8 p.m. Friday, Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., $20-$25; 634-5583, csfineartscenter.org.


Ian Harris is the thinking person's comic.

With a stand-up act initially rich with impressions of celebrities (he's credited with the first Christopher Walken impression in 1993), Harris' repertoire has evolved to include topics he knows are usually studiously avoided in polite conversation. Religion, ghosts, alternative medicine, Bigfoot, psychics (even though his mom works as one) - he finds it all ridiculous, and he's not afraid to tell you so. He'll perform Friday at the Fine Arts Center.

"I call it free thought comedy, or skepticism comedy," he says from his office in California. "I talk about anything I see as a belief that's not based in facts or science, like astrology to religion to anything people take religiously. In Santa Cruz where I am, it's very liberal, but a lot of people are religious about other things, like gluten, that's still not supported by science. If you're an uber-right wing Christian conservative, you're going to hate half of what I do, but you might agree with the other half."

The comic has earned comparisons to famous comedians George Carlin and Bill Maher. "After Carlin died, there weren't a whole lot of comics talking about that stuff - people's beliefs," he says.

During his stand-up career, he took a five-year break to stay home with a newborn daughter, doing voice-over and other work, but felt the itch to return to the circuit. This time, though, he pledged to talk only about what he loved - or scorned, as the case may be. "Within a year, I was doing better than what I'd done for 13 years," he says. "People really gravitated toward it."

In the mid-90s, Harris emceed in town at Laffs Comedy Corner, now Loonees Comedy Corner. He looks forward to returning to the area.

"Colorado Springs is known for being fairly conservative, which is why I like going there," he says. "People are starved for what I do. I pride myself on being smart, intelligent and funny for everybody."

Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270, jen.mulson@gazette.com

Other events

The Wendy Woo Band - 8 p.m. Saturday, Stargazer's Theatre and Event Center, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $15; 476-2200, star gazerstheatre.com