides to pipe up, makes you glad she did.

Hodge Podge Comedy Show Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at Southtown Pub 8PM | Free

Hecklers pose no threat to Jon Venegoni and Brandon Judd, co-hosts of a new bi-weekly comedy show upstairs at Southtown Pub. The duo invite participation and give the audience the opportunity to not only chime in but also play along.

The Hodge Podge Comedy Show is divided into several segments, 3 or 4 comics will take to the stage, each with anywhere from a 5 to 10 minute set and then are directly followed by a game. A crowd favorite, created by Kenny Kinds, "Who Said It? Mike Tyson or Mel Gibson?" is played by two contestants listening to a quote and then obviously deciding who said it. Best out of three wins and there's always prizes awarded to the winner; usually in the form of free drinks. Other games include taking selfies, and head-to-head matches of good 'ol Rock, Paper Scissors. It's as if the two took their favorite elements from recess, an open mic and a trivia night and muddled them together to create a night where no one feels left out.

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