Spring Arts Preview 2014: Comedy

Comedian Eddie Izzard performs at Boston's Citi Wang Theater on May 8 and 9. (Credit Jerod Harris/FilmMagic)
Comedian Eddie Izzard performs at Boston’s Citi Wang Theater on May 8 and 9. (Credit Jerod Harris/FilmMagic)

They say laughter is the best medicine, and we couldn’t agree more. Get rid of that wintery disposition with these funny people.

Moshe Kasher
April 3 through April 5
Laugh Boston
425 Summer St., Boston
$20-$25, 617-725-2844

Moshe Kasher comes off initially as a harmless, waifish geek, which can make the darkness of his humor surprising. He exploits this confusion for all it’s worth, more than happy to let you underestimate him. He’s a comic who seems as pleased to provoke discomfort as to provoke laughter. His best jokes do both.

Jay Pharoah
April 25, 7:30 p.m.
Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
$25, 800-745-3000

Newly minted “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jay Pharoah’s impressive stable of impressions, encompassing just about everyone from Denzel Washington to Gollum, is bound to draw comparisons to Eddie Murphy, so it’s a nice irony that he also does a great Eddie Murphy. His sub-specialty is hip-hop royalty, especially Jay-Z, whose weird quavering vocal inflections and odd ejaculations he nails perfectly.

Upright Citizens Brigade
April 26, 7 p.m.
Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
$20, 800-745-3000

One of the most established hotspots for initiation into the mysteries of improv comedy, New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade has helped launched the careers of far too many awesome comedic talents to mention here. Chances are some of the unknowns you’ll see at this show will not be unknowns for much longer — but all of them will be very funny.

Lisa Lampanelli
May 3, 9:45 p.m.
Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
$42-$64, 800-745-3000

Insult comic Lisa Lampanelli is frequently compared to Don Rickles, a major influence. Just like Rickles, she has a weird gift for saying offensive thing on top of offensive thing and yet never really offending. How does she do it? Who knows? But after a little while, she can make even the most high-minded, morally humorless types crack at least a smile.

Eddie Izzard
May 8 and May 9
Citi Wang Theater
270 Tremont St., Boston
$46-$69, 800-745-3000

Yes, British comic Eddie Izzard is a proud transvestite, but his wardrobe actually has very little to do with his act, which, as his fans know, is full of geeky, surrealistic jokes about history, science, religion, movies, TV and so on, delivered in a muttering, digressive ramble that, however much it meanders, always ends up someplace funny.


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