The Best Comedy Shows in St. Louis: November 2014

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There will (probably) never be another month like October in St. Louis for standup comedy. Luckily, standup isn't all there is. The gears have been ground and it's time to shift back to the local scene. Jokes abound -- and they don't always require a man standing behind a microphone.

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.

Craig Ferguson Wednesday, November 19 at the Pageant $50.50 - $70.50 | 8 p.m.

Before he closes up shop on network TV, Craig Ferguson is doing a handful of dates across the Midwest between now and December 19, when his last night as host of the Late Late Show airs. The final guests have been declared and well, let's hope Jay Leno doesn't ruin another late night talk show at its bitter end.

Fingers crossed we get Craig 2.0 at the Pageant -- and there's no reason we shouldn't. Without a network to watch over his shoulder he has the freedom to amplify the most manic personality in late night television: his own.

The Improv Shop's Five-Year Anniversary Show Friday, November 21 at the Improv Shop $5 | 8 p.m.

The Improv Shop turns five this month, which is the best for a number of reasons. For one, it's a birthday worth celebrating. Five years in the comedy world, especially this one, is truly a lifetime. Amidst the high tides and low, Improv shop has weathered the storm. Its organizers have called a number of places their own and are now resting safely upon the rock at their home in the Central West End.

It's not a stretch to predict a performance by shop founders Kevin McKernan and Andy Sloey's Ted Dangerous, who will have to step away from the soundboard and from behind the bar to take to the stage. My guess is a number of the teams will play, with the focus on the more veteran and experienced. Regardless, it's a celebration and birthday worth being a part of; because almost every show at the Improv Shop is like the best parts of the holidays, with the family drama being the butt of the joke as opposed to the need for one.

Josh Arnold & Stupid Brain Wednesday, November 26 at the Improv Shop $5 | 8 p.m.

Josh Arnold, whose feature film The Impersonators premiers this weekend in Indiana, will be the headlining standup at Bobby Jaycox and Steve Raine's Stupid Brain, which has proven to be the most out-of-the-box show in St. Louis. The 60-minute headliner / feature / opener / host format must have gotten old for Bobby -- and it's a good thing it did, because with the help of the Improv Shop and his partner in absurdity you're not going to leave anything less than enthused.

Josh Arnold is a St. Louis native who has made laps around the Midwest comedy circuits and has since delved into the film side of the entertainment biz. It's a great time to have him back in town, and he'll certainly be the icing on the proverbial Stupid Brain cake. Also, don't hesitate to give Bobby a jumping high five at the show; he was one of three opening acts for Dave Chappelle last month.

Continue to the next page for more.

Contraceptive Comedy Saturday, November 29 at Shameless Grounds Free | 8 p.m.

Back on the local front, comedy at Shameless Grounds is becoming one of the most consistent showcases in town. While some shows try their luck at swapping up the format, day of the week, etc. to drive in a new audience, Contraceptive Comedy is going the tried-and-true route. It's a showcase that highlights the upcoming local talent alongside those who play their hand at touring before their late night TV appearances.

Stopping in this month as headliners are Joe Hieronymus from Portland and Nick Martin of Chicago. Locals include Martin Kulash, Andrew Mihalevich, Brandon Judd and Ryan Dalton. These are the comics who are the reasons the scene has blossomed the way it has; by embracing comedy as something that needs to be tended to and cared for.

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Art Bar Open Mic Every Tuesday at Art Bar Free | 9:30 p.m.

Three years ago, finding an open mic in St. Louis was no easy task; these days your favorite bar might be trying their hand at turning their slow night into an evening of jokes. As of last week, Art Bar on Cherokee is the latest to the game. The distinctively different quality of Art Bar's open mic is that no matter where you sit in the bar you're aware there's an open mic happening, thanks to a wireless microphone and a PA that runs the length of the space.

The other added bonus is that the bar staff is behind it too. They've hosted a number of comedy shows, and with a persistent showing from both the crowd and comics, it could wind up being just what Cherokee Street needs: a well-earned laugh. Sign up at 9 p.m.

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