There’s going to be a whole lotta funny in Bakersfield during the next week, starting with comedian Nick Swardson at Temblor Brewing Co. Thursday and Friday evening.
Both of the Friday night shows are sold out and Thursday's show was added to appease demand. If you’re thinking of going to this show, do not wait to get the last remaining VIP and preferred seat tickets. (They were on the verge of selling out as of press time.) For good reason: Swardson’s subversive and riotously funny.
Swardson made a name for himself collaborating with Adam Sandler — most notably in 2011's “Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star” — and a colorful recurring role as the roller-skating Terry Bernadino on Comedy Central's “Reno 911," but it’s his stand-up comedy where he truly dominates. There’s a lot of casual intelligence behind the potty humor and pseudo-frat boy persona.
The show is 18 and over, but Swardson’s material is definitely not for those with more sensitive proclivities.
Brian Regan might as well be Swardson’s polar opposite when it comes to performing explicit material. The 60-year-old comedian is famous for his clean comedy routines as much as he’s recognized as a “comedian’s comedian": the kind that other comedians laud and admire both for his quality material and commitment to the craft.
He’s returning to the Fox Theater on Feb. 14 where he’ll give Bakersfield its own comedy valentine.
“I’ve never been good at ‘promo’-ing myself,” Regan said. “I tend to use words like ‘adequate,’ So, if people want their entertainment to be adequate, then I’m their man.”
He’s currently on AT&T Audience Network’s “Loudermilk,” created by “Green Book” and “Dumb and Dumber” director Peter Farrelly, and the Jerry Seinfeld-produced “Stand Up and Away” for Netflix. Also on Netflix is his 2017 “Brian Regan: Nunchucks and Flamethrowers."
It appears Regan is finally cashing in on all the good will and respect he’s accrued over the last almost 40 years or of performing — with interest.
Regan said, “Not for lack of trying, but Hollywood, if you will, never really seemed to have much of an interest in the ‘Brian Regan experience.’ And I was, ‘OK, that’s fine.’ I’m fortunate that I get to do this stand-up comedy thing and have enough people who like it where I can have a cool career. And then, all of a sudden in the last few years, the planets lined up where I had two opportunities come my way kind of at the same time. So I went from a guy who had zero TV shows to a guy who had two TV shows.”
“Believe me, I’m very fortune and happy to have these opportunities.”
On the local front, Jerry’s Pizza has a comedy open mic every Tuesday. Hosted by Eddie Molina and Landyn Webb, the free event coincides with the pizzeria’s Taco Tuesday promotion: three tacos for $5 or three tacos and a margarita for $7. Most of the comedy clubs I’ve been to make their patrons order two items off the menu. Here? You’ll want to.
The open mic is also all ages, but those with delicate sensibilities — and parents — might want to prepare themselves and know what they’re getting into. Welcome to the comedy gauntlet, kids! DJ J-WY performs from 6 p.m. to midnight.
And, lastly, The Back Door will host an all-female showcase this Saturday featuring a roster of up-and-coming talent, including the very funny Margaret Haggard, who won the 2015 Oil City Comedy Royal Rumble. (I was one of the judges at that competition and she rightly earned that title.)
Put together by upstart comedian Jessica De La Garza, Haggard sees the timely “Love Stinks!” event as a starting point for future events that De La Garza has already scheduled over the next few months.
“I think it’s honestly bringing the best female comedians that the area has to offer,” Haggard said. “We see a lot of the male comedians, even ones coming into town from L.A., and so I think this gives people the opportunity to see that there is a pretty strong female presence in the Bakersfield comedy community.”
Hosted by Priscilla McNamara, the 21-and-over show will also feature Darling Hernandez, Kaitlin Hulsy, Cammie Syprasert, JC Roth, Bebe Queen and Tanya “Cha Cha” Sandoval-McMahon.
Nick Swardson, 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 and 9 p.m. Friday (both Friday night shows are sold out), Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. #200. $45, $59 for VIP. eventbrite.com
Brian Regan 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Fox Theater, 2001 H St $42. vallitix.com.
Jerry’s Pizza & Pub Comedy Open Mic, 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays at Jerry’s Pizza & Pub, 1817 Chester Ave. Free.
Love Stinks, Let’s Laugh & Drink! All Female Comedy Showcase, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, The Back Door, 1105 19th St. $10, $20 for show and after-party with the comedians.
Josh Ward, with opening act Truxton Mile, 7 p.m. Thursday, Prohibition, located in 1933 Event Center, 7900 Downing Ave. $17-$20. ticketfly.com.
Texas-based country singer Josh Ward first dropped by Bakersfield last year at the now-defunct B Ryders. He’s returning to perform at the Prohibition side of the 1933 Event Center Thursday night.
Ward’s style of country music should sound and feel familiar to fans of 1990s country music. He’s back on the road to promote his first national single “Ain’t It Baby” off of his 2018 album “More Than I Deserve,” which includes the song “A Cowboy Can,” one of the best independent songs I heard last year.
“We love coming out to California to play,” Ward said. “We get welcomed with open arms out there.”
“If you would have told me 10 years ago, ‘Hey man, you’re going to be play Bakersfield, California; Sacramento and L.A., I would have looked at you like you were crazy. It seems like it’s halfway ‘round the world to get out there. But when we got there, it was like, 'Why have we waiting so long? We should have been coming out here years ago because these people are cool as (expletive).'”