Improv comedy can be bloody. Just ask Colin Mochrie, who plays "the world's most dangerous improv game" during "An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood," making a stop in Houston this week. The game consists of Mochrie and Sherwood, both vets of British and American versions of the improv TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, acting out a scene blindfolded while loads of set mouse traps are on stage. It may be hilarious for the audience, but for Mochrie and Sherwood, it can be downright brutal. Yet Mochrie doesn't mind bleeding a few pints in front of huge crowds to get a laugh, considering he started doing comedy in tiny clubs for free. "Now, at the live shows," says the alum of famed Chicago troupe Second City, "we have everyone from kids to grandparents in the audience."
But bleeding for Grandma's and Junior's enjoyment? "It's a sick, sick game," he admits. "It amazes me that people enjoy it as much as they do. It really tells you something about the state of our society." 8 p.m. Friday, November 19. H-Town's Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway. For tickets, call 713-988-1020 or visit www.htownsarenatheatre.com. $34.50 to $47.50. -- Craig D. Lindsey
What kind of sickos would sing about killing cows? The wheatgrass-munching, San Diego death-metal band Cattle Decapitation, actually. While some grind-core bands grunt graphic lyrics about killing and dismembering people (which most agree is wrong, dude), Cattle Decapitation is largely concerned with depicting humanity's bloody war against the bovine community. Apparently this is meant to be protest music, a sort of sonic equivalent to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Songs like "Colostomy Jigsaw Puzzle" and, um, "A Carnal Fecophelia Due to Prolonged Exposure to Methane," from their new disc Humanure (ewwww!), reveal CatDecap as a shade more people-hating than cow-loving. Seems harmless enough, but um, wasn't Hitler a vegetarian, too? The band appears with Darkest Hour, Between the Buried and Me, and Fear Before the March of Flames. 9 p.m. Friday, November 19. Mary Jane's Fat Cat, 4216 Washington Avenue. For information, call 713-869-5263 or visit www.clubfatcat.com. $10. -- Scott Faingold
Are soap operas losing their spice? The Real World sexfest doesn't do it for you anymore? Get your drama fix with Friends & Lovers, Eric Jerome Dickey's juicy new play based on his best-selling novel. Here friends become lovers, date others' lovers, break up and make up all for your gossip-loving pleasure. Friends & Lovers boasts an impressive cast in full melodramatic glory: Leon (Little Richard), Monica Calhoun (Player's Club) and Miguel Nuñez Jr. (Juwanna Man). Produced by Houston's own Gary Guidry and Je'Caryous Johnson, this play promises to set tongues wagging. 8 p.m. daily through November 21. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $29.50. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc
Now and Zen
The music of Hajime Nishi and Ajo evokes the flashy, neon-lights-of-Tokyo Japan more than the mystical, Zen-rock-garden Japan. The stars of "Heretical Samurai in Concert -- Tradition with a Twist" play modern songs on the taiko (traditional drums) and the shamisen (a guitarlike instrument). Staunch traditionalists should stay home -- this ain't your grandma's cup of sake. 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 23. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.thehobbycenter.org. Free; reservations required. -- Julia Ramey