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March252010h3
In His Camp – The taping of Lee Camp's second DVD "Chaos for the Weary", will have a special intro by Kelly Carlin, George Carlin's daughter. Perhaps not a torch passing, but something bright and burning is getting handed off here. The taping tomorrow night at the Tank Theater is sold out, but an encore performance has been added for April 29th. Get tickets here.
March012010h3
David Cross #8230; It #8217;s Going to Be Epix – In a recent note to Facebook fans, David Cross mentions the new special filmed during his tour for I Drink for a Reason will air on the new pay cable network Epix. No mention of airdate as of yet. Epix previously premiered Lewis Black's special "Stark Raving Black."
December032009h3
Sundance Gets #8220;Hilarious #8221; – Louis C.K.'s next special "Louis C.K.: Hilarious" will premiere as a film at the next Sundance Festival, marking the first time a stand-up comedy concert film has ever been presented at the fest. Sundance begins January 21st and runs to the 31st in Park City, Utah.
December022009h3
Johannsen Turn to #8220;Love #8221; Overnight – In February, Jake Johannsen shot a new hour special that was to be titled "Overnight Comeback." Eleven months late, it has both a new title "Jake Johannsen: I Love You" and an airdate - New Year Day 2010 at 9:30 PM on Showtime (which has really picking up it's stand-up offerings as of late).
November232009h3
Filed Under Sitcom
Louis C.K. Dirty Dirty NSFW in Every Way Promo for His FX Show
embed
OK. Now we know the consequences if we don #8217;t watch this show. So we all know where we need to be in March of next year, right?
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November182009h3
Live from the Writers Room – Director and former stand-up Judd Apatow will be answering questions live on Funny or Die at 3:30 EST / 12:30 PST today, all in advance of the DVD release of "Funny People" next week. So go ahead, ask him anything.
October062009h3
Filed Under Funny 2.0, Jokes
The iPhone App #8220;This Just In #8221; - A Monologue in Your Pocket
Though there #8217;s been a rush of iPhone apps in the past year, the limitations of developers #8217; imagination for apps that are funny has pretty much ended at fart noises. A new release this week is trying to break beyond novelty and become something reliably funny, that you #8217;ll open more than just two or three times to annoy your friends.
The iPhone app is called This Just In and features anywhere from 10 to 15 new jokes a day about current events—politics, pop culture, sports #8230; anything in the news. It #8217;s a joke style that you see right at the beginning of every late night talk show - the monologue. But it #8217;s getting to you before Letterman or O #8217;Brien or even Leno, at his 10 PM time spot, have a crack at it. The faster, the funnier - jokes from This Just In have the first shot at surprising you.
And better, comedy writers who have written for many of those shows, along with writers from The Onion and College Humor, are writing jokes for the app. There #8217;s actual talented comedy writers behind each joke and it #8217;s all being curated by someone who has fantastic comedy chops, who I #8217;ll talk about a little later.
Monologue jokes are, by nature, a little hit or miss. You may not be up on the target or just heard the take on that target before — I think we could all manage a serviceable #8220;Bill Clinton is Horny #8221; gag. But the idea should always be, you don #8217;t like the last one, maybe you #8217;ll like the next.
This Just In does only an OK job with #8220;Can #8217;t eat just one #8221; navigation. It #8217;s always a two step operation after you read a joke to get to another. You #8217;re either hitting #8220;Back #8221; to return to today #8217;s jokes or your diving deeper by topic or the joke writer. Either way you #8217;re on a category page rather than a page with something else funny. Your mileage may vary, but I #8217;d rather go through the app #8220;joke, joke, joke #8221; rather than #8220;joke, options, joke, options, joke #8230; #8221; That said, it #8217;s great to dive deeper into either a comedy writer you find particularly funny - and particularly good for the writer who can grow an audience for their other efforts. Anything you find particularly funny can be sent to your Twitter or your Facebook page.
The company behind This Just In is iLarous, which was born from last year #8217;s writer strike as comedy writers began to look directly to cut out the network middle man and reach audiences directly through the web. iLarious comes from the mind of Fred Graver, creator of #8220;Best Week Ever #8221; and one of the first writers for #8220;Late Night with David Letterman. #8221; Graver has been producing good stuff for over 25 years starting with the National Lampoon. He knows the funny.
This Just In is one of many ideas forth coming from iLarious, including another app that will semi-adapt another segment of the talk show - the celebrity interview. It #8217;s called WITTR, and will feature talk between pro comics like some familiar BWE faves like Paul F. Tompkins, Paul Scheer, Christian Finnegan and Doug Benson.
Full disclosure: I talked with Fred Graver as this was being developed and very well may write a joke or two myself for it. Fred offered me a review copy of #8220;This Just In #8221;, but I paid for mine in the app store. If you #8217;re interested where funny could go next, you should too.bold It #8217;s only $1.99 with subsequent month-long subscriptions to current jokes are 99 cents (a 3 month-long sub is available for $2.99 - which is a couple cents more than month to month. I #8217;m sure that #8217;s a bump that #8217;ll get evened out somehow.)
Larger screenshots from the app after the jump. As you can see David Letterman is a hot topic right now.
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October052009h3
Martin #8217;s Mix – Steve Martin: "It’s strange, I just don’t have a reason to do standup... It would always be a blend of banjo at this point, I think." (Rooftop Comedy) If you want to see Steve Martin perform mostly banjo, you can check out his tour dates here.
The Bluth Truth – A script for an "Arrested Development" movie is in the works and will be penned by creator Mitch Hurwitz and former show co-producer James Vallely. Everybody probably suspected this, but the announcement of the trades makes this little comedy nerd fantasy seem just a little closer to reality. Fingers crossed that work on the movie itself can begin in Spring 2010. (Hollywood Reporter)
September232009h3
Filed Under Interview, Print, Stand-Up Comedy
Interview: David Cross, Stand-Up and Author, #8220;I Drink For a Reason #8221;
A favorite of comedy geeks, David Cross recently wrote the book I Drink for a Reason, a collection of funny essays. He has also gone on tour to support the book, giving fans outside of the coasts a chance to see him perform stand-up live for the first time in five years. (You can check out David Cross #8217;s upcoming tour dates here.) I talked with David about the differences between writing a book and stand-up, why he turned off his Google alert and how his family life is off-limits on stage, at least for now.
What were the challenges you found in writing a funny book as opposed to writing a bit of stand-up or a comedy sketch?
Well, I guess the ideas don’t flow as naturally or prolifically when I’m sitting down to write because you’re writing in a vacuum. When I’m writing stand-up there’s such a give and take in the energy. Plus I’m talking out loud. I never talk out loud when I write.
It #8217;s all my interior voice. Ideas, whether they #8217;re good or bad, come easier to me when I #8217;m talking on stage. That #8217;s sort of the way I write on stage. I have the idea and I just sort of riff the idea until I #8217;ve done the set a bunch of times. And I pick and choose what I say and then that becomes a bit.
I #8217;ve never met somebody who sat down and just wrote jokes. So that genre doesn #8217;t come easily to me. But it was nice to be able to have the idea written down on a piece of paper and be able to edit it there once it was done.
Like if you set up a bit of stand-up wrong, then you #8217;re in that place and can #8217;t go back and fix it.
Yeah, but then I can comment on that. #8220;Oh I fucked that up #8221; or whatever. It #8217;s just so different because you #8217;re communicating in a completely different way.
I just find it to be very hard. I #8217;m amazed when I look at old National Lampoons with Michael O #8217;Donoghue and Doug Kenney and how they #8217;re able to make me laugh out loud. It #8217;s very difficult. You rely on the readers #8217; sense of timing. You have to figure out how to get that comic pacing in their head.
Well, I probably do have the benefit, if people are familiar with my work, of assuming that the voice that you have when you #8217;re reading it is my own. You can sort of hear my voice in it. I #8217;d be interested to talk to somebody who liked reading humorous books, who #8217;s not familiar with my work at all, to see what they thought of it. Because they wouldn #8217;t have the benefit of knowing what cadence I use. And that #8217;s another huge difference. You don #8217;t have the benefit of pausing and gesticulation and intonations and cadence. There #8217;s no performance to it.
You could put something in italic like Spy would.
That #8217;s all you get.
Italics or bold.
You get an ellipse or all caps.
There you go. The typographic ability of stand-up in print.
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September142009h3
Filed Under Awards, Stand-Up Comedy
Russell Brand #8217;s Risk Reduction for the VMAs
Well, no one could say Russell Brand didn #8217;t try.
Last Wednesday, he work-shopped some material for hosting MTV #8217;s Video Music Awards at #8220;The Green Room #8221; on Bleeker Street. Brand had hosted the show last year as well, but the crowd didn #8217;t know what to make of his jokes about the Jonas Brothers and their promise rings. It was enough of a debacle that Brand spent a fair amount of his first United States comedy special talking about it. Good fodder for one show, but I #8217;m sure he #8217;d rather talk about something else in a second U.S. special.
The first thing you would notice about the impromptu show was the female/male ratio of the crowd. It tipped about 80/20. Brand #8217;s lusty persona has a hold that #8217;s really rare in the comedy world. I can #8217;t remember the last comedy show where the opposite sex from my own was so strongly represented.
Brand framed the evening for the audience, but first realized he was a bit hungry and bemoaned he left behind a banana backstage. No worries however, an audience banana is quickly produced and in between mouthfuls, Brand told us how he wanted this year #8217;s stint as the VMA #8217;s master of ceremonies to go much better, specifically a desire to avoid #8220;death threats. #8221; So he was gong to try his material out on us. We were heavily encouraged to raise our hands if we believe Brand was nearing territory which would make him a target for more than a joke.
Hand-raising was the least of the contribution Brand sought from the audience. The audience acted like a writer #8217;s room at times for Brand, offering punch-up for bits. Sometimes it was just a word - don #8217;t say #8220;Fuck #8221;, say #8220;Nail. #8221; A long diversion occurred about what word to use for asshole. ( #8220;Orifice #8221; - not specific.)
But a few times it was a bit more. One in the crowd had a reaction to the tail end of the joke, and Brand immediately earnestly question that didn #8217;t he have to have a third thing, citing comedy #8217;s #8220;rule of three. #8221; It was a generous assumption that the audience would know what he was talking about.
Brand might have been too generous. Brand at one point elicited suggestion for a bizarre thing he could suggest Pink might do in her performance. A voice from behind me yelled, #8220;Pink comes out and fucks Michael Jackson #8217;s corpse. #8221; Thankfully, lost in the din of other suggestions.
Another joke about P. Diddy and Jennifer Lopez elicited a response that it should be about P. Diddy #8217;s current girlfriend. Russell Brand made a good observation that true for constructing all monologue jokes, stating that #8220;a fact that nobody knows, it #8217;s almost like it #8217;s it #8217;s not a fact. #8221;
A variation of this is also a lesson for Brand, which, after watching his parts of the VMAs, I think he #8217;s unfortunately had to learn twice. Brand #8217;s obsessive sexual persona is great for his stand-up, but it #8217;s still so unknown on these shores that people just wonder #8220;why is this British guy is saying dirty stuff about our pop-stars? #8221; If the jokes rely a bit on who you are, and you #8217;re still relatively unknown, then no one is going to get your jokes. Brand knows this, he even said so much in that aforementioned first US special.
I think the VMAs are a terrible place to try and be funny anyway. Just like the Oscars, the audience is full of music folks taken a relatively meaningless awards far too seriously (see Kanye). The best reaction you #8217;re going to manage is clapter - the clapping for a political point of agreement- not laughs. Brand #8217;s best moment was when he referred to Britain having free healthcare, and it was more of a statement than a joke. (It was a popular line the night he was working out material as well. And wasn #8217;t part of his initial monologue. No wonder he moved it up.)
And Brand #8217;s talent is two fold, the second being something that #8217;s could never be part of the VMAs but was part of the show I saw. He #8217;s more than just a prancing pervert, but dares into metaphysical stream-of-consciousness, where he imagines that we #8217;re all connected backwards to prior generations and each other by umbilical cords, suggesting that as a reason to cast a kinder eye at celebrity. His mind ventures in places that MTV just doesn #8217;t cover unless it #8217;s pretentiously shown in a rarely aired music video. I can #8217;t imagine MTV offering the VMAs again, but if they do, hopefully, Brand won #8217;t try and make the third time the charm.
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August182009h3
David Cross Book/Stand-Up Tour – During last night's Daily Show, David Cross announced a stand-up comedy tour to support his upcoming book "I Drink for a Reason." It gives me as good as reason as any to pull back the veil on a project I'm working on for the Stand-Up Comedy Database that will aggregate comedians live performance dates.
Check out David Cross' Upcoming Tour Schedule, as of today. More to come.
August102009h3
Need a Goode Home – The producers of The Goode Family are resolved to find a new network after ABC aired their last episode this weekend. It took a while for them (or me) to get the show's voice. The characters stopped being targets along the way and it's finding that right balance of sympathy/send-up that marked King of the Hill. I'm glad they're not letting this one go. Onward to Adult Swim hopefully, where Comedy Central can poach it a year later. (via TV Squad)
Filed Under Late Night, Satire
Jon Stewart #8217;s Refined Talk or #8220;You Slam Tucker Carlson Once #8230; #8221;
This story about Jon Stewart having playing good host with neo-conservatives reminds me of that joke that ends #8220;But you fuck one sheep #8230; #8221; Not that Jon #8217;s a sheep fucker, but it #8217;s assumed that he #8217;s supposed to be a confrontational partisan. I think it #8217;s because of his infamous Crossfire appearance which ultimately destroyed the show. A single, out-of-character conversation colors the expectations for what people think Stewart is doing.
It #8217;s amazing how much the media avoids understanding that the most constant target of the Daily Show is the media itself. Particular the constant yelling and screaming of positions with attempts to score points without any attempt to understand, to bring clarity and focus to the people at home. If there #8217;s any one thing Stewart will not do with his guests, even those with views he disagrees with, is add to the frustration that passes for political discourse on TV. Just like he #8217;s shown the news media that they can play a clip that demonstrates a politicians lie, he #8217;s also demonstrating how to make entrancing, education and often, still funny, talk about the issues of the day.
But it often seems many media folks just assume he #8217;s just as much of an assertive pundit as Limbaugh, Hannity or Olbermann. Like what feel like 99% of our news media sometimes. They #8217;re so involved with this sheep, they can #8217;t imagine anyone else doesn #8217;t want to fuck it too.
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August072009h3
John Hughes Dead at 59 – John Hughes died of a heart attack during his morning walk in Manhattan yesterday. The filmmaker had a pretty solid lock on film comedy for much of the time, writing and directing "Ferris Bueler's Day Off", "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club" and "Planes, Trains Automobiles." His humor roots began with the National Lampoon, where he penned the story "Vacation '58", which became the basis for the film "National Lampoon's Vacation", which he also wrote. You can read the original "Vacation '58" here. The New York Times obituary is here.
July282009h3
Filed Under Just For Laughs
Delayed Saturday Thoughts
There it is, publishing date of July 29, perfect manifestation of the biggest downside of Just For Laughs: The reacclimation. It #8217;s not merely the detoxing, or the catching-up on sleep, or the returned attention to unanswered e-mails and voicemails and general treadmill of real-life responsibilities. It #8217;s the epic emotional crash from the Festival high that hits hardest.
Of course folks on the 5:30 Sunday flight to New York had it even worse, when inclement weather forced Godfrey, Christian Finnegan, Horatio Sanz, Kevin Brennan and several other comics to board a plane at Trudeau, fly home, circle the city, and head back from whence they had just come for a final night in Montreal. Add the lingering after-effects of the final evening in the Hyatt Bar #8212;around 4 a.m., lingering revelers discovered that taps hadn #8217;t been turned off at last call a few hours back, thus an impromptu kegger raged until roughly 5:30 a.m. #8212;and a good chunk of talent and industry was looking at a tough 24 hours.
But overall the close of the annual equivalent to Comedy Summer Camp left a slightly unexpected impression. The June debut of Just For Laughs Chicago raised questions about the effect its timing and physical proximity would have on Montreal, and there were several familiar Festival faces that opted to remain stateside for their one yearly comedy gorging. In terms of talent, multiple sources admitted that there weren #8217;t as many boldface names as in years past. The overall scope of the Festival, however, unquestionably exploded.
Official stats put numbers at 718 artists in 306 shows in two dozen venues, not counting outdoor and street-fair performances. The Film Festival arm’s debut of Funny People was a massive draw, as was the second incarnation of the simultaneous three-day Comedy Conference. And that’s exactly where things got overwhelming. Used to be there was time aplenty for afternoon lounging, a mad stampede of shows, then nightly socializing. With panels and events from 10 a.m. to at least 5 p.m., things got a lot tougher. Throw in the onslaught of newly participating Zoofest shows (at peak, about two dozen a night), and things got darn near impossible. At least JFL remained semi-discriminate enough to put their stamp on only select Zoofest shows (some of the off-program stuff I wandered into was absolute bottom-barrel crap). Who and what will return next year? Remains to be seen, come July 15-25, 2010.
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July272009h3
Filed Under Just For Laughs
Jon Dore #8217;s Second Act
He #8217;s already a star in Canada for his correspondent gig on CTV #8217;s Canadian Idol as well as The Jon Dore Television Show (A female passerby joined our conversation outside the Cabaret Theatre to gush, #8220;I watch you religiously #8230;when I #8217;m not homeless. #8221;) Then Variety named him a 2009 Comic to Watch and he spent the week hopping from the Comedy Nest #8217;s Comedy Night in Canada to Best of the Fest to Go West! to Galas and everything in between.
Dore was certainly winning on his own, but word quickly spread after his Friday-night Alternative Show appearance, when he brought New Face Rory Scovel on stage to perform at the same time under the guise of a time crunch. The ruse repeated Saturday night: Host Andy Kindler apologized for the show running long, and out Dore came with genius musical wordsmith Reggie Watts to talk over each other for seven straight minutes. In all honesty, neither was actually doing his act per se, but instead simultaneously rambling and listening intently, filling the spaces with improvised absurdity and subtly mocking themselves, the onstage #8220;character #8221; all comics embody to some degree and pretty much the entire show and Festival as a whole. Both even returned for an #8220;encore, #8221; with Dore soulfully crooning Bryan Adams #8217; #8220;Heaven #8221; as Watts flexed a foreign tongue on a nonsensical ditty apparently containing a #8220;Ching chang chong #8221; chorus.
#8220;Maybe I #8217;m old school, #8221; Kindler mock-apologized following the thunderous applause. #8220;But I found it very distracting. #8221; Distracting? Yes. Perhaps the most memorable set of the entire Festival? Yes again.
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Something Funny in Funny Books – Comedy Death Ray's Scott Aukerman will bring stand-ups together for a Comedy Death-Ray anthology comic book under the brand new American Original imprint. Among the writers: Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, B.J. Novak, David Cross, Zach Galifianakis (finally succumbing after riding around with "nerds" during Comedians of Comedy). Premises with promise may get produced as movies/TV for the less nerdy (but probably, considering the talent, culty).
Filed Under Just For Laughs
Cos #8217; Effect
Leave it to Bill Cosby to put things in perspective. Think two or even three seven-minute Festival sets a night is adequate? On Saturday, Cosby performed to 3,000 in Place des Arts’ cavernous Salle Wilfried Pelletier for two hours and ten minutes, waited 45 minutes for the old, impressed crowd to file out and a new, eager crowd to file in, and did it all over again. And the stuff he did…it was good.
Gray-haired and comfortably bumming in a long-sleeve t-shirt, sky-high sweatpants and Crocs, Cosby spent the majority of his time at stage center, seated in a chair draped with a red sweater reading “Hello Friend,” a nod to his own Ennis William Cosby Foundation. In that chair he hemmed and hawed about one singular topic: Marriage. “So there I am,” he began. “Mrs. Cosby. My wife. That’s what I want to talk about. This Evening.” He leaned back and rolled his eyes in despair. He sat poker-straight, making dazed, hangdog, “old-person” expressions. He knelt on the stage to depict himself cutting down a Christmas tree for the sake of “romance” and hunched forward, hands on knees, explaining and warning what one was in for as one aged. There were car rides, health woes, grandkids, Biblical reinterpretations, wolves, wives and mothers. Things weren’t as tight towards the end as they had been at the beginning, and it was an uncomfortable physical effort just watching him perform for so long, but in terms of tone, cadence, exaggeration and outright life wisdom, the 72-year-old is clearly still one of the top storytellers around.
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July252009h3
Just For Spite News – A new CD from Doug Stanhope is coming this Autumn from Stand-Up Records. Tentative title: "Live from Cape Fear" He's recording it August 11 in Wilmington, NC at Level 5 at City Stage. Tickets available here.
Filed Under Just For Laughs
Miscellaneous Friday Thoughts
I had made it a point this year to stick to shows featuring artists I rarely had the chance to see live. Thus no Rich Vos, no Christian Finnegan, no Golds either Judy or Elon, no Aziz Ansari, no Marc Maron, etc. The same was supposed to hold true for Louis CK, yet I was easily swayed into catching his final midnight show at the 2300-cap Metropolis [an additional last-minute show was announced for tonight at the Kola Note]. Prolific as ever, CK managed to fill at least half of a one-hour, 45-minute show with material crafted since his spring Hilarious CD and DVD tapings. As for the old stuff, I overheard the quoted phrase #8220;You are sitting in a chair #8230;IN THE SKY! #8221; twice more before the evening was out.
On the downside, as always, a sacrifice had to be made. I opted out of the midnight Alternative Show, where I had hoped to catch Duncan Trussell, an out-there New Face whose darker stuff had previous been nixed from the Cabaret Theatre. He was one of the fortunate ones, however. Scrambling to fill late-night space vacated by Paul Provenza in the St. Catherine Theatre, two free New Faces #8230;Encore shows were announced, only to quickly be dubbed #8220;Best of New Faces. #8221; Normally the top of the New Faces crop gets play over at Comedyworks, the Comedy Nest and elsewhere, and it still happened to some extent, but now not being included in Encore equated to instant, in-Festival failure. Ouch. Aren #8217;t these guys already under enough pressure?
Over at Doug Stanhope #8217;s second annual Just For Spite Festival (two nights at Cafe Choas, in the heart of the JFL street fair grounds), both shows were sold out by Friday #8217;s 8 p.m. start time. As a result, Stanhope will be making more money off two independent sets than most acts will make in their entire Festival run. [Full disclosure: I #8217;m married to one of Stanhope #8217;s business cohorts.]
Speaking of selling out, Russell Peters checked #8220;Sell out the single biggest show in JFL history #8221; off his to-do list. Recently named one of Forbes #8217; #8220;Top 10 Earning Comedians #8221; Peters counted 11,000 paid tickets at the Bell Centre, later celebrating the achievement at a #8220;Midnight at the Opera #8221; shindig in association with Just For Laughs Comedy Conference at Club Opera.
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Filed Under Just For Laughs
The Bobcat Came Back
#8220;Um, hi, you don #8217;t look the same, either, #8221; Bobcat Goldthwait announced upon taking the stage at Friday #8217;s Bubbling with Laughter show. Though he was due on much earlier, the former Jimmy Kimmel Live director (in Montreal promoting the Canadian premiere of his Robin Williams-starring World #8217;s Greatest Dad) ended up in the penultimate spot after a phone call to his hotel room informed him the show he thought was tomorrow was currently underway.
With the same eardrum-splintering voice but shorter hair, the once-retired stand-up also relied on some old material: Having a woman approach him to say, #8220;I don #8217;t mean to insult you, but you look like Bobcat Goldthwait #8221; and relating a story from the set of Blow in which he asked Johnny Depp and Paul Reubens who amongst them was not on probation.
Fortunately sandwiched in between was some eye-openingly introspective stuff about his return to the live stage ( #8220;There #8217;s a connection I make with the audience that in the other things I do #8230;I ran out of money, ladies and gentlemen! #8221;) and a transfixing story about being trapped on a plummeting airplane with a team of Special Olympics athletes. None of it was particularly hilarious, and was in fact reliably hesitant and stuttery, but it definitively marked what could be a more personally revealing direction. Then he blew the light, admitted to stealing his entire act from Sesame Street #8216;s Grover and left no question that yes, the same old Bobcat had returned.
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Filed Under Just For Laughs
Andy Kindler #8217;s State of the Industry (and TV)
For 16 years, Andy Kindler #8217;s annual State of the Industry lambast has been the must-see credentialed event, the one time suits jockey for sitting room up front, as opposed to elbow room at a venue #8217;s back bar. #8220;Let #8217;s meet up at State of the Industry, #8221; is akin to the theater crowd #8217;s #8220;Let #8217;s do lunch at Sardi #8217;s #8221;; stating as apparently Elon Gold did, #8220;This is the only hour in my life that I laugh, #8221; cements one #8217;s status as one of the Cool Kids (assuming there even are cool kids in comedy).
The hour and a half address was self-aware and kvetching as usual, preceded this year by an excellent introduction courtesy of Marc Maron. #8220;Like Andy, I have absolutely nothing left to lose, #8221; he offered, then described how touring with with Kindler is like #8220;traveling with the history of the Jewish people. #8221;
Yet something felt off, and it wasn #8217;t merely Kindler #8217;s running gag about odd microphone placement. The television screens, the branded banners, the lights and the red carpet clearly indicate that SOTI is a fully-sanctioned, downright embraced ribbing, leaving zero illusion of true nose-thumbing. Feeling like you #8217;re doing something wrong by being in the room is half the fun, and a fake brick wall sporting fake graffiti isn #8217;t going to change that.
#8220;It has to be industry-related, or something I saw on TV #8230;I #8217;m going to ridicule things I #8217;m not that familiar with, #8221; Kindler noted up front of his range of topics. With no Last Comic Standing to kick around, the laundry list included the ShamWow pitchman, TMZ, how #8220;Montreal found a way to do less than they least they could do #8221; with two non-adjacent economy seats, Carlos Mencia, Tyler Perry, Howie Mandel, various agencies, Kevin James, Dane Cook, Carrot Top, I #8217;m a Celebrity #8230;Get Me Out of Here!, Jay Leno, and, as ever, himself. However, his running commentary seemed harder hitting than his material, which often came across as just that #8230;themed material. #8220;Now this is just anger, #8221; he admitted, #8221; shaking his head at his notes. Yet it wasn #8217;t the angry, Roast-oriented side of Kindler that most shone through. The best part of his humor has undoubtedly always been his self-effacing and hand-wringing. But with an ending like, #8220;This could be my last year doing this speech. There #8217;s a lot of things I could say right now #8230;in lieu of crying. I get the feeling a lot of people come in here thinking something else is going to happen. Maybe I could get paid to stay home next year. Too real? #8221;, the answer is a surprising #8220;yes. #8221;
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Filed Under Just For Laughs
Noble: A Prize
I had been cautioned before going into Ross Noble not to believe the hype, that, contrary to the official spiel, the wildly prolific cult Englishman #8217;s act wasn #8217;t all improvised.
Didn #8217;t matter a bit. From start to finish, his one-man show was a densely packed display of energy, absurdism, audience interaction and controlled chaos. With his long hair, boy-band headset and surfer-dude-by-way-of-Monty-Python accent, Noble turned one table of devoted fanboys into a modest roomful of converts, just as he turned the presence of one audience member #8217;s baked-good snack into a monstrous running gag involving the woman, her friend, her mother, the tacos on another table, his miraculous ability to #8220;feed, like, 100 people with just some nachos #8221; and his status as #8220;some kinda Mexican Jesus. #8221;
Some bits on Madonna, Boba Fett and a brass band providing a peculiar soundtrack to porn were obviously rehearsed, but then it was right back into 10 minutes on imagined tourist groups taking in the Musee JPR venue in all its questionable glory. After all, why bother with jokes when your stream of consciousness leads even you deep into an entertaining unknown?
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July232009h3
Filed Under Just For Laughs
New Home for New Faces
2009 marks the year the theoretic stand-up-and-comers gained entry to the same comedic playground as the big kids. Previously schlepped off to the cramped Kola Note, the New Faces sweating out a pair of industry-heavy showcases are housed in the Cabaret Theatre, now sharing lobby space with Musee JPR. For another interesting switcharoo, this year #8217;s hosts Dan Levy and Sugar Sammy are much newer faces in their own right than last year #8217;s Dana Gould and Greg Giraldo, or Tom Papa the year before.
A delayed flight caused me to miss the first half of New Faces 2, particularly regrettable since I was looking forward to revisiting the skewed world of Moshe Kasher, who killed at LA #8217;s Candor Comedy last month and reminds me #8212;a bit unfairly, I confess #8212;of Brent Weinbach. But of the four sets I caught, Rory Scovel deserved the most credit for keeping things light and in the moment. With a thick beard and flannel shirt, his slacker-oriented material was no huge surprise, though lines like #8220;I #8217;ve been trying to quit smoking pot. It #8217;s hard because they keep coming out with those damn 3-D movies, #8221; and the ability to turn a bit about driving on shrooms into a Scientology dig proved there was more to him than mere drug humor. Renee Gauthier spent her time on Boyz II Men karaoke and a gratingly over-the-top dance sequence, while low-key Eric Krug didn #8217;t fully connect until he broke out his idea for MTV pilot #8220;Tupac or Anne Frank? #8221; Dan Ahdoot closed the show strong, however, citing sign language as the most racist language of all and bringing both keen intelligence and personal experience to material that might otherwise be found on the Axis of Evil cutting-room floor. (Sample line: I #8217;m Iranian and Jewish, one of those combinations that goes together like peanut butter and #8230;cat. #8221;)
Later at New Faces 1, first-up Myq Kaplan stole the show early with fast-paced language-play that tackled religion, technology, the dubious legacy of Final Destination and begged for repeat listens. Andy Ritchie had the best lines of the night, quoting a PT Cruiser ad man as asking, #8220;Hey, what if Dick Tracy was a single mom? #8221; and bemoaning of a faulty showerhead, #8220;Every time I want to get clean, I feel like a Civil Rights activist. #8221; To a demonstrator who had once gotten the business end of a firehose, #8220;Yeah, but not every day, first thing in the morning! #8221; Closer and one of Variety #8216;s 2009 10 Comics to Watch Kumail Nanjiani covered mostly #8220;cheese #8221; (aka heroin) and the Cyclone roller coaster, but his huge likability factor and flair for theatricality sold every moment.
Unfortunately, Alex Kohl #8217;s overly-confident hipsterisms were best saved for PBR keggers; Mike Bridenstine started strong with a withering impression of a certain Zanies owner but lost the crowd with his repeated #8220;Bam! Yer pregant! #8221; fake catchphrase; Chris D #8217;Elia #8217;s impressions of African-Americans, Germans and ex-girlfriends would play best at a ComedySportz; and Last Comic Standing vet Mary Mack #8217;s loopy act was, er, inspired by Maria Bamford #8217;s yet again, only this time in front of an unwitting international crowd.
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Filed Under Just For Laughs
Just Started, Already Cancelled
No sooner has the US industry-heavy portion of Just For Laughs gotten underway than it experiences its first casualties. The Comedy Conference #8217;s kickoff event, the 10 a.m. Thursday-morning Keynote Address, got the axe, though The Colbert Report head writer Barry Julien #8217;s addition to the #8220;Late Night: In the Writer #8217;s Room #8221; panel managed to swing the scales back a bit. In the past, #8220;The Green Room with Paul Provenza #8221; enjoyed a healthy three-evening midnight run. This year, only two 1 a.m. shows were scheduled, but Thursday #8217;s offering was removed from the schedule Wednesday night; Friday #8217;s show yanked the following morning. And on the Gala front, Wednesday Britcom host John Cleese was replaced by Lewis Black (the Monty Python star has rescheduled for Sunday) after Cleese was diagnosed with an inflamed prostrate gland. Perhaps he pulled something practicing his silly walks?
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July222009h3
Comedy Con! – If you're going to San Diego for Comic Con, here's a couple of panel if you're looking to explore the other meaning of the word "comic." Here's some of the Humor and Satire Panels of Comic Con.
Friday:The most unlikely pilot preview in Comic-Con history: Patricia Heaton's family sitcom "The Middle."Plus: Two Funny Frebergs - featuring satirist Stan Freberg and partner in crime (and life) Hunter FrebergSaturday:Panels on Family Guy and a "first look" at the spinoff "The Cleveland Show." Seth MacFarlane will be a part of both.Sunday:Seth MacFarlane finishes his hat trick with nerds with a panel on American Dad.More promising are panels on Indie comedies "Paper Heart" (with Charlyne Yi) and "Mystery Team."
Review Pun Prediction: #8220;Over-Drawn #8221; – Comedy Central producing a movie for it's canceled animated series "Drawn Together." The characters of the reality show realize they've been canceled and go on a road trip to win their place back on the airwaves. They're having a panel for "The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!" at Comic-Con in San Diego tomorrow, so during Q A go for a spoiler and ask if they'll succeed! (Nope. It's going straight to DVD and the "Secret Stash")
July202009h3
Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
Something Special: Steve Martin #8217;s The Funnier Side of Eastern Canada
One of Steve Martin #8217;s early specials has made it to the web and it gives what is now a pretty rare look at his stand-up. If you were around at the time, your main image of Martin #8217;s stand-up career is his performances for thousands in arenas. Well in the special #8220;Steve Martin #8217;s The Funnier Side of Eastern Canada #8221;, there #8217;s a segment of Martin performing a more intimate venue. You can see it in this clip, which starts at around 3 minutes in.
embed
Wow, can you hear that? Unsweetened, distinct laughter on TV. Those were the days.
If you want to see the whole thing, I #8217;ve put it together as a playlist that you can watch after the jump.
Read More »
Posted by Todd Jackson at 01:38 PM | Send to Friend
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July152009h3
Filed Under Sketch Comedy
The Micky-Ficky Complete #8220;State #8221; DVD Out Now
Long-awaited by some, including myself, The State finally made it to DVD just yesteday. I can finally throw away the only previous home-video release of The State, the videocassette of #8220;Skits and Stickers #8221;
I haven #8217;t had a chance to pour through the DVD yet, as I just got it. But the sheer amount of material available, including some never before sketches with commentary that hopefully detail a bit of why they were cut, are pretty much all we #8217;ve been asking for for as long as I can remember. If I took this look to do it right, I #8217;m glad they took their time.
Here #8217;s one of my favorite sketches, the State performing a broadcast-television-friendly version of the non-existent play #8220;Tenement. #8221; I think I #8217;ve worn out this particular part of the tape on the aforementioned video cassette, so it #8217;s nice to have a DVD copy for when this clip on the web gets deleted - oops, MTV also has a copy on their site:
embed
Oh, the commitment to the raw humanity of William McGuire #8217;s work. If you love this sketch too, MTV has a very nice viral marketing widget that you can use to share it or 26 other sketches (including Porcupine Racetrack) on the Facespace or your Mybook.
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Page 1 of 80 pages 1 2 3 gt; Last raquo;


Top 5 Best Comedians
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1. Andy Kaufman
2. Gabriel Iglesias
3. Steve Martin
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iTunes Top 10 Comedy Albums
All links open in iTunes
1
The Lonely Island
Incredibad
$11.99
2
Dane Cook
Harmful If Swallowed
$9.99
3
Robin Williams
Weapons of Self Destruction
$10.99
4
Aziz Ansari
Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening
$9.99
5
The Lonely Island
Incredibad
$7.99
6
Dane Cook
Vicious Circle
$9.99
7
Joe Rogan
Talking Monkeys In Space
$9.99
8
Jim Gaffigan
King Baby
$9.99
9
Bo Burnham
Bo Burnham
$9.99
10
Brian Regan
Brian Regan Live
$9.99
Also available:iTunes Essential Comedy Mix
See the iTunes Top 100 Comedy Albums
Recent Posts
Cos #8217; Effect
Miscellaneous Friday Thoughts
The Bobcat Came Back
Andy Kindler #8217;s State of the Industry (and TV)
Noble: A Prize
New Home for New Faces
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