The Best Comedy Shows in St. Louis: December 2014

Jeremy Essig will host his Holiday Bazaar on December 26 and 27 at Foam. - Press photo via official website.
Press photo via official website.
Jeremy Essig will host his Holiday Bazaar on December 26 and 27 at Foam.

It's been yet another year of jokes, and the comedy community of St. Louis is becoming even more vast and dynamic. Monthly sketch, improv and standup shows abound, and they're even becoming specialized, focused and, at times, distinguishably weird. Everyone loves a theme party, so this month's Funny Events focuses on the holidays.

For those in search of laughter or curious about the goings-on of the comedy scene in St. Louis, we will be making monthly recommendations for shows in (and near) the city. From sure-thing hilarious to fingers-crossed, "Oh God! I hope this works" affairs, Funny Events is your connection to sketch, standup, improv and everything in between and out of the box and we promised to write a new description for 2015.

What the Dickens? Monday, December 15 at the Improv Shop $5 | 10 p.m.

The Improv Shop is pulling out all the bells and whistles for the holiday season and has arranged for Charles Dickens -- as portrayed by Jaysen Cryer -- to do a single reading of his most celebrated Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol. In an hourlong show, Mr. Cryer will take you through the streets and hauntings of London by way of the Central West End. (Bonus: Prior to the reading you can catch improv performances, starting at 8 p.m.)

If you're not familiar with the Improv Shop or its style of comedy, improv is short for improvisational so you will without question not be subjecting yourself to a right-from-the-page reading of A Christmas Carol. There's bound to be interruptions -- after all, it is a journey of the unexpected.

STL SketchPad 3-D Monday, December 15 at Satori $5 | 8 p.m.

STL SketchPAD is a somewhat new venture from a number of the individuals who bring you STL Up Late. As its name suggests, it is indeed a sketch-comedy show. It stars local writers and comedic performers, and as of February, SketchPAD hopes to be a monthly event. (The most familiar sketch comedy is what once adorned late night TV programming such as Saturday Night Live, The Kids in the Hall or MadTV.)

This month's installment features sketches and performances by the writers ofBare Knuckle Comedy -- Laura Lanigan, Logan Short, Nathan Maul, the Catalogue and Lisa Kelly from the Exacerbators. What makes this show "the best of" is that other than STL Up Late, it's the only sketch-centered show still running in St. Louis (well, until Bare Knuckle Comedy returns).

No Straight White Guys Tuesday, December 30, at Foam Coffee & Beer No Cover | 8 p.m.

As if straight white guys didn't have it hard enough in the diverse world of standup comedy, now there's a show that won't even let them perform. At any given open-mic in St. Louis, straight white guys make up roughly 80 percent of the lineup -- and that might even be lowballing it. So if you're going to do a showcase, and you're going to do it distinctively different, bring it to Amy Milton and Milly Naeger, hosts and founders of the show.

So to answer your questions: Yes, straight white guys are allowed to attend, and a straight white guy is even welcome to bartend the show. This is not a hit on straight white guys; it's just a good old-fashioned discriminatory show. There's never been a better time to celebrate diversity in St. Louis and, you know, give the group who's faced with the challenge of privilege each and every single day the boot.

Jeremy Essig's Holiday Bazaar December 26 & 27 at Foam Coffee & Beer $8 | 8 p.m.

You may know Jeremy Essig from Loser. A Live Action Shame Show. You may know him as the guy who opened for Brian Posehn at the Firebird. Or you may even know him because you see him out at rock shows. But I can guarantee you don't know him from carrying the holiday spirit, which is reason enough for him to be in charge of two nights of holiday cheer at Foam. When asked to describe just what to expect, Essig said, "It's going to be less of a standup show and more of a Christmas play/musical with standup incorporated. Does that make sense?"

So when you think production value, think of a third-grade "We can't call it a 'Christmas Pageant' Holiday Extravaganza" presented by the cynical band teacher. Speaking of which, this year's Loser Christmas theme is Motown. Climb aboard the Soul-er Express at the Heavy Anchor on Monday, December 22.


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