There's no doubting that Darrell Hammond is funny. Anyone who watched "Saturday Night Live" between 1995 to 2009 can attest to that, seeing his impressions that proved him to be a capable comedic actor.
Even though he was best known for his Bill Clinton impression, my favorite was his Sean Connery, along with the late Norm McDonald as Burt Reynolds, berating and befuddling Will Ferrell's constantly exasperated Alex Trebek in the "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketches.
Hammond's stand-up act, however, is a completely different beast. It's much more than the impressions he rolled out so successfully on "SNL," even though they're still around and feel like a group of old friends. Like he said it himself in one of his routines: "I've never actually written a joke. I just tell stories about how (expletive) up I am and the weird stuff I've done."
Based on the bonkers and sometimes tragic contents of his 2011 memoir "God, If You're Not Up There …" and the 2018 documentary "Cracked Up: The Darrell Hammond Story," he's sure got plenty of material.
He'll perform at The Well on Oct. 29.
Armed with a relaxed forthrightness, Hammond's act is almost reminiscent of a very funny spoken-word show. Fans of darker, sometimes debauched, observational humor, a la Tom Segura, will appreciate this show the most. Comedian Daniel Betts will host the show that will also feature Greg Baldwin and John Hacker. Needless to say, audience discretion is advised.
Also coming up at The Well, guitarist Tim Stonelake, supported by The Byrom Brothers band, will perform his 2021 debut album, "Moonlight Mountain," in its entirety on Sunday. The album is full of heartfelt calls for consideration with a soulful sense of empathy and hope.
Admission is $20 and it also gets you a copy of the CD as well as a booklet of all the lyrics composed by Stonelake and his wife, Amy Richardson. The show is family-friendly and children 12 and under can attend for free. Food will be available for purchase.
Over at the Fox Theater on Thursday, Nate Bargatze, another funny comedian with a mellow, anecdotal bent — although with cleaner material — will perform as part of his aptly titled "Raincheck Tour."
The Tennessee native has been making his way through the modern-day comedy gauntlet, picking up praise from heavyweights like Marc Maron and Jim Gaffigan.
His second Netflix special, "The Greatest Average American," released in March, pretty much nails the core of his approach: finding the funny amidst the absurdity of the average. I mean, to someone who grew up unfazed at the sight of his comedian/ magician father dressed as a clown, seated next to someone in an ill-fitting Easter Bunny suit, driving away in a Mazda, the funny can't help but be everywhere. All he has to do is report it. To him, "dad jokes" take on a whole new meaning.
Entry to the Bargatze show will require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test before entry. If you are planning to attend any of these events, please observe and follow safety guidelines.
Lastly, this Saturday at La Fonda Mexican Grill & Cantina, local comedian Darling Hernandez will host "The Get Down Comedy Show."
The 18-and-over event will feature Los Angeles-based comedian Stephanie Tejada, who was a cast member on the 16th season of Oxygen Network's reality show "Bad Girls Club," as well as local comics Jessica De La Garza, Tiffany Belt, Lauren Ybarra and Chloé. There will be a musical performance by singer Stephanie Soul, who recently released a video for her latest single, "EXternal."
There will be a Halloween costume contest and raffles with cash prizes and DJ Countdown will hold it all together. The show starts at 8 p.m. but try to get there early to get some food. Their chicken tacos are superb.
Tim Stonelake and The Byrom Brothers, 6 p.m. Sunday, The Well, 7401 White Lane, Suite 7. $20, free for children 12 and under.
Nate Bergatze, 7 p.m. Thursday, Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $29-$170 at axs.com or call 324-1369.
"The Get Down Comedy Show," 8 p.m. Saturday, La Fonda Mexican Grill & Cantina, 1310 19th St. $10 at the door.
Spooky new release
Burning Image's latest "arrives" just in time for the holidays.
I cannot think of a better time than Halloween for a new release by one of Bakersfield's greatest and longest-running original bands, Burning Image.
The death rock, goth-punk outfit has been methodically recording and releasing material at its own pace for almost 40 years now, humming and thrumming, all of it leading up to its latest album, "Arrival."
It's dense, dark and at times soaring like on the song "Wait." On the two-minute tune, singer Moe Adame's melody, delivery and lyrical weight create a gravity that pulls the band's dissonant harmonic accompaniment into greater focus. It gets clearer and more intense the farther it goes until, just as it builds, it's extinguished. This isn't just a song but an exploration, provokingly asking — and in a way, answering — "Is this the future you wanted/right this way."
Sonically, the songs are glorious. The bass growls, the drums gallop and thump powerfully. The razor-toned guitars glisten and cut like beams of lasers through thick fog while Adame's distorting vocals consume and volley the beautiful, chaotic gloom right back at the listener.
With "Arrival" B2 Studios has once again engineered another great sounding album coming out Oct. 31. Happy Halloween, everybody. Be safe and stay safe.