LA comedy calendar
Downtown's plucky comedy festival is all grown up: RIOT LA has ditched its Skid Row-adjacent parking lots and bars for the bright lights of L.A. Live and Broadway theaters. The annual alt comedy will take over four venues—the Microsoft Theater, the Novo, the Orpheum Theatre and the Theatre at Ace Hotel—for three nights of performances. Individual show tickets are available as well as a weekend pass that adds free admission to "The Lot," a carnival-like area with arcade games and food trucks. RECOMMENDED: Read more about RIOT LA, including who to see at the fest and where to eat and drink before and after.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the UCB franchise's longest-running, most beloved showcase starts when a base cast of the theater's current top-brass—including founding UCB members Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts—takes the stage. Then they introduce the surprise celebrity alumnae and friends who will be joining them (think Horatio Sanz, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally). And finally, another special guest takes the stage, a non-improviser (think Flea, Cat Power, Rebel Wilson, Lena Dunham) who opens the show with a personal story, that's deftly mined for laughs by the players. But you have to go to find out who's there—that's part of the fun. Looking for a cheap night out? Sunday shows are free, but seating is first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early.
Even comedians need a place to vent and find their voice. Enter Uncabaret, the personal storytelling and alt comedy showcase that's been an L.A. staple for over two decades. While the show fosters fresh slates of up-and-coming talent, it's been a fixture in the alternative comedy world since 1988 thanks Beth Lapides, the self-proclaimed "Mistress of Uncabaret."
Devilish Pittsburgh-born comic Anthony Jeselnik is a dark, deranged stand-up, telling smartly constructed near-the-knuckle jokes. He's had his own Comedy Central series, 'The Jeselnik Offensive' (geddit?) which has landed him in trouble a bunch of times. You'll find yourself laughing at his so-wrong-they're-right jokes before you even get a chance to wince. Shockingly funny.
Cameron Esposito mines both the stereotypes and realities of life as a lesbian in a tone best described as badass-adorable. See Esposito along with Rhea Butcher co-host stand-up showcase "Put Your Hands Together" every Tuesday at UCB Franklin.
With his crackling energy, simmering rage and trademark “uninformed logic,” Burr is simply one of the best comics working. As his specials Why Do I Do This? and Let It Go attest, Burr is at his best when positing notions that no sane person could possibly agree with (at least not in public), and then winning the crowd over, joke by joke and laugh by laugh. He’s been nabbing more parts in films lately (such as last year's Stand Up Guys with Al Pacino), but it hasn’t stopped him from maintaining a tour schedule.
A master of dry humor and observational comedy, Tig Notaro’s years as a comedy writer helped her transition to the stand-up circuit. Whether it’s dragging a stool across the stage or a drawn out tale about run-ins with an obsolete pop singer, Notaro is sure to draw laughs.
Say hello to the first weekly stand-up comedy show in Highland Park. Every Thursday night from 8pm-10pm, the Collective Arts Incubator will be home to Hi! Highland Park, a free show that will bring great comics from around the country such as Laurie Kilmartin and Allen Strickland from Conan, Ron Babcock from Adam DeVine's House Party, and Matt Ingebretson, one of Time Out L.A.'s comedians to watch in 2017. Hi! Highland Park is based on donations, which can be made here. The show is produced by Paloonis Productions and is hosted by Colin Hughes and special guests. Check the Facebook for more details on upcoming shows.
Mortified is a live storytelling extravaganza—a show-and-tell, if you will, of people's most embarrassing, awkward, and often seminal moments. At this Mortified event, celebrate and commiserate February 14th with stories of past V-Days gone wrong. The event is all ages at Wanderlust, but you can still expect beer, wine and inappropriate tales all around.
A trio of funny friends—Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael—celebrate truly awful movies in their podcast How Did This Get Made? The crew and a few special guests goof off while dissecting some atrociously bad film along the lines of The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Occasionally the podcast takes to the road for a live show, which adds in some video clips and, sometimes, first hand accounts from actors involved in literally the worst movies ever.
Oswalt, who starred as a nerdy tollbooth guy in Big Fan and a nerdy foodie rat in Ratatouille, is a dork-delighting stand-up. His carefully crafted turns of phrase have always revealed him to be as much a writer as a performer, but his blistering rants about food, film and the asshats of the world keep even the uninitiated in rapt attention.
Britain's living legend of comedy John Cleese hits the road for a leisurely, mean-spirited walk through his life and laughs. Celebrating stories from his autobiography "So, Anyway," the celebrated co-founder of Monty Python yacks on about "The Meaning of Life," "Life of Brian," "The Holy Grail," "A Fish Called Wanda," "Fawlty Towers" and "Hangover 23," explaining how he became a celebrity despite having some talent. It's the life of Britain's most revered and ridiculous son, a not-to-be missed journey from impropriety to notoriety. He's not dead yet! Don't wait another minute and join John Cleese on a walk down comedy lane.
Often, the phrase “Back by popular demand” amounts to nothing more than hype, but in the case of The Book of Mormon, it fits like magic underwear. Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez’s nine-Tony-winning cultural phenomenon resurrects at the Pantages. Parker and Stone, of course, are best known for South Park and Lopez is a fairly newly minted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner. Mormon follows a group of idealistic missionaries as their beliefs run into the harsh realities of life for the African villagers they cheerfully hoped to convert. The tuneful megahit is not for kids, but if you happen to bring one, it’s earmuffs time when they start singing “Hasa Diga Eebowai.” And before that. And after that. Mormon is hilarious and offensive, and hilariously offensive, and the New York Times called it “the best musical of this century.”