We made it to November! The one month of the year where everyone gets to wear a coat for two weeks, if we’re lucky. Even the grackles seem to be friendlier and grateful for the queso they’ll be stealing from you. In this month of Thanksgiving, I’m personally thankful for the amazing comedy scene. November is a feast of heavy hitters coming to town and side dishes of good ol fashioned Austin oddities.
On Nov. 18, “ Stuffed: A Thanksgiving Puppet Comedy Show ” — an hourlong variety show featuring sketch, improv and stand-up, all with puppets, created by Chadwick Smith and featuring Patrick Knisely — comes to the New Movement. Smith has been puppeteering since the age of 5 and started making puppets in high school “just to see what I could do.” I once overheard an actual Muppeteer ask if Smith was “Henson trained.” Smith was inspired by the Muppets, and he’s just that good. You can also see him weekly in the New Movement’s popular show “F*ck This Week!”
I can’t think of a better way to spend my Thanksgiving than with some of Chad’s strange creations. I hope he’s invented a new holiday tradition. Sure beats actually hanging with your real family.
Here’s a buffet of treats ready to make you laugh in November!
Alonzo Bodden with Yusef Roach at Velveeta Room. A veteran of the late night talk shows and a rising star on his own, Bodden returns to the legendary Velveeta Room with local favorite Yusef Roach as an opener. Bodden, who won Season 3 on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, is a regular on NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” and “Comedy Congress,” as well as being a panelist on the Game Show Network’s “Mind of a Man.
“Comedy Sucks” at the Institution Theater. In an era of endless streaming video, there’s a nostalgia for the physical allure of VHS and the strange treasures that were found rummaging through racks of chunky boxes. Welcome to “Comedy Sucks,” the underground variety show hosted by Scott Blacks and featuring VHS found footage videos by Comedy Central’s late great @midnight’s “Grimy Ghost!”
Jim Gaffigan at ACL Live. Who doesn’t like Jim Gaffigan? Honestly, he’s a “clean” comic who can hang with the dirty ones. He can perform for the pope (seriously), Flight of the Conchords (and sings!), and has even done a stint as Colonel Sanders on TV. He looks like a giant baby but with the brain capacity of Jerry Seinfeld. Gaffigan had to cancel his April shows in Austin due to a family emergency and now resumes his “Noble Ape” tour.
Demetri Martin at the Paramount Theater. Demetri Martin is a smart guy, like writing a 224-word poem on fractal geometry smart. Martin is also very funny. I first caught his act on “The Daily Show” as the senior youth correspondent and have enjoyed his first comedy album “These Are Jokes.” His multimedia comedy is accompanied by his own artwork and music. Martin is definitely one you want to see live, especially in a beautiful setting like the Paramount. Who knows? He might bust out some fractal geometry as an encore.
Industry Night Variety Show at North Door. Industry Night is one of my favorite variety shows in town. The show is hosted by real-life couple Cami Alys and Zach Muhn and boasts an ungodly amount of local talent in this “new old school variety show.” Local performers showcase their wares in a series of skits, monologues, musical numbers, live art and good old fashioned whimsy. I’ll be there cheering this show on. It’s a blast.
“Loverboy” at ColdTowne Theater. “Loverboy” uses real dating stories to inspire their fast-paced and exciting improv show. Each performance features a different guest monologist that will delight the audience with their most shocking, cringe-worthy and downright hilarious tales of dating gone wrong (or right!).
The Lucas Brothers at Cap City Comedy Club. Perhaps you’ve seen identical twins Keith and Kenny Lucas on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” or “Lady Dynamite.” Perhaps you recognize their inimitable hoodies, glasses and flipped-up baseball hats. Perhaps you’ve caught their animated sitcom “Lucas Brothers Moving Company” on Fox. Perhaps it’s time you see them live. It’ll blow your mind.
Brently Heilbron is a writer, emo puppet and host of the PBS series “Stand Up Empire.” Got a show to recommend? Reach out @Brently on Twitter!