THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JAN 20 - 26 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Pauly Shore, Out of the Shadows Theater Group: Repo! The Genetic Opera shadowcast, Kevin Hart, and more.



Pauly Shore
Pauly Shore's initial claim to fame came with his portrayal of the goofy guy next door. Nevertheless, he's got showbiz in his blood. The fact that his mother, Mitzi Shore, ran the landmark Comedy Store in Los Angeles inspired him to start performing stand-up at the tender age of 17. Pauly persisted, scoring success on MTV with his long running show Totally Pauly before making his mark in the movies with films such as Encino Man and Son In Law. More recently, he's produced his own projects, including a podcast, a documentary, an animated short and a series spanning his life as a Hollywood homeboy.

On the one hand, Shore has made a career for himself that doesn't require looking back. However, he's done a lot of that recently, revising his life story with a one-man show titled Stick With The Dancing! Funny Stories from my Childhood. He'll also share his standup when Wiseguys offers an opportunity to get Pauly's perspective, both then and now. His first stop will be in Ogden (269 25th St.), Jan. 21-22, with stand-up at 7 pm and his one-man show at 9:30 p.m., tickets $25.

On Jan. 23, Pauly takes his act to Wiseguys Gateway (194 South 400 West), with a single stand-up performance at 7 p.m., and tickets also $25. Shore's final stop on his tour of the valley is the West Jordan Wiseguys (3763 West Center Park Drive), Jan. 25-27, with showtimes at 7 p.m. nightly and tickets $20. For tickets and additional event information, go to (Lee Zimmerman)

  • Lionsgate Films

Out of the Shadows Theater Group: Repo! The Genetic Opera shadowcast
A science-fiction tale about the grim, apocalyptic consequences of a global pandemic might not seem like what we're all looking for right now in terms of escapist entertainment. But sometimes you have to laugh so you don't cry, and dark-humored laughs are definitely in store when Out of the Shadows Theater Group takes on a "shadowcast" performance accompanying a showing of the 2008 rock musical Repo! The Genetic Opera.

The film itself—based on a 2002 stage musical—takes place in the year 2056, where organ failure has become an epidemic. Capitalism, in its infinite wisdom, has brought the ailing world GeneCo, which provides genetically-engineered organ transplants on payment plans that you better keep up with if you don't want someone to repossess them in particularly unpleasant ways—someone like Nathan (Anthony Head), who keeps his creepy job a secret from his sickly daughter Shilo (Alexa Vega). The tale of love, violence and corporate wheeling & dealing will play out while the on-stage performers act out the narrative.

The live shadowcast performance of Repo! The Genetic Opera takes place at the Utah Arts Alliance Theater (602 E. 600 South), Jan. 22-23, 8 p.m. nightly, with $25 general admission tickets and limited seating capacity; in-person tickets include a goodie bag featuring an opera mask, gummy body parts, a retractable knife and more. For those who feel a little more comfortable watching from home, a free virtual viewing option is also available. Visit for tickets and additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

Updated 1/20: This production has been postponed until a later date.

  • Courtesy Photo

Kevin Hart
"That's what I do!" Kevin Hart shouts on the credit card commercial that pops up on TV screens these days. In truth however, it's only a small sample of what he does. Today, he's recognized as a true comedic superstar.

Nevertheless, Hart's career got off to an awkward start. His first gigs—as "Lil Kev"—often drew the ire of his audiences, who frequently booed him off the stage. Then, after triumphing in several comedy competitions throughout his native New England, he caught the attention of Judd Apatow, who cast him in his 2001 TV series Undeclared. Other roles soon followed, along with comedy specials, top-grossing tours, recordings and music (made under the aegis of "Chocolate Droppa"), along with the launch of a subscription streaming service, Laugh Out Loud. It was little wonder, then, that in 2015, Time magazine named him one of their 100 most influential individuals in the world.

Yet prominence can sometimes be problematic. After hosting the BET and MTV Video Music Awards, he withdrew from hosting the Academy Awards in 2019 after the discovery of homophobic tweets from several years earlier. Naturally, Hart's had a change of heart. And with today's success, he has no problem funding his credit card with the same enthusiasm he uses when hawking it. Hart performs at Kingsbury Hall (1395 E. Presidents Circle) Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., with tickets $60.75 - $140.75. Visit for tickets and additional event info, including up-to-the-moment details on masking and other health & safety requirements. (LZ)

  • Courtesy Photo

Gary Larson's Weird Cartoons: The Cultural Significance of The Far Side
Those of us who grew up in the 1980s—back when print newspapers were still a thing, and the comics page offered a daily dose of amusement—will certainly recall the single-panel pleasures of The Far Side. Cartoonist Gary Larson's bizarre world of anthropomorphic animals and women with beehive hairdos and pointy glasses brought surreal humor to readers for more than 15 years before Larson's retirement. And fans were delighted when one of the few great things to come out of 2020 was Larson's decision to revive Far Side cartoons online.

Brigham Young University faculty member Kerry Soper (pictured) has spent his career exploring the history of comedy and satire in comic strips and other pop-culture media, and has written books on the subject like Garry Trudeau: Doonesbury and the Aesthetics of Satire and We Go Pogo: Walt Kelly, Politics and American Satire. His 2018 book Gary Larson and The Far Side dug into why The Far Side was so revolutionary and controversial when it appeared, and why it inspired such rabid devotion from its fans during its initial run.

Soper discusses Larson's work and its impact in the online discussion Gary Larson's Weird Cartoons: The Cultural Significance of The Far Side, as part of the Salt Lake County Library system's Adult Lecture Series, on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the virtual event are free, but advance reservation is required to receive the WebEx link; visit to register and for additional event info. (SR)