“When I started at [Upright Citizens Brigade], I thought it was going to be, ‘Oh, I’m going to take levels one through three … and then I’ll audition for 'Saturday Night Live,' and then I’ll get a movie deal, and then I’ll have my own show’… I was so clueless! I thought that there was a formula; I thought there was a quick fix; I thought that I was going to be taken care of in institutional terms.”
"When your guy [Borough President James P. Molinaro] said 'Fuck the Red Cross!’" he said. The sold-out audience marked its assent with raucous applause. "You hear him saying the Red Cross is dogshit, and then you see Chuck Schumer standing behind him, wanting to put his hand on his face, thinking 'I'm a Senator, I can't deal with this.' I love the people out here."(1)
While an in-on-the-joke Commander-in-Chief might be seen as the ultimate triumph of the MAD sensibility, it's also its ultimate dissipation. Ficarra remembers very distinctly being told that Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer loved a MAD movie poster parody of the secondStar Wars preque lcalled Gulf Wars Episode II: Clone of the Attack, and had brought a copy of it to the Oval Office to show to the president. "They thought they would make me happy with that, but it was actually infuriating."(2)
Over the course of his hour-long performance, Seinfeld only occasionally dipped into old material. At one point, a Seinfeld-era joke about similarities between retirement homes and minimum security prisons surfaced but quickly led into a seemingly fresh one about outfitting his mother’s car with “cataract windshields.” “From the sidewalk it looks like a car of sports mascots [are] coming down the street,” he concluded to nearly unanimous laughs from this mixed crowd made up of what seemed to be equal parts locals and denizens of the other boroughs, plus a smattering of Weschesterites mixed in.(1)
“I don’t know that I answer the question so much as acknowledge that the question is there," writer Yael Kohen, whose new book, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy hits bookstore shelves today. "It’s a provocative question. People will continue to ask it.”(2)
A cult hit in Los Angeles, the show features a Who's Who of young comedians—including Paul F. Tompkins, Busy Phillips, Nathan Fillion, Linda Cardellini, Paget Brewster, John Hodgman, and many others—as well as some who should be far better known, such as Marc Evan Jackson, who wields his basso profundo voice like a broadsword. The New York engagement will be limited but it's considered a test run for the show's possible expansion. Staged weekly in L.A., Thrilling Adventure Hour is a resolutely local production—some hardcore fans attend at least once a month—but by posting each performance as a podcast, the show has built up a global following.
Yet Andre concedes his own audience, or what he’s seen of it on tour, is quite wild enough all by itself. “Those kids are crazy out there,” he said, with a mixture of respect and awe. “They’re wild. We did a show in Boston, and they were so crazy. Ravenous. They were like grabbing my dick out of my pants and tackling me on the stage.” Did he find himself in the unlikely position of trying to calm down a crowd? “No, man, I was trying to get them even more riled up,” he said. “I was throwing rotisserie chickens at them. I chucked this rotisserie chicken into the crowd and rocked this guy in the face.” Andre promptly broke up into a fit of laughter.
For nearly two decades, Mirman has navigated the comedy circuit. Taking a rather grassroots approach to building his brand, he has put out three comedy DVDs, starting with the 2004 release of The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman, and hosted a series of weekly comedy shows around the city. Typical for comedians, Mirman’s professional life has been a years-long trudge to success. His fifth annual festival shows the fruits of those labors.
The last episode of "The Larry Sanders Show" begins with the camera trained on a TV screen showing Jack Paar's 1965 farewell to the audience of "The Jack Paar Program." Paar is sitting on a stool.
There was some talk about the “death of irony” after 9/11, but Bush turned out to be as much a gift to comics and comedy writers as he was a burden to the world at large. Tough times don’t always coincide with waves of great comedies, but the stupidity of politics and politicians at least provides reliable fodder. But if our current political troubles bring about a new wave of satirical brilliance, the middling comedy The Campaign, which opens today, is not a part of it.(1)
For weeks now, Ron Howard and others involved in the re-up of the beloved Fox sitcom "Arrested Development" have been teasing us with pictures of the writers' room and other behind-the-scenes paraphernalia.(5)
Comedy Bang Bang’s latest iteration, the travelling stage show (appearing tomorrow night at the Highline Ballroom), is a culmination of that decade of work and a hybrid of all that came before: the stand-up comedy showcase; the radio show; the wildly popular podcast; and its latest incarnation, the recently-debuted TV program on the IFC network.
“My mom is half deaf and watched Fox News which means she gets half [of] half the truth. And then she starts fighting with you, so she would call me and say, ‘Can black people get citrus-cell anemia? And I’m like 'Citrus-cell anemia is not a thing,'"
In both his comedy and his writing, Hill masters this kind of arrested-development schtick. A recurring theme is an excessive preoccupation with sex. One of the best blurbs on Tasteful Nudes comes from fellow-comedian Chris Elliot: "Not only did Tasteful Nudes take me on an emotional journey through the seedy underbelly of Dave Hill’s life, but it also introduced me to a whole new slew of colorful and imaginative euphemisms for my pud." Like the best comedy, it can be unsettling, and it works because it contrasts so perfectly with the aura of unironic sweetness that Hill can't help projecting.
But Poehler, sans the marketshare of such A-listers, has a following based on something more personal and finely honed. Of course, she's spectacularly funny (she was especially so Friday night, constantly riffing for the hour-plus that she was onstage), but it's also Poehler's message of female empowerment, her apparent accessibility, and her brand of humor—pop culturally literate, a little folksy, oscillating between raunch and a cultivated naïveté—that create this sense of connection.(4)