Recent Posts in comedy - Page 4
November 25, 2015
by Andrew Sacher
photo by Jess Flynn
Chumped are on hiatus, but we recently mentioned that singer Anika Pyle and drummer Dan Frelly formed the new band Katie Ellen. They've already played a few shows, and this week they released their first song, "Lucy Stone." It's more lo-fi than anything Chumped had ever done (though they are saying it's just a demo), but the melody and drive of that band aren't lost at all. It's a heavy song lyrically, dealing with the very real anxieties surrounding expectations that are set for you by family/society/loved ones/etc: "Well I don't wanna have your children / Does that make me less of a woman? I don't believe in getting married / It's a social economic prison." Listen below and download it for free here.
Katie Ellen's next show is playing the next installment of comedian Chris Gethard's 'Career Suicide' show, "an hour of stand up focusing on suicide, alcoholism, and all the other funniest parts of life." It happens December 21 at Union Hall. Tickets are on sale.
Anika also plays a solo show with Lauren Denitzio and Mikey Erg.
November 24, 2015
Sarah Silverman was to have played the NY Comedy Festival earlier this month with a show at BAM but got sick and had to postpone. She's just announced the makeup date: January 22 at BAM's Peter Jay Sharp Building. The show is titled "Sarah Silverman and Friends" and they haven't announced who those friends will be but tickets are on sale.
Mike and the cast of 'Don't Think Twice'
Mike Birbiglia wrote, directed and starred in 2012's acclaimed Sleepwalk with Me. He's got a new movie in the works, titled Don't Think Twice about an improv troupe that includes Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Gillian Jacobs (Community), Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates), Tami Sagher (Inside Amy Schumer) and Chris Gethard. The official synopsis:
The comedy is about an improv group that loses the lease on its home theater at the same time that one of its cast members gets chosen for the biggest sketch-comedy show on TV. It's about the bitterness and backstabbing that occurs among friends when they realize that maybe not everyone's gonna make it after all.Filming in NYC is currently underway, so stay tuned.
In other news, Mike is part of charity event "The 2nd Annual Talent Show" which happens at NYC's New World Stages / Stage 3 on December 1. Also part of this are Bleachers, Sara Bareilles, Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham, Elle King, Andrew Dost, John Early, Roy Wood Jr, Jacqueline Novak, with host Rachel Antonoff and JD Samson as your DJ for the evening. Tickets are on sale and all proceeds go support New Alternatives' work with LGBTQ Youth. Poster for the show is below.
As mentioned, Julie Klausner will be celebrating the holidays with her "Depressing Christmas Party" at NYC piano bar Sid Gold's Request Room on December 19. That show has sold out but she's added second show, happening December 21 at The Bell House with the same guests: Ted Leo, John Early, Cole Escola, and Anthony Atamanuik. Tickets for the Bell House are on sale now.
November 23, 2015
Comedian H. Jon Benjamin is releasing his first musical project, a jazz album called Well I Should Have...* (*Learned How to Play Piano), which comes out Friday (11/27) and is available right now digitally via Sub Pop. The LP has six songs, four of which are called "I Can't Play Piano." In a promotional video about the making of the album, Jon makes it clear that he really can't play piano, and saying "in hindsight, I don't think it was the best idea in the world." The video features actual jazz musician Odean Pope and you can watch it below.
The album, meanwhile, was mixed by Loren Bouchard (Bob's Burgers, Home Movies) and Jon is accompanied by Scott Kreitzer (saxophone), David Finck (bass), and Jonathan Peretz (drums). The album's opening skit, Deal with the Devil," features Aziz Ansari (Jon had a part in Master of None) and Bob's Burgers co-star Kristen Schaal. You can listen to that, and two of the "I Can't Play Piano" tracks, below.
John Waters may not have made a film since 2004's A Dirty Shame but he has not retired. He's got two books in the works: a collection of essays, titled Mr. Know it All, which includes "Why do gay people have to be nice now? Is it ever appropriate to take LSD when you are 70 years old? How does it feel to claw your way to the top of Hollywood and then slide right back down again?"; and his first novel, which is titled LIARMOUTH. While release dates on those are still TBA, you can check out his book Carsick which details his hitchhiking sojourn across America, and is fresh out on paperback.
Waters also has his annual "A John Waters Christmas" tour, this year dubbed "Holier & Dirtier," featuring his love of Christmas kitsch (and disdain for other parts of the holiday). That tour kicks off this weekend in San Francisco and has two shows in the NYC area: City Winery on December 6 (tickets) and Asbury Park's brand new House of Independents on December 7 (tickets). All tour dates are listed below.
November 18, 2015
photo: Julie Klausner @ Bell House, 2012 (more by Erik Erikson)
Local comedian, podcaster, Difficult Person, and generally entertaining individual Julie Klausner is putting on a Christmas show on December 19 at Sid Gold's Request Room. "Julie Klausner's Depressing Christmas Party" will feature frequent collaborator Ted Leo, John Early (who was on Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp this summer), Cole Escola (Difficult People), Anthony Atamanuik and more TBA. Expect laughs, songs, and tongue-in-cheek yuletide revelry. Tickets are on sale now.
Ted and Julie also wrote a holiday song together called "Bitter on Christmas" for Julie and Billy Eichner's Hulu series Difficult People. You can listen to it via Apple Music.
Meanwhile, Ted Leo is also playing some Christmas shows of his own with Aimee Mann (they did this last year as well) on December 10 at Town Hall and December 12 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets are still available.
And in somewhat related news, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists drummer Chris Wilson's band HOUND has a new record coming out. SRA Records will release Out of Space on November 27, the same day they play a release show with The Kominas and Dangerbird at Everybody Hits Philadelphia. They released a new song today called "Over the Edge," which follows the previously-released "Emotional Collapse," both of which are fun, fuzzed-out '70s hard-rock rippers. You can stream them below.
November 17, 2015
This past weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live featured host Elizabeth Banks with musical guest Disclosure and special guests Lorde and Sam Smith:
Matthew McConaughey and Adele are on this coming Saturday (11/21).
Amy Poehler is also starring in a Netflix holiday special with Bill Murray.
November 12, 2015
If you watched this week's episode of Comedy Central's Drunk History, there was a segment on Thomas Edison (played by Chris Parnell) that also featured Spinal Tap's Michael McKean and, in a blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo, AC Newman of New Pornographers. Carl plays a projectionist and he shared a little bit about the experience via Twitter:
Finally summoned the guts to watch my brief #DrunkHistory appearance... Good Lord, I'm a genius!— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) November 12, 2015
I've been waiting years to use the phrase "Good Lord, I'm a genius!" It's from an issue of Dan Clowes' 'Eightball'. I forgot the context.— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) November 12, 2015
You can watch Carl's Drunk History performance below.
In other news, AC Newman will participate in a live taping of podcast "Song Exploder" where "musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made." That happens at The Greene Space on Saturday (11/14) and is unfortunately sold out, but you'll be able to listen to the podcast soon.
November 11, 2015
When tasked to define the central characteristic of alternative comedy at the moment, the obvious answer seems to be its playfulness. Whereas the genre's earlier incarnations saw a decidedly dark streak of humor (The Maria Bamford Show jumps to mind), these new comedians take far more pleasure in exploring the lines between character and comedian, performer and audience, and most of all, "high brow" and "low brow." Take, for example, Joe Rumrill and Tynan Delong's "official improv troupe of MTV Spring Break" - although they're ironically commenting on bro culture, it somehow seems just as much a reflection on the comedians themselves.
But then again, it's nearly impossible to define the current alternative stand up community in one word. Joe Pera's characters teeter on the brink of quiet insanity, while Mara Wilson's one-woman-show "What Are You Afraid Of?" is almost therapeutic in its frankness about anxiety, irrational fears, and laughing at ourselves. Mary Houlihan, the venerable renaissance woman of Brooklyn, employs her visual arts background in her comedy, hosting her puppet, animation, and human being variety show Cartoon Monsoon at Brooklyn's newest alternative venue, The Annoyance Theatre (be sure to catch the last show November 21).
If you're looking for a crash course in New York's booming alternative comedy underground, though, there may be no better place to start than Jo Firestone's titular alternative comedy experience, the Firestone Festival, that combines these forces into one mega-alternative-comedy-festival happening Saturday, November 14 at Hand & Detail in Williamsburg (which was home to that Car Wash show during CMJ). No relation to the other comedy fest happening at the same time in NYC (of which she is also a part), the Firestone Festival goes from noon - 10 PM. More details below and tickets for Firestone Festival are on sale now.
Firestone is arguably the greatest success story to come out of this burgeoning alternative scene. She has her own radio show on WFMU, hosts multiple highly popular variety shows, and has opened for Arcade Fire's Will Butler (and will again). Just as The State expanded the realm of what comedy could be in the 1990s, Jo Firestone has consistently pushed the boundaries, with unequivocal success, of what it means to be a "comedian." She has somehow managed to turn "game show" into a sketch comedy format - anyone can participate, anyone can be the star of the show. Her efforts have not only lead to personal successes, but in their wake have left the New York comedy scene more diverse, more inclusive, and more optimistic than ever before. So it's no surprise she is the master of ceremonies for her titular alternative comedy festival, which includes stand up, live sketch, and storytelling, along with art displays and exactly one comedic dance troupe.
I spoke with Jo via email about the Firestone Festival and what to expect...
BV: How did you come up with the idea for the festival?
Jo Firestone: I've put on a lot of shows around New York for the past five years or so, and I've always wanted to do a day-long program. This festival is a combination of comedy shows I really like and performers I really like and seeing what can happen when they're all put together in one day!