From stand-up open mics featuring local talent to national acts, Asheville delivered some big laughs.
Improv with Kevin McDonald at Toy Boat Community Theatre — As a major “Kids in the Hall” fan, the opportunity to see Canadian comedian Kevin McDonald right here in Asheville felt like a tiny gift from heaven. Not only did McDonald perform two strange and unforgettable original songs, he was also joined by lots of local funny people doing stand-up, improv and sketch comedy. (Stand-up comic Minori Hinds was particularly hilarious.) McDonald turned out to be a very down-to-earth dude and invited my boyfriend and me to watch The Super Bowl with him the next day at The Southern. There were lots of other people there, but I like to pretend it was just us.
Yes Fest at The Magnetic Theatre — Local improv troupes No Regets, Reasonably Prices Babies, Oxymorons and Blacklist are all so talented and funny, it’s hard to pick a favorite. What made the Yes Fest so fantastic is that you didn’t have to pick a favorite — they all performed in the same, three-night show.
I’m Proud of You Variety Show at Toy Boat — This show featured some of my favorite funny people in Asheville, including host Chase McNeill. The evening was formatted like a talk show with sketch comedy interludes. Top moments included a surprise appearance from Bjork and a uni-browed, leotard-clad dance troupe performing the Flashdance theme song. You can catch the next installment of the show on Sunday, Feb. 21.
Lizz Winstead at The Grey Eagle — Lizz Winstead is a personal hero I never knew I had until I stumbled upon her stand-up set at The Grey Eagle. This fierce and funny woman of comedy co-created “The Daily Show” and, more recently, is a champion of women’s rights with Lady Parts Justice League. I’ve never laughed so hard about access to birth control.
Stand-up open mic at The Odditorium — Hosted by stand-up comic and Asheville FM radio host Tom Peters, the open mic at The Odditorium is a weekly comedy staple that features a range of local talent. New troupe Blacklist Improv performs before every open mic, which is just icing on the cake. It happens every Tuesday, and it’s free, so check it out in 2016.