By Valerie Heimerich

As Sacramento emerges from the winter doldrums, there are plenty of opportunities to get ones’ funny bone tickled this spring. From high intensity to more low key laughs, there are so many comedic options it was hard to narrow the calendar down. Below are five good picks.

High Anxiety Variety Show
First Festival
Riverwalk Park
651 2nd St.
West Sacramento, CA 95605

Date: May 6, 2017

Sacramento locals Cory Barringer and Cameron Betts are long-time friends, bandmates and comedic co-conspirators; the dynamic duo are also the founding fathers and hosts of the High Anxiety Variety Show. A riotous mix of comedy, music, interviews, crowd participation and angst, the Variety Show is the comic headliner for the 2017 First Festival, and will be doing a live podcast from the event. Funny-man, performer and all around good guy Cristian Amaral is part of the High Anxiety troupe, as are bands including Bachelor Paradise, Dog Rifle, Silver Spoons, Rich Corporation and Josiah Gathing & The Palsy Bells. A grass roots music event, First Festival brings together many of the things Sac residents hold dear – craft beer, humor, food, art, shopping and great bands. A variety of entertainment will be offered the 2-day festival, which is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on May 6 – 7, 2017.

Bianca Del Rio
Crest Theatre
1013 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 476-3356

Date: May 6, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Comedian, actor and costume designer Roy Haylock brings his fabulous force-of-nature alter ego, Bianca Del Rio, to the Crest for a special, one-night performance. Known for razor-sharp wit and the vocabulary of a sailor, Del Rio was the winner of season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and comes to Sacramento as part of her “Not Today Satan” comedy tour.

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Sacramento Improv Marathon
Sacramento Comedy Spot
1050 20th St., Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 444-3137

Date: March 31 – April 2, 2017

The Sacramento Improv Marathon is a 3-day celebration of the unique, spontaneous and vastly entertaining art of improvisational comedy. The event includes the work of local improv stars and comedians from around the country, with special guest performers dropping by throughout the days. In addition to being a venue for nightly comedy and for the event, Comedy Spot has Northern California’s largest comedy school; the marathon includes a variety of workshops for aspiring improv artists. The festival promises to provide even more hilarity than during the highly successful inaugural launch in 2016. Tickets are available by day or for the entire run of the marathon. The marathon is operated by the Sacramento Comedy Foundation, a nonprofit foundation focused on the cultural and artistic renaissance of the region.

Mark Normand
Punch Line Sacramento
2100 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 925-8500

Dates: March 2 – 4, 2017

Los Angeles native Mark Normand will bring his comedic chops to the Punch Line stage for a three-day run. Normand performs in festivals and comedy clubs all over the country. Normand had appeared on shows including “Last Comic Standing”, “Inside Amy Schumer”, “Conan”, “How to be a Grown Up” and “SXSW Comedy”, as well as releasing a CD and special on Comedy Central. The ever-busy showman also runs several comedy shows and podcasts New York City. For 25 years Sacramento Punch Line has showcased the best and brightest performers from across the U.S., including local favorites Dave Chappelle, Jo Koy, Gabriel Iglesias and Russell Peters. The club offers dinner and has a full bar featuring local craft beers.

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