Maybe This Year Will be Funnier

A preview of what's happening in comedy in 2018

Jan 3, 2018 at 12:06 pm
click to enlarge D.L. Hughley will appear at Liberty Funnybone in March. - PHOTO: Provided
PHOTO: Provided
D.L. Hughley will appear at Liberty Funnybone in March.

It was a funny year in general in 2017 — if you consider the way comedians took after Donald Trump and his administration. Stephen Colbert languished in the ratings until his evisceration of Trump made him the top-ranked late-night host; Seth Meyers managed a similar tactical feat. In a recent Mojo interview, Randy Newman said that the Great Trumpkin was like a character in one of his songs. Can 2018’s humor quotient compete with that? Here are some comedy acts coming to town this year that are worth looking forward to.

Geoff Tate at Go Bananas (Thursday-Sunday): Tate’s headline is “Local Boy Makes Good.” The Cincinnati-based comedian frequently opens for Doug Stanhope, hosts his own Cheers-centric podcast, MSHD PODCASTO, and is a regular on Doug Benson’s Getting Doug with High podcast. Tate has recorded two albums and guested on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Fancy.

Rob Schneider at Liberty Funny Bone (Friday and Saturday): Schneider broke out on Saturday Night Live, creating memorable characters and catch phrases (“Makin’ copies,” “You put your weed in it”) before big-screen success in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and as Adam Sandler’s frequent film sidekick. He returned to stand-up in 2010. His new show is titled Please Join Me for an Evening of Lies.

Brian Regan at the Aronoff Center (Jan. 25): Is Brian Regan comedy’s cleanest man? In terms of material, most certainly, and he seems well scrubbed, hygienically speaking. At any rate, Regan avoids off-color humor and profanity, so his television persona is exactly what you’ll get in his hilarious live set. It’s typified by his latest Netflix special, Nunchucks and Flamethrowers.

Kevin Hart at Wright State University’s Nutter Center (Jan. 27): Hart finished 2017 with a bang: his SNL hosting gig was great; his new movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, has started off well; and his memoir, I Can’t Make This Up, topped the bestseller list. Hart became the first comedian to sell out an NFL stadium on his What Now? Tour, grossing over $100 million worldwide; his current The Irresponsible Tour might exceed that total.

Jerry Seinfeld at the Aronoff Center (Feb. 3): No one has made more out of nothing than Seinfeld. His sitcom changed the parameters of television comedy, his stand-up raised the observational-comedy bar and his charitable work defines nobility. For an encore, he reinvented his act, does peer interviews on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and has a new Netflix special, Jerry Before Seinfeld, a retrospective of his best pre-fame routines.

Tammy Pescatelli at Liberty Funny Bone (Feb. 15): Pescatelli, a Perry, Ohio native, was a finalist on consecutive seasons of Last Comic Standing, parlaying that into appearances on The View, Last Call with Carson Daly and others. She’s a regular on Jenny McCarthy’s Sirius XM show Dirty, Sexy, Funny.

D.L. Hughley at Liberty Funny Bone (March 30-31): Hughley is accomplished in every comedic facet. He hosted BET’s ComicView, a CNN comedy news program, his own talk show and two radio shows; starred in a sitcom; did the Netflix special Reset; and wrote a book, 2012’s I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America. Which seems prescient, yes?

Bill Maher at Taft Theatre (May 5): Maher may be this generation’s Mort Sahl — a wickedly funny, razor-sharp observer of cultural and governmental foibles with as much distaste for political correctness as the conservatives he targets. Approaching the 40-year mark as a stand-up, Maher has written seven books and hosted two of television’s best news/comedy shows, Politically Incorrect and Real Time. There’s a slight chance Trump will be a topic of his current show.

Steve Martin and Martin Short at PNC Pavilion (May 27): Martin had largely abandoned stand-up when he teamed with Short for a comedy/Bluegrass tour two years ago. The production’s huge success rolled into 2017, and we’ll experience it this spring with the same essential set-up: comedic argy bargy between the stars and brilliant musicianship from Martin’s handpicked Steep Canyon Rangers in what they’ve billed as “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life.” As Short has observed, “Touring with Steve is a lot like Deliverance: It’s all fun and games till the banjo comes out.”