10 Shows to Warm the Winter
Martin Short, Amy Schumer, Frank Caliendo and Mike Birbiglia are all coming to town.
Face it; Milwaukee winters can get long and depressing. To ensure your mood doesn’t dip with the temperatures, you should get out and take advantage of the abundance of comedy hitting the stages this winter. Whether it’s at the local level, touring comics appearing at clubs or noted national names coming to town, there are literally dozens of comedy shows to warm you during this frigid Milwaukee winter. Here are ten we’re especially excited to see.
Between getting his start on iconic Canadian sketch show SCTV beside John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis in the ‘70s, stealing scenes in ‘80s-era Saturday Night Live episodes and rounding out the Three Amigos triad alongside Steve Martin and Chevy Chase, Martin Short has done it all. Even at 63, the legendary funnyman shows no signs of slowing down. The first ballot comedy Hall Of Famer (if such a place existed) will treat the Pabst Theater to a night of varied humor, likely with a few physical bits incorporated.
John Caparulo at Turner Hall (January 24)
The Ohio-born comic isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s carved a cult following by highjacking the spotlight in Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Tour, with quick-witted panel work on E! network’s Chelsea Latley and slice of life specials, such as his latest Come Inside Me (available on Netflix instant). Caparulo drops by Turner Hall for the second time in two years for a night of crude laughs with a sagely wise undertone.
Frank Caliendo at Riverside Theater (January 25)
In the case of a local boy done good (well, Waukesha, but still!), Caliendo has managed a cushy career with spot-on impersonations of John Madden, Charles Barkley and George W. Bush. His gift of vocal replication earned Caliendo a spot on the MADtv roster, the namesake of short-lived TBS show Frank TV, a three-year Vegas strip residency and regular work spouting Madden-isms on a variety of sports shows. The polarizing impressionist is far from high-minded humor, but good for a night of guilty pleasure in the dead of winter.
The Goodnight Milwaukee Show at The Arcade Theatre (January 25)
If you missed the inaugural “The Goodnight Milwaukee Show” last month, you’re in luck. The co-hosting team of local comedians Tyler Menz and Jake Kornely had so much fun with their Milwaukee-centric late night show that they decided to do it all over again. See some of the area’s funniest comics in “Milwaukee’s own late night talk show,” which takes place at the Arcade Theatre (below the Grand Avenue Mall’s T.J. Maxx). The first 30 tickets purchased come with a complementary beer. More information can be found here.
Vino 100 Comedy Showcase (January 31)
The Third Ward is more synonymous with high-end shops and swanky brunch bistros than stand-up comedy. But year-old Vino 100 is uncorking some locally grown comedy with its bi-monthly showcases. The second such show in January (and third ever) is especially promising, with Bobby Hill, point of Milwaukee pride Ryan Mason and up-and-coming beat-boxing alt-comic Sammy Arechar slated to perform. It costs $5 presale and $10 at the door.
Amy Schumer at Riverside Theater (February 13)
When she came to the Pabst a year ago, Schumer was a budding comic with a couple Comedy Central roasts to her credit. Since then, her show on the same network, Inside Amy Schumer, has rendered the crass funnywoman a household name in the realm of stand-up. While not for the faint of heart, Shumer is an undeniable tour de force of who’s hitting the road before putting a bow on the second season of her hit basic cable vehicle.
David Koechner at Turner Hall (February 14)
Whether you know him better as Champ Kind from the Anchorman news team, offensive traveling salesman Todd Packer on The Office or from his 100-plus other film and television credits, you know David Koechner. See that guy from that thing you like in a way you’ve never seen him before—doing stand-up. The SNL and Second City alumnus returns to the stage for a Valentine’s Day show at Turner Hall. Make a date of it.
Mike Birbiglia at Pabst Theater (March 8)
About five years ago, Mike Birbiglia took the leap from observational alt-comic to comedic artist with his one-man show Sleepwalk With Me—which he adapted into a book and, later, a feature film. The off-kilter presentation of his stand-up quickly made Birbiglia an NPR darling and rendered him a top-tier name in the comedy community. He followed up his off-Broadway debut with his 2011 award-winning show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, which he’s brought to four countries on three continents. On March 8 Birbiglia will drop by the Pabst Theater during his new “Thank God For Jokes” tour.
Jim Jefferies at Pabst Theater (March 22)
While technically three days into spring, this show is too good to exclude. After making a name for himself in his native Australia, Jim Jefferies crossed the equator to London, where he achieved international stardom. He eventually took his cross-continental cache to America, where he continued his climb to mainstream consciousness with tongue-in-cheek specials Alcoholocost and Fully Functional, before having his show “Legit”—which he co-created and stars in—picked up by FX last year. Midway in the show’s second season, the acerbic Aussie will treat the Pabst Theater to a night of his off-color, globally-successful comedy style.