There was no shortage of great standup in 2014. Whether it was a solo act or a jam packed stage filled with talent, there were indeed some standout shows. We were lucky enough to attend some of these notable demonstrations of pure comedic genius this year and thought we'd do you a solid by highlighting a few so when they come around in 2015, you'll be on your a-game. Here's our list of the "10 Best Comedy Shows of 2014."
10. Damon Wayans It's been awhile since Damon Wayans hit the stand-up circuit and when he decided to grace the stage once again, he did it in style at the new Irvine Improv. Looking like he hadn't aged since the '90s, the crowd was amped up hooting and hollering before Damon even got a word out. His new material kept the audience laughing from start to finish and those of us that were in the house watched Wayans dust off plenty of his classic characters at the end of his set. The well-deserved "standing o" he received was the icing on the cake for us and gave us just one more reason to include Damon Wayans as one of the best shows of 2014 in our book.
9- Jessimae Peluso and Carly Aquilino These foxy, funny ladies from MTV's "Girl Code" pulled off a hilarious weekend stint at the Irvine Improv back in June. We're going to go out on a limb here and say that the guys of Irvine probably still haven't recovered. Sexy aside, these two gals each brought something totally different to the table set wise but when paired up on the same bill, they delivered a cohesive show that we seriously never wanted to end. Hopefully we'll get a "part 2" in 2015.
8- Artie Lange East coast funny guy Artie Lange doesn't hit up Cali too often but in 2014, we were treated to quite the show from this comic. We've followed his career from The Howard Stern Show to The Artie Lange Show (and everything in between) so we knew there would be zero chance of disappointment when Lange came to Club Nokia in July after having to cancel his April date due to health reasons. Armed with incredible material, a clean shaven face, and Stuttering John Melendez as an opener, Artie slaughtered and the audience was beyond appreciative. Lange continues to be a surefire sell-out so when he comes back into town (pretty please!!), jump at the chance to get your tickets early. Trust us, you won't be sorry.
7- Hardcore Legend An Evening with Mick FoleyThis past August brought wrestling god Mick Foley to the Brea Improv. Transitioning from the ring to the stage isn't the usual move but Foley figured out a way to do it effortlessly and the crowd response and top notch feedback proved just that. Those who were lucky enough to be in the house were able to hear stories from his wresting days during what he calls, "spoken word with an emphasis on humor." Was is a typical stand-up show? No. But was is pure amazingness filled with hilarity? Indeed it was.
6- Roast Battle Roasting in comedy has been around for decades and while it's been gaining momentum every year, it seems to really have exploded in 2014. Thanks to "The Roastmaster General" Jeff Ross, the Comedy Store has been the setting for pitting numerous rounds of comic versus comic in verbal combat. Judging by some of the past judges (Sarah Silverman, Jason Reitman, John Mayer, and Joe Rogan), everyone wants to get in on the fun so in 2015 when you see "Roast Battle" on the calendar, get involved in any way you can.
5- Festival Supreme Four stages of excitement and a new venue (Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds) was what was in store for the second annual Festival Supreme presented by Tenacious D and man oh man was this year off the charts! The line-up was incredible with extraordinary stand-up acts like Jerrod Carmichael, Natasha Leggero, Arj Barker, Eric Andre, TJ Miller, Maria Bamford, Cheech & Chong, Norm MacDonald, Margaret Cho, Nick Kroll, and Janeane Garofalo. Not just strictly comedy though, musical sets delighted the monstrous crowds from The Kyle Gass Band, The Dan Band, Peaches, Workaholics, and of course Tenacious D blew the troops the fuck away.
4- Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional In May of 2014, Colin Quinn's "fanily" were treated to his one man show "Unconstitutional" at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. The show is based off of where we are now as Americans and being that it was delivered in a humorous and "hip" way by CQ, what was not to love? Understanding our country, its beginnings, and how far we have come (or haven't come) might sound a bit dull but when it's spouted off by Mr. Quinn, well, it was utter magic for those that were fortunate enough to stay awake for it (kidding) in Irvine. Amirite "gang?"
3- Roast Rumble: The Ultimate Insult Fest Putting a legendary switch on the original Roast Battle format, the one and only Iron Sheik was on hand to play judge while comics and wrestling stars ripped each other apart with a line-up that included greats like Brody Stevens, Buff Bagwell, Tiny Lister, Ron Funches, and Sam Tripoli. The rules were the same for this roast of epic proportions with only one word of advice from the man himself and that being, "Don't fuck with the family and I be happy." And happy Sheikie was with the outcome of the battle and we can only hope that this event will be done plenty more times all over the country. (Hint, hint.)
2- Funny Or Die's Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival The second annual Oddball Comedy Festival was once again held at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and once again, brought together some of the best comedy acts in the nation. A long day filled with comedy is never a bad thing in our opinion and this year's festival gave us Hannibal Buress, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Ron Funches, Whitney Cummings, Demetri Martin, Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick, and Jim Gaffigan on the main stage. As if that wasn't enough, it also exposed the fans that packed the venue to some of our local faves like Grant Cotter, Amir K., and Dean Delray.
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1- April Foolishness KROQ's April Foolishness provides great comedy paired with a great cause and this year's event was no exception. Held for the first time at The Shrine Auditorium, along with some of our faves from the station (Kevin, Bean, Ralph Garman, Chip, Beer Mug, Lisa May, etc.) this year's festivities had Patton Oswalt, Jim Jefferies, Eddie Ifft, Adam Carolla, Tim Minchin, Reggie Watts, Taylor Williamson, and Doug Benson on the roster and every comic left everyone roaring. Mike Relm was also on the "ones and twos" again proving that he has no issues riling an already riled crowd up. Hands down, KROQ's April Foolishness was the show of the year.