John Witherspoon

We first saw actor John Witherspoon in Friday, the 1995 stoner comedy starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker (Witherspoon played a grumpy, rather fetid father who spent most of his time sitting on the toilet). Then we saw him on Soul Plane (the 2004 raunch fest starring D.L. Hughley). And most recently we’ve caught his performances on The Boondocks (the adult animated sitcom). In between there’s been House Party, The Tracy Morgan Show and more. Throughout all that, one word has been able to describe Witherspoon’s performance in each project: crusty. Maybe it was all those scenes of him sitting on the toilet in Friday, grossing out Ice Cube and Chris Tucker’s characters with his steady stream of loud and odoriferous bodily functions, but Witherspoon just seems, well, crusty. He’s funny as hell — offensive and outrageous, he works blue. Witherspoon, who grew up in Detroit, is insightful and smart. He dons the mask of a curmudgeon to distract from his razor-sharp punch lines that slap his audiences with their humor and wit. He’s a great comic, no doubt. And a chance to see him onstage and alone — just him and a microphone — is not to be missed. We just can’t shake the feeling that he’s…damn it, crusty.

8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Improv Comedy Showcase, 7620 Katy. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $22 to $35.
Thu., Aug. 28, 8 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 29, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 30, 7 & 9:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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Olivia Flores Alvarez