Crowd laughing at a joke

8 stand-up shows coming to DFW that promise big laughs

Make your next night out a funny one.

This time of year, things can feel dark — literally — thanks to early sunsets that seem like they set in a few ticks after mid-day. If you feel yourself falling into the winter doldrums, there’s only one antidote: Laughing so hard it hurts. Across North Texas, you can catch comedians who have earned critical recognition, gads of fans, and reputations as the best in the biz. Catch one of your favorite stand-up comedians in the Dallas area (or find a new one) in the next few months and shake off what ails you.

Stavros Halkias

Jan. 27, 10 p.m.
Majestic Theatre
Tickets start at $34.99

Baltimore’s son Stavros Halkias earned internet stardom through his raunchy-but-earnest crowd work and glowing critical reviews as part of a new wave of young (ish) comedic talent. Now, fresh off the heels of his first Netflix special, “Fat Rascal,” Stavvy is bringing his contagious, uproarious laugh to the Majestic Theatre. Unless you want to discuss a recent heartbreak or what you’ve been shame-eating, it’s best to stay mum when he solicits the crowd for stories. See the link for tickets.

Atsuko Okatsuka 

Feb. 2, 7:00 p.m.
The Texas Theatre
Tickets start at $38

You might recognize Atsuko Okatsuka if you’re chronically online, thanks to her signature bowl cut, bright style of primary colors, and perfectly executed accessories. She went viral for the #DropChallenge and has been in the zeitgeist since, bringing her unique brand of humor, which is equal parts physical comedy, pure theatrical silliness, and electric storytelling, sometimes about traumatic situations she’s endured. (Her HBO special, “The Intruder,” is named for an episode with an intruder who tried to break into her house three times in one day.) There’s no one like Okatsuka, and there won’t be anything like her “Full Grown” tour. Snag a ticket here.

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Maddy Smith

Feb. 9 – 10, showtimes at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Big Laugh Comedy Club Fort Worth
Tickets start at $20

As a standout cast member of MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out,” Maddy Smith regularly roasts people beyond recognition and shows off her lightning-quick improvisational skills. She’s also a regular at the Comedy Cellar, an opener for big-name talent, and has appeared on “Bar Stool Sports” and BET’s “On the Ropes.” While she’s a comedian’s comedian, fans love her equally for her sometimes zany, always unapologetic, straight-shooting style. Consider attending the 9:30 p.m. show to catch Austin’s Casey Rocket in the small room at 7 p.m. and see absurdist humor that will both confuse and delight you. Pick up tickets here.

Sam Morril

Feb. 8 – 10, multiple times
Addison Improv
Tickets start at $30

Since being named one of Comedy Central’s “ones to watch” in 2011, Morril has certainly been watchable: He’s appeared on late-night shows, released several comedy specials, and even hosted an Emmy-nominated sports show. (If listening is more your style, you can also catch him on the “We Might Be Drunk” podcast.) His gruff delivery of wide-ranging material is not for pearl clutches, but instead of punching down, he punches equidistantly — and it always feels like the audience is in on the joke. Grab tickets here.

Comedian performing in a club in front of  a full crowd

Zainab Johnson

February 24, 9:30 p.m.
Dallas Comedy Club
Tickets start at $25

“Last Comic Standing” alum Zainab Johnson puts the multi in multi-hyphenate as a writer, actress, and stand-up comic. She’s appeared on TV series like Greg Daniels’ “Upload” and hosted Netflix’s “100 Humans,” all while being a paid regular in some of America’s most well-known comedy clubs. Her new Amazon Prime special, “Hijabs Off,” includes stories about growing up with 12 siblings in Harlem, yet every poignant anecdote is paired with levity and clever insights. You’ll feel like you’re having a night with your smartest, funniest, and most stylish friend. Get your tickets here to see the tour

Chris Redd

Feb. 24, 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Big Laugh Comedy Club Fort Worth
Tickets start at $25

Former “SNL” cast member, Second City touring member, Emmy Award winner (and underrated jewel of “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”), Chris Redd, is a masterful performer. His improvisational bona fides are on full display during his stand up, where his comedic voice and electric energy transform every story or crowd interaction into a show of its own. You can catch him for the early or late show. Get tickets to either here.

Ronny Chieng 

March 2, 7:00 p.m.
Majestic Theatre
Tickets start at $39.50

You might know Ronny Chieng from one of his many movie appearances, including popular titles like “Crazy Rich Asians,” “M3GAN,” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Or, it’s possible you’ve caught him on the small screen as senior correspondent (and occasional host) of the “Daily Show.” Given his tenure on the satirical news show, Chieng is well practiced at balancing biting commentary with hilarity, and that juxtaposition extends nicely to his “Love to Hate It” tour, which he described as complaining about things he loves. Relatable. Catch him while you can at the Majestic Theatre

Maria Bamford

March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Addison Improv
Tickets start at $25

If you’re still mourning the cancellation of Bamford’s Netflix series “Lady Dynamite,” here’s your opportunity to see the mastermind behind it. She has earned two “Comedy Central Presents” specials — the first woman to do so — adding to numerous specials and extensive voice work from shows like “BoJack Horseman” to movies like “Kung Fu Panda.” Her weird and wonderful approach to even heavy topics, including her anxiety and depression, makes her accessible to anyone who feels like they live in the outer limits (but can find humor in it, anyway.) Bamford was once called “The funniest woman in the world” by Judd Apatow, but you can see for yourself in person. Click here for tickets.

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Don’t miss the top 12 activities, events, and festivals of early 2024

The Valley has plenty to keep you occupied during the next few months.

Events are as plentiful as out-of-state license plates in Phoenix during the first few months of the year. Arts and culture festivals abound, food and drink events fill our plates, spring training is in full swing starting in March, and we pay tribute to Arizona’s roots with horse shows, rodeos, and more.

These are some of the top time-tested, best-attended, best-organized, and most fun things to do covering a broad range of interests. Put on your comfy shoes, and get out there!

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Arizona Renaissance Festival

Weekends Feb. 3-March 31; also Feb. 19

Gold Canyon

$34 adults; $22 ages 5-12

Roughly a couple of hundred Renaissance festivals or “faires” exist in nearly every state, but we were told by a veteran of them that ours is among the best. Why? The stunning mountain views, expansive and easy-to-traverse fairgrounds, and variety of attractions and shows lift ours to a new level. This year, the event is adding another music stage, a pub crawl, new food items, new vendors, and new acts (we’re especially intrigued by Supernova the Strongwoman). Pro tip: Food and beverage booths and rides accept cash only, and the ATM lines can be lengthy, so hit the bank before you go.

Scottsdale Parada Del Sol

Feb. 3

Old Town Scottsdale

Free

Plan to make a day of this starting at 10 a.m. with a massive parade featuring floats, riders on horseback, marching bands, stagecoaches, and more. This year’s theme is “70 Years and Still Groovin’, the Western Cool Vibe.” Afterward, they’ll be dancing in the streets as the Trail’s End Festival takes over with live entertainment on multiple stages, a kids’ zone, food trucks, beverage stands, and arts and crafts booths. 

Phoenix Chinese Culture & Cuisine Festival

Feb. 3-4

Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix

Free

This 34th annual event will celebrate the Year of the Dragon with lion and dragon dances, which are a sight to behold. There will also be traditional Chinese dances, martial arts demonstrations, food booths, vendors, art, hands-on activities, a beer garden, a koi exhibit, and more.  

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Feb. 3- Feb. 11

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale 

Free and up

The “Greatest Show on Grass,” also known as “The People’s Open,” is more than a golf game: It’s one of the biggest parties of the year in the area and the most-attended golf tournament in the world, with roughly 90,000 spectators per day and 700,000 over the entire event. This event is infamous for rowdy, booze-fueled crowds packing the stands. Still, it’s been named Tournament of the Year five times by the PGA. A Post Malone concert tees up the event on Feb. 3, with golf commencing on Feb. 5.

Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show

Feb. 15-25

WestWorld of Scottsdale

$15 for adults; seat costs vary

If you want to see some of the most spectacular stallions in the world, they’ll be here at the largest Arabian horse show, competing for more than $3 million in prize money based on versatility, beauty, grace, and more. In addition to admiring the animals, you can shop for fine art, crafts, clothing, and jewelry at the Shopping Expo. 

Arizona Gay Rodeo

Feb. 16-18

Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, Phoenix

$20

Imagine one of the most jovial Pride festivals you’ve ever been to, with live music, drag queens, drinking, and dancing. Now add a real rodeo with competitions including bull riding, steer riding, calf roping, pole bending, and more, along with three “camp” events: goat dressing (a challenge to put underwear on feisty goats), steer decorating, and a wild drag race. This 38th-annual festival also features food trucks, lawn games, mechanical bull rides, and dozens of vendors.

Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Feb. 16-20

Various locations

Free and up

Now in its twelfth year, this spiritous series pays homage to the people and products that have led us into the creative universe of craft cocktails. It includes dozens of events, including tastings, expert-led educational seminars, and three signature events. The Cocktail Carnival features drinks paired with circus performances along with a DJ, food trucks, and more. Top Bars highlights talented mixologists from the world’s best bars under one roof. And Last Slinger Standing is a mixology competition judged by a panel of global cocktail experts.

Cactus League Spring Training

Feb. 22-March 26

10 stadiums Valleywide

Cost varies

East side, west side, and all around the town, you can attend MLB spring training, thanks to 15 teams playing in 10 ballparks for about five weeks. Salt River Fields on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is the spring training home of the D-Backs and Colorado Rockies and is perfect for visitors thanks to its architecture, size, amenities, and views.

Innings Festival 

Feb. 23-24 and March 1-2

Tempe Beach Park 

$160 and up

Blend your love of MLB and live music at this massive Spring Training kickoff party. More than 18 acts this year include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow, Macklemore, and hometown favorites the Gin Blossoms. Baseball legends will appear over both weekends to sign autographs and pose for photos, and you can practice your skills at the batting and pitching cages. Tip: Tickets sell out fast!

Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market

March 2-3

Heard Museum, Phoenix

$25; discounts available

More than 600 of the nation’s top American Indian artists convene here each year to show and sell their magnificent works. From paintings and sculptures to pottery, textiles, jewelry, and more, the best of the best from multiple generations of working artists can be found. The Guild bestows prize money based on a juried competition as well, so look for the ribbons and congratulate the talent. 

Chandler Ostrich Festival 

Tumbleweed Park, Chandler

March 8- March 10 and 15-17

$30 adults; $20 ages 5-12

Ostrich ranches were plentiful in the early twentieth century when feathers were de rigueur for women’s hats. In 1988, Chandler revived the birds’ popularity with this quirky festival, which has grown to one of the largest in the state. It now features the namesake flightless feathered friends, major musical acts, a carnival midway, and vendors, including food booths galore. This year, look for Wynonna Judd, Shaggy, Big Kenny and John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Cowboy Troy to take the stage.

Art Detour

March 1-31

Valleywide

Free and up
Phoenix’s beloved and long-running First Fridays arts event each month has ballooned over the years — enough to fill an entire month. That’s why Artlink, the nonprofit behind that successful series, also organizes Art Detour, a 30-day extravaganza showcasing activities, artists, arts groups, and venues all over town. You can consult the calendar and devise your own “artinerary” that might include visual, performing, and culinary arts; fashion design; public art; and more.

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People enjoying immersive art at Meow Wolf

9 spots for indoor fun in Dallas-Fort Worth

Too cold to go out? No problem!

North Texas sees its fair share of beautiful weather, perfect for getting outside in the sunshine. But when the colder-than-cold temps hit, we have to find our entertainment indoors. Turns out, there are plenty of fun hotspots in Dallas-Fort Worth where you can have a ball inside. Let’s check out a few of our favorites.

Let’s Get Active

Fowling Warehouse DFW

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to bowl by throwing footballs, wonder no more. Fowling Warehouse DFW is a unique concept where players throw footballs at pins — and it’s tougher than it looks! This huge facility in Plano offers a full bar and kitchen, private VIP options, and more to create a unique way to play two classic sports. Open play starts at $15, with reserved lanes available. Located at 1714 14th St, in Plano.

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Another Round

Another Round mini golf in Plano features unique and challenging holes with imaginative designs you won’t find at other mini golf experiences. The venue is family-friendly and suitable for all ages, including groups or date nights. Non-serious golfers only! And be sure to sample the spot’s full bar and menu when you need a break from the putts. Pricing starts at $14 per person. Located at 660 Fort Worth Avenue in Dallas.

SIXES Cricket

New to the U.S., SIXES might make you a cricket fan, but even if it doesn’t, you can still enjoy cocktails, tasty food, and plenty of entertainment. SIXES also offers karaoke rooms and batting cages in a colorful and playful location. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, SIXES is fun for everyone. Adult tickets start at $10/each. Located at 5740 Grandscape Blvd. in The Colony.

Let’s Go High Tech

Immersive Gamebox

Step into a totally different digital world at Immersive Gamebox, where players of all ages can compete in high-tech games like Tetris, Squid Game, and more. This multidimensional full-body experience uses sensors, cameras, and more to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping! Games start at $34.99. Located at 2525 Elm Street in Deep Ellum and 5752 Grandscape Blvd. in The Colony.

Puttshack

Another high-tech option, Puttshack, is a mini-golf and social entertainment venue with a new location in Addison, TX. Puttshack offers a modern mini-golf experience with interactive games and digital scoring in a vibrant atmosphere, with a full-service bar and a full menu of food and beverages. Starting at $14 per person. Located at 5100 Belt Line Rd #600 in Addison.

Electric Shuffle

Head back to Deep Ellum to play, drink, and dine at Electric Shuffle. Named for its signature high-tech shuffleboard, this super-fun, high-energy spot has everything for your next date night, girls’ night out, or group outing. Try the flatbreads to start, alongside a range of cocktails and mocktails, and end with a round of cake pops. $15 per person for 90 minutes of play. Located at Deep Ellum, 2615 Elm Street in Dallas.

Let’s Get Some Culture

Meow Wolf

The world-renowned immersive art experience Meow Wolf has come to DFW. See the Real Unreal exhibit, a huge, psychedelic display of art, color, sound, and texture featuring local artists who have helped create its surreal and fantastical environments that encourage exploration and discovery. Tickets start at $40. Located at Grapevine Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway in Grapevine.

Sweet Tooth Hotel

Picture yourself in a hotel dedicated to sweet treats. That’s the idea behind Sweet Tooth Hotel, an interactive art museum in Downtown Dallas. Complete with a very real bar serving very real drinks, and this sugary spot boasts plenty to explore, photograph, and discover. Check the schedule online because there are often themed events and parties going on. Tickets start at $20. Located at 1500 Elm Street in Dallas.

Kimbell Art Museum

Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum is known for its impressive art collection from antiquity to the 20th century. The museum, designed by architect Louis Kahn, is celebrated for its architectural significance and houses works by artists such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Monet. We recommend you stop by The Kimbell Cafe for a meal to top off your visit. Adults’ tickets are $18. Located at 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth.

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