"Best" is a relative idea, much like what any individual person finds funny. That's why each month we recommend various comedy events -- some sketch, some improv, some standup and some a little of everything -- and deem them the best. If you're in search of a laugh or willing to take a risk on humor, read on for the comedy shows coming to St. Louis this month that caught our eye. Whether you want to see tried-and-true veterans or the green open mic-ers, May has it all.
First, hats off to the Peabody Opera House for stacking the first weekend in May with a pair of powerhouse acts. Saturday, May 9 Lewis Black is back in town with his new show The Rant is Due, Part Deux. And the following night, Sunday, May 10, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman take to the very same stage with their show "Summer of 69: No Apostrophe." Neither show is for the faint of heart; blushing beauties are best suited to stay home.
Other highlights this month follow....
COMEDIENNE: Todd Masterson Saturday, May 16 at Cicero's $12 | 9 p.m.
Todd Masterson wants to make strangers and friends alike laugh until it splits their sides. He's a towering man whose smile could light the darkest room. He also wants to be huge on Twitter. His sense of humor is playful, honest and unwavering. While his may not be a household name, Masterson's wit has landed him writing gigs with a few whose names are, including Joan Rivers and James Franco.
Todd's live show, "COMEDIENNE," features Benton Greyson and will be hosted by No Straight White Guys, Milly Naeger. It's been too long since Cicero's has hosted a comedy show; it's a great shotgun room with a low stage. It was the very place where Punch Drunk Comedy, now Bare Knuckle Comedy, cut their chops and kick-started the alt comedy scene.
Kyle Kinane Thursday, May 21 at The Ready Room $15 - $18 | 8 p.m.
Right about a year ago Kyle Kinane (with the help of Dave Ross) sold out The Firebird. Lucky for us, he's coming back for Round 4 in the Lou on his way west to headline Crom Comedy Festival in Omaha. If you're unaware of the tragically hilarious stylings of Kyle Kinane, this is what you ought to know: He embodies the kind of transparency most comedians spend years working towards and never fully achieve. At 39, Kinane's latest album, I Like His Old Stuff Better, is a handful of coming-of-age tales from the perspective of a (formerly) bearded, charmingly belligerent and relentlessly self-aware individual.
It's been said that laughter originated as a sign of safety before the development of language. One cave man warns another of a saber-tooth tiger on the horizon when alas, it's just a shadow on rock. To express the passing tension, our cave man enthusiastically exhales (laughs) to signal there is no danger to fear. That's the fundamental dynamic of Kinane's humor. He takes you down a road you're not sure you want to go, and at that moment when things could go from bad from worse, he reassures they can and will. But then, in his own special way, Kinane reminds you it's all happening to him, not you -- and oh the relief, joy and laughter.
Turn the page for more great May shows.