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O. C. LIVE | Best Bets

June 20, 1996

Comedy

Drew Carey, who plays the Improv in Irvine this weekend, likes to set off his dark suit with a narrow tie, horn-rimmed glasses and a buzz cut. "Yeah, I know what I look like, thanks," he tells his audiences. "People laugh at me all the time and say I look like that guy from the ad in the back of comic books for X-ray specs." His humor, however, generally avoids the bumpkin vein, ranging from self-deprecating to aggressive.

* Who: Drew Carey.

* When: Friday at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday at 8 and 10:30.

* Where: The Improv, 4255 Campus Drive, Irvine.

* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Jamboree Road and go south. Turn left onto Campus Drive. The club is in the Irvine Marketplace.

* Wherewithal: $20.

* Where to call: (714) 854-5455.

Pop

Aimee Mann is back for another round of her urbane, coolly cutting pop songs. The public first glimpsed her in 1985 when she played the part of a suppressed woman who can't take it anymore in the video for "Voices Carry," a hit for her former band, 'Til Tuesday. There's nothing suppressed about the persona on "I'm With Stupid," her current album. Her method isn't screaming ire a la Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know," but the restrained dissection of emotionally impaired lovers. Mann is definitely not with stupid on this gig: She has been singing the praises of the Loud Family, a band from the Bay Area whose smart-pop sensibilities match her own.

* Who: Aimee Mann, the Loud Family, Mrs. Beasley.

* When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

* Where: Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana.

* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Harbor Boulevard; go north and take the third right, Lake Center Drive. The theater is on the left.

* Wherewithal: $19.50.

* Where to call: (714) 957-0600.

Theater

"Laughter From the Children of War," which opens Friday at South Coast Repertory, traces the journey of a dozen young Vietnamese to America. Performed by the Club O' Noodles troupe, it is a theatrical blend of the immigrants' firsthand accounts using traditional Vietnamese satire, lullabies and folk dances and American humor, jazz and modern dance. It has been presented as a work in progress; this will be the premiere engagement of the finished show.

* What: "Laughter From the Children of War."

* When: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

* Where: South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Bristol; go north to Town Center Drive and take a right.

* Wherewithal: $10-$15.

* Where to call: (714) 957-4033.

Family Affair

Now here's a spine-tingling thought: This weekend, kids age 7 and up can get a hands-on introduction to the toothiest predator in the sea, the great white shark. The one-hour sessions will be led by Wayne and Karen Brown, a husband-and-wife scuba-diving team from Irvine that encountered a great white in the Dangerous Reef in south Australia, making the couple among only 300 people worldwide who have come face to face with this fearsome creature in its natural habitat. Through slides, video and hands-on activities, the Browns will help youngsters feel that they are in an underwater shark cage, looking into the eyes of a great white. Touchable visual aids will include real freeze-dried sharks, shark eggs, shark teeth and a 15-foot inflatable shark model; a live shark will also be on view.

* What: Shark presentation.

* When: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Reservations suggested.

* Where: The Launch Pad science center, on third level of the Crystal Court shopping mall, 3333 Bear St., Costa Mesa.

* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Bristol; go north to Sunflower and turn left. Then turn left onto Bear.

* Wherewithal: $5.75.

* Where to call: (714) 546-2061.

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