Summer Comedy in Boston
This season, the gods of comedy have blessed Boston with an unreal lineup of stand-up tours. So to help you achieve maximum LOL this summer, we’ve compiled a list of the shows you’re not going to want to pass up.
Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance Book Tour
You may know him as Tom Haverford, the lazy, entrepreneurial Pawnee government official on Parks and Recreation. During the show’s seven-season run on NBC, Aziz Ansari taught us the art of treating yo’self, not to mention the art of dropping pop culture references whenever possible. And with his new book, Modern Romance, he’s back to teach us the art of navigating the utter chaos that is finding love in an age of ambiguous emojis, online dating, and aggressive sexting. On his book tour, Ansari will tackle all of these topics and more. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for a Tinder date.
$52 per person (with free copy of book), July 10, 7:30 p.m., Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge, 617-496-2222, ofa.fas.harvard.edu.
This woman does it all: She’s acted in cult comedy films and TV shows such as Wet Hot American Summer and The Ben Stiller Show; she’s made cameos on shows like Seinfeld, Broad City, and The Simpsons; and she’s an outspoken feminist, liberal activist, and writer. But Garofalo first honed her razor-sharp wit doing stand-up in Boston. Don’t miss the chance to watch her get back to her roots.
$34, July 11, 8 p.m., Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-562-8800, crossroadspresents.com/paradise-rock-club.
She’s an Indo-Canadian comedian who goes by “Superwoman” and lives in a mystical place called Unicorn Island, a land of smiles, positivity, and cotton candy bushes. In 2010, after realizing the relative absence of prominent South Asian female figures on the Internet, she decided to start her own YouTube channel. Her videos generally feature her satirical takes on Punjabi culture and the everyday life of young people (she also usually wears a backwards baseball cap, so you know she’s hip and relatable), manage to be both motivational and extremely funny. Which is probably why she has over 740 million views and almost 6 million subscribers—not too shabby.
$25-$35, July 12, 6 p.m., House of Blues Boston, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, 888-693-2583, houseofblues.com.
Tom Segura was featured as a guest comic on Conan in 2011, and has made cameos in shows such as Happy Endings and Mash Up. He’s performed in high-profile comedy festivals all over the world; he co-wrote and starred in his own short series on Comedy Central, Cutman; and he and his wife (fellow comedian Christina Pazsitzky) co-host and produce a podcast called Your Mom’s House. In Segura’s 2014 one-hour Netflix stand-up special, Completely Normal, Segura expounded on—in his signature dryly raunchy style—entitlement, “shouting black,” and his own digestive failings. Maybe don’t bring your kids to this one.
$22, July 18, 7 p.m., The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700, thewilbur.com.
When stand-up comedians want to watch stand-up comedy, they turn to Brian Regan. He’s a favorite of Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman. In fact, he performed on The Late Show with David Letterman (RIP) 28 times—the most of any comedian on a CBS show. He’s working with Comedy Central to launch the network’s first-ever live stand-up special this September. And the stand-up comic’s ability to garner laughs with his self-deprecating and PG-13 style of observational humor has marked him as one of the greats. As any comedian knows, it’s not easy being clean.
$44-$64, August 6, 8 p.m., Cape Cod Melody Tent, 21 W. Main St., Hyannis, 508-775-5630, melodytent.org; August 7, 8 p.m., South Shore Music Circus, 130 Sohier St., Cohasset, 781-383-9850, themusiccircus.org.
In 2008, American comedian and actress Colleen Ballinger created the character “Miranda Sings,” who became an instant YouTube sensation. Her giant red lips and exaggerated facial expressions complement her confident and horrific singing and dancing in a way that’ll make you feel extremely uncomfortable in the best way imaginable. And though it isn’t quite stand-up, we can only imagine that her performance is even more entertaining (and unsettling) in person.
$32.50-$75 per person, August 16, 7 p.m., Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack St., Lowell, 978-454-2299, lowellauditorium.com.
Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival
If you find yourself wracked by anxiety and an inability to pick just one show to attend, here’s a chance for you to catch ’em all: Funny or Die presents its annual comedy festival. It’s headlined by Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer. But it also features 22 other amazing stand-up acts: Think John Mulaney, who wrote and created SNL’s famous Stefon; SNL’s Jay Pharoah; Nick Kroll, of The League (and being Amy Poehler’s boyfriend) fame; and T.J. Miller, who plays Erlich Bachman on HBO’s Silicon Valley. Plus, there will be food and drank galore. VIP packages go on sale July 10, so you’ll want to grab them fast…especially since there are gift bags involved.
VIP packages $199-$400 per person, September 11, 7 p.m., Xfinity Center, 885 S Main St., Mansfield, 508-339-2331, thexfinitycenter.com.
If you’re a cult follower of The Daily Show, this one’s for you. Once the show airs its final episode this August, you’re gonna want to drown your sorrows in a pint of ice cream (or two), and then hit up the Wilbur to see John Hodgman (and his excellent moustache), longtime Daily Show “Resident Expert,” and, until recently, pompous “Resident Deranged Millionaire.” He’s also written books, had cameos in a wide variety of movies and TV shows, and released the critically acclaimed Netflix comedy special, John Hodgman: Ragnarok. You probably first recognized him for his work in those Apple advertisements, where he plays the PC to Justin Long’s Mac. Or perhaps, way back, you bumped into him on the streets of Brookline—it’s where he grew up.
$25, September 12, 7 p.m., The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700, thewilbur.com.
If you existed between the years 2007-2008, you probably know Anjelah Johnson—even if you don’t know you know her. In those years, she was a cast member on MADtv, where she played and wrote famous characters like Bon Qui Qui, the rude fast food employee who coined the phrases “I will cut you” and “Don’t interrupt. Rude.” These days, Bon Qui Qui would be instant meme material. She’s also famous for her wonderfully politically incorrect bit on Vietnamese nail salons, which she incorporated both in MADtv and in her Comedy Central stand-up special, That’s How We Do It.
$34 per person, September 18, 7:30 p.m., The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700, thewilbur.com.
What do Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Hitch, and Grown Ups have in common? They’re all lowbrow comedy movies that you pretended not to enjoy, and they all star Kevin James. He’s also known for playing Doug Heffernan, the extremely average, thoroughly entertaining delivery guy on The King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond. Though he’s now a successful actor, screenwriter, and producer, James got his start in stand-up. You have five opportunities to catch his routine this September, so there’s really no excuse for missing it. And if the gods are good, he’ll roll up to his show on a Segway, Paul Blart-style.
$50-75 per person, September 18, 10 p.m., September 19, 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., September 20, 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700, thewilbur.com.
Rita Rudner began her career as a dancer, appearing in several Broadway productions. While performing in Annie in the early ’80s, she began to explore the world of comedy, noting the unfortunate lack of female comedians as compared to female dancers. She began to research Woody Allen and Jack Benny in order to develop her own elegant, performance-based stand-up routine. From there, she blazed a trail through the male-dominated world of comedy for funny women like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to follow in her footsteps. And for that, we owe her our souls.
$37, September 25, 7:30 p.m., The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700, thewilbur.com.
She may be blonde, blue-eyed, and cute, but Iliza Shlesinger should not be underestimated: Her hard-hitting sarcasm and down-to-earth anecdotes about female behavior earned her the titles of first woman—and youngest—winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. She’s since appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon many times. Her two comedy specials on Netflix, War Paint and Freezing Hot, are critically acclaimed (and much appreciated by us comedy-lovin’ plebes, too). She attended Emerson College, where she was a member of the school’s sketch comedy group, “Jimmy’s Traveling All-Stars.” This September, she returns to the city where she got her start, and it’s sure to be epic.
$25, September 26, 7 p.m., The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700, thewilbur.com.