ABC launches “Family Tools” at 8:30 tonight (May 1) and while the comedy has all the laughs of a kitten’s funeral, it does star an actor who always makes projects better merely by being part of the cast. That would be J.K. Simmons.
Don’t be upset if the name doesn’t ring a bell. He’s played everything from a cop boss in “The Closer” to the cigar-chomping newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson in the “Spider-Man” movies. Simmons is one of those actors who has done so many different TV and film roles, you know him once you see him even if you can’t remember his name.
Simmons might have been better known if he hadn’t been so determined not to appear in a TV commercial while spending all those years as a struggling actor in New York. Theater is great but one well-placed commercial can be seen by as many people as see an entire year’s run of a play.
If you haven’t seen Blimprov, you should. And you probably should do it tonight.
The improv comedy troupe — who you might remember from its sold-out run at this year’s Rogue Festival — is doing one of its biggest local shows to date at Fulton 55.
Why go tonight? Well, two Blimprov members are planning to move to L.A. soon, to give the fame thing a chance. So this might be their last Blimprov show. The departing Blimprovers are the ever-charming Marcos Hammer and the hilarious Magnus Chhan, who — apologies to the rest of Blimprov — has a knack for stealing the show.
If you miss this and everybody is talking tomorrow about how great it was, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. LIGHT YOUR FUSE FOR LOCAL MUSIC Were this feature called “One Thing You Should Do This Weekend,” this would be it. Fuse Fest, or Fresno Urban Sound Experience, is our annual all-local music festival that acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet of local music of various genres. It’s tonight and Saturday, with a total of 40 acts playing on 10 stages, all in downtown Fresno. Tickets can be purchased for $15 per night or $20 for both, good for maximum stage hopping. For more about the festival, read this story from today’s Bee about its evolution, check out the band lineup/schedule, listen to my podcast, or Famous’ podcast, check out The Fresnan or hit up the Facebook page. If there were one weekend to get out and support the Fresno music scene, this is it. [More]
CATACOMB PARTY: Indie rockers Fierce Creatures have their big Catacomb Party album release concert on Saturday. It’s a free, all-ages event with nine other bands joining Fierce Creatures outdoors on the Fulton Mall. It’s the local music event of the week, for sure.
CAN I GET AN ENCORE? Looks like Encore Nightclub is having a big “grand opening” weekend — it’s been open, but ya know how these things go. It’s fully operational as an 18+ place, which is worth a note. This is, if you’re wondering, the most re-named club in Fresno. It’s the former On the Rocks, Bliss, Bisla’s, XO and most recently NVS.
Shaq’s All-Star Comedy Jam — a comedy tour organized by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal — is coming to Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre on May 25. Specific comedians haven’t yet been announced, but tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, costing $39.75-$63.75.
“Breaking In,” 9:30 p.m. KMPH (Channel 26.1): If you haven’t taken a look at the comedy since it returned to the FOX lineup, consider yourself among the lucky. The addition of Megan Mullally to the cast has turned this once fun and quirky series about a security company into a miserable and bland workplace comedy. Her character was added to be the new boss for the company making it the worst hire since Bernie Madoff.
In the first season, humor came out of smart situations involving the company’s mysterious boss (Christian Slater) and his oddball group of specialists. It was fun to watch them work together. This year, Mullally’s banshee-like acting skills have landed on the show like a gift from a bird passing overhead. Smart humor has been replaced by Mullally recycling her old “Will & Grace” work.
Gone are the fun missions. Now, the group just stands around the office and waits for Mullally to say something stupid. The wait isn’t that long.
“Breaking In” started out as a very good comedy. Now, there aren’t enough jokes to justify calling it a comedy. About the only thing good that can be said about the show is that with the changes, “Parks and Recreation” is no longer the worst workplace comedy on network TV.
OK, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t ready for Blimprov. I remember seeing a improv comedy group when I was in college, because it was performing free in the dorms. It was OK, but nothing that made me a fan of improv. I saw another improv group here in Fresno many years back. Same story.
So when I walked into Saturday night’s sold-out Blimprov show at Tower Lounge, I was prepared for more mediocrity. Instead, I got the best show I’ve seen so far at this year’s Rogue Festival.
Blimprov is made up of three young actor/comedians — Magnus Chhan, Nick Haas and Marcos Hammer — who made me laugh more than I have in the past year. Their comedy is smart, somewhat ridiculous and insanely quick-witted. It helps that they’re not just jokers, but actors who really bring to life the various scenarios they’ve created for themselves.
No two Blimprov shows will be the same, so I can’t really tell you much about the material. The guys ask for one suggestion from the audience to get started — then they don’t stop for the next hour. Nor does the laughter.
SHOW INFO: 5:30 p.m. today (3/4), 7 p.m. Wednesday (3/7) and 8:30 p.m. Saturday (3/10) at Tower Lounge, 1211 N. Wishon Ave.. Tickets: $5. Rating: PG-13.
I hope that when I reach age 78 that I’m half as feisty and fun as Lynn Ruth Miller, the star of the one-woman comedy/singing show “Approaching 80.”
Through a series of stories and songs, Miller takes the audience on a journey through the trials and tribulations of aging. These aren’t the stories of your typical grandmother, Miller zings one-liners about dating, dentures and sex for the elderly. She’s sweet and funny, and just sassy enough to keep the audience entertained.
The 45-minute show is charming. It’s not raunchy, but it does have a few surprises — one that will have you laughing out loud and almost falling off your seat. Miller has a way of making you feel a part of the show, strolling and dancing through the rows of chairs, singing to people and giving a kiss or a pat here and there. It’s hard not to like her.
If you’re looking for a sweet, funny show that’s got a little bit of sass, but isn’t too over the top, you might want to give Lynn Ruth Miller’s brand on humor a try. Heck, if we could all be this much fun at 78, we’d have many more good things to say about aging.
SHOW INFO: 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 4, Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave. Tickets: $4. Rating: ?.
1. BUY INTO THE BAZAAR
Saturday’s Fresno Handmade Bazaar at Fulton 55 is a good chance to connect with Fresno’s indie craft scene — and considering the popularity Etsy and Pinterest these days, it’s right on time. There are about 30 vendors, some DJs and speciality cocktails. So it goes without saying, this ain’t your grandma’s craft fair. Read the story behind the bazaar and how it’s an idea five years in the making. [Tickets]
Wanna go? We’ve got a pair of a tickets for one lucky reader. If you’re looking to buy ‘em, they cost $39.50, $55.50 and $82.50 via Ticketmaster. To enter our contest, all it takes is a comment on this post. Tell us your favorite thing about Fridays and you’re in the drawing.
Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Thursday. Our winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail. So please leave a real address and please check it. Complete rules below.
Comedians Ray Romano (aka the “Everybody Loves Raymond” guy) and Kevin James (aka Mr. “King of Queens”) are bringing a one-two punch of comedy to Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre on March 21.
The event was just announced about an hour ago and tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday. Talk about a quick turnaround. Hope you fans of ex-CBS TV stars are flush with cash right now.
Tickets cost $45 and $55 with a $5 price hike the day of the show. You can get tickets from Ticketmaster — online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000 — or at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center box office.
1. SCORE A COMEDY KO
Saroyan Theatre has back-to-back comedy shows with two big headliners — Jerry Seinfeld tonight and Gabriel Iglesias on Saturday. I had some fun in today’s Bee doing the boxing-themed comparison of the two below. Text here. [Tickets]
You can get tickets at Ticketmaster for $43 … or you can score pair right here, for free. Just leave a comment below telling us why you love Iglesias. Deadline to enter is 9 a.m. Friday.
Our winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail, so please leave a valid address and please check it. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something from us in the past 30 days. Complete rules below.
Outspoken comedian, political commentator and TV host Bill Maher brings his act to Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre on Sunday. Read my interview with Maher in which he talks about his comedy background and why he enjoys playing in places like Fresno, which aren’t always friendly to his political views.
Maher’s a divisive figure, no doubt. You couldn’t give some folks tickets to see him. If you’re one of those folks, then just skip over this post because we are, in fact, giving away tickets.
Not a Maher hater? Just leave a comment below telling us why you’d like to go and you’ll be in the running. Deadline to enter is 3 p.m. Friday. We’ll pick a winner at random and notify him/her via e-mail, so please leave a real address and please check it. No repeat entries please. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something from us in the past 30 days. Full rules below.
The stand-up comic — a Fresno favorite — is coming back to Save Mart Center on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, costing $48 and $58. You can pick them up at the arena box office or through Ticketmaster. We’ll also be giving a pair starting tomorrow.
Might want to act quick if you want tickets. His past two Save Mart Center shows had sold-out crowds. His 2008 show, in fact, drew 15,266, the biggest crowd for a concert at Save Mart Center.
TWO DAYS OF FLUFF:Gabriel Iglesias — the popular comic affectionately known as the “Fluffy Guy” — is back in the Valley on Oct. 27 and 28, performing at Hanford Fox Theatre. Tickets cost $43 and are on sale now. For more info or to buy tickets: (559) 584-7423. We recommend he visit Superior Dairy.
WEEZIN’ THE JUICE: Here’s a name you might be surprised to see doing stand-up: Pauly Shore. Shore, who found fame in the late ’80s as an MTV VJ and turned it into a movie career with credits such as “Encino Man” and “Son In Law,” is doing for a pair of stand-up shows at Starline. He’ll perform at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 9. Tickets cost $20. Hit up americanmadeconcerts.com to get some.