Need a laugh?
Schedule your appointment with levity, courtesy of a slew of stand-up comics and other comedy attractions scheduled to thump funny bones in the coming weeks and months in Kansas City.
Unless maybe you don’t need a laugh. Ha – that’s a good one!
The New Theatre Restaurant’s staging of Neil Simon’s standout 1980s comedy, ‘Biloxi Blues,” delivers steady laughs against the backdrop of a writer-turned-private’s experiences during U.S. Army basic training. Peter Scolari – who skillfully wooed guffaws on TV’s “Bosom Buddies,” “Newhart,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and in more recent years “Girls” – guest-stars as the story’s domineering yet idealistic drill sergeant. Let the chuckles begin.
Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:15 and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12:15; New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster St., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $39.50-$61.
Played for laughs, this large-cast staged reading of the classic 1968 science-fiction film, “Planet of the Apes,” is billed as a “parody for charity,” with proceeds benefitting AIDS Walk Kansas City. The original “Apes” flick was an imaginative slice of social commentary set on a far-flung world where primitive mute people were the slaves of superior talking apes. Actually, it was something of a comedy in itself, with such smart-aleck ape lines as: “You know the saying: Human see, human do.”
Monday, dinner/cocktails at 6:30 p.m., performance at 8 p.m.; Buffalo Room, 817 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: reserve for free online; cash donations for AIDS Walk Kansas City accepted at door.
Marsha Warfield delivered countless laugh lines in the 1980s and ’90s as the acerbic bailiff on TV’s “Night Court” and the doctor on “Empty Nest.” But her coolest claim to comedy fame might have been as a writer and cast member of 1977’s fleeting but not forgotten “The Richard Pryor Show.” Like her mentor – the late, great Pryor – Warfield doesn’t shy away from controversy or slaying an audience with its own laughter.
April 25, 7:30 p.m.; April 26 and 27, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; The Comedy Club of Kansas City, 1130 W. 103rd St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25, $30.
Fifth-season “Last Comic Standing” winner Jon Reep continues to occupy an active stand-up comedy lane since his top-banana showing in 2007. The silly spoils have included joining the final-season cast of HBO’s hilarious yet poignant “East Bound and Down” and playing a stoner farmer (of course) in “Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay.” But before all that, Reep wasn’t exactly nobody: In 2004 he became the “Hemi Guy” in Dodge truck commercials.
April 26, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; April 27, 7 and 10 p.m.; April 28, 7 p.m.; Kansas City Improv, 7260 N.W. 87th St. at Zona Rosa, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $17-$47.
The name of Aziz Ansari’s current stand-up comedy tour is “Road to Nowhere.” Although he’s has certainly been places – from the hit NBC series, “Parks and Rec,” to many other well-received TV and movie projects that came to a sudden halt last year following an allegation of sexual misconduct and subsequent media scrutiny. Ansari’s way back to the spotlight appears to be through his self-examining stand-up act. Where there’s humor – and honesty – there’s hope.
April 28, 4 and 7:30 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$65.
Jim Breuer originated the ridiculously bleating character of Goat Boy during his 1995-98 run on “Saturday Night Live.” Does he still grimace, twitch and let go with a nutso “baahh” during his stand-up comedy shows? Over and over, if it gets a laugh. And it does. Lately, Breuer has been keeping up his comedy chops as the offbeat concert opener for Metallica. Not “baahh-d!”
May 3, 8 p.m.; Voodoo Lounge at Harrah's Casino, One Riverboat Dr., North Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $30-$45.
Steve Martin (“Well … Excuse … Me!”) and Martin Short (“I must say!”) are no longer so well known for their past stage-and-screen comedic catch phrases. Still, the longtime legendary comedians and real-life pals have more than managed to keep their old fans happy, while also gaining new admirers. They’re the pop-up comedy duo that no one asked for, yet few can resist. So charmingly zany, who’d even want to try?
May 9, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49.50-$195.
Screen and stand-up comic Marlon Wayans is a member of the prodigious Wayans clan, whose talents emerged in the 1990-94 sketch-comedy TV series, “In Living Color.” Wayan’s movies include “White Chicks,” in which he impersonates one; and “Little Man,” where he plays a little person pretending to be a baby. If only he were more adventurous!
May 10, 7:30 p.m.; May 11, 7 and 10 p.m.; May 12, 7 p.m.; Kansas City Improv, 7260 N.W. 87th St. at Zona Rosa, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$45.
Once upon a time, Emo Phillips was perhaps the oddest stand-up the world had ever giggled at. The angular, mop-topped, stage-roving, partially disrobing, falsetto-voiced and wise-yet-childlike comic was an ironic alternative hit during the Reagan Era. Today, is he a museum piece or just what we need during the Trump Era? There’s only one way to find out.
May 30, 7:30 p.m.; May 31-June 1, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; The Comedy Club of Kansas City, 1130 W. 103rd St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20-$28.
Do you ever get the feeling that it’s funny man Adam Sandler’s world and the rest of us are just living in it? I’m guessing that Sandler does. Even if he doesn’t, then perhaps he should reconsider, because it looks like he’s having the time of his life as an actor, comedian, screenwriter, musician and who knows what else these days, even if a lot of people don’t call themselves fans. The good news for fans: The former “Saturday Night Live” star turned movie star hasn’t lost his love for performing standup filled with screwball stories and sing-alongs.
June 4, 8 p.m.; Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, 19100 E. Valley View Parkway, Independence, Mo.; tickets: $104, $154.
Treat your scheming side to the local premiere of the hit musical comedy, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which incorporates a singularly effective gimmick: One actor portraying nine different characters. The plot of this 2014 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is based on the 1949 British film, “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” and follows an industrious Englishman attempting to eliminate the eight relatives who precede him in inheriting an aristocratic title and fortune. How much longer can they stay breathing? The bodies and the laughs pile up fast.
June 18 and 19 (previews), June 20-30, Arts Asylum, 1000 E. Ninth St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $17.
Drag queen entertainer Katya is on her “Help Me, I’m Dying” comedy tour, delivering over-the-top stand-up and storytelling enlivened by videos and dance offerings. As seen on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Katya has no shortage of multi-dimensional characters to inhabit for your envelope-pushing enjoyment. Who wants to be the letter opener?
Aug. 26, 7 p.m.; Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25-$150.
You know what isn’t weird? That “Weird Al” Yankovic is the most popular parodist in the history of popular song. Yankovic’s smart-aleck majesty and exceptional ear for mimicry are the creative keys to his decades of tunefully lampooning many of the music industry’s most iconic acts, including Michael Jackson (“Eat It”), Madonna (“Like a Surgeon”), Queen (“Another One Rides the Bus”), Nirvana (“Smells Like Nirvana”), Green Day (“Canadian Idiot”), Lady Gaga (“Perform This Way”) and Pharrell Williams (“Tacky”). Extra added attraction: Accordion solos!
Aug. 31, 8 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45-$95.
Nick Offerman’s comic persona is that of a man’s man’s man’s man’s man – and that still might not be enough mans. Offerman’s matter-of-fact ultra-guy dwells in a stereotypically masculine phantasmagoria typified by such unalterably manly things as facial hair, red meat and chainsaws. As quick-witted as he is larger than life, Offerman’s career took off when he started playing the drolly macho boss on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” although his recent pseudo-saucy commercials with wife Megan Mullally (“Will and Grace”) for a streaming TV service may be as subversively funny as anything he’s ever done. That is, until he hits KC. It’s not like we don’t deserve your best, right, Nick?
Sept. 27, 7 p.m.; Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $42-$156.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.