The world has seemed pretty short on laughs in recent times, but in the Triangle’s comedy clubs and theaters this season, you can at least find temporary relief with the likes of Jen Kirkman and John Cleese.


Sep. 21, Carolina Theatre

Hailed by Stephen Colbert as his “favorite comedian on planet Earth,” Maria Bamford is a comedian’s comedian: uncomfortably absurd, a little meta, and radiating with a love of the silly and senseless. Bamford has risen from the lean, mean streets of a Star Trek touring group to the glamorous life of an acclaimed comedian with multiple stand-up specials, a renewed Netflix series, and an infamous ad campaign with Target. Her stand-up at the Carolina is sure to delight and perturb in equal measure. Jackie Kashian, whose comedy has been described as “listening to a really racy episode of All Things Considered,” will open.


Oct. 26-29, Goodnights Comedy Club

After the closure of DSI Comedy Theater in downtown Chapel Hill following allegations of sexual assault against its owner, Goodnights in Raleigh became the de facto comedy hub of the Triangle, though it favors stand-up over improv. DeRay Davis is one standout in its incredible fall schedule. An alum of Comedy Central’s Laugh Riots Competition, Davis is what I like to call a working comedian, the kind you always see not only doing stand-up across the country but also working in hit movies, hosting television shows, and appearing on several skits on Kanye West’s albums.


Nov. 1, Carolina Theatre

To some, she’s the best history lecturer they ever had, with her drunk disquisitions on Mary Dyer, Oney Judge, and first lady Edith Wilson on the Comedy Central series Drunk History. To others, she’s the companion they carry with them on the subway as they listen to her lovable podcast, I Seem Fun. In other words, Jen Kirkman is a comedian for all occasions, able to alternate between crude and astute with exceptional ease. She stops in Durham on her “All New Material, Girl” tour.


Nov. 8, DPAC

For the love of all things goofy, nostalgic, and “ni,” John Cleese comes to DPAC for an evening of storytelling and questions from the audience”absurd and/or ridiculous questions only, please,” according to the promotional materials. Cleese is as close to British royalty as someone who isn’t actually royal can get: he has an asteroid, a municipal rubbish heap, and a species of lemur named after him. The night will open with a screening of the canonical film of British absurdist humor, 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Coconuts optional.


Nov. 17, DPAC

Just in time for the one-year anniversary of the election of Donald Trump, Lewis Black stops at DPAC on his “The Rant, White & Blue” tour. His belligerent style has made him so famous for being angry that he played “Anger” in Inside Out, but to see his comedy as mere ranting is to ignore its incisive, biting humor. Black is as wry a social commentator as any cable pundit working these days. His performance at DPAC is sure to be cathartic for a sympathetic audience looking for an excuse to laugh not only at the state of our country but also at how we all perform our anger during these times.