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Comedy & Vaudeville

Big Lil's
157 W. San Fernando St., San Jose (408/295-7469)
They channel Mae West and W.C. Fields here. Villains twist black mustaches and gallant heroes always save the day. Vaudeville is alive and well every Friday and Saturday night at Big Lil's dinner theater. Dinner, catered by Tony Roma's Restaurant, starts at 6:30pm; the show begins at 8pm; and the drinks flow all night. "People get pretty tossed, but they contribute to the mood," says Amy Conners, actor and new owner of Big Lil's. The latest production, Ballad of the Ragin' Cajun, in which the villainess is eaten by an alligator named "Smiley," runs through August.

3428 El Camino Real, Santa Clara (408/985-1223)
The beers, soft drinks and light edibles play second fiddle to the soul food: laughter from the mostly young crowd, with a sprinkling of kids and older types. The clean and funny fare brings many repeaters to this straightforward '80s-style theater space, with red-checked oilcloth and free popcorn on the tables. The audience relishes throwing stumpers to the two teams of three "actlete" improvisers and their referee as they rip through a series of theater games, competing for points. Thursday­Saturday only.

Gaslighter Theater
400 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell (408/866-1408)
Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine would go over well here, since Gaslighter recently added a sports bar to its bawdy vaudeville stage shows. Beer and wine provide liquid succor to nail-biters during championship games on the big-screen TV. Fridays and Saturdays, the Gaslighter players skewer good taste and bad villains with equal glee; shows start at 8pm.

Opry House
21350 Almaden Road, San Jose (408/268-2492)
Deep in Almaden, right before the quicksilver mines, sits this 38-year-old love shack that serves dinners, beer, bawdy vaudeville and free popcorn, most of which ends up on the floor as soused patrons and performers become easy targets. Despite the flying corn (both figurative and literal), the actors are talented and can twist double-entendres like wet rags--tongues firmly planted in cheeks. Shows are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Twenty-one and over only--a shame because the humor is lower than low-brow.

Rooster T's
Comedy Central: After 18 years, comedians still get their ha-has out at Rooster T's.

Rooster T. Feather's
157 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (408/736-0921)
A comedy club in Sunnyvale? It sounds like a joke already, but this town would be downright boring without 18-year-old Rooster T. Feathers, where the best national and local comedians hone their one-liners. Rooster T. boasts knowledgeable booking (Bobby Slayton, Will Durst, Dana Gould), great sight lines and a sumptuous drink menu. The comics get their ha-has out Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:30pm, with 10:30pm shows added on the weekends. Mondays are open-mic nights, with 7:30pm signups.

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From the June 12-18, 1997 issue of Metro.

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