Recent Posts in comedy - Page 3
September 22, 2014
Eugene Mirman with Robyn Hitchcock and H. Jon Benjamin
The 7th Annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival took over the Bell House and Union Hall in Brooklyn for the past few days to bring audiences an audacious, eclectic, and titillating smorgasbord of comedic events. Of all the events, I chose to attend You Never Know Who Might Drop By at the Bell House on Saturday September 20 at 10:00pm. The only guest to be announced ahead of time was H. Jon Benjamin. The rest of the line up was listed as "Special Guest." Remarkably, even with only one guest announced, the show was very sold out.
The show ended up being hosted by special guest Eugene Mirman. I sort of assumed that would be the case, but you know what happens when you assume right? Ass. U. Me. Anyhow, Euge was the host and he performed his duties with his usual grace and aplomb. His hosting agilities shouldn't be surprising considering he's a non-stop performer and has hosted recurring comedy showcases Invite Them Up, Tearing The Veil of Maya, Pretty Good Friends, and probably more. Saturday evening, he kept his opening set extremely short and tight, but he did have an extremely funny riff about how you can literally write whatever you want about yourself on LinkedIn and there is zero proof required. He read off samples of his own bullshit LinkedIn profile and I gotta tell you it was pretty damn funny.
Eugene's first guest was Wyatt Cenac. Throw a dart at an open page of Time Out New York and chances are you will hit a show listing with his name on it. The dude not only has his own show called Night Train every Monday night at Littlefield, but you can see him practically every night of the week at several other venues throughout the city. The dude's a machine. A relentless performer. It has taken me a while to be drawn into Wyatt's super low energy delivery and stage demeanor, but I gotta say he was killing me on Saturday. He's definitely a super popular comic who is definitely worth checking out.
Glaser as Johnny Ding-Dong
After Wyatt wrapped up his set, the great and Klaus-Approved Gold Pass Favorite Jon Glaser came out (not his first time this year), reprising his role as Brooklyn's #1 Insult Comic Johnny Ding-Dong. I haven't seen this particular character of his in eight freaking years; the last time was during a Comedians of Comedy stop at Irving Plaza (video here). Johnny basically insults audience members over pretty banal and obvious characteristics of theirs; a hat, glasses, how they're sitting...then he sits down and eats a slice of pizza, very slowly. At some point during this, the sound guy 'accidentally' starts playing the theme song to the 1978 drama The Deerhunter, which also happens to be one of the saddest instrumental tunes of all time. Johhny then goes through an emotional breakthrough. Aside of being extremely funny, the whole bit intentionally goes on for waaaaay too long, testing the audience's endurance to the fullest. It is not an easy bit, but it is one of my favorites as it so absolutely alienates the audience to the extreme.
Johnny Ding-Dong left the stage and was followed by a bit with Eugene Mirman and the great Robyn Hitchcock. They started out as a duo, offering up bits of very funny advice for problems submitted by audience members prior to the show. Luckily, before the bit got too long, Eugene left Robyn up there alone with an acoustic. Besides regaling the audience with great stories and personal philosophies, Robyn played three tunes, including a beautiful cover of "The Crystal Ship" by the Doors (on his new album) and a fantastic version of his tune "Dismal City" that was so much better than the full band version... it was nuts. He was a fantastic storyteller and I loved his solo tunes.
After Hitchcock came comedian Joe Wong who I actually never heard of, but man did he slay. I cannot tell you how much I loved this guy. There was a brilliant economy to each of his jokes. They were free of flair and BS; they were delivered as perfect as you could imagine. His insights into the racism inherent in American society, though troubling, were so elegantly lampooned that the entire room was roaring. For me he was the highlight of the evening. I love seeing a comic for the first time and having him/her absolutely destroy. Sadly, his calendar is empty, but if you see the name Joe Wong on any upcoming comedy showcases you should go. Refreshing talent. I would like him to be famous immediately, thanks.
Wong's set was quite brief unfortunately, and he was followed by Eugene Mirman and Ted Allen (Chopped, Queer Eye For The Straight Guy) for round two of audience advice. I missed this because I had to pee wicked bad and also needed another beer, but I heard some laughs while I was in the latrine so that was a good sign. Next up was the only billed comic of the night, H. Jon Benjamin. HJB definitely had the longest set of the evening, and it started out with a bit featuring him and Eugene, where Eugene read off all of HJB's requirements from his talent rider. This definitely felt like it went on a bit too long as even Eugene regarded the bit as "The exhausting comedy of Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman." Side note: Mirman and Benjamin have created Flotsam, a "Post-Structural Online Shopping Experience" where you can buy sacks of "hand-chosen items that are hand-hewn by machines in America and are shipped directly to you."
Back to the Bell House, after that HJB was joined by one of my personal favorites Larry Murphy. The premise of their bit was that since we were at The Bell House we were most certainly missing episodes of the Big Bang Theory which seems to be on TV in perpetuity. So they acted out some smarmy Big Bang esque dialogue which, like the rider bit, went on a bit too long as well.
Although Jon Benjamin's set was definitely hilarious and worth seeing, it went on longer than I had the strength to endure. I was at a motorcycle block party earlier in the day and had been drinking since 3 in the afternoon, so by the time headliner Jen Kirkman took the stage, I was hot, sweaty, gassy, uncomfortable, and basically seeing quadruple. I can see why she'd headline; she has a history in comedy that stretches way back to the old days in Boston with Larry Murphy and Eugene Mirman, she has a book out that sold a zillion copies, she's a favorite on Chelsea lately, she was in from LA... she's famous and successful. But combine the fact that I don't really care for her comedy and the fact that my liver was hanging out my asshole and down my pant leg, it was time to go.
The early show at the Bell House was a special EMCF edition of "Pretty Good Friends" with Jessi Klein, Nick Thune and Karen Kilgariff. Pics from EMCF night 1 are here and we'll have more to come. Pics from night 3's early show, plus more from "You Never Know Who Might Drop By," below...
If you're a fan of comedy and lived through 2012, you probably have heard (or at least heard about) comedian Tig Notaro's fantastic set dealing with her cancer diagnosis, Live. The recorded set was released through Louis C.K.'s five dollar sales model, selling over 50,000 downloads, and was eventually nominated for a Grammy. But any fan of alt comedy will remember her hilarious bit on Taylor Dayne (video below), her multiple appearances on This American Life, or her podcast, Professor Blastoff.
This week, Tig begins a headlining comedy tour she's calling "Boyish Girl Interrupted," with stops all over this great nation, including one date in NYC. Catch her at Town Hall November 6 as part of the NY Comedy Festival. Tickets are on sale now.
All tour dates, plus video of that Taylor Dayne story, below...
September 19, 2014
Dave Hill, Eugene Mirman, Amy Schumer, Bridget Everett,
The 7th Annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival began last night at the Bell House with a singing competition for comedians dubbed Gowanus Idol judged by festival founder Eugene Mirman along with Amy Schumer, NPR's This American Life host Ira Glass, and comedian Jon Glaser as Derrick Brown's dad. He took over as judge when Amy had to leave.
Tickets are still available to see 5 Comics to Watch Get on Variety's 10 Comics to Watch List featuring Mehran Khaghani, Michelle Wolf, Phoebe Robinson, Janelle James, Joe Zimmerman, host Josh Gondelman at Union Hall tonight, and for the Bell House's A Night of Cutie-Pies with Nick Thune, Jon Glaser, Karen Kilgariff, and SNL's new Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che.
Spoiler: Bridget Everett won the competition. Catch her show at Joe's Pub called ROCK BOTTOM, which we saw last week. It's been extended until October 16th.
Pictures from the Bell House continue below...
September 18, 2014
photos by Chris La Putt
Bridget Everett - 'Rock Bottom' at Joe's Pub 9/12/2014
Mr. Shaiman, who pounds away at the piano keys during the show, and Mr. Wittman, who directed it, and her other collaborators, Adam Horovitz and Matt Ray, have not attempted to impose a demure superego on the rampaging id that is Ms. Everett. On the contrary, "Rock Bottom" lets her run as loose and sing as loud as ever, celebrating the louche life and flaunting her flair for exhibitionism -- sexual, emotional and physical -- across 90 minutes of hair-raising, jaw-dropping and, yes, sometimes cringe-making performance. This unbridled performer makes the breast-baring, mouthy Bette Midler of the 1970s seem like Julie Andrews trilling and twirling on that mountaintop in "The Sound of Music."Bridget Everett seems to be everywhere in NYC lately, with the official debut of her new show at Joe's Pub, Rock Bottom (which has been in previews for a while). In addition to the New York Times review, she was also on the cover of the 9/10 issue of The Village Voice. The very bawdy show, which also features frequent collaborator and Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz, plays select dates through October 16 at Joe's Pub. Tickets are on sale and all show dates are listed below. We caught Rock Bottom last Friday (9/12) and pictures from that are in this post.
Ms. Everett performs 10 songs in the show, at least three of which feature titles that are not fit for print. One of the funniest finds her making sport of her own ample dimensions while using a festively colored sex toy of considerable size as a prop to help detail her rapacious exploits around the globe. - [NY Times]
There's no Rock Bottom show tonight, but you can catch Bridget Everett tonight (9/18) at The Bell House as part of the kickoff event at the 2014 Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. Tonight's show is 'The Talent Show Presents: Gowanus Idol' and has a stacked lineup of talent, also featuring Amy Schumer, Dave Hill, Ira Glass, Bobby Tisdale, Derrick Brown, Amber Tamblyn, Joseph Keckler, Eliot Glazer, Giulia Rozzi, THE ENGAGEMENTS and hosts Elna Baker and Kevin Townley. Tickets are still available.
Rock Bottom show dates, plus more pics from the show and the Voice cover, below...
September 17, 2014
John Oliver and co-anchor Cookie Monster
The eighth annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit happens at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 5. Bruce Springsteen returns to play again this year, and comedic talent includes Louis CK, John Mulaney, and John Oliver, plus NBC's Brian Williams and more "surprise guests" to be announced. It's part of the New York Comedy Festival and tickets are on sale now.
September 16, 2014
The witty Demetri Martin is heading out on a Canadian tour this November (dates), and the following month he'll go on a short US trek as well. He doesn't come to NYC proper, but he'll be nearby for a show at Port Chester's Capitol Theatre on December 12. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (9/19) at noon.
All US dates are listed, with a video of his If I special, below...
September 12, 2014
Mountain Goats main man John Darnielle has always been a storyteller, it's a wonder he's never written a book before now. Yet Wolf In White Van is his first novel. It's out on Tuesday (9/16) via Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and here's the synopsis:
Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian--a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail--Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.You can listen to Darnielle read an excerpt from Wolf In White Van's audiobook below. You can also hear him read from it in person as Darnielle starts a book tour next week, starting in NYC on Monday (9/15) at Le Poisson Rouge with John Hodgman there to, presumably, coax anecdotes out of him. Doors are at 6:30 PM, it starts at 7:30 and it's free to attend. As for what to expect, here's John himself:
Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.
Dear anybody whose question "will there be a book tour?" I have seemed to ignore, please know that I was not ignoring you, but that there was a plan to tell people about the tour I'll be doing for Wolf In White Van. I am constitutionally predisposed to call this plan a dark and evil plan, but honestly I don't see how going places and reading from my book can really be thought of as dark and evil, though I will do my best...All John Darnielle book dates are listed, along with the audio excerpt stream, below...
...it seems probable that a number of people who like our music will also be interested in the book, but for purposes of clarity be advised that I am leaving my guitar at home for this one and will play no songs on this tour, though I can't promise that Mr. Hodgman and I won't do an a capella chorus or two of "Sing a Song About Love", or possibly "We Bite."
See you out there!
NBC's Saturday Night Live is hitting a milestone this fall, as the upcoming season will be its 40th. The show returns on September 27 with Parks & Rec's Chris Pratt as host and Ariana Grande as musical guest. Then on October 5 it's host Sarah Silverman and Maroon 5.
In more exciting SNL news, comedian Michael Che will become the first African American 'Weekend Update' anchor, replacing Cecily Strong as Colin Jost's co-host. Che, a regular in the NYC alt-comedy scene and on this site, had been a writer on SNL before leaving to become a Daily Show correspondent. Strong is still on the show, and apparently asked to step down, preferring to work on sketches.
As mentioned before, castmembers Brooks Whelan, John Milhiser, Nasim Pedrad, Noël Wells are all not returning this year. New cast has not been announced. The show also lost announcer Don Pardo, who died at age 96 this summer.
In celebration of SNL's 40th anniversary, NBC will be airing old episodes of SNL -- one from each season -- on Saturday nights at 10 PM. Whether this includes the weird years where Lorne Michaels left the show and it was run by Dick Ebersol, remains to be seen.
In related news, onetime castmember Ana Gasteyer (1996 - 2002) is performing at Joe's Pub on September 29. It's a release show for her new album, I'm Hip, and tickets are on sale now.
September 11, 2014
by Bill Pearis
While there, the band's chief songwriter, Carl "AC" Newman, applied for a job as a hitmaker in the pop landmark's storied offices. Apparently there's only one songwriting team (Julie Klausner and Anthony Atamanuik) left in the building and they've been relegated to not the nicest space there. (The heyday of Leiber/Stoller and Goffin/King it ain't.) Needless to say, Newman won't be quitting his day job. Watch his video encounter, written by Jake Fogelnest for Funny or Die, below.
September 8, 2014
For 10 years, Seth Herzog's excellent comedy showcase Sweet has been a NYC comedy staple, bringing fresh faces and old pros together. Everyone from Donald Glover to Jeff Ross has performed there over the years, with Herzog's distinctive energy keeping the crowd coming back week after week.
To celebrate Sweet's tenth anniversary, Herzog has put together a three-day comedy extravaganza at its current home of The Slipper Room running tonight (9/8) through Wednesday (9/10), featuring the likes of Colin Quinn, Hannibal Buress, Vanessa Bayer, Dave Hill, Questlove, and many more surprises to come each night. As for who's playing which night, you're just gonna have to show up and find out. Tickets ($10 per night or $25 for all three) are on sale now.
Watch a Sweet set featuring Reggie Watts, Questlove, Greg Barris, and more, below...