Standup spans big stars and hid­den gems

COM­EDY

The Georgia Straight - - Fall Arts Preview -

CRIT­ICS’ PICKS

Some­thing is miss­ing in this 2

year’s picks. This is the first time you won’t see a Just For Laughs mul­ti­comic, gala-style Com­edy Tour in the Fall Arts Pre­view. A tra­di­tion has ended, it seems. But com­edy is still in full swing, as ev­i­denced by the up­com­ing shows item­ized for your read­ing plea­sure be­low.

JIM JEFFERIES (At the Queen El­iz­a­beth The­atre on Septem­ber 14 and 15) Jim­mer just keeps get­ting big­ger and bet­ter. It wasn’t that long ago that he was play­ing mid­night shows at the Rick­shaw The­atre. Now he’s pack­ing them in over two nights at the QE. The Draw: This raw Aussie doesn’t seem suited to sit­ting be­hind a desk, but it some­how works on Com­edy Cen­tral’s The Jim Jefferies Show. He’s still him­self, but the real deal is see­ing him in the flesh on-stage. Tar­get Au­di­ence: The whole vil­lage of Whistler might be shut down for the two nights he’s here. But Jefferies doesn’t just ap­peal to his own peo­ple. He’s got an army of fans who love his ballsy hu­mour.

MOSHE KASHER (At Yuk Yuk’s on Septem­ber 28 and 29) The hon­ey­moon is over! You saw Kasher and newish wife Natasha Leg­gero’s three­part Net­flix spe­cial, The Hon­ey­moon Stand Up Spe­cial, but he’s ditched the old ball-and-chain and is head­ing to the Van­cou­ver club solo. The Draw: Kasher is quick, sar­donic, and hi­lar­i­ous, with or with­out his equally hi­lar­i­ous bet­ter half. Tar­get Au­di­ence: You can blow your bud­get on an A-lis­ter at a the­atre show, or you can spend a frac­tion of that to see an even bet­ter comic at a club.

JERRY SE­IN­FELD (At the Queen El­iz­a­beth The­atre on Oc­to­ber 4 and 5) Any­one who watches Se­in­feld’s in­cred­i­ble se­ries Co­me­di­ans in Cars Get­ting Cof­fee knows his ab­so­lute love of and al­le­giance to standup com­edy. Then again, any­one who has been pay­ing at­ten­tion to his ca­reer since the ’80s al­ready knew that. The guy lives for, and oozes, funny. The Draw: He won’t be driv­ing on-stage in a vin­tage car, or sip­ping a cuppa joe with a pal. But it will be vin­tage Jerry, telling jokes with wryly ob­served de­tail, old and new. Tar­get Au­di­ence: For­get his sit­com, one of the best of all time. For­get his Net­flix se­ries too. All you need to know about Jerry Se­in­feld you’ll see live on-stage. If you care at all about standup, and you haven’t seen him al­ready, this is the show to catch.

ED­DIE IFFT (At the Com­edy MIX from Oc­to­ber 4 to 6) A cou­ple weeks af­ter his for­mer room­mate and pod­cast part­ner Jim Jefferies plays the Queen E, standup comic Ifft makes his de­but at the Com­edy MIX. The Draw: Just like Jefferies, Ifft is a bit of a bad boy. Un­like Jefferies, Ifft still does the “of­fen­sively funny” pod­cast Talkin’ Shit, the only pod­cast, his web­site tells us, to be banned from itunes for of­fen­sive con­tent. And un­like Jefferies, Ifft still flies un­der the radar. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Real com­edy nerds know the score. He’s like the cool al­ter­na­tive band no one’s heard of.

ROY WOOD JR. (At Yuk Yuk’s on Oc­to­ber 12 and 13) Wood came to na­tional promi­nence in the sev­enth sea­son of NBC’S Last Comic Stand­ing, fin­ish­ing third. Since then, he’s gone back to his roots: news re­port­ing. Only now he does it for laughs on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. The Draw: With a bach­e­lor of sci­ence in broad­cast journalism, Wood may be the most le­git of all Com­edy Cen­tral cor­re­spon­dents. But he’s also a hel­luva stand-up comic. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Put an­other notch in your com­edy belt and check off some­one who’s never played Van­cou­ver be­fore.

GAD ELMALEH (At the Chan Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts on Novem­ber 8) It’s hard enough mak­ing strangers laugh in your na­tive tongue— try do­ing it in your fourth lan­guage. Elmaleh has got it down pat. The Moroc­can-born French comic per­formed in French, Ara­bic, and He­brew be­fore giv­ing English a go. The Draw: Elmaleh didn’t be­come France’s top co­me­dian through mug­ging and mime; he’s a real word­smith. Plus, that suave Parisian charm helps. Tar­get Au­di­ence: If you took French im­mer­sion and are yearn­ing for some lis­ten­ing prac­tice… This might not be the show for you. Elmaleh per­forms en anglais seule­ment.

SE­BAS­TIAN MANISCALCO (At the Queen El­iz­a­beth The­atre on De­cem­ber 2) One of the hottest co­me­di­ans in the game right now, Maniscalco was Just For Laughs’ standup co­me­dian of the year in 2016. He’s since re­leased a book, sold out Toronto’s Sco­tia­bank Arena, and done five shows at Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall. The Draw: Se­bas­tian doesn’t just tell jokes; his whole body ex­udes jokes. His larger-than-life Ital­ian style is per­fect for the big stages he plays. Tar­get Au­di­ence: He’s a main­stream act, for sure, so bring your whole fam­ily. Some­times that’s code for “lame”, but not in this case. TENA­CIOUS D (At the Queen El­iz­a­beth The­atre on De­cem­ber 13) There was a time not too long ago when Jack Black was seem­ingly in ev­ery other movie. His om­nipres­ence has faded, which al­lows him to get back to rawkin’. The Draw: Black and his bestie Kyle Gass, with their re­spec­tive acous­tic axes, ham their way through orig­i­nal heavymetal-ish tunes with lyrics even more ridicu­lous than ac­tual heavy metal. It’s a send-up and a homage all at once. These guys have both mu­si­cal and comedic chops. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Where else can you go to a com­edy show and blow out your eardrums at the same time?

LETTERKENNY LIVE: THE EN­CORE

(At the Or­pheum on De­cem­ber 18) Wasn’t the gang from Crave TV’S Letterkenny just here? Yeah, well, this is the en­core. Jared Keeso, Nathan Dales, Mark For­ward, and K. Trevor Wil­son did a mam­moth cross-coun­try tour from Fe­bru­ary through April. They ap­par­ently couldn’t get enough—or we couldn’t get enough of them. The Draw: They prom­ise sketches and videos you didn’t see on the ear­lier tour. And the two standups in the group—for­ward and Wil­son—will also do sets, pre­sum­ably new too. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Bridges will be crossed and tun­nels driven through to get to this show, guar­an­teed.

> GUY MACPHERSON

the Richmond Art Gallery from Septem­ber 14 to Novem­ber 10) Chi­nese-canadian artist

Xiao­jing Yan draws cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion for her mixed-me­dia in­stal­la­tions from Taoist phi­los­o­phy and its as­so­ci­ated myths and folk­lore. As well, she in­cor­po­rates images and sym­bols from his­toric Chi­nese art, imag­i­na­tively rein­vent­ing them. An ex­am­ple is Moun­tain of Pines, an in­stal­la­tion of hang­ing pan­els of silk or­ganza “pierced with thou­sands of pine nee­dles” to sim­u­late Chi­nese ink paint­ings of mist-cov­ered moun­tains and to in­voke spir­i­tual be­liefs around such land­scape forms. “Lingzhi Girls” is a se­ries of mush­room-sprout­ing, life-size busts that con­flate self-por­trai­ture with the Eight Im­mor­tals of Taoist mythol­ogy. The Draw: The first west­ern Canadian show for this Toronto-based artist ex­presses a poignant state of “in-be­tween­ness”, guest es­say­ist Rick Leong writes, sus­pended “be­tween lan­guages, cul­tures and places”.

CON­NECT­ING THREADS (At the Sur­rey Art Gallery from Septem­ber 22 to De­cem­ber 16) This show spot­lights tex­tile and fi­bre art from the gallery’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion and rep­re­sents some two dozen Canadian artists, in­clud­ing Pat Cairns, Rox­anne Charles, Bar­bara Cole, Barry Good­man, Ruth Scheuing, Nep Sidhu, and Bar­bara Todd. Means and meth­ods jump from small-scale needle­point por­traits to large-scale quilted images of cruise mis­siles, and from knit­ted fig­u­ra­tive sculp­ture to a (lit­er­ally) de­con­structed man’s suit. Oh, and it’s im­pos­si­ble to men­tion this group show with­out also rec­om­mend­ing the SAG’S con­cur­rent solo ex­hi­bi­tions by Mag­gie Orth, who is ac­claimed as “a leader in the field of wear­able tech­nol­ogy and in­ter­ac­tive tex­tiles”, and Kathy Slade, who ref­er­ences pop­u­lar cul­ture, lit­er­a­ture, and art his­tory in her em­broi­dered im­agery and fab­ric sculp­ture. The Draw: Most com­pelling here is the ca­pac­ity of con­tem­po­rary tex­tile art to take on chal­leng­ing themes, is­sues, and con­cep­tual strate­gies.

DANA CLAXTON: FRINGING THE CUBE

(At the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery from Oc­to­ber 27 to Fe­bru­ary 3) One of our lead­ing me­dia artists, Claxton finds pow­er­ful ex­pres­sion in film, pho­tog­ra­phy, text, per­for­mance, video, and video in­stal­la­tion. One of her sig­na­ture strate­gies is to use for­mal beauty to chal­lenge so­cial as­sump­tions and dis­man­tle cul­tural stereo­types, some­thing that will be ev­i­dent in this big solo ex­hi­bi­tion. As an artist of Hunkpapa Lakota her­itage, based in Van­cou­ver, Claxton asks us to re­con­sider ideas and images sur­round­ing gen­der, cul­tural iden­tity, and the body. She has also used her art to ex­am­ine ideas of spir­i­tu­al­ity, re­silience, recla­ma­tion, and the ways in which his­tory and cul­ture are em­bed­ded in the land­scape. The Draw: The VAG is billing this ex­hi­bi­tion as the first to com­pre­hen­sively sur­vey Claxton’s “for­mi­da­ble ca­reer”. Ex­pect to be blown away.

BATIA SUTER (At the Poly­gon Gallery from Novem­ber 2 to Jan­uary 13) Born in Switzer­land and based in Am­s­ter­dam, Batia Suter is best known for her mon­u­men­tal, site-spe­cific prints of dig­i­tally ma­nip­u­lated images. She works, too, with photo an­i­ma­tion, photo in­stal­la­tion, and col­lage, of­ten em­ploy­ing found or ap­pro­pri­ated images to un­set­tle our un­der­stand­ing of how we read them, whether ha­bit­u­ally or within the con­text of new sur­round­ings. For her Poly­gon show, Suter will also cre­ate a “sitere­spon­sive” wall­pa­per mu­ral that, cu­ra­tor Helga Pakasaar says, uses tree images to ref­er­ence the tem­per­ate rain­for­est and its “de­pen­dent in­dus­tries and economies”. The Draw: Crit­i­cally ac­claimed and widely ex­hib­ited in Europe, the United States, and Asia, Batia Suter is mak­ing her solo Canadian de­but at the Poly­gon.

> ROBIN LAU­RENCE

Baby Girlz Gotta Mus­tang

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