According to Harland Williams' biography, the Toronto-born comic started telling jokes as a way to cope with the passing of his father, who allegedly was killed by a dead crow that fell from the sky. The bird's beak supposedly pierced the farmer's skull, and he "dropped like a sack of wet catfish fungus." Sure, this tale's likely as tall as the Empire State Building, but given Williams' offbeat persona, it's only appropriate that he has a little fun with his bio. After all, this is a guy who's worked with Tom Green, Jim Carrey, and Bruce McCulloch -- all fellow Canucks -- as well as Dave Chappelle and the masters of moronic filmmaking, the Farrelly Brothers. That's quite some comical company Williams keeps, and it's only part of his varied résumé. Williams starred in the WB network's Simon, played Geena Davis' co-worker on The Geena Davis Show, and did voice-overs for the animated shows Sammy, Ned's Newt, and Gary and Mike. And that's just the acting. Williams is also a prolific painter and author, with a hefty collection of acrylics and several illustrated children's books. Yes -- children's. Keep that in mind as you watch him take the stage, in case you have any illusions that his comedy bit is a series of cheap anecdotes and one-liners. Williams is a natural-born funnyman. His standup act does what a lot of comics try hard to avoid -- it tackles serious issues like abortion, drugs, and even war. OK, so maybe he did support the invasion of Iraq, and maybe he rails against moral decay (a comedic no-no). But Williams isn't just some blowhard Dennis Miller-type out to put down those bleeding-heart Hollywood liberals, and unlike Miller, you don't need an encyclopedia to understand what the hell he's talking about. Williams actually cares, and that says a lot in a culture that touts cynicism and insincerity as a virtue. Williams performs tonight through Sunday at the Palm Beach Improv at CityPlace (550 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 250, West Palm Beach). Tickets cost $18.02 to $21.02. Call 561-833-1812. --Jason Budjinski
Try Some Rock Lobster
The recent passing of beloved food maven Julia Child left us with one fewer celebrity chef to mimic while we prepare our evening meal. But then again, she never rocked out with a guitar solo between dishes -- like the Sauce Boss, Bill Wharton. The sauce man has been singin' the blues since he found a vintage steel guitar in front of his house three decades ago. However, Wharton's equal love of cooking led him to realize the two need not be separate, and both became part of his live act. Marilyn Manson can keep his freak show; the Sauce Boss has what we really want -- gumbo! That's right; the Sauce Boss offers not only a full set of grade-A Florida blues but audience members get a free helping of gumbo as well. And Wharton doesn't stop there; he's even set up his own nonprofit organization, Planet Gumbo, which donates gumbo to homeless shelters. So put that in your pot and stir it. Wharton cooks it up tonight at 9:30 at the Bamboo Room (25 S. "J" St., Lake Worth). The cost is $15. Call 561-585-2583. -- Jason Budjinski
Carnival of carnage
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Dog Fashion Disco is every bit as strange as its name implies. But while said name invokes images of roller-skating poodles dressed in gold lamé, there's more vice than nice, hence the band's term for its style -- evil circus music. If there's any kind of link between heavy metal and new wave, Dog Fashion Disco has found it and subsequently beat the hell out of it. The band fuses the hard-edged with the trippy and experimental. The result is songs like "Dr. Piranha," an equal mix of chunky alt-metal and quirky synth-rock, and "Love Song for a Witch," which sounds as if Slayer got lost at a carnival fun house. And don't forget the band's Def Leppard piss-take, "Pour Some Urine on Me." Uh, no thanks, guys. Dog Fashion Disco performs tonight at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). The show starts at 8 p.m. with Tub Ring, Bad Acid Trip, and Dr. Gonzo's Bazooka Circus. Tickets cost $5 to $10. Call 954-564-1074. --Jason Budjinski
It's not a long stretch from vaginas to war, at least not for Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler. Her new play, Necessary Targets (see review on page 37), explores the aftermath of war, based on Ensler's interviews of women in Bosnian refugee camps. According to Women's Theatre Project President Meredith Lasher: "People often think of war as being a guy thing, but it is women who suffer the most. We wanted to pay homage to the women, to what's happening now in the Sudan and Afghanistan. Same shit, different war." That kind of humor is apparent in the play. When a French cosmetics company sends samples of a facial cleanser to the camp, one of the refugees quips, "Leave it to the French to think of facial cleansing in the middle of ethnic cleansing." Tickets cost $10 to $20, and the play runs from Thursday through Sunday at Miami-Dade College North Campus Black Box Theatre (11380 NW 27th Ave., Miami). Call 305-327-1438. -- Karen Dale Wolman