The promoters behind Valley Comedy draw from a rib-tickling lineup of local comedians and touring funny folk to host monthly shows at Shamrock's Irish Pub in Bakersfield, Silver Dollar Hofbrau in Fresno, and the venerable Western-themed Old Town Saloon in Clovis. Valley Comedy also works with the community to arrange public and private events, dispatching standup comedians to fundraisers, corporate events, parties, and glum parent-teacher conferences throughout the Central Valley.
Irascible comedian Adam Carolla pulls no punches as he singes The Fox Theater in an evening of fiery standup. From foiling Dr. Drew on Loveline, antagonizing livers on The Man Show, and brazenly tricycling on Dancing with the Stars, Adam’s affable mug is instantly familiar to television viewers. Now host of The Adam Carolla Show, which made the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Downloaded Podcast in the World, his gruff voice and gift of guff take antic, in-the-flesh form in a standup act that swings between crafty storytelling and gleefully unhinged rants. The 1,500-seat Fox Theater's towering art deco marquee beams Old Hollywood glitz into the surrounding cultural district, and inside the auditorium, star lights set into the ceiling twinkle more brightly with every punch line.
Founded to stage bold new theatrical works, Spotlight Theatre presents classics, dramas, comedies, and musicals. The theater boasts high-caliber production quality, homegrown talent, and a suspended net of tapioca-filled balloons to be dropped on audience members that linger too long after the show. The 2010–2011 season (the theater's eleventh) features nine works, including adaptations of Hamlet, The Producers, and Dreamgirls. The Drowsy Chaperone offers the whimsical tale of a diehard musical-theater fan that plays his favorite cast album and then watches in awe as the music literally bursts into life. The Great American Trailer Park Musical tells the story of a ménage à trois involving Pippi (a stripper on the run) and a married couple living in a trailer park in Florida, with a special appearance by a chorus line of trained tap-dancing alligators during intermission.
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating roster of Globetrotter favorites—including three female players—takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard TNT sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker Quake, whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 Too Tall and 7-foot-4 Stretch, the team’s tallest member.
During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters’ extensive travels haven’t gone unnoticed: they’re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
California Keyboards Music Center has sharpened the ears and tamed the wandering digits of the Southern Valley for more than 35 years. Each weekly 30-minute lesson is taught by instructors whose performance resumés include enlivening Carnegie Hall, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and treading alongside jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.