'Tis the season to wet yourself laughing
STAGE Ho there! You with the sad-face! Check out these whoop-whooping upcoming comedy events and turn that ;( onto a :) right quick.
It's no laughing matter. Twelve San Francisco improv teams will enter Kitchen Stadium — sorry, the Ninth Street Independent Film Center — but only one will rise to the top like clownin' Mario Batalis. Not only does the winner score the honor of beating less funny peers in front of a crowd (and G-list celebrity judges — the author of this article included), but he or she also gets a four-week run at the venue. We hear the art of improv involves never saying "no" — how you gonna turn down the cutthroat crazy of The Endgames?
Thursdays through Nov. 11, 9 p.m., $10
Ninth Street Independent Film Center
145 Ninth St., SF
KUNG PAO KOSHER PRESENTS: FUNNY GIRLZ
It ain't easy being a woman in the stand-up biz. But you'll never know it watching the four women who will be onstage for this long-running (11 years!) annual lineup from Kung Pao Kosher Comedy. Kung Pao began as a haven for Jews on Christmas and has expanded into a year-round lineup of multicultural, multi-hilarious events. This year's Funny Girlz include Pakistani native Brit Shazia Mirza ("at least, that's what it says on my pilot's license," she quips); San Franciscan Clara Clayy; Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, one of India's rare female comedians; and Kung Pao founder Lisa Geduldig. Breaking boundaries, busting glass ceilings? Try being an intelligent, funny female stand-up. Unfortunately, that can be radical enough at times.
Weds/29, 8 p.m., $25
2781 27th St., SF
So your stash ran out, or you're detoxing, or you're done with the hallucinogenics, or whatever. Page back through your neatly stacked Guardian Best of the Bay issues and there it is: "Best Alternative to Psychedelic Drugs": comedian Will Franken. Shall we listen in on one of his absurdist rants? "Every 60 seconds in America, 60 seconds go by. For every one minute, there are 59 others just waiting to form an hour. By the time this sentence is over, I will have finished saying it." Franken is one of SF's glorious bizarros, spackling his acts with TV commercials that fold into dual-voiced skits that segue to celebrations of diversity ... for profit! Just don't freak when does his Antichrist voice.
Fri/1 and Sat/2 8 p.m., $20
The Purple Onion
140 Columbus, SF
Improv is a strange beast. Improv comedians find more thrill from throwing body and soul into the dark abyss of audience suggestion and happenstance genius than they do from conventional stand-up's hours in front of the mirror perfecting that ever-so-crucial eyebrow raise or purposefully awkward arm movement. But from the abyss, great rewards they reap. No company in San Francisco has learned this lesson more effectively than BATS Improv, which has been entertaining Bay Area audiences since 1986. This week's offering? "Warp Speed" is an all-improvised take on Star Trek – no Kirk, no Spock but a flurry of new characters made up on the spot, as well as, we're sure, some seriously kooky props and alien situations.
Fri/1 8 p.m., $17–$20