This weekend two comics hit town in separate shows, highlighting the diversity of national talent that swings through local clubs and theaters. Actor, writer and comedian Deon Cole will do five shows at the Pittsburgh Improv on March 22-24. On March 23, drag queen and insult comic extraordinaire, Bianca Del Rio plays Stage AE.
- Photo courtesy of Emily Berl
Cole is best known for his work on the hit ABC sitcom, Blackish. But long before that, he was a writer for Conan O’Brien and has been doing standup since the late 1990s.
In fact, Cole may be one of the best observational comics working in clubs today. “I was at a bar one time, and I was the only black dude down there. I asked the waitress about the drink specials, and she said, ‘We have watermelon mojitos,’” Cole says, in his 2017 appearance on the Netflix series The Standups. “Watermelon mojitos? That sounds delicious. I never heard of a watermelon mojito. But then I started thinking — damn, I’m the only black dude down here, I can’t order that shit. I’ll set black people back 10 years if I order that. So, I got a white woman to order for me. ‘Excuse me, white woman, can you order me 17 watermelon mojitos, please?’”
- Photo courtesy of Denise Malone
Bianca Del Rio The winner of Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Del Rio (a.k.a. Roy Haylock), is an insult comic in the classic sense of the word.
She’s quick, deliberate and unapologetic. “So, since you were 14, you’ve known you were a lesbian,” she asks a front-row audience member at one of her cabaret shows, who answers shyly. “Wait, why do you feel awkward now? You’re wearing Birkenstocks, bitch — own it.”
Besides that, she’s also got great stories based on her life. “I did meth once … You know how when you do drugs, you go to the bathroom to check yourself? Well, when I did meth, I went to the bathroom and retiled the whole goddamned thing!”
Deon Cole 8 p.m. Thu., March 22; 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Fri., March 23; and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sat., March 24. Pittsburgh Improv, 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, Homestead. $25-75. www.pittsburgh.improv.com
Bianca Del Rio 8 p.m. Fri., March 24. Stage AE, 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $45-85. www.promowestlive.com