Comedians brings their acts to Washington, D.C.

By Lavanya Ramanathan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 11, 2010

Comedians love a Washington crowd.

And why not? We know how to take a joke. As buttoned-up and BlackBerried as we are during the day, we revel in political humor and can take blue without blanching. Even our federal workers are funny.

That might explain why so many comics are Washington-bound this summer. Missed Conan last week and Chelsea Handler before that? Plenty of chances remain to get in some belly laughs. Must-see comedy this summer season:

Nick Thune

This young Los Angeles-based actor and alt-comic plays the naif to the hilt in his widely viewed YouTube videos. On the heels of the release of his debut comedy CD, "Thick Noon," Thune stops in Arlington for a two-night stint.

Friday and Saturday at 9:45 p.m. Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. 703-486-2345. http://www.arlingtondrafthouse.com. $20.

Loni Love

A regular gig as a talking head on the talk show "Chelsea Lately" has boosted Love's profile. The comic was in Washington earlier this month as part of the "Comedians of Chelsea Lately" tour, but it'll be far better to catch her at the DC Improv on June 23 for the monthly pay-what-you-can night. Love's run at the club continues through June 26.

June 23-24 at 8 p.m.; June 25-26 at 8 and 10:30 p.m. DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-296-7008. http://www.dcimprov.com. $15-$17.

The Family Hemerlein Variety Show

In this offshoot of last fall's successful Bentzen Ball comedy festival, local pop singer and instrumentalist Matthew Hemerlein and his comedian pal Seaton Smith play host to local and out-of-town comics and musicians. Brightest Young Things and Hemerlein share curating duties for the event, held the last Thursday of each month; the result is an intimate, surprisingly enriching evening.

June 24 at 9 p.m. Gibson Guitar Showroom, 709 G St. NW. http://www.brightestyoungthings.com. $10 in advance; $15 at the door.

Fan-Freaking-Tastic

Comedian Vijai Nathan launched her own monthly storytelling night in April in hopes of creating one big "comedy party," with invited guests expounding on the month's theme, which in June will be "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that." In truth, the funniest lines go to Nathan, who gives the show a major boost with her charming child-of-immigrants-meets-1980s-Valley-Girl persona.

June 26 at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.; seating is limited). Chief Ike's Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Rd. NW. 212-330-7025 or 202-332-2211. http://www.chiefikes.com. $10 at the door only.

The Marijuana-Logues

This comedic send-up of recreational drug use -- part "Half-Baked," part "Vagina Monologues" -- debuted at the Actors' Playhouse in New York in 2004. The show's D.C. premiere features one of the original writers, Tony Camin, performing with Rob Cantrell and Mike Larsen.

July 30-31 at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202-547-1122. http://www.shakespearetheatre.org. $20.

Patton Oswalt

Oswalt -- a Broad Run High School grad who went on to star in "Ratatouille" and "Big Fan" -- employs a winning mix of charm, wrath and intelligence that bowled over the opening-night audience at the Bentzen Ball. Don't miss him when he returns to Washington.

Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. Warner Theatre, 13th and E streets NW. 877-598-8696. http://www.warnertheatre.com. $27-$34.50.

Aziz Ansari

When Ansari took the stage at the Onion DC kickoff party at the Black Cat (capacity: a few hundred) in 2007, the Lilliputian alt-comic's absurdist humor drew nothing short of puzzled stares. Three short years later, dork humor is hot, and so, consequently, is Ansari. He just hosted the MTV Movie Awards and has a starring role on NBC's "Parks and Recreation." You can see the rising star when he visits Washington for not one but two headlining gigs at the Warner Theatre (capacity: 1,800-plus).

Sept. 17 at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Warner Theatre, 13th and E streets NW. 877-598-8696. http://www.warnertheatre.com. $35.


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