February might be the shortest month (though not the cruelest, if I remember my T. S. Eliot). I don’t think that’s what’s making it seem so jampacked though, comedy wise. There really is quite an impressive list of humor’s heavy hitters vying for your chortles over the next 28 days. To wit (see what I did there — wit?):
I’m not sure why they call him "Tater Salad." Does he frequent picnics? Clog arteries? When he travels to Europe, do they call him "German Tater Salad?" Who cares. With a cigar in one hand, a glass of scotch in the other and a gold record in his pocket next to a New York Times bestseller, the storyteller, Blue Collar comic and native Texan (the Lege gave him his own day!) promises to charm you while making you laugh. Two shows: 7 and 9:30 p.m., Bass Concert Hall at University of Texas, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. $49.75-$59.75. 512-477-6060, www.texasperformingarts.org.
truTV Impractical Jokers Tour featuring the Tenderloins
You’ve seen these guys, right? The Tenderloins are a New York-based comedy group that created "Impractical Jokers" — truTV’s mashup of "Jackass" and "Candid Camera" that comes off like a game of truth or dare minus the truth. Now they’re taking their act on the road. Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, James Murray and Brian Quinn perform stand-up, screen never-before-seen hidden camera videos and share stories of and insight into the making of "Impractical Jokers." Ages 18 and up only. 7:30 p.m., the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. $42-$97. 512-474-1221, www.austintheatre.org.
The Emmy-nominated, Peabody-winning CBS "Late Late Show" host "Craigy Ferg" — a former drummer and "Drew Carey Show" star and current author and film writer — brings his considerable stand-up skills to Austin for an exclusive Valentine’s Day performance. He’s sold out Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, so it’s not a stretch to suggest that you grab tickets now, if there are any left. And it’s early enough that you can head out to a romantic dinner afterward! 7:00 p.m., the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. $47-$72. 512-474-1221, www.austintheatre.org.
Stand-up, actor and all-around showbiz nice guy Nealon made his mark on the nation’s psyche as one of "Saturday Night Live’s" best Weekend Update anchors (one of my favorite Nealon Update jokes revolved around two national froyo chains merging to form ICBITCBY — "I Can’t Believe It’s the Country’s Best Yogurt." 8 and 10:30 p.m. both nights. Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research Blvd., No. 100. $25 (a limited number of Valentine’s packages including two reserved seats, two glasses of champagne, a long-stemmed rose, dessert treat and a pass for two to return to Cap City in 2014 are available for $109.95). 512-467-2333, www.capcitycomedy.com.
Nick Offerman With Nancy and Beth
The "Parks and Recreation" star is so much more than the deadpan Ron Swanson. He’s an accomplished, hilarious comic and storyteller (and a popular veteran of Austin’s Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival). Touring with wife Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt, who perform as musical duo Nancy and Beth, it’s a toss-up who gets top billing from tour to tour. In the live music capital of the world, the winner is Offerman (who croons a few funny numbers himself). 7 and 9:30 p.m., the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. $42.50-$47.50. 512-474-1221, www.austintheatre.org.
Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group
Who’s tour is it anyway? Mochrie and Sherwood bring their TV improvisation skills to Austin (one of the country’s hotbeds of the form). If you’re one of those people who enjoys being part of the show, then this performance is for you. Not only will the pair solicit comic premises from the crowd, they’ll also invite some of you up onto the stage to participate in the shenanigans. 8 p.m., Michael and Susan Dell Hall at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. $29-$59; 512-474-5664, www.thelongcenter.org.
Feb. 27-March 1
The heavy-metal geek returns to Austin for a slew of shows at Cap City. If his most recent Moontower appearance was any indication, we can expect a nerdy, somewhat dirty good time from the hulking star of "Mr. Show" and "The Sarah Silverman Program." Various times. Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research Blvd., No. 100. $18-$22. 512-467-2333, www.capcitycomedy.com.
Also appearing at Cap City: Steve Rannazzisi, Feb. 5-8; Brooke Van Poppelen, Feb. 12-13; Jake Johannsen, Feb. 19-22.
It only makes sense that someone who is a comic, recording artist, actress and writer would have so many characters living inside of her. The legendary, rubber-faced Tomlin brings her stand-up act (and probably some of those iconic characters) to the Paramount. Whether you remember her from TV’s "Laugh-In" or know her from motion pictures including "Nine to Five," "All of Me" or "I Heart Huckabees," you’re sure to find something to laugh about in Tomlin’s skewed observations. You could get tickets online, but if you call the box office, you’ll probably hear one or two ringy-dingies. 8 p.m., the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. $42-$107. 512-474-1221, www.austintheatre.org.
Esther’s Follies presents "Jokes Spring Eternal!"
All weekends in February
You know the drill: The multi-talented guys and gals at Esther’s drag local, state and national personalities and topics including Chris Christie, Affordable Healthcare and cedar fever over the coals. You’ll also find send-ups of "The Bachelor," Rick Perry and Wendy Davis, the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo and the Duck Dynasty clan. As if that’s not enough, resident magician Ray Anderson unveils a new illusion, "Modern Art." 8 p.m. Thursdays, 8 and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Esther’s Follies Theater, 525 E. Sixth St. $24-$29. 512-320-0553, www.esthersfollies.com.