Don't miss the touring production of The Color Purple, in which Alice Walker's emotional wringer about racism and female strength in Jim Crow-era Georgia gets John Doyle's Tony-winning staging. Matthew Murphy

This summer, Seattle stages will offer everything from Disney musicals to a Cirque du Soleil homage to street sports to some of the best comedians in the biz. Below, we've rounded up all of our critics' performance picks for the season. Plus, find a complete list of theater, dance, and comedy events in Seattle this summer on our Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.

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Jump to: Theater | Musical Theater | Dance | Drag | Cabaret & Burlesque | Circus & Acrobatics | Variety | Live Podcasts & Web Shows | Comedy

THEATER



June 7–July 7

How I Learned to Drive Paula Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize for this intense drama about trauma, manipulation, and freedom. Li'l Bit is our narrator, guiding us through memories of her scarred childhood and adolescence. The title refers to her driving lessons with Uncle Peck, a monstrous yet pathetic (and believable) man who molests her over the years with his wife's knowledge. Winding through past and present scenes, Li'l Bit makes us understand how her personality was warped by these atrocious acts—yet how Uncle Peck paradoxically gave her the tools to free herself. (12th Avenue Arts, $10—$36)


June 8–July 8

Until the Flood To create this one-act solo show about the shooting of Michael Brown, theater-maker Dael Orlandersmith conducted hours of interviews with 60 to 80 citizens of Ferguson, Missouri. "I let them talk, I let them talk," Orlandersmith said in an interview to Milwaukee Rep. What emerged from those conversations is this collection of powerful recollections, one that ultimately demands the end of the slaughter of black men in the streets of St. Louis and everywhere else, and one that offers some practical solutions for how we might best accomplish that goal. If you've never seen Orlandersmith perform, you should know she wields a no-nonsense delivery that pins you to your chair and forces you to listen. Get ready. RS (ACT Theatre, $20—$95)


June 14–21

Dragon Mama Sara Porkalob's family saga, as seen in Madame Dragon and Dragon Lady, will continue with the story of Porkalob's mother Maria, seeking friends of color and queer love in Bremerton, WA. Considering Porkalob's prominence and talent as a performer and director, this may be your chance to catch the genesis of a show that will grow on other stages. (18th & Union, $15—$25)


June 15–24

House of Sueños Meme Garcia's House of Sueños uses Hamlet to explore her relationships with her mentally ill sister and others in her life. To quote Rich Smith: "Playing herself, Hamlet, Ophelia, the sister she feels like she's wronged, and the abusive ex-boyfriend who wronged her, Garcia sits onstage in a basement and sifts through 60 years of artifacts left behind by her recently departed grandparents." (18th & Union, $15—$25)


June 15–July 1

The Last Starfighter The idea that video games could be used as a recruitment tool by an alien race on the lookout for human teenage boys to help them fight off predators was ahead of its time, as was this cult 1984 sci-fi action comedy film, which featured the earliest examples of CGI known to cinema. How they're going to make it work as a stage play is a pretty rich mystery, but if your affection for the movie runs as deep as it usually does (if you've heard of it, odds are it's pretty special to you, as it was not a big hit at the time), it's probably worth a trip to the Eastside to find out. SN (Second Story Repertory, $29/$30)


Through Sun June 17

Mac Beth An adaptation of the Shakespeare play that dare not speak its name inside a theater, Erica Schmidt's reimagining grows out of high school students discovering the text after school and gradually coming to inhabit the characters, language, and grisly thematic deathscape. Macbeth is all about the toxicity of ambition, a moral framework that is always valuable to revisit. It's also rare among Shakespeare's plays in that the female lead is actually the best part in the whole show by a mile. It's intriguing to think of what an all-female cast will make of both the work itself and the act of claiming it. SN (Seattle Repertory Theatre, $36—$56)


Through Sun July 1

Smoked! Ray Tagavilla will star in an Eastwood-esque tribute to the Western, in which an ace shooter arrives in the town of Sauget to defend a farmer accused of "eco-terrorism." Paul Budraitis will direct a production that's paired with Chef Erin Brindley's four-course meal. (Cafe Nordo, $60—$85)


July 12–29

Persimmon Nights Sara Porkalob, the prominent local creator of Madame Dragon, will mount another dinner theatre production, which she’ll also star in: Seayoung Yim’s story of a young Korean nightclub owner’s rise and fall in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Be serenaded by the Kimchi Kittens and enjoy a Korean-inspired menu as you watch. (Cafe Nordo, $75)


Aug 2–4

Blood Wedding The Williams Project, headed by artistic director Ryan Guzzo Purcell, will stage Federico García Lorca's ferocious and poetic folk play about infidelity and murder—the translation by the fearless Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. (Equinox Studios)


Sept 7–30

Skylight A young woman flees a long-term affair with a rich married restaurateur when his ailing wife finds them out. Having previously lived in splendid comfort virtually as a member of their happy extended family, she now lives in self-imposed shame exile, working with poor, violent kids who have even fewer resources than she does. Then late one night, her former lover's son shows up to ask why she abandoned him. Shortly after he leaves, his father's limo rolls up. David Hare's drama, originally produced in 1995 and later revived in 2015 (with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, just to give you a sense of the age disparity) is a strange combination of trenchant and way out of step with the psycho-social and -sexual temperature of 2018, but, like most of his major works, it's funny and involving, and serves as a cracking showcase for two actors who know what they're doing. SN (ACT Theatre, $20—$60)


Sept 12–Oct 7

Richard III Last year, the all-women crew of upstart crow collective produced an all-female adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry the VI that was so good it actually made people want to see a production of Henry the VI. I reckon they'll have the same luck with this classic tale of throne-hungry villainy. Top-notch veteran actor Sarah Hartlett will take on the title role. RS (Seattle Center)


OUTDOOR THEATER


July 13–Aug 18

GreenStage Shakespeare in the Park and Backyard Bard This year, as part of their 30th annual Shakespeare in the Park series, GreenStage will present Henry IV, Part 1 and The Three Musketeers. They’ll also offer the one-hour-long Backyard Bard series, a “smaller Shakespeare in the Park for smaller spaces,” featuring The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Winter’s Tale. (Various locations)


July 14–15

Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival Theater is alive in Seattle, but, as in most places, it generally isn’t cheap. GreenStage, Theater Schmeater, and Wooden O Productions set out to change that in 2001 with the first Outdoor Theater Festival. Watch Shakespeare plays and more contemporary pieces from the festival’s founders and seven other theater companies over what will hopefully be a sunny weekend. (Volunteer Park)


MUSICAL THEATER



Through Sun June 24

Hunchback of Notre Dame Says my source: "This musical, while it has all of the goods from the Disney movie, is not an adaptation of the Disney film. It stays more true to the book and is darker than the Disney film. This will be directed by Glenn Casale, who directed Little Mermaid for us." God, The Little Mermaid at the 5th was so good. In 2016 in Sacramento, deaf actor John McGinty played the role of Quasimodo—which was "the first time a deaf actor has played the role," according to the Sacramento Bee. Quasimodo is deaf. Deaf actor Joshua M. Castille will play the role in Seattle. CF (The 5th Avenue Theatre, $29—$141)


June 6–17

Les Misérables Is there a better musical about poverty, resistance, and police overreach than Les Misérables? Is there a better song about unrequited love than "On My Own," the number Eponine sings while walking through Paris? Is there a more vivid, sexed-up cheapskate than Thenardier? (Okay, maybe Trump. But at least Thenardier has a sense of humor about his awfulness.) Les Misérables is one of the undefeated musicals of our time. Yes, it's a bit treacly, and yes, it's very Christian, but it still works, and it's more stirring as a live performance than as a movie. CF (Paramount Theatre, $77+)


June 27–July 1

The Color Purple Alice Walker is taking over Seattle this year, and I'm fine with that. She'll be opening up the poetry series for Seattle Arts and Lectures in October, but this summer the Paramount will run Tony-winning director John Doyle's version of this Tony-winning musical, which was based on Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. If you haven't read the book, or if your mom didn't sit you down and make you watch the 1995 film adaptation starring Oprah, you should know that Walker sets the story in Jim Crow Georgia. Celie grows up the victim of unspeakable violence at the hands of men. This trend follows her into adulthood, but she comes into her own with the help of strong female role models. RS (Paramount Theatre, $45—$100)


Aug 8–19

The Phantom of the Opera Look forward to impressive operatic singing, a creepy theater-dweller in a mask, and new special effects (including a probably dramatic/startling chandelier scene) in this new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. (Paramount Theatre, $35+)


Sept 13–16

Rachel Mars: Our Carnal Hearts What capitalists call "ambition," UK performer Rachel Mars and her female choir call a cocktail of envy, self-doubt, guilt, and regret. More than any virtue, it's these spiky sins that drive us to act. Or so the artists argue in this playful and extremely cathartic-sounding avant-garde production. The 60-minute explosion of a show premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, and so far everyone's been raving about it. Powder, fire, rubber chickens, and the strong smell of coffee figure heavily in the performance, so the show should find a happy home here in Seattle. RS (On the Boards)


DANCE



June 7–23

Seattle International Dance Festival For 16 days, dancers from around the world (and some local stars) will perform in indoor and outdoor venues. In general, the focus is on innovation and diversity—expect to be inspired and occasionally unnerved. (Various locations, $25–$135)


June 8–16

Transfigurate Transfigurate, the final performance in Whim W'Him's 2017—2018 season, will boast three new works by Danielle Agami (formerly of Batsheva), Pascal Touzeau (ex-Ballet Frankfurt), and, as always, Whim W'Him's artistic director Olivier Wevers. (Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 8 pm, $30—$55)


Fri June 15

Next Step: Outside In The Pacific Northwest Ballet's annual showcase of new dance works will spread outside onto Seattle Center's yards. Outdoor performances are free to view from 6-7:30 pm, while indoor dances afterwards are $25. The Next Step's choreographers this year are Guillaume Basso, Nancy Casciano, Christopher d'Ariano, Cecilia Iliesiu, and Amanda Morgan, and the program also includes pieces by Donald Byrd, Miles Pertl, and Bruno Roque, as well as Noelani Pantastico's Picnic. Stay on for a dance party with Purple Lemonade Collective. (McCaw Hall, 7:30 pm, $20—$25)


July 5–15

Seattle Butoh Festival Celebrate the art of Butoh (a modern Japanese dance, in which the performers are often covered in white body paint) at this two-day performance featuring DAIPAN members and guest artist Mushimaru Fujieda all the way from Japan. (Various locations, free–$300)


July 27–28

Strictly Seattle If you love dance, you can't miss this festival of innovative choreography and experimental workshops. Dancers will have collaborated with choreographers Heather Kravas, Jody Kuehner, Zoe Scofield, Marlo Ariz, Daniel Costa, Jaret Hughes, and Maya Soto to invent brand-new works during the month of July. The results—which also include KT Niehoff's dance film class's pieces—will be performed for the public at the end of the month, so you'll be seeing world premieres. (Velocity Dance Center, $20/$25)


July 29–Aug 5

Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation The Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, presented by Velocity Dance Center, is a diverse weeklong exploration with intensive classes, drop-in workshops, talks, "jams," and performances, including the avant-garde Dance Innovators showcase on August 2. (Velocity Dance Center, $15—$525)


Aug 27–31

Yellow Fish Durational Performance Festival Witness art as an expression of endurance—and no, we're not talking about sitting through an Eli Roth movie or something. Yellow Fish sends performers to various parts of Capitol Hill to say "fuck you!" to exhaustion, boredom, irritation, pain, and the grinding passage of time in pieces that last from one to 48 hours. Think Marina Abramovic fasting and remaining mute for 12 days in front of an audience, or EJ Hill lying in a wooden roller coaster for three months. While Yellow Fish's artists won't be holding poses for quite so long, they'll still mount a challenge to the idea that performance art should be brief and digestible. This edition will ask artists to bring back pieces from the past. (Capitol Hill)


CABARET & BURLESQUE



Sun June 17

Dita von Teese and the Copper Coupe Probably the most famous burlesque dancer alive, Dita Von Teese will take her sexy and luxurious act to Seattle. See her curl up in a giant cocktail glass, get showered with more than 1000 pearl balloons while dancing in a giant seashell, and slink around in leather and Swarovski crystals. (Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm, $33–$53)


Through Sun June 24

Bananas! Feel fresh as a shot of rum at this Grease-inspired, Parisian-style cabaret show celebrating the hot(tish) Seattle weather. (Can Can, $25–$65)


June 29–Sept 30

Femme Fatale Femme Fatale brings together dance, music, and body-mapped projections to tell the story of Mata Hari, the legendary double agent and exotic dancer in World War I. The piece will feature choreography by Fae Pink, soundtrack by Pink & Pezzner collaborating with Prom Queen, set and scenic designers Jonathan Betchtel and JC Bedard, with projection mapping by TJ Davis of Lux Collective. (Can Can, 7 pm, 9:30 pm, $35–$65)


DRAG



Mon June 11

Kissing Like Babies When Stranger Genius Cherdonna Shinatra premiered Kissing Like Babies at On the Boards last year, Rich Smith called it a "cross-genre clownsplosion of a show." Now, the anti-patriarchal "female impersonator impersonator" is back to attack the infantilization of women through wild, vulgar drag dance. (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $20)


Tues June 12

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts RuPaul's Drag Race idol Trixie Mattel's first-ever tour will bring the Trixie & Katya Show star to Seattle, with music from her debut album Moving Parts and witty drag shenanigans. (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $35—$99)


Thurs June 21

Dungeons & Drag Queens Hang Ten: Pride 2018! The Stranger's Chase Burns once wrote this about Matt Baume's Dungeons & Drag Queens: "Baume is a prolific nerd with a keen eye for talent, and [this show] features some of the most beloved queens in town. Who doesn't want to see Arson Nicki as a warlock? Rubes, that's who." Follow the fearless adventurers Harlotte O'Scara, Butylene O'Kipple, Nicki, Bolt, and Fraya Love as they brave the perils of...the beach! (Kremwerk, 6 pm, $10/$13)

National Treasures An all-star lineup of Bianca Del Rio, Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine, and Jackie Beat will take over the stage for two hours. (SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 8 pm, $20—$120)

Thriftease Pride 2018: Pop Art Pageant A wise twink once described Mona Real as "what would happen if Divine walked into Fremont Vintage and came out with the whole store." There are few queens who serve thrift-shop fantasy like Mona Real, and Thriftease is Seattle's chance to finger around her closet (and take home the goods). Queer go-go queens and dive-bar divas will model vintage finds, curated by Real, and the audience will bid on the items—everything beginning at an affordable $1. Winning bids help the models strip down to their panties, so prepare for butts. CHASE BURNS (Timbre Room, 7 pm, $10/$15)


Sat June 23

ArtHaus: All-Stars 2 The weirdo drag battles at ArtHaus produce the kind of shockingly brilliant, deeply strange, and delightfully incomprehensible performances that I imagine when old timers talk about the off-the-wall art people used to make before the first wave of tech money started "ruining" everything. Go and have fun at something for once in your life. RS (Timbre Room, 7 pm)


July 5–8

CAMPTACULAR! See why hilarious Kitten 'N Lou, who have worked with Lady Gaga and BenDeLaCreme, have headlined all over the world with this reprise of their show CAMPTACULAR!, full of summer camp hijinks, naughty jokes, lollipop-colored costumes and some of the most inventive dancers, drag artists, and actors in Seattle—Randy Ford, Markeith Wiley, and Cherdonna Shinatra. Jeez Loueez will join all the way from Chicago. (Triple Door, $28—$45)


Thurs July 12

Mama Tits Is 'Big & Loud' Get a load of the pipes on that broad! Everyone's favorite giant of drag is back in town and ready to belt out one showstopper after another. Mama's show Big & Loud is part storytelling, part musical revue, and part comedic act—with a voice so sultry, it'll make your socks go up and down. Mama is one of a rare breed of drag performers whose song, dance, and personality can command any space she enters, whether it's a coffee shop or an auditorium or a city street. And with dinner and drinks served to your table, the Triple Door is a perfect home for this triple threat. MATT BAUME (Triple Door, 8 pm, $25—$35)


Fri July 13

Queer'd Science: Androids, Fembots, and Nonbinary Cyborgs Miss Texas 1988, a rising (lone) star in the drag scene, presents this sparky suite of lip synchs "inspired by the fictional MegaMen, Bionic Women, & genderless gadgets we know and love." According to press materials, she'll co-host with "a malfunctioning MamaBot," and introduce special guest Arson Nicki, among other glitchy queens. If this show doesn't single-handedly goad the entire tech community to fund and participate in the theatrical arts, then they don't deserve it. RS (Rendezvous, 9:30 pm, $20—$30)


Sundays

Mimosas Cabaret The drag diva titaness Mama Tits presides over another iteration of Mimosas Cabaret, featuring a short musical, plus songs, comedy, dance, and brunch. (Unicorn, 1 pm, $25)


CIRCUS & ACROBATICS



Sept 14–Oct 28

Cirque du Soleil VOLTA An homage to free, adventurous spirits with acrobatics inspired by the culture of street sports (i.e., sports adapted for an urban environment, like parkour, street riding, and free urban solo climbing), this latest Cirque presentation follows a game show contestant who discovers something much more meaningful and fulfilling amid his search for fame and acceptance. Expect a stunning visual feast driven by poetic movement and accompanied by a mesmerizing score. LP (Marymoor Park, $39+)


VARIETY



June 8–17

NW New Works Festival As Rich Smith explained in 2017, this festival invites dance, theater, music, performance, and film artists from all over the region to "freakify the stages of On the Boards over the course of two weekends." It's a big deal that gives artists space every year to play around with new, weird ideas. Smith again: "I guarantee at least two of these ~20-minute pieces will grow into full-length shows that will take this town (and maybe the world) by storm in the coming years." (On the Boards, $16—$34)


Sat June 16

14/48: Speakeasy Gamble and give money for this very cool theater project, which promises burlesque, music, magic, and unlimited beer and wine, plus food, raffles, and prizes. (Freehold Theatre, 8 pm, $14/$48)


Sat June 23

90th Anniversary Celebration: The People's Theatre Polymath Nancy Guppy will host this free celebration of the historic venue's 90th anniversary, with performances from SassyBlack plus queer friends, Lieu Quan Lion Dance Team, Apna Bhangra Crew, NW Tap Connection (with music by Shakiah Danielson and Levi Ware), Ten Man Brass Band, Seattle Kokon Taiko, and Seattle Women's Steel Pan Project. There will even be an outdoor cash bar. (Paramount Theatre, 5—8 pm, free)


June 29–30

Malden Works Present: BLEED! with Queen Shmooquan Alisa Popova and Patrick Clark will join forces with "psychedelic vaudevillian" dancer and Hangy Down Priestess Queen Shmooquan for a night of "Cutting-edge, Iron-rich, Crimson Performance from Seattle's Atrium." We don't know what will happen at Shmooquan's show, but we do know that Trent Moorman witnessed her feed Twinkies to rubber chickens in 2015. (Base: Experimental Arts + Space, 7:30 pm, $20)


July 20–Aug 12

Lauren Weedman Doesn't Live Here Anymore Lauren Weedman, who was a big fish in the brackish pond of Seattle comedy/media before going legit and winding up with credits like The Daily Show, Arrested Development, and loads of others, will be returning with the latest in what has become a series of solo (with guests) shows that incorporate monologue, sketch, and song all in the service of a noble goal: revealing the facets of herself that may be less than exemplary while also being very funny. Weedman says the new show deals with "the issues of being betrayed and getting divorced," but that "the themes are applicable to most anyone—for example, discovering who you really are, or finding yourself alone, or perhaps realizing that you're not who you thought you were." SN (ACT Theatre, $20—$70)


Mondays

The Magic Hat Presented by Emmett Montgomery and Friends Five "brilliant humans(?)," ranging from seasoned stand-up comics to sketch performers to audience members, are selected (presumably out of the Magic Hat) throughout the show to perform weekly at this comedy variety show, otherwise described as a "friendship machine that will make the world a better place." (Rendezvous, 7 pm, $5)


First Fridays

Spin the Bottle This is Seattle's longest-running cabaret and has seen just about everything—dance, theater, comedy, paper airplanes, tears, stunts, music, romance—from just about everyone. (Annex Theatre, 11 pm, $10/$15)


Last Fridays

La Petite Mort's Anthology of Erotic Esoterica See "the darker side of performance art" at this eerie, secretive variety show with circus arts, burlesque, music, and more. Feel free to wear a mask if you'd rather not be seen. (The Conservatory, 8 pm, $23)


First Sundays

Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery On the first Sunday of each month, comedy, variety, and "a parade of wonder and awkward sharing" are hosted by the self-proclaimed "mustache wizard" Emmett Montgomery. (Annex Theatre, 7 pm, $5—$10 sliding scale)


LIVE PODCASTS & WEB SHOWS



Sat June 30

The Flop House Dan McCoy, Stuart Wellington, and Elliott Kalan's long-running podcast skewers recent terrible movies. All of them have great credentials: McCoy and Elliot Kalan wrote for The Daily Show and won Emmys, and Stewart Wellington—well, he's cool too. (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $24)


Fri Sept 7

Risk! Hosted by The State alum Kevin Allison, Risk! is a podcast and live storytelling event where, according to the tagline, people tell "true stories they never thought they'd dare to share." And, oh, the stories. A memorable episode featured a woman who found a fellow kinkster online and shared her elaborate fantasies of serving as a cum dumpster on a cruise ship (her words, not mine), only to discover later (after many explicit chats) that her fantasy partner was actually her... father. The apple, as they say, fell quite close to that tree. You can hear stories just as touching as this at Risk! live. KH (Vera Project, 8:30 pm, $25)


COMEDY



June 14–16

Brown Derby Series: Dirty Dancing Earlier this year, Sean Nelson wrote: "You know how the nature and velocity of time have radically changed in the past few years? Okay, great! It shouldn't surprise you, then, to learn that Ian Bell's Brown Derby is now in its 20th year of serving up excellent local actors doing live staged readings of beloved (for good and ill) screenplays. I have attended many of these shows, and even minimally participated in one (Heathers, NBD) at least 15 years (or was it a thousand centuries?) ago, and never failed to be impressed and delighted by how much hilarious business the company manages to squeeze out of the washcloth." The latest exploit by Ian Bell and friends will be an adaptation of Dirty Dancing. (Re-bar, 8 pm, $22)


Sat July 7

Steve Martin & Martin Short The prospect of two of the funniest human beings who ever drew breath together on stage, telling stories, singing songs, and making fun of the world and each other is without question one of the most tantalizing, don't-missable events imaginable. However, like all but 2,000 or so of you, I missed it the last time they came to town. Fortunately, Martin and Short appreciate the value of an encore, so they're doing two shows this time. It's riotously expensive and may sound about as appealing as Sunday school to some of you. But these guys are giants and no one lives forever. The great thing about seeing successful artists who clearly don't need to do this kind of work is that it forces you to consider why, in fact, they do it. And the answer is always because it's what they are supposed to do. And because they love it. But even if they don't love it, I do. And so will you. SN (Paramount Theatre, 4 pm, 8 pm, $76—$246)


Sat July 14

The Bodega Boys Live Featuring Desus Nice & The Kid Mero Hilarious Bronx-born web comedians Desus and Mero, aka the Bodega Boys, will regale you with their snarky and slightly mean takes on pop culture and politics. (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $37—$106)


Fri June 29

The Seattle Process with Brett Hamil Described as "Seattle's only intentionally funny talk show" and "a mudpie lobbed into the halls of power," The Seattle Process with Brett Hamil offers politics, exasperation, information, and comedy. Past esteemed guests have included Stranger Genius Lindy West, Kshama Sawant, former Stranger associate editor David Schmader, and Pramila Jayapal. (Northwest Film Forum, 8 pm, $16)


Tuesdays

Comedy Nest Open Mic The rules of this pro-lady stand-up night are refreshing in their simplicity: no misogyny, racism, homophobia, hatred, or heckling. Based on the size, quality, and diversity of the crowds it attracts, the rules work. Every Tuesday night, fans pack the Rendezvous Grotto to watch two and a half hours of comedy, about half of which is delivered by women. Having so many women onstage and in the crowd makes male comics more mindful of their sets and their audience, while reinforcing what should be obvious: Women can be just as funny (or unfunny) as men. Equality, hurrah! (Rendezvous, 8 pm, $5)


STAND-UP



Thurs June 14

The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour He's pretty much rocketed past the "blowing up" stage of his career into bonafide superstardom, with a fruitful film career and stand-up that's earned him comparisons to Raw-era Eddie Murphy, though Hart's self-deprecating humor is informed by his own unique racial, physical, and familial experiences. He's trying out new material on his Irresponsible Tour, and apparently it's going well; it started in September of last year, and after selling out nearly every date, he added 100 more in January. LP (KeyArena, 7 pm, $170)


Sat June 16

Kathy Griffin: Laugh Your Head Off World Tour Before May of 2017, Kathy Griffin was, by her own admission, a "D-list" comedian. A successful D-list comedian, with a 30-plus year career to her name, but, still, she was more likely to be seen commenting on red carpet events than to be invited to them herself. Then came The Incident, when she posed for a photo with a simulacrum of Donald Trump's severed head, and in a moment, she went from comedian to pariah. After months of canceled shows (and even a federal investigation), Griffin is back on tour, and will be severing Trump's head (metaphorically speaking, of course) when she comes to Seattle. KH (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $45)


Tues June 19

Ron Funches Watch any Ron Funches clip on YouTube, or go to one of his live sets, and if you're not in love with his gentle, quirky observations and off-kilter, ganja-logic transitions, you need to reassess your worldview. Dude is one of the funniest humans on Earth now. Funches may have lost a lot of weight recently, but rest assured: He's still punching well above it with his endlessly unpredictable thoughts about whatever absurdities pop into his pot-enhanced mind. ("I like marijuana. It's like getting a hug on your insides.") This performance will be filmed for a TV special. DS (Neptune Theatre, 7 pm, 9:30 pm, $15)


June 28–30

Damon Wayans Jr. Being the son of Damon Wayans and nephew to three uncles and an aunt who entertain folks for a living, Damon Wayans Jr. really can't betray his DNA and familial pressure—or there would be merciless, hilarious ribbing to endure. Thankfully, the 35-year-old Wayans has succeeded as a TV and film actor, writer, and stand-up comedian. He admits that his humor is more obscure than his father's and less enamored of discussing current events. Those into raunchy routines, though, will eat up Junior's act. He does a bit about a pigeon and its bobbing head that will stay with you for a long time. DS (Parlor Live Comedy Club, $25—$35)


Fri June 29

David Cross: Oh Come On For nearly two decades now, David Cross has gotten a lot of comedic mileage out of puncturing the cynical assumptions made by corporate America—often by doing nothing more than stating them aloud. His best work identifies the more alarming way consumer culture seeps into our moral and intellectual groundwater, poisoning the clones who swallow whatever they're fed as well as those who believe they're offering a meaningful protest. SN (Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $23—$33)


June 29–July 1

Bill Bellamy Bill Bellamy (The Bounce Back, Def Comedy Jam), supposedly the coiner of the term "booty call," will swing round to Seattle with some delicious new collocations. See the man about whom Charles Mudede once wrote: "Just look at the fine brother. That skin, those eyes, those lips—to use the words of Dr. Dre: 'Make a ho's panty wet.'" (Tacoma Comedy Club, $28—$38)


July 12–14

Guys We F#@ed Comedy Tour: Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher are the NYC comedy duo known collectively as Sorry About Last Night, and they're the minds (and voices) behind Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast, where they discuss sex and all the things that surround it (kinks, reproductive rights, assault, relationships, neuroses, et. al.) via a mix of commentary, anecdotes and interviews with other comics, writers, progressive thinkers, and captivating intellectuals (including The Stranger's own Dan Savage). Shows on their Bridget Bishop Tour feature audience interactive advice sessions/open forums with both ladies, as well as solo sets of frank and uncensored stand-up by each. LP (Parlor Live Comedy Club, $25—$35)


Sun July 15

Bill Burr As a comedian with a big mouth, brash attitude, and selective filter, Bill Burr regularly offends people, which is pretty easy to do with the current profusion of snowflakes floating around the country. Also, no subject matter is off limits; during a recent Conan appearance, he touched on the military, obesity, and sexual harassment, all in one fell swoop, while on his next visit, he discussed his desire to yell at other peoples' kids and how fatherhood is kind of like being the back-up quarterback—everyone else comes first. I don't know what he'll be discussing on his current tour, but belly laughs are guaranteed. LP (Paramount Theatre, 7 pm, $45)


Fri Aug 17

Neal Brennan Neal Brennan is a writer and correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, but he's done a whole lot more than that. He's got three Emmys under his belt, he's produced a Chris Rock comedy special, and he's got a show on Netflix alternates called 3 Mics in which he alternated three different comedy styles in one go. Get a taste of his versatility this August. (Neptune Theatre, 7:30 pm, $28)


Wednesdays

Joketellers Union The Joketellers Union is a weekly event run by Brett Hamil and Emmett Montgomery, whose keen observational and absurdist humor, political satire, and improv skits have been cracking up crowds in this city and elsewhere for over a decade. The night showcases local and touring comics—both established and on the rise. DS (Clock-Out Lounge, 8:30 pm, $7)


IMPROV



Thurs June 21

CAMP: Queer Improv CAMP unites some of the funniest and LGBTQ+-est individuals in Seattle's improv scene: Andrew Weiss, Britney Barber, Graham Downing, Kinzie Shaw, and Mandy Price, all of whom are regulars or past cast members at Jet City Improv. They're totally unpredictable, hilariously inappropriate, and just plain weird. No surprise that they've been invited down to San Diego for the city's Pride Comedy Festival—see them in action before they head south. (Rendezvous, $13/$15)


Through Sat June 30

ASSBUTTS (Amazing Super Spectacular Bold Unscripted Terrific Theater Show) Some of the city's finest performers will collaborate on instantaneous comedy scenes, with a different lineup every Saturday, in Mandy Price's ASSBUTTS. Don't be surprised if it gets a little vulgar. Or extremely vulgar. (Jet City Improv, 10:30 pm, $17)


Saturdays

Naked Brunch Every week, get spontaneous at this free, all-improvised comedy open mic. (Rendezvous, 4 pm, free)