When the ninth annual United Nations of Comedy Tour returns to Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater, fans can expect a range of comedy styles and a consistent thread of high quality.
Funnyman Skiba, who will appear Saturday with Jay Phillips, Liz Miele and Brendan Eyre, said he’s bringing more of a relatable edge to his comedy now, and “I don’t want anyone to feel left out,” he said.
“I’m going to tell you right now, I don’t know if Charlottesville is ready. I mean, ready ready,” Skiba said.
Headliner Jay Phillips is known to local audiences not only from his roles in “Baby Mama,” “Semi Pro,” “Prom Night,” “Fresh Off the Boat” and “The D.L. Hughley Show,” but also for his well-received 2013 appearance in the United Nations of Comedy series.
Phillips and Skiba became close friends on the road early in their comedy careers, more than 20 years ago, Skiba said.
“He is a very funny dude. Jay Phillips is a very talented brother,” said Skiba, adding that he’s proud of his friend’s success.
Skiba has noticed a new depth in his own comedy these days while he’s honing his entertainment brand. His acting career is picking up steam, and he will be performing both family-friendly and grownup-oriented shows during an upcoming seven-day Caribbean cruise that’ll feel like a vacation for the comedian and his wife.
“One thing with me is I count my blessings,” he said. One of his biggest recent gifts is the loss of more than 100 pounds.
“I’ve lost a whole person,” Skiba said. “[Through] that, and getting older, I’m experiencing more things, and I have a lot more to talk about. I know what I want, I know what I want to say and I know what I don’t want to tolerate. When I was younger, I was all over the place.”
Skiba said that, as his life is moving in new directions, his comedy is more personal these days.
“I am really happy right now, and it’s like I want to share my energy,” he said. “I just want people to leave everything that they’re going through at the front door. Long ago, I gave God the wheel, and said, ‘You gave me the script; I’m going to act it out.’
“Before, I was playing checkers. Now, I’m playing chess.”
Audience members enjoying Eyre’s material can be sure that he will be paying attention to them, too. Eyre may interact with his audiences more during some shows than others, but he’s always reading the room and gauging the mood.
“I find the audiences are wonderful in comedy,” Eyre said. “I guess I’m kind of an observational comic. I talk about the things we see every day that don’t make sense and that are a little odd.
“I can always tell if the audience relates.”
Eyre’s most recent album, “Desiree,” came out in July. He is a regular on Sirius XM Satellite radio, and fans have seen him on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and Comedy Central.
He has performed with Skiba in a previous show, and he knows Miele from the New York comedy scene. Eyre said he’d enjoy having more time to catch up with colleagues at moments that didn’t necessarily involve talking shop.
“It’s funny with comics, because we hear so much comedy that, I think, being able to chat would be better than catching their act,” he said.
“Brendan is so hilarious,” Skiba said of Eyre. “You don’t want to miss him.”
While Eyre presents observational comedy, Miele said, “I would say that what I do is philosophical comedy. I like peeling back the onion of who I am and who we are as a society.” Cat memes and Richard Pryor jokes make her laugh; she enjoys off-the-wall moments that bring people together.
“I like meaningless humor,” Miele said. “I’ve always loved Puppy Bowl. I will totally make guacamole and watch puppies and kittens. That’s my jam.”
The daughter of two veterinarians, Miele is an animal lover with “a dark sense of humor. I’m a very personal comic, and I tell personal stories that are relatable.”
The fact that her humor is more personal and philosophical in nature, rather than relying on cultural references, makes her more marketable abroad.
“There is an accidental advantage to being personal and being American,” she said. “Our biggest export really is entertainment. Wherever you go in the world, people take in American TV and movies.”
Thanks to the current political climate, she said, she gets a better reception in international shows with an act that’s more universal and less reliant on cultural references and topical humor. Miele has noticed changes in the way Americans are being received abroad, and she finds comfort and validation — and inherent humor — in her comic diplomacy.
“The stereotype of Americans was we were dumb, we were fat and we like guns,” she said. “Now, we’re horrible people — and we’re dumb and we’re fat and we like guns. The whole world is shapeshifting in a really toxic way.”
Miele is staying busy these days. “I’m taping my special two days before I come to see you guys, and I’m writing a book about cats,” Miele said.
“Her personality is wonderful,” Skiba said of Miele. “People are going to gravitate toward her when she gets on that stage.”
All profits will support the making of “America’s Darkest Future: The Cost of an Inaccessible Early Education,” a nonprofit documentary produced in partnership with Virginia Organizing. For tickets, go to theparamount.net or dial (434) 979-1333.