Weekend Events Roundup: New Year’s Eve Edition

Comedy

I was geared up to write an excited preview of Lewis Black’s South Florida tour, acerbically titled “In God We Rust,” which was scheduled to stop by Hard Rock Live in Hollywood tonight (Thursday) and the Palm Beach Improv at CityPlace Friday and Saturday. What a better way to ring in the New Year than by listening to an angry man rant about politics for a couple of hours? But then a press release landed in my inbox with the depressing news that Black had to cancel his Florida dates do to illness. Nuts! His Hard Rock Live replacement is none other than Jay Leno, AKA the unfunniest man in the history of late-night television. Tickets purchased for Black will still be valid to see Jay, but considering I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a hot poker than sit through a Leno monologue–let alone a full stand-up event – I would advise getting a refund.

As for the Palm Beach Improv gigs, Black’s replacement, in an ironic counterpoint, is a Christian comic named Tom Wilson. Wilson has performed in churches, wrote a one-man show titled “Cowboy Tommy” and has contributed voice-over talent to “SpongeBob SquarePants.” In other words, he’s as far from Lewis

Black as you can get. The Improv took a licking on this one, with Black’s hefty admission price reduced to $20 to see Wilson for some now family-friendly New Year’s Eve humor. Wilson goes on at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but the follow-up show each of those nights will be an edgier affair with Doug Benson, the stoner comedian responsible for the off-Broadway smash “The Marijuana-Logues” and the documentary “Super High Me.” Tickets are $30, and Benson goes on at 10. For tickets, call 561/833-1812.

Music

As it does every year’s end, the fun starts at 8 p.m. for downtown West Palm Beach’s free annual New Year’s Eve party, taking up the 500 block of Clematis Street. Expect the crowd to be slightly less suffocatingly huge than the recent Moonfest, but only slightly. Local bands scheduled to rock the outdoor andRespectable Street stages include Viva Le Vox, The Mission Veo, Everymen, The Darling Sweets, Astari Night, Lavola, Naked in 8 Days and Filthy Animals. A bajillion ping-pong balls will drop from the sky at midnight, some of which contain redeemable cash and drink prizes. Expect a mad scramble, walk with care and feel at least little bad for the poor clean-up crew on Saturday morning.

Theater

Palm Beach Dramaworks continues its outstanding new production of Mark St. Germain’s “Freud’s Last Session,” a witty, insightful and imagined meeting of the minds between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis at the dawn of World War II. The intellectual heavyweights clash on sex, politics and mostly religion in this eternally watchable one-act drama that probes timeless questions and walks away with no easy answers. Dennis Creaghan is stunning as a fully bearded, 83-year-old Freud, and Christopher Oden is equally impressive as the Christian apologist Lewis. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, and the show runs through Feb. 6. Call 561/514-4042.

As for me, I’ll be seeing the Beach Boys at Hard Rock Live on New Year’s Eve, and I hope to have a full report right here on Saturday.