The Very Best of Stand-Up and Sketch Comedy in the United States February 27, 2023 to March 5, 2023

John C. Reilly

Jacqueline Novak – Get On Your Knees, Monday, February 27, 2023

Jacqueline Novak

Any comedian who had the smarts to take the website name “Jokesnovak” before anyone else definitely gets my vote. From that start, however, Novak has taken her once-and-former Erma Bombeck on horse tranqs stand-up routine of food and shopping humor into something bolder, more sculptural and designed with her Off Broadway one-person show, Get On Your Knees. And yes, Novak’s Get on Your Knees is pretty much all about oral sex, giving, getting, loving and questioning. That she has condensed its wide-scope vision for the intimate stages of Largo? Let’s see what happens.

Largo at the Coronet, 366 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

John C. Reilly is Mister Romantic, Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023

For anyone mesmerized by his lead performance in 2022’s HBO sports drama series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty – to say nothing of roles in in Paul Thomas Anderson’s films Hard Eight (1996), Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999) AND for Martin Scorsese in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Aviator (2004) – John C. Reilly’s chops start with comedy. From Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, to a series of truly memorable films with Will Ferrell such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) and Step Brothers (2008), Reilly is a comic master. But stand-up? With music? I’m in. The promise of “an evening of love, longing and song accompanied by the sweet sounds of a crackerjack band” including Davíd Garza, Sebastian Steinberg and Charles De Castro, is a lovely one. “Come alone, with a love or with a love to be but please do come and share some magic with ole Mister Cellophane himself,” reads the Largo press tag referring to C. Reilly’s Oscar-nominated role in Chicago from 2002. Dig it.

Largo at the Coronet, 366 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

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Natalie Cuomo with special guest Dan LaMorte!, Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Interesting double bill, this: Natalie Cuomo is a ballsy Queens, NY stand-up comedian with a hard rock vibe (Metal Injection mag loves her, as does Inked who list her a contributor), a rough-edged own podcast called HELP! on Apple, Spotify and Google, and she hosts and curates her own stand-up show Classy Trashy Comedy in NYC. Dan LaMorte has stand-up comedy credits on the Fox Network’s Red Eye and AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, but gets a lion’s share of our applause for gaining and losing a whole person due to having to change his life after a fatty liver disease diagnosis and massive weight gain. Now a slender 180, LaMorte is a hardcore runner and an even-more hardcore observational comic.

Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom Street, Philadelphia PA 19103

Drip! Featuring Shawn Gardini, Allie Mae, Mike Recine, Jordan Jensen, Sahib Singh, Matthew Broussard, Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Of course Shawn Gardini is the Rage Maker, a roasting, toasting stand-up comedian from the Philly/New Jersey area. We’re all making rage there.  So, my guess is that his Drip! Showcase with Allie Mae is a true pissed off piss and vinegar affair.

The Stand, 116 E 16th Street, New York, NY 10003

Julia Francis: The Icing on the Cake, A Selection of Hand-Baked Cabaret Cookies, Thursday, March 2, 2023

Julia Francis

A little less obvious in its comic rendition, vocalist and storyteller Julia Francis has concocted a true-to-life tale out of chronicling her experience as a college theatre major during a global pandemic. And along with using cabaret and Broadway classics from Stephen Sondheim, Ryan Scott Oliver, Ethan Carlson, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more, you’ll lean hard into Francis’ take on Covid’s chaos and how it touched her in profound, moving, and yes, often comical ways.  Plus, she’s got dynamic range and a charming tone to her vocals. Not everything on this page is meant to be a belly laugh. Enjoy.

54 Below, 254 W 54th St. Cellar, New York City, NY 10019

Dana Gould, Friday, March 3, 2023

A little old school stand-up comedy with this show. Not like Lennie Bruce back-in-the-day, but considering that Dana Gould has been hitting the boards since the 1980s at the age of seventeen, he and his smug, but open-faced (and mostly clean) brand of observational stand-up has been around the block. Plus, tons of us remember Gould from his appearances on his buddy, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s Seinfeld sitcom. And if you don’t care about stand-up, Gould’s legend looms large behind the scenes: as a writer/performer on The Ben Stiller Show, The Simpsons and as a producer for the NBC Parks and Rec, along with his own IFC show, Stand Against Evil. Of course, he also hosts and produces his own monthly podcast, The Dana Gould Hour. See this show. It is a living testament to what well-formed and executed stand-up comedy should be all about.

The Atlanta Punchline, 3652 Roswell Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30342

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Chris Tellez, Saturday, March 4, 2023

Anyone who reads my weekly stand-up comedy and sketch page here at PW knows that I like my laughs dark, droll and dry-witted. Enter young Dallas-raised, Austin-based stand-up storyteller Chris Tellez who has this conversational, EZ-going charisma, but backed with a nasty, left of center comic take on everything from the travails of Tinder to “holding someone “Poop Hostage” in a Public Bathroom.” Look that last one up on YouTube. You’ll thank me.

The Velveeta Room, 521 E 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701

Brian Callen, Saturday, March 4, 2023

Brian Callen

The prospect of a ‘Brian Callen’ stand-up is pretty awesome when you consider his comic acting chops via his recurring role as “Coach Mellor” on ABC’s Schooled, his time as one of the original cast members of MadTV and his bits on The Hangover 1 & 2. Then again, Callen is already on his third stand-up live comedy special, Complicated Apes on Amazon Prime, and he got a handful of podcasts that he’s fronting for, so, color me impressed, and willing to dive in.

Zanies Nashville Comedy Night Club, 2025 8th Avenue S, Nashville, TN 37204

    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and WPPM.org.

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