Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just For Laughs: Thursday picks

The Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival rolls on.  Tonight's slate ranges from clever TV quipsters to club scene hotshots to a Twitter sensation or two.

Here are my Thursday picks:

Nick Swardson, Vic Theatre, 7:30pm (also Fri 7:30pm).  Nick Swardson's appearances on The Showbiz Show with David Spade as the affected "Scotty Kangaroojus" told pretty much everything you need to know about his comedy. Presaging SNL's Stefon with inside dish and a self-involved fabulosity, Swardson wrapped hilarious material in a ridiculous, bitchy character that unfailingly livened up the program. Having worked his way up from appealingly whiny comic to frequent scene stealer in such films as Blades of Glory and host of Nick Swardson's Pretend Time on Comedy Central, he returns to his standup roots this week with two shows at the Vic Theatre.

Chelsea Peretti, Stage 773 — The Pro, 8:30pm (also Fri 8:30pm, Sat 7pm and 8:30pm).  Chelsea Peretti is a comic for today, purveying solid jokes and plenty of attitude in pretty much every venue available to a professional comedian in 2013. She writes for and appears on leading television comedies (Louie, Parks and Recreation, The Sarah Silverman Program, Kroll Show, The Burn), hosts a weekly podcast and monthly UCB LA showcase, and writes a widely followed Twitter feed. But credentials are built on talent, which Peretti has in spades; her sophisticated, sarcastic persona shines through all her material.

@DadBoner and Friends, You Guys, Stage 773 — The Thrust, 10pm. The most fully realized comic character this side of Borat Sagdiyev and Dwight Schrute, Karl Welzein is a Michigan working-class hero delivered joke by joke to the smartphones of the comedy cognoscenti.  The brilliant Twitter-based Welzein is beloved by a six-figure following for his "power moves," "finger guns," and enthusiasm for cold ones, Bob Seger, muscle cars and sticking it to the man; appropriately for the age we live in, he's also attracted considerable attention around Hollywood. Tonight his creator, Mike Burns, hits the stage as Welzein in all his blue-collar glory, with standups including Al Madrigal and Kyle Kinane in tow.