A good scene in the otherwise treacly Valentine’s Day features Jennifer Garner demolishing a heart-shaped piñata with a Louisville Slugger. “Now that’s open heart surgery,” says her winded character as a papier-mâché carcass swings from the ceiling, its candy guts littering the floor.
Comic Jay Grove offers advice for those with similar feelings about Feb. 14: “If you dread the day of red, you’re going to love laughing instead.”
In other words, escape the lovey-dovey crowd for a night of standup comedy. Here are some options to consider in the quest to avoid Cupid’s quiver.
A Grove-promoted show at Clark’s Tavern (40 Nashua St., Milford; $10 at the door, showtime at 8 p.m.) wears its black heart proudly. Love Stinks: A Night of Anti-Valentine Comedy stars Jody Sloane, a Boston comic who cut her teeth dishing up snark for Duck Boat tourists, and Matt Barry, the reigning Best Bar Comic in New England. Sloane is especially good at eviscerating the hearts-and-flowers crowd when talking about what she won’t do for love. “Shaving down there and dusting it with crystals? No way … that’s a choking hazard.”
Mike Koutrobis hosts at a three-comic bill at the Sheraton Harborside (250 Market St., Portsmouth; tickets are $20 in advance at livefreeordielaughing.com and $25 at the door). Brad Mastrangelo headlines with support from Carolyn Plummer and Steve Scarfo; it’s a show “reminding us why we are in love … and sometimes why we are not.” Koutrobis won Best of Hippo Comic two years in a row and recently released his first CD, Here’s What Happened to Me. He’s also an ordained minister who performs weddings, then emcees the reception — the beginning of the end for many romances. “I believe in love, just not for me,” he said. “I preach about all the bad things that happen in relationships, but I can’t keep one myself.”
Now in its 13th year, Comedy Xxtravaganza is a charity affair hosted by Mike McDonald at 8 p.m. at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St, Portsmouth; tickets are $34 & $37 at themusichall.org). It features three comedians: Dave Rattigan is both a journalist and former comedy professor and the host/producer of the standup show How Men Think (Or Do They?). Boston’s Tony V. has appeared in movies, including World’s Greatest Dad with Robin Williams, Ben Affleck’s The Town and a memorable scene with Melissa McCarthy in last year’s hit The Heat. Mike Whitman is a favorite on the college circuit and in 2013 was among Five Comedians To Watch cited by the Boston Globe.
For interactive fun, Dueling Pianos is a good bet. The show is a monthly regular at the downtown Headliners Comedy Club since last year (700 Elm St, Manchester; tickets are $20 at headlinerscomedyclub.com). The two-man show is equal parts performance and house party, albeit one that’s been taken over by a gaggle of highly extroverted musicians. Here’s a good way to think about it. Occasionally, a yahoo trying to banter his way into the act will disrupt a comedy show. With Dueling Pianos, there are no such problems. Whether it’s a table full of friends joining in chorus for an impromptu battle of the sexes during “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” or a slightly inebriated patron singing along a bit too hard with REO’s “Keep On Loving You,” the audience is the show, which begins at 8:30 p.m
As seen in the February 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.