Laughter is the thing right now. I don’t know that it ever wasn’t a thing, but I’m sure you catch my drift. It’s hip, the funny stuff. In the Los Angeles area, we are fortunate to have many live theatre options when we are in need of a good guffaw.
You can search any ARTS section to find a number of contemporary or classical comedy-type plays running at any given time; theatre that has never been seen before and theatre that has been seen a million times. There are plenty of those kind of shows here. And no matter what part of town you are in, there are standup comedy clubs that are overflowing with comedic talent. And it’s not just a bunch of white guys on stage telling dirty jokes. You can find women and men, young and old, from every background, performing clean comedy, stuff that will make you blush, and everything in between. In need of an immediate laugh? Go look up a comic on Twitter and scroll through a couple of tweets. Comedy is everywhere.
One of my favorite forms, which may currently hold the title of, “hippest of all the funny,” has to be improv. Chicago is known for it’s high-level improv schools, but we have them here in Los Angeles too. And I’d like to think the skill level rivals the Chicago folks any day. Recently, I had a hankering to pay a few dollars and giggle with a room full of like-minded people, so I headed over to the iO West website. (For the record, iO isn’t the only fantastic improv place, it just happens to be the one I chose this time.) They have a strong 4-5 shows on any given night to choose from, and it could soar to 10 or 11 options on Fridays and Saturdays. If you can’t find something that peaks your interest, you might be dead inside.
I decided Top Story! Weekly at 8pm Sundays would be the show for me. The show is billed as, “SNL meets The Daily Show in this constantly changing news-driven sketch romp through a week’s worth of headlines.” Sounds right up my alley. And it was. It’s a mere $5 to get in, and your tickets are good for the rest of the evening. There’s a bar to get you in the mood and a server who can help you out once the show is in process. Top Story! Weekly is a topical, political hoo-haw at a perfect 50-55 minutes, filled with one-liners that will make you groan and sketches where you wince and laugh, with a team of eight-ish men and women devoted to your entertainment. (One more “just for the record” – if you don’t find politics/current events interesting or remotely funny, I’d recommend choosing from one of their many other offerings . . . this show won’t change your mind!)
One word of warning: I wouldn’t sell Top Story! Weekly as family entertainment. Leave the little ones and the squeamish at home. This is improv, folks, and you get what you get. So be ready.
The cast (which I believe varies slightly week to week) is always strong and able, with moments of brilliance sprinkled in. They collectively tout a sizable amount of impressive writing and performing credits. We really are fortunate to have such talent at our beck and call on such a regular basis. Go treat yourself to some good, cheap fun. We could use a little more of that in our lives, don’t you think?
Top Story! Weekly CAST LIST: Bennie Arthur, Alicia Bien, Jen Cain, Nate Duran, Ashleigh Hairston, Grace Harryman, Calder Holbrook, Michael Hughes, Sam Kimbrell, Matt Manser, Eileen Mary O’Connell, Ryan Pratton, Andrew Price, Derek Reid, Juliah Rueckert, Atul Singh, Paul Straw, James Warfield, Phillip Wilburn, Brian Zimring.
iO West Comedy Club
Shows/showtimes/prices vary. Check the calendar.