entertainment

30 live comedy shows that will keep Philly laughing through the spring

Nick Vadala, Staff Writer

Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 5:21 AM

Comedian Lewis Black will perform at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on March 16 and 17.

It might not feel like spring is in the air just yet, but in Philadelphia, we’ll be able to welcome the new season laughing, thanks to a slew of killer comedy shows coming through the area as winter starts to fade.

Kick things off this month with a set from comedy legend Bill Bellamy, and cap the season with a show by former Tonight Show host Jay Leno. From the acerbic, politically incorrect wit of Lisa Lampanelli to Jerry Seinfeld’s hilarious takes on small things in life, we have enough stand-ups coming to have you rolling until summer comes.

Bill Bellamy (Feb. 8-10, Punch Line Philly). Newark native Bill Bellamy rose to comedic prominence in the ’90s thanks to the Def Comedy Jam, where the future film and TV star originated the term “booty call.” The phrase still means now what it did then — a late-night phone call for sex — but it’s good to see where history comes from when you can. (215-606-6555, punchlinephilly.com)

Roy Wood Jr. (Feb. 16-18, Punch Line Philly). Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. started out as a journalist, earning a journalism degree from Florida A&M University in 2001. By 2010, however, Wood had finished third on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and his path led him to Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s side in 2015. (215-606-6555, punchlinephilly.com)

Julio Torres (Feb. 16, Good Good Comedy Theatre). Saturday Night Live writer Julio Torres’ My Favorite Shapes act focuses on something simple. In the multimedia show, Torres presents different objects to the audience — triangles, or whatever shape a Ferrero Rocher chocolate is — before launching into a story or joke based on that object. (215-399-1279, goodgoodcomedy.com)

Dom Irrera (Feb. 17, Tropicana Casino & Resort). There are few stand-ups in the business who have been at it as long as Philadelphia native Dom Irrera, a nearly 40-year veteran with credits everywhere from Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist to The Oprah Winfrey Show. If you want to see this Philly boy do his thing, though, you’ll have to head to Jersey. (609-340-4000, tropicana.net)

Bert Kreischer (Feb. 22-24, Trocadero Theatre). Bert Kreischer is also known as “The Machine,” thanks to that time in college when he accidentally helped members of the Russian mob rob a train during a school trip. He also inspired the 2002 movie National Lampoon’s Van Wilder after Rolling Stone published an article highlighting his hard-partying ways as a student at Florida State University. So, please, don’t expect a subtle show when he hits the Troc this month. (215-922-6888, thetroc.com)

Plastic Cup Boyz (Feb. 22-24). Philly native Will “Spank” Horton and Temple University alumnus Na’im Lynn are better known as the Plastic Cup Boyz — a frequent opening act for Philly’s biggest stand-up comedy star, Kevin Hart. Now, though, they’re hitting the road for a string of dates without Hart that will bring it back to where it all started. (215-606-6555, punchlinephilly.com)

Mark Normand (Feb. 22-25, Helium Comedy Club). You may have seen New Orleans native Mark Normand cracking jokes on late-night shows like Conan or The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, or on his Comedy Central special, Don’t Be Yourself. Now, the up-and-coming New York comedian ventures to the City of Brotherly Love. (215-496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com)

Jim Breuer (Feb. 23, Parx Casino). Once known as the quintessential hard-partying, stoner metalhead’s comic, New York native Jim Breuer is today a family man who tends to keep his shows pretty clean. But with 30 years in comedy under his belt, that change hasn’t made Breuer any less funny — just maybe a little more relatable. If you ask nicely, you still might be able to get a Goat Boy line or two out of him. (888-588-7279, parxcasino.com)

Anthony Jeselnik (Feb. 23, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). A Pittsburgh native now in Los Angeles, Anthony Jeselnik has been a recognizable name since the premiere of his first Comedy Central Presents special in 2009. Since then, he’s gone on to work for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Last Comic Standing, and he had his own series on Comedy Central, The Jeselnik Offensive. Jeselnik’s dark humor makes its way back to his old stomping grounds on the East Coast. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

Demetri Martin (Feb. 24, Keswick Theatre). Alt comedy darling Demetri Martin was supposed to hit the Keswick last September but was forced to reschedule. A surrealist comedian in the vein of Steven Wright with an equally engrossing deadpan delivery, Martin remains one of modern comedy’s most delightful oddities after two decades of performing. (215-572-7650, keswicktheatre.com)

Lisa Lampanelli (Feb. 24, Valley Forge Casino Resort). Known as comedy’s “Queen of Mean,” Lisa Lampanelli started her professional life as a journalist at publications like Rolling Stone and Hit Parader. By 1990, she’d begun earning a name for herself in comedy, thanks to her impeccably offensive, decidedly politically incorrect insult humor. That, at least, hasn’t changed. (610-354-8118, vfcasino.com)

Tom Green (March 1-3, Helium Comedy Club). It’s been more than a decade since MTV had Tom Green putting his bum on things on The Tom Green Show. Green has since evolved from shock-oriented TV presenter to a slightly less shock-oriented comedian, podcast host, and TV presenter. This most recent incarnation will be on display at Helium. (215-496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com)

Tiffany Haddish (March 9, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). Last year, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish regaled Jimmy Kimmel Live! audiences with the tale of the time she got stoned and drove Will and Jada Pinkett Smith to a Groupon-discounted tour of a New Orleans swamp. Her Philly show probably won’t get that wild, but a meet-and-greet with Haddish will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

Deon Cole (March 10, Parx Casino). Today known for his roles on Black-ish and Grown-ish, Deon Cole got his start in entertainment as a writer for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien in 2009. He brings his comedic experience to the stage for a run of dates that will kick off at Parx Casino’s new Xcite Center. (888-588-7279, parxcasino.com)

Lewis Black (March 16-17, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). Comedians don’t come any angrier than the inimitable Lewis Black, which is probably why we high-stress, low-patience East Coasters love him so much. Indulge your inner fury when Black hits the Borgata in Atlantic City. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

Ryan Davis (March 22-24, Helium Comedy Club). Ryan Davis is a relative newcomer in mainstream comedy — a fact he lampoons with the line “Who the hell is Ryan Davis?” he features on his social media. The internet comedy favorite is a recognized stand-up transitioning out of his “opening act” phase after performing with SNL star Jay Pharoah and with Tom Green. (215-496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com)

Jeff Ross and Dave Attell (March 24, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). The Roastmaster General himself, Jeff Ross, teams up with fellow veteran comic and former Insomniac host Dave Attell for what is sure to be a night of particularly raunchy comedy. Launched last year as the “Bumping Mics” tour, the run puts the two longtime friends together on stage for a night of roasting, crowd work, and traditional stand-up. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

Greg Proops (March 30-31, Helium Comedy Club). These days a hit podcast host thanks to The Smartest Man in the World, Greg Proops first entered the living rooms of America (and the U.K.) on the improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? Proops is still touring regularly, but don’t expect any other former Whose Line? cast members on the bill — there’s a whole other show for that later this season. A bonus: You can catch a live taping of Proops’ podcast at Helium the day before his stand-up run begins. (215-496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com)

Rhea Butcher (April 1, SteelStacks). Take My Wife star Rhea Butcher last appeared in Philadelphia in October, when she performed a set alongside wife Cameron Esposito, who’s recognizable from a slew of appearances on Chelsea Lately. This spring, Butcher returns to the area solo as part of her soon-to-launch “Close to Home” tour. (610-297-7100, steelstacks.org)

Kyle Kinane (April 5-7, Helium Comedy Club). Kyle Kinane is literally the voice of Comedy Central, thanks to a 2011 deal that made him the go-to guy for narrating on-air promos. But fans will more likely recognize him from his many appearances on the network’s shows, like @midnight, Drunk History, and TripTank. Kinane’s most recent special, Loose in Chicago, debuted on the network in 2016. (215-496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com)

Jerry Seinfeld (April 7, Academy of Music). When it comes to comedy legends, they don’t get much bigger than Jerry Seinfeld. The undisputed king of observational stand-up, Seinfeld first hit it big alongside Larry David with the sitcom Seinfeld in the late 1980s. Since then, he’s grown into a comedy juggernaut, but even with multiple successful projects and more than 40 years in comedy, he still returns to the stage. (855-306-5318, kimmelcenter.org)

JB Smoove (April 7, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). JB Smoove broke onto the mainstream stand-up scene after appearing on Def Comedy Jam in the ’90s, but these days, most folks know him as Leon Black, Larry David’s right-hand man on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Last year, Smoove released a self-help book written as that character. But when he comes to Atlantic City, expect a heavy dose of the man himself. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

George Lopez (April 14, Tropicana Casino & Resort). After almost 40 years in entertainment, George Lopez has experience doing a little bit of everything. He’s starred in his own sitcom and movies, hosted TV shows, and written books, but after all that, stand-up is still a focus. He’s hitting the road once again on “The Wall” tour, and it doesn’t have anything to to with Pink Floyd. (609-340-4000, tropicana.net)

Tim Meadows (April 14, Valley Forge Casino Resort). Most Saturday Night Live fans probably remember Tim Meadows for his roles as Leon Phelps (The Ladies Man) or O.J. Simpson. But with more than 30 years in the business, Meadows is also an accomplished stand-up comedian — a talent he’ll bring back to the Philadelphia area for one night only. (610-354-8118, vfcasino.com)

Dane Cook (April 20, Parx Casino). One of the biggest comedy superstars of the last 20 years, Dane Cook has been lying relatively low since 2014, when Showtime released his latest special, Troublemaker. But come late April, Cook will once again step back into stand-up with a stop at Parx Casino — one of a few dates he has scheduled for 2018. (888-588-7279, parxcasino.com)

Brad Williams (April 26-28, Helium Comedy Club). If you were a fan of Carlos Mencia’s ill-fated Mind of Mencia on Comedy Central back in the day, you might remember Brad Williams as the leader of a dwarf basketball team, or as a jester at the Renaissance Faire. But Williams has since grown into an accomplished stand-up, whose most recent special, Daddy Issues, came out in 2016. (215-496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com)

Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (May 4, Parx Casino). If Greg Proops wasn’t enough Whose Line Is It Anyway? nostalgia for you, check out this joint date from former cast members Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood. For the improv fanatics among us, this is the show to catch this season — even if Drew Carey won’t be there to judge it. (888-588-7279, parxcasino.com)

Brian Regan (May 11, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). Still riding high off the release of his latest special, Brian Regan: Nunchucks and Flamethrowers, on Netflix late last year, longtime comic Brian Regan is hitting the road for a runs of shows that will take him to Shippensburg, Bethlehem, and Wilmington locally. At it since 1980 after dropping out of college in his senior year, Regan today is still a tough stand-up to beat. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

Jay Leno (May 19, Academy of Music). Jay Leno hasn’t been on late-night TV with any regularity since he left The Tonight Show in 2014, but that doesn’t mean he has slowed down. Though most folks associate the noted gearhead today with Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno is a dogged touring comedian, on the road almost constantly throughout the year. Now, Philly finally gets a taste. (855-306-5318, kimmelcenter.org)

Sebastian Maniscalco (June 22-July 1, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa). At it since the late ’90s, veteran comic Sebastian Maniscalco brings his act back to Atlantic City for a 10-show run on his newly launched “Stay Hungry” tour. By the time we get him, though, the tour will be at its end, and Maniscalco will be promoting his forthcoming book, also titled Stay Hungry, which comes out Feb. 27. (609-317-1000, theborgata.com)

Nick Vadala, Staff Writer

Read full story: 30 live comedy shows that will keep Philly laughing through the spring