Though the Chicago native's act consists of approximately 99.73 percent relationship material, his laid-back stage presence and aversion to absurdisms and overt filth ensure that he avoids irritating audiences with stale premises. Perhaps best known for bearing the brunt of a hissy-fit courtesy of gay roommate Ant on Last Comic Standing 2, Holcomb (who, unlike the real Dr. Phil, has no obvious interest in promoting weight-loss challenges -- or creepy moustaches) has also released a DVD, The Problem Is You, and made the requisite TV rounds on Showtime at the Apollo, Def Comedy Jam, Premium Blend and The Tonight Show.
Bask in the wisdom of Holcomb and his omnipresent glass of red wine at the Fairview Heights Funny Bone Comedy Club (6900 North Illinois Street, Fairview Heights, Illinois; 618-628-4242; www.funnyboneusa.com) Thursday through Sunday (July 7 through 10) at 8 p.m. (with additional 10:30 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday). Tickets cost $10 to $20; self-righteous self-help books not included. -- Julie Seabaugh
A Marriage of Inconvenience
Filumena's marital duties
Is there anything funnier than a former whore trying to con a long-time lover into marriage? What if she's doing it for the sake of her mostly grown children? And how about if she fakes a terminal illness to seal the deal? Yes, these are the fundamental elements of comedy -- or at least they are in the hands of Eduardo de Fillipo. Filumena -- de Fillipo's charming and tempestuous comedy of marriage, faith and faithlessness (perhaps best known as the basis for the film Marriage Italian Style) -- returns to the stage courtesy of the HotCity Theatre. Performances are at the ArtLoft Theatre (1529 Washington Avenue; 314-482-9125 or www.hotcitytheatre.org) at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (July 7 through 30). Tickets are $18 to $23. -- Paul Friswold
Daughter Knows Best
OK, admit it: When you hear the name "J.M. Barrie," you immediately think of Peter Pan, don't you? It's understandable, considering Peter's universal fame. But Barrie wrote more than just the one story, you know, and he brought the same wit and unique characterization to these other works. His play Alice Sit-by-the-Fire follows the misadventures of the teenaged Amy, whose mother and father have recently returned from service abroad in India. Amy, being both strong-willed and resourceful (if slightly misguided), believes that her mother, Alice, is having an affair, and it falls to Amy to both defend and redeem her mother's reputation. Act Inc. presents this lesser-known Barrie work at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (July 8 through 10 and July 22 through 24) at the Fontbonne University Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard). Tickets are $12 to $15 and are available by calling 314-725-9108. -- Paul Friswold
A Tale of Two Cities
Ah, the '80s: Back then, Berlin was split into two separate cities, and Berlin was making deliciously sexy pop songs. Now, Berlin is one big city, and some form of Berlin is still touring and playing those synthy songs. Terri Nunn still fronts the band who made "Take My Breath Away" a prom classic, and a new album is due to ship any day. Catch up on the classics and hear the new material at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Ameristar Casino Bottleneck Blues Bar (1260 South Main Street, St. Charles; 636-940-4300). Tickets are $15 to $25. -- Paul Friswold
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