Talk show hosts like Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers are funny dudes, but they can’t take all the credit for delivering the zesty one-liners that keep them in business.
Comedy writers like Michelle Wolf are partly responsible. She currently works for the former and has been employed by the latter.
And it was on Meyers’ show that Wolf made her TV debut as a stand-up comic. She tours consistently and starred in her own HBO comedy special, Nice Lady, in 2017.
Hear her hilarious take on a variety of topics like feminism, dating, and texting at 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Admission is $20 for the 18-and-over show, and there’s a two-drink minimum required. Call 480-921-9877 or visit the Tempe Improv website. Amy Young
Known for its spirit and athleticism, the Arabian horse has had a presence in the Valley for a long time. The 63rd annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show celebrates the breed of horses through a competition with more than 2,400 full and half-Arabian horses from Thursday through Sunday, February 15 to 25, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road.
During the event, children, teens, and adults will show Arabian horses in over 1,000 different classes highlighting the breed’s beauty and versatility.
The event also offers barn tours, educational seminars, an international food court, a shopping area, stagecoach photo ops, and a petting zoo. Also on the docket are an ice cream social, gala parties, pony and camel rides, a live animal display, and a ceramic pony painting activity.
Proceeds from the show benefit local equestrian, health care, and pediatric nonprofits. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and free for children 12 and younger. For more information, go to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show website. Laura Latzko
Best known as the playwright behind the critically-acclaimed drama Doubt, John Patrick Shanley also received a Tony Award nomination for his 2014 play Outside Mullingar. The dramedy revolves around two shy middle-aged eccentrics looking for happiness.
“Outside Mullingar is a lovely Irish story deep in poetic passion that is, at the same time, funny as hell, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, deeply moving,” says Arizona Theatre Company artistic director David Ivers. “This compassionate, delightful work is about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love.”
Find some romance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $25 to $50. For more information and additional dates, visit the Arizona Theatre website. Jason Keil
Help Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, celebrate three new exhibitions during a Spring Opening Reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 16. The free event is a chance to mingle with curators and fellow art lovers while exploring the museum’s latest offerings.
The fresh exhibition lineup includes the latest iteration of southwestNET, a series that highlights midcareer artists living in the Southwest region of the United States or Mexico. This is the 17th exhibition in the series, which has also showcased work by Postcommodity, an artist collective featured in last year’s Whitney Biennial.
SouthwestNET: Claudio Dicochea showcases the artist’s skillful manipulation of pop culture and history, which challenge prevailing narratives about both present and past. Dicochea is represented by Lisa Sette Gallery.
Other new exhibits feature work by a trio of Inuit artists, as well as Guadalajara-based Luis Alfonso Villalobos.
Visit the SMoCA website. Lynn Trimble
Your live comedy options have grown both wide and deep. From improv to stand-up to overly frank storytelling, something will make you laugh enough to imperil various physiological systems. Having grown up with Carol Burnett (and not in reruns) and every single season of SNL, we favor sketch comedy, complete with randomly placed songs. One of our favorite purveyors is The SIC Sense, now celebrating 10 years of disgusting mayhem with The SIC Sense: 10-Year Anniversary Part I, the first in a two-part retrospective.
We hope to all that’s holy that the lineup will include gems we privately refer to as “Toddler Fight,” “Horny Kittycats,” and “Weirdo OB-GYN.” We did glimpse the troupe’s notes, but all we could reliably decipher was “Tickle Me Emo.”
Showtime on Friday, February 16, is 8 p.m. Performances continue through Saturday, February 24, at 1902-1909 East McDowell Road. Tickets are $15 at The SIC Sense website or 773-733-9427. Julie Peterson
Giddy up. The 33rd Arizona Gay Rodeo is boot-scooting to the Valley. Details are still coming together for this year’s event, but cowboys who buck broncos and rope cattle are a given. During previous years, there’s been dancing, barrel riding, and calf-roping lessons, as well as a chili cook-off. Additionally, singers from around the Valley will compete for the title of Country Idol. And you won’t wanna miss the crowning of rodeo royalty when some lucky cowpokes taking home the title of king and queen of the rodeo.
Pull some leather from Friday, February 16, through Sunday, February 18, at Corona Ranch, 7611 South 29th Avenue in Laveen. Single-day tickets are $15. For more information, visit the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association website. Jason Keil
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is the year of the dog. Whether you fall under that sign or not, make a stop at the 28th annual Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival to celebrate. There’s numerous ways to get festive at this yearly party.
Enjoy traditional Chinese music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and table tennis. Vendors will offer items ranging from arts and crafts to food. There’s a whole pavilion for kids to engage in youth-centric activities, while a photo booth provides the selfie souvenirs.
The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 16, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 West Culver Street. Admission is free. The event continues through Sunday, February 18. Visit the Phoenix Chinese Week website. Amy Young
Lady Gaga and Kesha have revolutionized pop music with their distinctive sounds, fashions, and personas. On Friday, February 16, DJs A Claire Slattery and Becktron (a.k.a. New Times’ arts and music editor Becky Bartkowski) will pay tribute to the artists during a 21-and-older dance party at The Van Buren devoted to the two superstars.
During Guilty Pleasures: Lady Gaga vs. Kesha, the DJs will play hits from the two singers and mix in songs from popular artists such as The Weeknd, Gwen Stefani, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink, Lorde, Ellie Goulding, and Liam Payne. Fans of Gaga and Kesha can rep their fave with buttons given out during the event.
The event starts at 9 p.m. at 401 West Van Buren Street and costs $5 per person. For more information, call 480-659-1641 or go to the Van Buren website. Laura Latzko
Diamondbacks Fan Fest
Punxsutawney Phil recently saw his shadow, but here in the Valley, we’re casting plenty of our own shadows thanks to all this blistering sunshine. Maybe it’s the record-setting temperatures that January hurled at us, or maybe it’s a post-Super Bowl lull, but it certainly feels like spring is sneaking up on us like an old pair of gym shorts. At least they’re cozy at first.
Van BurenThe silver lining? Baseball. Clouds likely will be absent from the Diamondbacks Fan Fest on Saturday, February 17, at Scottsdale’s Salt River Fields, but D-backs fans have seen enough gloominess since their team was bounced from postseason play by the reviled Dodgers just a few short months ago.
The free event kicks off at noon. Visit the Diamondbacks website or call 480-270-5000 for details. Rob Kroehler
The relationship between audience and artist is explored in nueBox’s Experimental Art Night at Mesa Arts Center. Creatives bring work to an intrepid and attentive audience eager to see something new. It could be a performance piece, interpretive dance routine, a new graphic design, or even a sculpture. Artists do not have to audition or submit their work for review before the show, so most of what you will see are raw works-in-progress looking to be taken to the next level as attendees offer supportive feedback to the creators.
See something new at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at 1 East Main Street. Admission is pay what you can. For more information, visit the nueBox website. Jason Keil