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Show Me The Funny: Chris Rock and Carrie Fisher

Hilarity abounds at Paramount Theatre, Berkeley Rep

If you're looking for a laugh, you're in luck: two of the funniest people on the planet are headlining in the East Bay this weekend. I went to see Chris Rock's show last night at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, and it was nothing short of brilliant. Rock, a former Saturday Night Live player, is best known for his HBO comedy concerts and has booked four nights at the Paramount. The shows sold out quickly, but Craigslist has lots of tickets available for the weekend shows, and I was able to get a great seat for under the face value outside the venue just before the show. The box office also had a few open tickets left.

Rock is as good as stand-up comedy gets—smart, hilarious, and not afraid to talk about very serious topics, including riveting segments about racism in America. At times I found myself more fascinated by his material than amused, but his punchlines keep coming. His is comedy as an art form, and Rock deserves a place on the short list of the very best American comedians of all time—along with Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Jack Benny and Lenny Bruce. For information, go to www.paramounttheatre.com.

Meanwhile, Carrie Fisher is at Berkeley Rep until April 12, with her smash-hit one-woman show, Wishful Drinking. Fisher's warts-and-all confessional about growing up in a celebrity household, acting in Star Wars, getting hooked on drugs, marrying Paul Simon, and myriad other personal anecdotes make for a side-splitting experience. Expertly directed by Tony Taccone, Wishful Drinking is the finest hour in Fisher's fascinating career. For tickets and info, go to berkeleyrep.org.