In 2006, a British GQ headline loudly read, "Is this America's most depraved man?" The profile was on Doug Stanhope, a cigarette-draggin', drink-swillin' standup with a truly black heart and killer act. From drugs to culture to politics, the debauched comic has spit venom in every direction for more than 20 years, never failing to turn that aggression inward, either. The end result is one of the darkest and best comedians in the game. Last year Stanhope -- whose credits include "The Man Show" and "Louie" -- released "Before Turning the Gun on Himself ... ," his latest live album. (8 p.m. Fri. $26.50-$30. 18 & older. Varsity Theater, 1308 SE. 4th St., Mpls. www.varsitytheater.org or 612-604-0222.) JAY BOLLER
Choreographer Mathew Janczewski and the members of his Arena Dances indulge a love for all things avant garde with "Les Petites Choses" (which translates as "little things" or "trifles"). The piece draws its whimsical energy from fizzy French-pop music by Katerine. Also on tap for this first program of the second Cowles Center season is a preview from a work-in-progress, "The Main Street Project," and two repertory selections, including the inventive "huddle," an exploration of societal expectations about masculinity, set to the music of Radiohead. Guest dancers Gabriel Anderson, John Beasant and Susie Bracken will join the troupe for these performances. (8 p.m. Sept. Fri.-Sat. $32. The Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-206-3600 or www.thecowlescenter.org.)CAROLINE PALMER
'Rabbit: An Original Rabbit Tragedy'
Young Minneapolis playwright Savannah Reich produces some of the funniest, smartest, most profound shows in the Twin Cities, typically at offbeat locations like the old Bedlam Theater. This weekend, she debuts her latest play, "Rabbit: An Original Rabbit Tragedy," co-written and directed with Jon Mac Cole under the theater name Eternal Cult. Following the model of a classic Greek tragedy, with some hints of the Book of Job, the play follows a cottontail rabbit who struggles through a run of bad luck, raising the existential question, what does it all mean, if it means anything at all? After this preview run, the troupe takes the show on a two-week tour to the East Coast before having a homecoming of sorts at Bedlam's new home in Lowertown St. Paul when it opens next month. (8 p.m. Sat., Bedlam Community Design Center, 2714 E. 27th St., Mpls. Also 8 p.m. Sun., Seward Cafe, 2129 E. Franklin Av., Mpls. Donations accepted. www.bedlamtheatre.org.)JAHNA PELOQUIN