Every week, New Orleans's longest-running improv comedy troupe, Brown Improv Comedy, crafts one-of-a-kind hilarity based on the suggestions of theatergoers and bar patrons. The group runs with the suggested topic, creating skits and interactive games to tickle guffaws out of the audience. Having just celebrated their 18th year of performing, the team is well versed in turning out the funny and has outgrown the angst-ridden eye rolls of their 16th and 17th years of performing.
Competitors in the Southwest Division of the NBA’s Western Conference, the New Orleans Hornets have regaled the Big Easy’s hoops fans since migrating from Charlotte in 2002. Egged on by the vespine mascot Hugo, swarms of 17,000 fans swathed in light blue surround the court inside New Orleans Arena, where a center-hung LED board displays live-action video and instant replays of referees' most spectacular cross-court jogs.
Australian children's-music sensations The Wiggles have been entertaining kids with wacky singing, silly dancing, and onstage antics for 20 years. The color-coded quartet uses songs, games, and storytelling to encourage participation from pintsize audience members, fostering a sense of youthful empowerment usually found only in preteen monarchs and omnipotent Star Children. Kids and parents alike are transported to The Wiggles' magical world of Big Red Cars, feather-wielding pirates, and rose-eating dinosaurs, licensing audience members of all ages to be silly and have fun. Concertgoers experience the show safely sequestered in the parquet level of the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, enjoying a non-naked mole rat's view of onstage frolics and access to smile-feeding aural nourishment.
With its imposing, slate-gray façade, the 170-year-old U.S. Custom House may be the last building in which you’d expect to hear the delighted squeals of children. But behind the steely columns, the building erupts into 23,000 square feet of colorful displays and fluttering, scuttling insects, courtesy of the Audubon Society and Insectarium. In the Asian garden, hundreds of butterflies dodge shafts of sunlight to alight on tropical ferns and the shoulders of young visitors. And at the Insects of New Orleans gallery, visitors can ogle the pink katydids, cockroaches, and lovebugs that contribute to the city’s heritage.
These bug-filled displays are all part of the insectarium’s mission to conserve Louisiana’s indigenous species and inspire stewardship in its visitors. While adults can sate their curiosity with the vast array of exotic species, curators gear many displays toward young guests by making them lighthearted and interactive: the Field Camp’s entomologist answers questions about how to collect bugs or break up flea-circus strikes, and at Bug Appétit, chefs dole out insect-filled delicacies to adventurous palates.
Renowned psychic and medium Chip Coffey, star of A&E shows Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal and Paranormal State, ushers audiences through preternatural territories in Coffey Talk, a witty and cathartic journey into the unknown. Clairvoyant, clairaudient, and as scintillating as a ghost-whispering Truman Capote, Coffey uses his psychic gifts to counsel the bereaved, ease the haunted, and terrify fraudulent realtors. In this special round of Coffey Talk, Chip guides the two-hour event through two hair-raising chapters of powerful emotion. The show starts with a question-and-answer session, where Chip explains the paranormal and mankind’s inherent psychic abilities before honoring queries about his daunting experiences, his TV shows, and continuity errors in Ghostbusters. For Act II, Chip puts on his psychic-reading glasses to contact spirits for select members of the audience.
A star-studded roster of rollicking comedians answers the Big Easy Comedy Festival’s call for ribald laughter with an evening of no-holds-barred standup comedy on Memorial Day weekend. Ace standup comedian, actor, and writer Mike Epps, known to movie buffs as Day-Day Jones from the films Friday and Friday After Next, takes a break from his sellout I'm Still Standing tour to leave a mark on UNO Lakefront’s stage with his signature physicality and cartoonish impressions of his family. Tony Rock, who’s appeared in the blockbuster smash Hitch, steps out from under his brother Chris Rock’s shadow with a raw and gutsy set that fearlessly takes on issues of social injustice and relationships. Hailed as Black America's Favorite White Comic by Ebony magazine and recently appearing in the movie Think Like a Man, grandstanding Gary Owen, swelters with everyman appeal and crackerjack timing in relatable bits on brazenly taboo topics.