Sometimes you have to snicker. Or giggle. Or titter.
While the why and the when are ultimately up to you, this weekend delivers comic excuses to chortle, cackle or just let out a good old-fashioned horselaugh. You know, like your Uncle Larry has. You don’t have an Uncle Larry? That’s funny. See, we’ve already started!
A reminder: Not all comic things are purely comic, right? Undercurrents of greater meaning can exist in the same space as amusement. Just ask Uncle Larry. What a guy.
Comic book fans, creators and cosplayers – plus a cache of comic-inspired screen celebs, including Margo Kidder, Jeff East and other actors from the original “Superman” movie franchise – will gather for three days of funny book festivities in downtown KC.
Incredibly self-aware comic geek and rib-tickling alternative filmmaker Kevin Smith (“Clerks,” “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”) will co-host a live recording of his “Fatman on Batman” podcast for followers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Ensconced in his “Fat Cave,” Smith will try to keep a straight face (at least some of the time) while doting on the social significance of the Dark Knight.
Also at the con: Burt Ward (Robin) and Lee Meriwether (Catwoman) of 1960s “Batman” fame; actor Jason Mewes (the Jay in Jay and Silent Bob) and comic shop cast members from AMC’s reality TV series, “Comic Book Men.” Gosh, I remember when comics were for kids.
Friday, 1-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Bartle Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20-$35 (ages 10 and younger free); “Fatman on Batman” tickets: $30-$45.
This musical comedy based on Mel Brooks’ classic 1974 movie sendup of 1930s Frankenstein flicks was also a success on Broadway. A talented local cast will tackle the time-tested material, which is a virtual lock to unchain laughter from the lips of audiences. Roar again at lines you loved in the movie: “Put … the … candle … back.” “Yes! Yes! He was my boyfriend!” “Elevate me.” “Roll, roll, roll in zee hay!” “No tongues.” “What hump?” “Wait! Where are you going? I was gonna make espresso.” And that’s just the tip of the comic electrode.
Thursday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; the White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $14-$25.
3. Demetri Martin
Standup comic Demetri Martin, who started out as a writer on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” is on his “Let’s Get Awkward Tour,” which promises to be a rewardingly uncomfortable experience. Martin is both traditionally observational and inventively intellectual in his approach to standup, as he systematically squirms about the farcical realities of everyday life, whether noting the inherent absurdities of personal introductions, family photos, love triangles or people watching.
Friday, 8 p.m.; Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $37.50.
4. ‘Sister Act’
The stage version of the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg movie vehicle, “Sister Act,” sticks to its reliable comic source material: A high-spirited woman witnesses a murder and needs a place to lay low until the culprit is caught, so she pretends to be a nun in a conservative convent. Is there any other kind? Laughter and disco dancing ensue. But even with all the comicality (yes, that’s a word), there is poignancy. When a young nun affectingly questions her mission in the show-stopping ballad, “The Life I Never Led,” you can really feel her need to find her true self. Anyone making the mistake of taking a bathroom break during the big number can only laugh at themselves.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Barn Players Community Theatre, 6219 Martway St., Mission, Kan.; tickets: $12-$18.
The self-styled “Japanese Action Comic Punk Band” from New York – indeed, there is only one – likes to promote itself as a family act. And why not? Peelander-Z likes to go “Star Bowling." It displays a collective “Galaxy Smile.” And its favorite snack is “Taco Taco Tacos,” which everybody likes. The band has even been known to throw its sci-fi/fantasy costume-wearing visages at Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Noisy, joyous, comic gold! With Drop a Grand and Westerners.
Thursday, 9 p.m.; recordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$17
The woods are dark and so are most the carefully placed comedic moments in “Into the Woods,” whose countless admirers are celebrating the Tony Award-winning show’s 30th anniversary this year. Musical Theatre Heritage’s treatment of the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim masterpiece about the highs and lows of fairy tale characters – including the comic “Agony” of two pompous Prince Charmings competing for the same hand in marriage – may well have you on the edge of your seat. And perhaps under it. Droll can take its toll!
Thursday, 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Musical Theatre Heritage at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $21-$62.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.