Arts Devo

So much comedy

Step into my office …

Step into my office …

Comic relief If any county deserves to have a laugh right now, it’s Butte County, right? And damn if there aren’t a ton of impressive funnypeople coming through local venues. It’s like an episode of @midnight up in here!

This week, some of the regulars from the hilarious Whose Line Is It Anyway?—Ryan Styles, Greg Proops, Joel Murray and Jeff Davis—bring the improv show on the road for a performance of Whose Live Anyway? at Gold Country Casino Saturday, Jan. 19.

And coming next month (Feb. 23) are Nick Swardson (at Gold Country) and Harland Williams (coming to the El Rey Theater).

Swardson is the genius behind one of my favorite recurring characters from the Reno 911! series, Terry Bernadino, the roller-skating male prostitute and former employee of Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! And Williams played that dude in Half Baked who killed the diabetic horse with a pile of munchies, as well as the “seven-minute-abs” hitchhiker in There’s Something About Mary (“It’s like you’re dreamin’ about Gorgonzola cheese when it’s clearly brie time, baby!”).

In addition to the visiting comics, there’s also the usual embarrassment of local comedy riches. Just this week there are four shows: Thursday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m., is a comedy fundraiser for those impacted by the Camp Fire at Copa de Oro in Oroville (with Hank Duke, Jerm Leather, Corey Finnigan, E.V.E., Randy Warner, Jason Allen, Azura Talon and Jesse Clark); Friday, Jan. 18, at 8:30 p.m., is Bob’s Comedy Night at The Maltese (with Bob Backstrom, Steve Swim and Phil from Chico, plus visiting comics Dirty Mike and Feel Woods); and Sunday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., there’s The Asstronuts improv show at Chico Live Improv Comedy, followed by the open-mic comedy session at The Maltese at 8:30 p.m.

Notte Italiana Everyone’s favorite earnest troubadour, Jonathan Richman (who. like Mr. Williams above, was in There’s Something About Mary), is all over town this week. In addition to helping out with the cause by performing alongside MaMuse at a Camp Fire benefit at Chico Women’s Club this Friday, Jan. 18, the bona fide Renaissance man is also presenting an evening of Italian poetry and song at Blackbird on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7-8:30 p.m. Che serata divertente!

Now for something completely different Cute/creepy band alert! Arts DEVO’s been getting his kicks from Guest No. 66 (sorry, had to do it). The brand-new four-piece features some familiar local faces—guitarist/vocalist Bob Howard (The Vesuvians, Empty Gate); drummer Steve Bragg (Michelin Embers, The Vesuvians) accordionist/vocalist Bryce Goldstein; and ukelele man about town and CN&R contributor Ken Smith on a variety of noisemaking contraptions, including theremin, chord organ, effects pedals and an alarm clock.

The band’s played only two shows so far, but has already put out a three-song EP, RadioLand, and it is one engrossing slice of weirdness. My current jam is “Too Many Waves,” a meditative, ambient folk drone that rides muted drums, dry and plinky banjo strings, and harmonizing theremin loops into the desert. Take a vision quest at