On Stage

Standup Central

A comedic convergence
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If standup comedians do their jobs correctly, they make something that’s infinitely difficult look exceedingly easy. The following performers—who, lucky for us, will be in our area in the immediate and near future—are ones who’ve proven they have what it takes to not only start, but also sustain, the laughter.

When I judged a round of the annual Seattle International Comedy Competition last year, Missouri-born comedian Mike Baldwin’s understated yet hilarious set had him winning that night’s competition, hands down. Turns out it wasn’t just a fluke, as the soft-spoken fella took home that year’s title after more than 30 comedians from around the globe battled it out over the course of 25 days, 22 shows and 17 venues. At the Best of Seattle International Comedyperformance this Friday at the Skagit Valley Casino, Baldwin will be joined by Damonde Tschritter and Darryl Lenox, past winners of the comedy smackdown. Host Alysia Wood will lead the way, and each funnyman will get a turn at the mic. When: 8pm Fri., Jan. 25 Where: Skagit Valley Casino Resort Cost: $23-$27 Info: http://www.theskagit.com

Lewis Black is no stranger to Bellingham—perhaps because ticket-buying audiences here have realized that beyond his gruff, apoplectic exterior lies a smart, reasoned man who’s learned to channel his anger into hilarious, spittle-filled monologues that take on everything from our skewed political system to iPhones and many, many things in between. When he makes a “The Rant is Due” tour stop in Bellingham at a Jan. 31 performance at the Mount Baker Theatre, he’ll bring his delightful diatribes front and center to remind us why we pack his shows whenever he comes to town. And, in case you were worried about his health after seeing the frenzies he’s capable of whipping himself into, the 64-year-old comedian says his blood pressure is just fine. In a recent interview with The Denver Post, Black posited that comedy is what allows him to “let it all out.” When: 8pm Thurs., Jan. 31 Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. Cost: $45-$59 Info: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

Judging by the amount of hits Gabriel Iglesias’ mirthful monologues have racked up on YouTube, many millions of people have tuned in to see the super-sized comedian hit the stage—both in person and online. After viewing a few of them, and laughing out loud while sitting at my desk, it’s easy to see why. Whether he’s focusing on being “fluffy” instead of fat, sharing his high school reunion stories or talking about the time he was accosted by two big men who turn out to be “bears” (and flirty fans), his approach to standup is both personable and joyfully funny—and definitely point to the fact that he made the right decision when he decided to quit his steady job at a cell phone company in Los Angeles to pursue comedy on a full-time basis. Iglesias will be bringing his “Stand Up Revolution” to Bellingham on Valentine’s Day, and it’s not too early to suggest tickets purchased in advance would be a great way to let your sweetie know you care. When: 8pm Thurs., Feb. 14 Where: Mount Baker Theatre Cost: $40 Info: 734-6080 or http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

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