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Anthony Jeselnik

  • Barrymore 2090 Atwood Avenue Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

As Pittsburgh-born comedian Anthony Jeselnik's career has gone on, the lazy comparisons to George Carlin as our nation's new resident angry comic pointing out our own selfish, tone-deaf behavior have subsided. Jeselnik's made it clear that he's less interested in satirizing systemic problems than exploring what makes us uncomfortable, a distinction that doesn't necessarily diminish what he has to say.

Although his website insists he's most known for the Comedy Central roasts of Donald Trump and Charlie Sheen (could you choose two career highlights more destined to age poorly), Jeselnik's proudly black heart gained him a large following via bits like the one his 2015 special is named for: Thoughts And Prayers. In this routine, he keenly observes that people have a tendency to seize on national tragedies as opportunities to spread meaningless sentiments as roundabout ways to get attention for themselves.

The caustic bad-boy schtick can wear thin but, fortunately, Jeselnik is surgical in trampling taboos. This nuance is likely lost on anyone flipping through to Comedy Central in 2013, when his short-lived show The Jeselnik Offensive debuted with him telling jokes about cancer to a support group of cancer patients. If you're looking to get your blood up, Jeselnik's not for you. If you're open to provocative examinations on stereotyping, slaughtering of sacred cows, amoral social commentary, and it all being open to interpretation—why not let him help you be pissed about something other than the political ascent of someone he once roasted? —David Wolinsky

Later Event: March 1
If…. (free)