Comedy Fall Season in North Texas

Comedy Fall Season in North Texas

Are you ready to laugh? Here are the top opportunities around North Texas this fall 2013.


by Amy Martin


Political Punchlines

Oh the humanity! Lewis Black’s show at Bass Performance Hall will be his first appearance back in Texas after the spectacular rant on Gov. Rick Perry that he did for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This will be a tremendously acerbic set that will leave you gasping for air. He has a fanatic fan base in Fort Worth, so ticket up early for this Sept. 29 show.

Pugnacious political comedian Bill Maher comes to the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House on Nov. 17, less than a week before the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. If Dallas city officials thought they could keep discussion of the JFK shooting all tamped down and free of references to the cultural climate that fostered it, Maher will fix that. Expect headline-generating comedy.


Local Gal Made Good

Cristela Alonzo made her way from the South Texas border town of San Juan to Dallas, where she shot like a rocket up the Backdoor Comedy Club ranks.  She wisely developed a strong circuit with hundreds of colleges, which further fueled her rise. Within a short time she was performing at Bonnaroo and Just For Laughs in Montreal, co-starring on FX’s Sons of Anarchy and headlining her own Half Hour special for Comedy Central.

Now Alonzo has launched into the network sitcom stratosphere with a pilot purchase by ABC. Cristela is a potential series starring Alonzo, and co-created with writer-producer Kevin Hench, that explores a young woman who straddles Latino and white cultures—much like Alonzo’s life.

In the interim, Alonzo continues to tour lightly, a mix of Improvs and other comedy clubs, college gigs, and the annual Reyes of Comedy show for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, D.C. Her travels bought her her to the Arlington Improv from September 19 to 22. Here’s my review.


Bass Performance Hall Brings the Laughs

A strong line up of funny folks is at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

Sept. 24: Bill Cosby never does a bad show. He sits on a chair, speaks intimately and honestly, and fills nearly two hours with funny stuff. Less grouchy than you might think.

Nov 9: The latest David Sedaris collection of essays, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. So what if he just stands there and reads from his work. It’s just so damn funny. And once you hear him live, that voice will always be in your head when you read him later on. It’s a good kind of crazy.

NPR on the Road

RadioLab goes Apocalyptical at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie on Nov. 4. Superbly edited and arranged brain candy with a techno and science bent. RadioLab blends a little storytelling, some interviews, challenging music, and the witty repartee of hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.

This incarnation of the RadioLab road show explore the inevitability of the end and the clever luck that has enabled mankind to outwit it—over and over again. Guests include British comedian Simon Amstell and improvisational soundscapes from On Fillmore and Noveller.


Majestic Comedy

Young—and not so young—comedy turks pull into the Majestic Theater in Dallas in early October.

It’s been seven years since Retaliation by Dane Cook went double platinum. Internet- driven success relayed into cable television fortune and then some plum film roles. Those were obnoxious days. More recently there have been stumbles: a Neil LaBute play bound for Broadway was cancelled and his role along with it, and NBC sited creative differences and dropped his sitcom Next Caller even though episodes had been taped. See a somewhat more humble Dane Cook in his Under Oath tour on Oct. 5.

Bo Burnham is another internet-driven sensation. Oddly wholesome and inappropriate at once, he is an undeniably clever wordsmith and musician. He was still in high school when his witty YouTube videos went viral with 70 million views.  At age 19, he was the youngest comedian to be featured on Comedy Central Presents. He nabbed the prestigious Panel Prize in the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the CD/video Bo Burnham: Words, Words, Words, and took the top spot at age 21 in the Comedy Central 2011 Stand-up Showdown. Burnham brings his latest comedic concoctions to town on Oct. 9


Variety is Comedy Spice

Saturday Night Live Reunion Tour with Dennis Miller, Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon pulls into the Allen Events Center on Oct. 19. Three sets of very different styles—Miller’s sharp politicism, Carvey’s characters and Nealon’s casual observations—followed by an audience Q&A.

It’s been 20 years since Mo’Nique launched into the big time with The Queens of Comedy tour. Now she’s an Academy Award winning film actress (Precious), sitcom star (The Parkers), talk-show host (The Mo’Nique Show), book author (Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted), and shero to voluptuous women everywhere. The brassy comedian appears in a short special engagement at the Addison Improv on Nov 1 and 2.

Dylan Moran, the British nutcase from Black Books, will be performing at the Lakewood Theater on October 24 in his first North American tour.  He’s been described as “Dark, dry and relentlessly sharp.”

Netflix continues to venture into commissioning comedy. Kathleen Madigan’s special, Madigan Again, premières September 11 on Netflix. She’ll be at the Majestic to promote on October 25.