The leaves are turning, the pumpkin lattes are over-caffeinating and the comedy calendar is packing in shows and releases like snot-nosed children onto the back of a hayride wagon. Here are a few of the upcoming highlights.
The second album from Last Comic Standing finalist Myq Kaplan (following 2010's Vegan Mind Meld) is a somewhat surprising musical pairing with Second City alum Micah Sherman. Fortunately the results are much more Garfunkel and Oates than Rodney Carrington, with 22 tracks of smartly neurotic, up-tempo acoustic ditties bolstered by adept harmonies and faux-contentious banter. (A point-by-point takedown of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" is among the highlights.) Pals including Maria Bamford, Henry Phillips, Baron Vaughn, Shane Mauss and MC Mr. Napkins will be on hand to help celebrate. Fri., Sept. 28, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd., (323) 851-7223, www.nerdmeltla.com.
9. Stephen Colbert's America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't, Grand Central Publishing
A new book by Emmy-winning political parodist Stephen Colbert so close to the election? Huge coincidence or omnipotent act of a marketing-savvy God? Either way, if it's anything like 2007's I Am America (And So Can You!), the Colbert Report host will have another chart-topper on his hands. Quoth Amazon.com, "America Again will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts." In a season rife with quixotic promise-making, Colbert alone can fabulist it up with the worst of them and yet remain one of the few talking heads we can all agree to trust. Tues., Oct. 2, www.hachettebookgroup.com.
8. The Sixth Anniversary of What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill
What a long, strange, eclectic, rowdy and occasionally unbelievable trip it's been for the stalwart weekly created by Maria Bamford and Melinda Hill. Fitting that the planned festivities would be just as epic: booker Jazz Ponce promises a double-dose celebration stretching over two Mondays that will feature confirmed talent including Bamford, Greg Proops, Nick Kroll, Brendon Small, the Sklar Brothers, Matt Braunger, Blaine Capatch and Nick Turner, plus prize drawings for merch donated by favorite Tiger Lily talent. Comics themselves will also get to take part in the mad rafflin' fun, as they are eligible to win sets of time on future shows varying from regular spots up to a full month-long residency. Mon., Oct. 15 and 22, 6122 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd., (323) 466-9917, www.whatsuptigerlily.tumblr.com.
7. Dave Attell, Brea Improv
He was a guileless, ever-roving barfly on Comedy Central's much-loved Insomniac with Dave Attell. On Showtime's Dave's Old Porn, he's a giddy, starstruck fanboy of all things filth. But live and onstage, that's where the real Attell shines through: dangerously dark and impossibly quick-witted, yet always belying a certain wistfulness and vulnerability. Dude's got top-notch dick jokes, too. Witness the continuing evolution of one of the finest performers populating the current comedy landscape when Attell makes a rare West Coast appearance for two nights only. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 12-13, 120 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, (714) 482-0700, www.brea.impov.com.
Next up: A podcast fest
6. The First Annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival
Now that podcasts are practically a programming requirement for all major comedy (and music) festivals, it only makes sense that someone like the folks behind Comedy Film Nerds and Walking the Room would think to gather the cream of the crop in one place. That place is multiple venues in Santa Monica, and those crop-creams include Doug Benson's Doug Loves Movies, Greg Proops's The Smartest Man in the World, The Todd Glass Show, Jimmy Pardo's Never Not Funny, Howard Kremer & Kulap Vilaysack's Who Charted?, Aisha Tyler's Girl on Guy, Greg Fitzsimmons's Fitzdog Radio, Jackie Kashian's The Dork Forest and many, many more. Your eardrums tingling yet? Fri.-Sun., Oct. 12-14, www.lapodfest.com.
5. Sean Patton's Standard Operating Procedure, ASpecialThing Records
It may be only a slight exaggeration to claim it took bi-coastal whirlwind Sean Patton a dozen or so times to finally commit to a recording he liked. Fortunately that year-plus of unwavering perfectionism comes to fruition with the release of a hotly anticipated album that captures the Conan vet in all his manic, self-effacing, beautifully flawed glory. Could this be the best debut effort since Kyle Kinane's Death of the Party? The seventh or eighth or ninth time certainly seems to be the charm... Tues., Oct. 16, www.astrecords.com.
4. Yael Kohen's We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, Sarah Crichton Books
The old, tired argument about whether women are or are not funny has quite a few prominent rebuttals. There are Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, to name two, up through Elaine May, Lily Tomlin, Mary Tyler Moore, Roseanne, Margaret Cho, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey and dozens upon dozens more. Not only does Marie Claire contributing editor Kohen's oral history focus on the most familiar faces, she sought stories from writers, bookers, producers and club owners as well. Most hilarious of all? The fact that a study this candid or in-depth hasn't existed before now. Tues., Oct. 16, www.macmillan.com.
Up next: What's coming at Largo
3. Simon Amstell, Largo at the Coronet
British standup Amstell is an openly gay, vegan, Jewish non-drinker who holds the distinction of starting to tour while still in his teens and being the youngest finalist to ever appear on the duly impressive-sounding BBC New Comedy Awards. Currently touring select U.S. markets with one-man show Numb, in short, he's neurotic as hell, and he's only getting started. Mon.-Tues., Nov. 12-13, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd., (310) 855-0350, www.largo-la.com.
Two of the four titular stars of 2000 Spike Lee concert documentary The Original Kings of Comedy co-headline the 7,000-seater, but the top sitcom stars aren't alone -- the inclusions of Everybody Hates Chris player Earthquake, Last Comic Standing vet Malik S. and Johnson Family Vacation's J.J. Williamson promises an epic evening of collaboration, social commentary, bombast and plenty of surprises. Fri., Oct. 19, 777 Chick Hearn Ct., (213) 763-6030, www.nokiatheatrelalive.com.
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1. Doug Stanhope, The Comedy Store
Since his last L.A. appearance in May of 2011, the roguest elephant in the comedy jungle has seemingly traded his reputation as misanthropic slacker for one of pointed productivity, appearing as a suicidal road dog in a highly acclaimed episode of Louie, completing a 38-city tour of the U.K. and releasing not only last year's Oslo: Burning the Bridge to Nowhere CD/DVD but digital album Before Turning the Gun on Himself -- the latter given the Showtime-special treatment this August and available on CD/DVD November 6. Up next Stanhope will film a third season of BBC cult favorite Newswipe with Charlie Brooker; November 23 sees the launch of his two-years-in-the-making Celebrity Death Pool. (Full disclosure, I helped out with some Stanhope PR a few years back.) Thu.-Fri, Nov. 29-30, 8433 W. Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd., (323) 650-6268, www.thecomedystore.com.