Dave Attell headlines Hilarities and the Cleveland Comedy festival rolls all week

November 14, 2018 GMT

Dave Attell headlines Hilarities and the Cleveland Comedy festival rolls all week

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the host of the Laugh Track column, a man who is keeping it clean … Mike McIntyre.

Thank you, Cleveland! Tide, maker of Tide Pods, which some kids mistake for candy, has come out with something their parents can now mistakenly consume. The new Tide “Eco-Box” has a convenient spout and is has a design that looks a lot like boxed wine. Tired of red, white or rose? Finally a brawny, full-bodied purple with a floral nose and a clean finish.

Attell at Hilarities: Dave Attell is pure old-school comedy. He’s a joke writer who loves his audiences and loves his job. But the world around him is changing.

He prefers to work his material out on stage instead of on Twitter or Instagram. He’s not a storyteller. He finds it harder to pack clubs the way he did years ago when he was up all night entertaining the world with his “Insomniac” show on Comedy Central. And he’s trying to get a feel for whatever the line is that audiences no longer want comedians to cross.

And through all of that, Attell, 53 and three decades into his stand-up career, is just brilliantly funny. He should have no problem packing Hilarities. Cleveland loves him.

“What I like about Cleveland is it’s one of the last places where not only does the crowd get it, they come out for a good night, they drink it up and laugh it up and they tip hard,” he told me this week. “They really make you want to bring it. I really do like playing Hilartiies. What I do, it’s not very political, it’s just stuff out of my own sad life. I like my audience. As they get older and I get older, I think we all see the sadness and funny in everything.”

It’s mostly funny, and maybe some sadness, when he partners with “Roastmaster General” Jeff Ross. They’ve loved performing together on the road and in casinos (“When people lose everything, that’s when they come to see us.”) Now they’ve put together a three-show run for Netflix, coming out at the end of this month, called “Bumping Mics.”

He said he loves when duos really click, having seen Steve Martin and Martin Short on their recent tour.

“We’re not talented like they are, but we do have passion,” he said.

Attell freely admits Ross was the driving force in getting the shows made and on the air. He’s happy to be a part of it and happy to let loose as Ross is definitely not a comic worried about political correctness. Coming up on stage throughout the shows are other comics like Nikki Glazer, Hassan Minaj, Michael Che and Rachel Feinstein and some old-schoolers, too, like Bob Saget and Gilbert Godfried.

“It’s all pretty much rolling with what is going on in the room, old school comedy,” Attell said.

“I’m not as dirty as I used to be, but it’s not like I’m going to a prayer brunch. Even with Jeff, I was like, ’Wow those are too dirty! And Jeff is fearless and he never holds back and throws everything in it. I’m more of a chicken. I use a filter now in my head. ‘What’s going to be the blowback on this one?’

And the blowback comes not live, but later, when people mull it over on social media. It’s enough to make a comic skittish, but he plugs along, slaying crowds.

Still, he lets it loose in “Bumping Mics.”

“It’s not PC but there still is an audience for that, too. For people who want it rough who can take a joke,” he said. “It’s what we used to call a sense of humor.”

It’s likely he’ll find a lot of that in his Cleveland crowds.

Catch Attell at Hilarities inside Pickwick & Frolic Restaurant, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday ($33), 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday ($35) and 7 p.m. Sunday ($30). Pickwick & Frolic is at 2035 East Fourth St., Cleveland. Call 216-736-4242 or go to pickwickandfrolic.com.

At the Improv: Arnez J. returns for his always-popular show at at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25. The Improv is at 1148 Main Ave., next to Shooter’s on the west bank of Cleveland’s Flats. Call 216-696-4677 or go to clevelandimprov.com.

Cleveland Comedy Festival: As we noted last week to give you plenty of time to get tickets, there will be lots of action at multiple venues through the week for the 11th Cleveland Comedy Festival.

The Homecoming Show at 8 p.m. Saturday features Canton-area native Kate Quigley and Shaker Heights native Rick Glassman. They perfomr at the Hanna Theatre in Playhouse Square. Go to playhousesquare.org for tickets or call 800-801-7407.

The always popular Women and Wine Showcase is also Saturday in Kennedy’s Theatre in Playhouse Square. It’s a great way to start the evening as the show begins at 5 p.m. and features Sonal Agerwal, Felicia Gillespie and plenty of other women comics, along with lots of wine. Men are invited, too, of course, and the $25 ticket price includes two glasses of featured wines.

The Best of the Fest show is at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Kennedy’s Theatre. At $10, it’s a bargain as you’ll see the best in performance, writing, sketch and improv. The show features judges’ favorite performers from spotlight showcase shows (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 9:30 p.m. Friday, all $10.)

For a listing of all the shows in the Cleveland Comedy Festival, including those inside “Not Your Parents Basement” at the Superelectric Pinball parlor at the 78th Street Studios, go to clevelandcomedyfestival.com. Catch the standup showcases at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday ($10.)