1) A professional stand-up comedian since the age of 23, the curly-headed Kansas City native Chris Porter stands out in the comedy world with his simple, Midwestern-style, back-to-reality observations about everything from the obscene amount of products in the average woman’s shower to the stupidity of people who get angry at rush hour traffic. (“People get mad in rush hour like it’s the first day it’s ever happened,” he riffs. “It’s Tuesday at five o clock in the afternoon, what the hell are all these cars doing here!?!”) He brings his dead-on cynical viewpoint to the Improv for four days, starting today. 8 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.
2) Why yes, The Temptations, that most classic of classic soul bands, is still around. Though Otis Williams is the only member heard on ’60s classics like “My Girl” and “Get Ready,” the current group maintains the originals’ legacy of the smooth choreography, stylish matching suits, and sugary-sweet five-part harmonies. They still record (their latest was the appropriately titled Still Here) and keep up a respectable schedule of live performances. The 21st-century Temptations come to the Palace today with a set of Mo-Town classics and Christmas favorites. 8 p.m. 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg.
3) We are entering the darkest days of the year, which means it will be appropriately pitch black in time for today’s early evening death metal show at The Smiling Moose. Three locals — Arcane Haven, Fallen Captive, and Hail to the King — will share the stage with Central Ohio’s Shore of Elysium for a show that will keep eardrums ringing long into the icy, black night. 5:30 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side.
4) In nature, Sharks vs. Penguins is a fight that ends pretty quickly and decisively, but there will hopefully be more tension for the outcome of today’s hockey game at the Consol Energy Center where Pittsburgh takes on San Jose. Also, hopefully there will be more Penguin-friendly odds. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.
5) Little E’s, a swank jazz club in the heart of the Cultural District, holds a regular Thursday happy hour featuring local chanteuse Jessica Lee, a world-touring recording artist with four CDs of covers and originals under her belt who calls Pittsburgh home. 5:30 p.m. 949 Liberty Ave., Cultural District.