A jokester, not a jester, Steven Wright may be the comedian's comedian. No other comic (except perhaps Woody Allen) has so brilliantly crafted jokes at once nonsensical and elegantly economical. With heavy eyes and unkempt hair, Wright drools his words in monotone, but his celebrated deadpan--surpassed only by Keaton's--is merely the canvas for his bright abstractions. He pronounces weird paradoxes ("I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it"), recontextualizes dead metaphors ("On the other hand, you have different fingers"), aphoristically notes small injustices ("The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach"), and takes leaps in logic ("I spilled spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone"). He'd rather talk about "lint or hinges" than politics, but his wordplay can be subtly scathing. "If con is the opposite of pro," he asks, "then what is the opposite of progress?" Sun 3/19, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $31.

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