I thought maybe I'd change the headline of this month's list of comedy picks to "April 5: The Choice is Yours!" but believe it or not there's more than just one day of comedy this month (despite that over-stacked date). April is an exciting month for St. Louis comedy because there are a handful of comedians coming to town who have also been on TV, and for which you won't need to worry about whether or not the show will be worth the dent in your wallet.
The Bare Knuckle crew soldiers on and remains not just a staple but also the standard of independent comedy in St. Louis. This month the group welcomes Los Angeles-based comedian Steven Briggs to the Elvis Room stage. His stop in St. Louis is one of many on his nationwide tour. Briggs is vivacious and endearing, the kind of comic who charm a frown right off your face.
When a comedian headlines venues the size of the Peabody Opera House, there's absolutely no gamble -- the laughs are guaranteed in the cost of the ticket. As Schumer's Comedy Central bio claims, "Her wholesome girl-next-door looks and edgy comedy" is what's so appealing about her, but what it might as well read is "She's in the 8 to 9 range on both the funny and hot scale." If you're not familiar with the funny/hot scale, she's at about a Dane Cook level (minus his whole stealing jokes from Louis CK hang-up). She's cheeky, articulate and a master of the trade.
It's been said that laughter is the best medicine, but I think it's safe to say that medicine isn't always what's needed. Dan Chopin and Don Friesen have collaborated to create a unique fundraiser to benefit the Lemay Child and Family Center. The event includes a three-course sit down dinner, libations, music and the added bonus of standup comedy. It's a win-win comedy show, with lighthearted laughter and the satisfaction your dollars are going to a good cause.
Continue to page two for more great comedy shows this month.
If you're a fan of Louie, you may recognize Stanhope as Eddie Mack, the long-lost comedian friend of Louis CK whose commitment to the life of a standup comic had finally reached its dejected end. But chances are, if you're watching Louie, it's not your first encounter with the standup comic who has packed the Firebird wall-to-wall on every stop in St. Louis for the last, five years or so.
It's been about a year since Stanhope made his way back to town. The first time I saw Stanhope, he walked on stage, took a swig out of his Miller Lite and just as he set it down some guy extended his Budweiser and said, "Drink a St. Louis beer, man." Stanhope laughed, pointed right at him and replied "Yeah, cuz they give a fuck about you." Insulting a city's landmark is no way to start a set -- unless of course you hold nothing sacred, which just so happens to be the Stanhope way. His humor is uncivil, tasteless and begrudgingly authentic. Curt honesty and brash opinions are a staple in every performance. It's challenging material, and certainly not for everyone, but Stanhope may be one of the most genuine and intuitive voices in the game.
For those of you who have stumbled onto the comedy side of the RFT Music blog and are wondering why it belongs here... it doesn't. There's just nowhere else to put it, but just enough people care that we have to put it somewhere. And I'd like to use Mr. Aziz Ansari -- who just so happens to be making his stop in St. Louis at the Fox Theatre on April 24 -- to explain why music and comedy are not the same party. The key difference, as Ansari points out: "On a rock tour, some dude's fuckin' a burrito like, 'Yeah man, I gotta get the smell of all these other these vaginas off my dick.' Comedy tour it's like, 'Ahh-ahhh, I'm so alone.'"
A typical comedy open mic allows for quick sets, usually anywhere from four to six minutes, so there's not much room for a comedian to breathe and work through new material. But a handful of comedians have discovered that music open mics not only have longer set times, but a change in programming is certainly not opposed.
The weekly Monday open mic at the Gramophone is one of those music open mics that encourages comics to take to the stage. A few of the comics have even gone off the grid and teamed up with the musicians, trying out sets with a rhythm behind them or simply to have some fun and take a seat at the drum set so they can rim-shot themselves.
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