Mitch Hedberg is not a stoner comic. Yes, he has a predilection for snack food -- "A waffle is like a pancake with a syrup trap" -- and cute animals -- "I have a koala infestation. It's much cuter than a cockroach infestation. When I turn on the lights, they scatter. But I don't want them to." His delivery is humble and low-key. He rarely looks up during sets, preferring to gaze at the floor while his long hair falls over his face. But do not mistake the averted eyes for a drug-induced stupor. Hedberg's understated and offbeat observations about life make you feel like you're hanging out with a friend; his observations actually make you -- gasp -- think! He doesn't employ wild gestures or loud voices to get his jokes across. He doesn't have to. His brilliant use of non sequiturs puts him in a class of his own.
While the 33-year-old Minnesota native may spend time waxing philosophical about the nature of Pringles cans and making other quirky observations -- "I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it" -- he's a busy guy. He's been on Letterman 10 times; written, starred in, and directed a movie called Los Enchiladas; put out a live comedy CD; and he has been featured on That 70's Show. He got his start right here in Fort Lauderdale, when a co-worker encouraged him to try stand-up. He then high-tailed it to Seattle and hit it big in 1996 at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Since then, Hedberg has maintained a venerable underdog status. So, you ask, what's next for Mitch? A sitcom, right? That seems to be the predestined path for many comedians. But prime time TV isn't ready for his Hunter S. Thompson meets Stephen Wright brand of eccentricity. Comical revelations like -- "I hate flossing. I wish I just had one long, curvy tooth"--are more meaningful in the confines of a friend's living room than on the boob tube. And Mitch is cool with that.
Mitch Hedberg performs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Uncle Funny's, 9160 State Rd. 84, Davie. Tickets cost $18. Call 954-474-5653. -- Audra Schroeder
On the Road Again
Now that he's a good, tax-paying, God-fearing American, Willie Nelson's gotta earn a living somehow, and Super Bowl commercials probably don't even pay for the weed. The ponytailed, bandana-clad country star has always embodied the outlaw country movement: long hair, an ungroomed five-o'clock shadow, a few shady run-ins with the law, skin as leathery as a saddlebag. Of course, it wasn't always like that. When one sees the short, black, greasy hair Nelson sports on the cover of his early albums, one is tempted to think there might have been another singer operating in country music in those days. It wasn't until his great Atlantic Records years in the early '70s that he started to look like the gritty Willie of today. Recently, like many aging country superstars, his recordings have been benighted duet albums attempting to reach out to a younger audience. Luckily, he leaves these overproduced affairs behind when he performs live on April 18 at 8 p.m. at the Mizner Park Amphitheatre at the corner of Federal Highway and NE Mizner Boulevard, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $32.50. Call 561-447-8144. -- Dan Sweeney
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Lights! Camera! Rejection!
South Florida gets so emotional, baby
What reads like a who's who of three-word minimum Alternative Press pinups? Taking Back Sunday's latest tour. The Long Island natives bring along fellow newcomers From Autumn to Ashes and Count the Stars for a rock 'n' roll extravaganza. Overcoming obscurity and reaping the rewards of press and fan adoration, the quintet has endured quite an active year supporting its Victory debut Tell All Your Friends. With its dual vocal/guitar attack, the band has fared increasingly well with both spock rockers and hardcore kids. While emo might be too trite an adjective to apply to this lineup, one cannot help but imagine bespectacled adolescents in New Found Glory T-shirts silently weeping along to these angst-ridden anthems. Taking Back Sunday, From Autumn to Ashes, Count the Stars, and Recover make a return engagement at the Factory, 2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at 6 p.m. Call 954-564-7625. -- Kiran Aditham