Punchline Magazine

Jul 05

Review: “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop”

In theaters June 24 As a Conan O’Brien fan who followed The Tonight Show ordeal as closely and obsessively as Internet access allowed, I’d describe the last two years of the host’s career as: a) hectic and b) well documented. Everybody interested in knowing what went down at NBC and in the Conan and Leno camps does; there’s even a book about it— The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy. So when you hear there’s a Conan documentary coming out, it’s hard not to think, “Don’t I know this story already?” Having seen Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the new film by Rodman Flender chronicling the late night host’s post-Tonight Show live tour, I now feel sufficiently able to answer that question: no, you don’t. The movie picks up where author Bill Carter’s aforementioned book leaves off — with Conan, The Tonight Show a not-so-distant memory, regrouping with his circle of confidants to plan his next move. The camera follows Coco and co. as they write, rehearse and perfect the road act that will serve as their post-NBC-trauma, pre-TBS deal palette cleanser. But unlike Carter’s book and the rest of the coverage surrounding the Tonight Show debacle, the film isn’t interested in a play-by-play retelling of events. It’s about how it felt to be at the center of a giant media firestorm, and what it’s like to pick up the pieces after unexpected events and difficult choices turn your world upside down. The answer, in Conan’s case, was to throw himself into what he loves: comedy and music. “I’m happiest when I’m with comedians or musicians working things out,” Conan says at one point during the documentary. He’s telling the truth, because one of the biggest treats about this movie is getting to see that joy in its purest form. We feel it when he’s auditioning backup singers, re-writing the lyrics to Wille Nelson’s “On The Road Again,” jamming his way through rockabilly tunes and trying on a spot-on replica of the leather onesie Eddie Murphy wore in his now-classic stand-up comedy concert film Raw. You realize that this is the stuff he desperately needed to get back to after months spent haggling with network suits and lamenting the 11:30 pm dream that wasn’t meant to be. Flender was granted total backstage access. This isn’t sound-bite/press release Conan. It’s a frank look at an entertainer in a raw state. “Sometimes I’m so mad I can’t even breath,” Conan tells Flender. These sit-down interviews are candid and straightforward, but the truly revealing moments come when O’Brien is captured just being himself. We see it all: Conan riffing with his writers, chewing out his assistant for messing up his takeout order and belittling Jack McBrayer during a tense, pre-show hang session that he’s annoyed about having to participate in. Conan’s diva-like behavior definitely has shock value, but you’re also left sympathizing with someone who’s expected to be all things to all people at all times. In a surreal moment, O’Brien compares his situation to that of Anne Frank. The point is. Conan isn’t always pretty, and we get to see that. A more fun moment involves Conan scoffing at a proposed meeting with TBS, making a joke about how soon he’ll be taking meetings with the Oxygen network. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is a must for die-hard fans, but it’s also a great documentary for anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to hit the road as a professional entertainer, to have a legion of loyal fans watching your every move or to be at the center of a media machine. When Conan announces the tour on Twitter, and then watches as each date rapidly sells out with the show’s content far from solidified, we sense the pressure he feels to deliver. But we also feel his excitement at the prospect of being in front of an audience again. Nothing crazy or unexpected happens in the course of the film – by the time the movie starts, those plot twists are already over and done with. This movie is about what happens after the shit has already hit the fan, what a person lets go of and what that person holds on to. And it’s about a performer for whom stopping just isn’t an option.
Original Article

Greg Proops: The Punchline Magazine interview

[caption id=”attachment_9966” align=”alignleft” width=”270” caption=”photo by Seth Olenick”][/caption] Greg Proops has seemingly done it all. He’s famous for doing improv on British-turned-American series Whose Line Is It Anyway? He’s earned a more concentrated and dedicated fanbase through through constant touring as a stand-up. He often pops up on the tele— most recently on Chelsea Lately and hit Nickelodeon series True Jackson VP. And now, perhaps most intriguing, the veteran comedian has garnered huge attention and critical praise with his truly singular podcast, The Smartest Man in the World. Even more recently, the dapper jokesmith has signed on to take part in The Set List, a live, touring improvised stand-up comedy show created and produced by Paul Provenza and Troy Conrad. Luckily, Proops took some time after a set at the long running Los Angeles indie comedy show “What’s Up Tiger Lily” to chat about all of his comedic exploits, his latest accomplishment headlining an improvised, touring stand-up comedy show and where the ever-chugging, versatile Proops machine is headed. You recently got back from Australia where you were performing at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. How was it? It was great. I loved Australia. I loved Melbourne. I love Sydney as well. I played Perth and Brisbane, which I had never done before and I really enjoyed it. It was just fun to get all the way around the country once instead of being in Melbourne the whole time. I did New Zealand as well; the New Zealand Comedy Festival, which is in Wellington and Auckland. How were the audiences down there in Australia compared to here in America, or even here in LA? They’re with it. I think they’re really good. I don’t think the comics are at the LA level and I hope they wouldn’t be mad at me for saying that. Some of them are, obviously; they’re tremendous. I just think they’re so many professional comedians in Los Angeles. Australia’s only got 30 million people, but I thought the comics were quite good and I thought the audiences were really with it and keen. You know, they put me under a microscope, man. You get reviewed because you’re an international artist and you come down and they fuckin’ come to your show and write about it. So I got ripped a few times. I asked about the audiences because you do a lot of references of history, literature, etc. Did you have to change it up? Yeah, I totally had to change it up. I did 10-15 minutes on them and a lot about flying down there because there’s no security to speak of. You know, there’s no scanners, you can take an open bottle with you. You don’t have to take your shoes off. Can you take liquids and gels? Yeah, it’s really really nice. It’s like the 80’s. And the freedom of that really struck me… that our country really sucks balls. You got to record your podcast Smartest Man in the World down there. It was imperative that I do it down there. Before I went, I made sure that I could. And then I had to sort it out when I got there. We did one at the Festival at Melbourne and then one at Wellington and in bars and clubs with bars, which is what I wanted to do. I do it in a bar here [in Los Angeles] and sometimes at the Comedy Central Stage, but I love that atmosphere [of bars]. In New Zealand, it was a late night one, which made it even better. I don’t do it late night here because you can’t get anyone to come out late, but at a festival you can. So, it was like a midnight show and that one was great. That one was heaving. It was in a horrible little room in New Zealand. It was all sweaty and the windows were covered with water at the end. I had my coat off, just ughhhh. It was a lot of fun. I talked about them a lot in the podcast, but what I wanted everyone to hear was their voices, cause then you get that I’m not lying. I mean, I can do the podcast from anywhere, but I did a Q&A with the audience and when you hear Australians and Kiwis, I think that gives it a sense of place and a sense of time and a different point of view. I mean you’re obviously free-er to say what you want when you’re not here [in America], just you feel like it, but they’re ready to hear it. They’re really ready to hear it. They want to hear America re-interpreted by an American to them because they have their own preconceived notions about it. Because they only get fed what they can see over the media. Yeah. And unless they’ve been here and even then, I had one girl go, ‘I lived in Oregon. Why is everyone so fat and why is everyone so patriotic and all this?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, everybody? There’s 330 million Americans. So… no. It’s not everybody, not anymore than all of you have a boomerangs.’ And say “shrimp on the barbie”… Yeah, you’re not drinking Foster’s and chasing wallabies. That part was fun. The Kiwis are more reticent; they’re exceedingly shy people, so they were a little harder to draw out, but I got to at least to talk to them and then Rhys Darby came. He was there at the festival, so he came to the podcast and someone asked me, ‘Who’s your favorite Kiwi?’ and I said, ‘Rhys Darby’s here,’ and everyone cheered and there he was, ‘but he’s not my favorite.’ Because the Flight of the Conchords, I’ve known them a long time and I’ve done their show and so I said, ‘He’s my 3rd favorite Kiwi and I hope he can handle that I’ve relegated him to that.’ So it was really fun. At festivals, the comics really ban together, I think. Especially ones that are so far away like that one because it’s not Montreal. It’s more like Edinburgh because you’re on the other side. Glenn Wool was down there and everybody came over. It was funny because we did a gala at Auckland and it was more of a TV thing and then we did a gala in Wellington and it wasn’t for TV. At the gala in Auckland; we all talked and then we all kind of fucked off. In the gala in Wellington, we’re all sitting in a giant circle; everybody drinking and talking and we noted this was the difference. We were all in Auckland four days ago and now we’re here, but because we’re on our own without the TV, we can talk to each other. I find that too, you’re right about Edinburgh and it’s not Montreal. I find that you get the same camaraderie at Bridgetown in Portland. I would think so. There’s nothing at stake. You’re there to have fun and be funny. That list Rolling Stone published recently of the ‘Top Ten Comedy Podcasts of the Moment’ described that you were on the “frontier” of comedy podcasts. Where do you see your podcast “Smartest Man in the World” going? Well, I just want to carry on, making it better. I think I said in the very first one because we play at Bar Lubitsch and Ernst Lubitsch gave my favorite comedy direction of all time to David Niven in Blue Beard’s 8th Wife. Niven did a scene; I think it was with Claduette Colbert and Lubitsch goes, “Do it again,” and he does it again, then Lubtisch goes, “Do it again.” He does it again and Ernst asks for him to do it again then he [Niven] says, “Ernst what do you want?” to which Lubitsch goes, “Do it better.” The key to comedy is to do it better, I think, each time, so I like to make it pertinent and honest. Like last week’s episode was not as funny as I wanted it to be and I kept mentioning that and I said to the producers Matt Belknap and Ryan Mcnamen, the guys who do Jimmy Pardo and Doug Benson, “I’m really really touchy about this one and I’m sketchy,” and they went, “They don’t expect you to be funny the whole time. It’s OK if you talk about stuff.” I guess I’ve myself this leeway to talk about stuff. So, for me, the trick is to not abuse that, to talk about stuff. It was like when Gil-Scott Heron died a week ago, so I talked about Gil Scott Heron for a real long time and not only did everybody not know who he was, it didn’t quite make sense all the way and then from his lyrics he wrote a song called, “Whiteys on the Moon” from the first record: A rat bit my sister now and white-y is on the moon. And I was saying, “Don’t look at it as so literal. Think of it as a metaphor for what’s going on perhaps in New Orleans with Katrina and what happened to anything ever; we’re all neglected because whitey’s got to get to the moon, right? Whether the moon is Iraq…” But it took a long time to get to that and I was very worried and everybody told me don’t worry about it, then I got some very nice tweets saying, “I really liked it.” So, I think my job is to keep it real and only talk about shit that means something to me and not beat points into the ground that could use a little humor. For me, I’m just so used to going for the joke. It’s nice to have that freedom with podcasts. It is. I love it. It’s the funnest thing that I’ve done in the last million years of comedy. You switch between Bar Lubitsch and the Comedy Central Stage here in LA; a backroom at a bar and an auditorium. Why do you switch? So I can get more in. Lubitsch wasn’t able to accommodate me every time I wanted to be there. I like the Lubitsch space because you’re right up in people and they serve hard alcohol, which I think is integral to what I’m doing. I think it has the feel of you. Yeah, it’s baroque. It’s inexplicable. Why is there an old fashioned room with red lights? Serving cocktails that were popular in the 40s… The people at the Comedy Central Stage couldn’t be more professional and nice and they couldn’t be more supportive and fantastic, but the atmosphere is a little more theatrical and a little less one-on-one. You did Proops Digs In and you do your podcast. Certain people in the comedy world think the concept of an album is going out of style and the podcast is going to take over. Do you think that’s where it’s going? I think it’s going both places. I’ll probably make another record because I love making records. Didn’t Jen Kirkman just chart with her album? Yes she did. She made the Billboard charts. Well, I think you’re right in one way because people love the podcasts as they’re so immediate, but, I think, with someone like Jen, everyone was waiting for an album from her. I think you have to switch back and forth, but I think the podcast is so immediate and so right at people, you feel like you’re talking on the phone with them. And people are so impatient these days, they want more now and now and now… Not only are they impatient; like I was doing mine every two weeks. This month I’m doing it three or four times, so I have a little more than usual, “more product” as we say in the business, but people want you to do it every week. They want that Carolla output, which Maron has covered so beautifully by doing so many. I’ll do one, an hour on my own, and people are like “When’s the next one?” and you’re like, “Fuck, I just did one like two days ago.” People don’t appreciate that it’s just one man doing an hour on his own. It’s almost like a stand-up album except it’s all brand new. Well, Proops Digs In was a goodie because it was a release party for another album I did called Elsewhere and at that release party, I made up a whole set. So Proops Digs In is about 75 percent made up, if not more. I made it up on the night. I never do any of the routines you hear on Proops Digs In because I can’t remember them because I only did them that one night. I have to listen to the album to remember them and then I don’t remember them properly and then some of them are kind of dated. A few were jokes that I had, but I kind of just went at it that night. I also saw Dana Gould and Laura Kightlinger at the show and they were so superb and then I went up after Dana and recorded and I said, “I’m the only comic foolhardy enough to go up after Dana’s writing. Matt and Ryan give me the voice and the leeway and they’re the ones that convinced me to do it along with Phil Bowman whose an old friend of mine and a writer and producer; he used to be a stand-up comedian. Phil and I were talking on the phone and he said, ‘You should do a show called the Smartest Man in the World where you brook no dissent. You pretend to entertain other people’s opinion, but you simply don’t. It’s all about you and what you know.’ And then they [Matt & Ryan] came to me and wanted me to do a podcast, then I freaked out because I had done everybody else’s, but not my own. I knew one thing that I didn’t want to interview people because I had done a shock show of mine for years in a live setting, everywhere, in Montreal, Edinburgh, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. I had done it a million places. I knew I didn’t want to do that because other people were doing it and doing better. Marc [Maron] and Jimmy [Pardo] and everybody just murdering it. So it struck me, I remember in my tiny little brain, ‘What do we call it? I know what we call it, The Smartest Man in the World, cause my friend on the phone [Phil Bowman] said that’s how I come off because sometimes you have to have other people tell you how you come off. I went, ‘Right. I do. I will.’ So, that gave me the impetus, them going, “let’s do it” and “yeah, that’s the premise” and then him saying, ‘no, you need to do this because this is the side you’re not getting to do on a stand-up stage in clubs.’ I hope it gets bigger and better. Like I said, it’s my goal to make it part of my career as much as anything else. Despite what you said earlier (Proops made a joke earlier in the night onstage about not being on TV), you are on TV frequently these days with Improv-a-Ganza and Chelsea Lately. How are you enjoying that? It’s good. I don’t know how Improv-a-Ganza's doing, I don't know what the ratings are, but Chelsea I love doing. It’s a lot of fun and she’s a good kid, you know. I know her from the old days, from the clubs and I think that she’s done everything you can do for someone in her position very intelligently. She took it and she had done it for long enough that it became established and has shows off the back of it, books off the back of it; that’s exactly the right thing to do and I think she’s going to probably do something different in the next couple of years. She has definitely built up that brand. Is that something that you want to do? Absolutely. My goal in the next few years is, as much as I adore Whose Line and it’s the reason why I have a career or why anyone comes to see me in Australia or Edinburgh or anything like that, I can’t always be the guy from Whose Line. I always do improv with the guys because I still do. For me, with The Smartest Man in the World, my stand-up, Paul Provenza’s show the Set List, and getting to do the Green Room with Paul, I realize how old I am and where I am and I can be a little more — I’m not certain what the word is — ‘august?’ You know what I mean? I can afford to kind of redo how people see it. Let me put it this way: There’s Whose Line fans who don’t know that I’ve ever told a joke because they’ve only seen Whose Line. And I dig that. Then, some of them listen to the podcast and they’re upset: ‘You’re opinionated. You’re poison, you’re horrible, you swear, you hate all these different things, and you love all these other things that I hate. I don’t understand what you’re talking about. You’re obscure, you’re arcane, you make ancient references because you talk about history and literature.’ Like they’ve been betrayed… Right. Then I’ve had other people, and this is the part that has made me enormously gratified, something unbeknownst to me because I’m shallow and that’s how I survive, who detested Whose LIne beyond all measure and then some people who watched it and didn’t care for it and they didn’t know I was funny. So, I get that a lot, too. Even in Rolling Stone, when the guy says, ‘Well, he was on Whose Line, but that wasn’t like this.’ He doesn’t do it backhanded. He says something like that show is no glimpse of what this was going to be like. So that’s been the gratifying part to me. I feel that I’m finally reaching the comedy fans that I want to reach. That’s all that you can really ask for as a comedian. Yeah, which is all the people who love all the great comics of now, which are Patton and Louis and Sarah and Dana and Tompkins; I feel like I’m a peer of theirs. Some of them I’m a little older than and some of them I’m a little younger than, but that’s the class I want to be in. I feel like the podcast has opened the door a little more for me, and people are willing to accept that a little more and are a little less resistant with, ‘you’re the guy from that fucking thing and you think you’re so cute,’ instead of, ‘you’re talking about shit I like to hear about.’ You’re redefining yourself like Joesph Gordon-Levitt. People for the longest time called him “the Kid from 3rd Rock.” Yes, and now he’s a fine actor. He is. He’s done a lot of scary, intrepid, cool, edgy shit. It’s why I’m doing Paul’s show and I told him as much at his show Set List. Let’s talk about Set List (the improvised stand-up show). How’d you find out about it? Troy Conrad invited me to do it. He e-mailed me when I was in Australia and I said yes immediately. Then, when I got back home, I e-mailed Paul, ‘I’m really excited.’ And then he e-mailed me back and said, ‘I’m doing it in Montreal and Edinburgh and you can come and do it every night if you want to.’ So I wrote him back and I said, ‘You’re shit out of luck, I’m gonna.’ I hadn’t done the show yet and then I did it and I loved it, then we talked afterwards and I said, ‘No, I’m really coming.’ So, I’m gonna go to Montreal and I’m going to do a week there and then I’m gonna go to Edinburgh and do a week and do the show every night because I wanted to get that feeling, the freefall, that show provides. Like you were talking about with redefining, reimagining, I felt like I really needed it. The thing I learned in Australia was like every other comic, you end up doing material on the road that you’re not as proud of as other stuff you’re doing. There comes a time when you need to burn all that and be bolder. Absolutely. Can you elaborate more on how you love the actual show and how it runs? Well, being presented with an arbitrary list of topics that you don’t have any control over is exhilarating. I watched the first two guys go up before me and still had no idea. I knew how it worked, but I didn’t know what I was going to do. All I had was the guidance of what they did. So, there’s a complete jumping-in-the-void feel that made it unbelievably fun and exhilarating and fantastic. And you’re forced to not rely on old material. On the podcast, I can because it’s my show, so if all of sudden I run into a topic and there’s a joke from a 100 years ago that I remember, I can stick it in and I think that’s legitimate and in the Set List it is too. But I’m going to try really hard to stay away from that and do the format of the show. And to me, it reinforced everything that I wanted to do in the next couple of years. Something like the Set List is so free and creative. Paul’s ideas for comedians are so great and they respect comedy so much: The Green Room, Sataristas, and now this. With the Set List, which Troy came up with and now produces with Paul, it pushes the boundaries of what you can do. I find the premise enlightening and it puts the audience on your side more than any show that I’ve ever done. People are rooting for you. The competition is with yourself and not with anyone else and that’s what makes it groovy. I’ve done other shows like Hardwick used to one called the Joke Machine and it was great. I loved it. The Joke Machine was personal attacks on each other and all this other stuff. This one [Set List] is an utterly different world, but I get the same bang, but even more falling without a parachute because I think that format supports comedy, utterly, because you’ve put the audience on your side and now when you reach in the bucket after they’ve seen three things that they know you didn’t know what you were going to do and now you’re doing something you’ve never even seen. So now, they’re like, ‘Come on, buddy.’ I love that they thought of this idea that puts the audience totally on your side. You know I always say to people that are like, ‘You’re famous, so you just go up and kill.’ ‘No, you don’t. You have to prove it. Anybody will tell you. Even Seinfeld, any one will tell you, you got to prove it.’ With this, it reinforces the oldest adage in the world, which is it’s all about what you can come up with. You’re forced to rely on yourself. Having those two elements creates what I’m always going for and what I’m going for in the podcast, which is a complete connection with the crowd. And even with the podcast, it’s just me. Now, you’ve removed you from the equation and what you think. You’re still there, but now you’ve got to adhere to a bunch of other precepts and I honor them and dignify them with some kind of explanation and jokes and stuff and I just feel like it creates exactly the type of contact I want with the crowd. Do you think the Set List can be a Whose Line Is It Anyway? for stand-up and possibly be as big? I don’t know. I’d love to see them sell it. It’s always easy though to say ‘no’ or ‘this doesn’t work’ or ‘this isn’t a TV show.’ That’s always the question that gets thrown at me when I come up with an idea, ‘How is this a fucking TV show, you know?’ Paul said to me, ‘I come up with these shows that don’t have a demographic.’ ‘That’s not true. You got a show on Showtime about four or five comics sitting around talking. That’s an enormous accomplishment.’ No one’s been able to do that. Steve Allen wasn’t able to do that. When HBO copies you, you know what you’re doing. Right. All of sudden, here’s Ricky Gervais and CK and so on. They went with the four biggest comics that are in the moment and didn’t have, you’ll note, Lee Camp, Glenn Wool, or Hannibal Buress. They went with the top rung, not to denigrate that in anyway, but they stole the format, but without the looseness and the hip information Paul provides. Having the audience sitting around you like Elvis’ comeback show creates an amazing feel in the room. If it was just four of us sitting in a room in chairs like they did — and I think there’s an audience there for that — but the audience isn’t around them. Like I said, it’s the connection and I think that’s what Paul’s gift has been— that these shows really connect with crowds. Sophisticated comedy audiences, which there are now, huge ones, want to hear what someone has to say and not necessarily a joke every second. With the Set List, you’re aiming towards funny all the time, but it’s OK if you don’t hit funny for a minute because they know that you’re making it up. I’d love to see it go and I’d love to be part of it because it’s exactly what I need. I think it hits people a little bit, like you said, like Whose Line. I think the freshness of Whose Line, though, of course, I did it from the very beginning, in England when we started and then the freshness of it when we got to America and the people who hadn’t seen the English version, saw it, were like ‘really?’ because people still come up to me at this late date and go, ‘Do you guys really make that up?’ Then, you know you did it right. I think with the Set List, it’s going to be the same thing. People are going to go, ‘You didn’t have that before hand?’

True Jackson, VP

I hope that’s what happens with Set List. So, you do stand-up, podcast, improv, you’re on TV, you do voice work, and more. How do you manage to change “hats”? It’s not that hard. You don’t even feel like you need to change hats? I do, but I don’t really think of it as an arduous task or anything. I can’t wait to get up and do the podcast and I love doing the improv with the guys. I just got back from a week with Ryan [Stiles] and the guys. So to me, it’s all fun. I’d like to get more voicework. Even at this late date, I feel I could be in show business more and comedy less, but, you know, like I said, part of my goal is to try to connect with people on an honest level. I think it will happen, all the things that I want to happen, which doesn’t mean worldwide fame or fortune or anything like that; just more of a chance to do it on my terms. I think that’s where you’ve got it right. You’ve been in comedy a long time, but you’re still on the forefront, I think, because that’s what you’re going for. Well, I hope so. I mean I’ve looked at other comics and been inspired by how bold they are. Chelsea or Paul or all the guys we talked about before, doing what you need to do and doing what you want to do is more important than doing what you need to be a comedy star. I’m not at the age where anyone’s going to make me a comedy star, whatever that means. I think you’re right. I just feel like I had a big epiphany over the last couple of months over what I want to do and that I’ve not been drifting, but just working so hard, so long. I’m on the road more than half the year and in the past I’ve gone to every country, every year. I haven’t done that in the last few years. I was on a TV show for the last few years, a kid’s show [True Jackson VP on Nickelodeon], which kept me here more. Then it became, “oh no, I’m on the road in American all the time,” and I think that’s where I lost my thread a little bit. And now, since last year, when I started the podcast and doing Paul’s thing just made me realize — and I hate to quote Bono because I make fun of him a lot — but he said something, and I’m misquoting horribly, “the world is more malleable than you think if you go out and do what you want to do.” I thought that he’s right. I’m going to worry less about some things and more about others. Last question, I’ve always just wondered, what is it with you and Paul F. Tompkins wearing those snazzy suits? I just always dressed up on stage. I’ve told this story before, but I don’t know why Paul does it. I assume he does it because he enjoys it, but I used to, in San Francisco in the old days, wear a leather jacket and a skull t-shirt and jewelry and stuff like that. Then I got to my 30s and I went to England. All of sudden I realized the wardrobe available to me and I saw a guy at an airport who was dressed just like me at the time and he was about 10 years older than me. He was wearing skull shorts, tennis shoes, and a leather jacket, and a necklace, and this guy looked like Def Leppard’s roadie and I was like, “I can’t do that.” You know what I mean? When I get to be that old, I can’t do it and when I’m older I definitely can’t do that. So, I started then wearing a suit about 20 years ago and I’ve stuck with it. Mostly because you can get older. You can be a grown up in it. At a certain point, for me, I never feel comfortable with just a t-shirt on stage. I like the suit. It was ‘thrown under the bus’ some years ago as far as comedy wardrobe trends and I don’t think it should have been completely gotten rid of. Certainly, people should dress the way want, but I do appreciate people like you, Paul [F. Tompkins], and newer comics like, Ryan Stout, all wearing suits. Yeah, Jimmy Pardo always wears a suit. Matt Champagne (hilarious up and coming Los Angeles based stand-up comedian) over here (Champagne was sitting at the table near the end of this interview) wears a suit when he’s on stage. MATT: You know I just tuck my shirt in when I’m on stage and people are like, “You look snazzy.” Seriously. Last night at Public House, I tucked my shirt and people were wondering what’s different. GREG: You looked groomed. MATT: You look skinnier if you tuck your shirt in. GREG: Exactly and I always do that because of it. If you wear it out at all, it’s like you’re trying to hide something. I remember doing a show in New York about five years ago at a really hip lounge there and every single comic was dressed like David Cross. Everybody had glasses, a t-shirt, and a knapsack. They look like they were grad students out of Columbia and I was like, ‘Surely, not every single one of you guys is like that. Some of you guys are 40, so I know you’re not a grad student,’ and I thought, ‘would it kill you?’ MATT: You can use the word ‘nadir’ if you’re wearing a suit. GREG: Right. You can say ameliorate. You can hit them with other stuff. I think it shows that, one, you’re prepared for the show, and two, that you understand that it’s a show. But again, I would never tell anyone to dress another way. I have a few old buddies that I always try to get them dress up because, I would say, ‘you look a little bit like the campus rapist, you know? You need stop wearing a wind breaker.’ For more info on Greg, check out GregProops.com.
Original Article

Jun 30

Interview: Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric chats on DVD and more!

tim_eric300Brilliant, absurdist sketch comedy freaks Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim gave us a fifth season of genius this year and their Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! DVD (out now!) brought even more tender morsels of awkward humor than I could have even imagined. Tim and Eric are an acquired taste. Their Adult Swim staple is filled with endless jokes about child molestation, bodily fluids and physical violence – and it is not for everyone. Each 11-minute episode makes you cringe while laughing uncontrollably. I assure you it is a glorious experience. Season five was totally on point, and took viewers on a more darker ride than usual. They definitely pushed the limits, but I have yet to meet a fan of theirs who wasn’t totally on board. The guys are often accompanied by awesome celebrity guests; season five included Richard Dunn, Rainn Wilson, Zack Galifianakis and Paul Rudd. Rudd’s portrayal of himself … watching, well, himself dancing, was one of my favorites sketches of the season. Steve Mahanahan and his Child Clown Outlet sketch sparked my excessive use of my favorite one-liner this season … “I touched a clown and now I’m going to jail.” But why buy the DVD, you ask? I can see a ton of these clips on the Adult Swim website! You’re, right, reader – you can. But with the DVD you get some awesome added features like extended cuts of some of the best sketches, and delectable outtakes/gag reels that are just as odd as the real deal. As strange as it sounds – it’s nice to see them break once in a while and laugh like real humans. And karaoke. There is karaoke involved, you guys. As if getting the DVD to look over wasn’t enough, I was told that I got to interview the guys about the DVD. And then I shit myself (See!? Totally my brand of humor!). Below is my interview with Tim (technical difficulty meant Eric and I were unable to converse). So, why should people buy this DVD? I mean, you can find just about anything for free on the Internets. TIM: Well the DVD is easily portable. You can bring it with you in a knapsack if you’re going somewhere. And it has extra features. Like goof-‘em-ups and all that junk where we couldn’t keep a straight face. And lots of behind the scenes stuff showing how we make the show. So this season was obviously a lot darker than the previous one. Was that intentional or did that just happen naturally? TIM: We got more confident over the series, in our voice and characters, and ideas or references for those who had been along for the ride – they could see some resolution to it. There was way more context there than there had been before – so with those ideas we could run with it. Have there ever been sketches you worried about writing or had a hard time with? TIM: Nothing’s coming to mind. We always spend a lot of time on ideas before they need to be shot. So a lot of that decision making comes out in the first stages. A lot of ideas just die on the board. What is that writing process like? TIM: It’s us and three other guys (editors and a show producer). There’s no money to pay anybody and keep writers on, so we keep one or two days of brainstorming and amass this big, giant document. That’s about half of it. The other half is done when we’re putting the script together— adding old ideas, and leaving space for improv. You two have obsessed fans. Creepy ones. TIM: Yeah, we were at a hotel the other day having a meeting by the pool. Because that’s what we do in Hollywood. And a bus boy came up to us and was kind of geeking out. It was a nice hotel in LA so you’d think they were used to that. But he was just like “fuck it” and asked us for a picture. You two met in college and have worked together ever since. Do you ever get sick of each other? TIM: Nope! NEVER?! TIM: Nope. It’s always fun. You guys have always had such awesome guests on the show – do they come to you or do you try to hunt them down? In the first few seasons it was always our friends, but then people started coming to us. We’re really selective with who we work with. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Will Forte works great in our world. John (C. Reilly) obviously worked out for us. So are there some people who have come to you and you get to tell them no? TIM: Yes. Did that feel fantastic? TIM: Oh yeah. There is one, in particular … I won’t say who it is … but it was pretty awesome to say no. What have been some of your favorite sketches? TIM: The Cinco iTanner, Male Broach and Food Tube. Those worked together really well. What’s next? TIM: Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. It’s going to be a wild ride! Snag yourself the complete season five of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! by clicking the image below!
Original Article

Happy 4th of July: A musical message from Ted Alexandro

In early June, comedian Ted Alexandro and Hollis James released “Kiss Our American Ass,” an ode to the death of Osama Bin Laden. It was poignant, touching and even musically competent. So, now, in honor of the most patriotic weekend — it’s the 4th of July soon, you communist! — we’re going to blow off the ever so thin layer of dust from this gem and make sure its in your head nice and strong. And pass it on to your friends. Unless, of course, you hate America. Do you hate America?
Original Article

Jun 23

Christopher Titus: Neverlution

titus350All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…auditioning for another sequel to Jackass: Yup, that about summarizes the thesis of Neverlution, Christopher Titus’ latest riotous eruption from Comedy Central Records (available on June 28). The companion television special premieres July 3 at 9 p.m. EST on Comedy Central. For 105 hypnotic minutes, Titus points his blowtorch of indignation at his prey and sears talentless celebrities (“Lady Gaga is proof that David Bowie raped Carol Burnett ”), worthless politicians (“Two wars…and Bush got elected…again! You’re fucking kidding me”) and, worse, pusillanimous parents who surrender to their massive, mewling offspring (“Hey, you’ve got to abuse your kids…a little bit”). Titus’ reflective side holds up a funhouse mirror to the world, then the instructive but incensed drill sergeant in this uncommon comedian smashes that mirror across the skulls of the legions that pay to hear his hilarious hectoring. “We just went though the worst decade since disco and how did we deal with it: We bitched on the Internet, got medical marijuana cards and played Grand Theft Auto,” he scolds with his usual biting blend of cynicism, sarcasm and realism. More showman than shaman, Titus blusters for change, yes, but for comic effect really; it’s his job, after all. He harangues the left and right. He japes blacks and whites. He mocks racists (“If you can name six different NASCAR drivers and the erectile dysfunction drug that they’re sponsored by, you may have a problem that we have a black president,” starts a trio of jokes that sounds like either a clever homage to Jeff Foxworthy or an inside joke meant to jab the Blue Collar Comic with the penchant for redneck humor) and fanatical activists. His dual intent: demystify and demythologize all sides. “The truth is the truth,” he declares, only half humorously. “We’re all brilliant and we’re all douche bags. That’s how it works, man.” On the ominous and uproarious “The DMV Incident,” he skewers what amounts to parental correctness, the invidious belief among delusional moms and dads of every tribe that their little lumps of love (screamin’ demons, to others in their proximity) ought to be exempt from even the gentlest discipline. [audio:http://www.punchlinemagazine.com/audio/titus.mp3] “This country you’re sitting in right now was not built on love, hugs, time-outs and trophies you didn’t earn,” he proclaims later in his supreme rant. “This country was built on shame, humiliation and striving to be better. By the way, if you’re in this room right now and you’re successful…you didn’t get there because someone loved you too much or gave you too many hugs or you got a trophy when you lost. You did it because at one point in your life, somebody turned to you and said you’re a loser, and in that second, you decided to bust your ass to make them choke on that sentence.… Or, your parents gave you the money.” Oh how this one nation under sedation infuriates and amuses Christopher Titus. Snag yourself a copy of Neverlution. Just click the image below. Seriously, do it.
Original Article

Interview: Sandra Bernhard loves being her—and we would, too

Sandra BernhardComedian, singer, writer, mom and all-around kick-ass broad Sandra Bernhard took some time out of her insanely busy schedule to talk to us about her newest album, I Love Being Me, Don’t You? (out June 7), fictional girl fights and Roseanne Barr. Pre-order the album on iTunes. I listened to your album. Oh good. It’s so fun. I’m curious how much of that is prepared and how much is just you having a good time in a room full of people who obviously adore you. That night [October 2010 at the Castro in San Francisco], which was this concert of kismet, they just happened to be professionally recording it. And I just happened to be on and plugging into my improvisational goddesses and just went on a tear. So, so much of that night is really a one-off that I could never re-create again. There’s that moment where you’re like, “They’re obviously not recording me tonight, because they never record me when I’m doing well.” Exactly. I had no idea that they were recording it. I guess that made it even better, because I felt like I was free to say whatever I wanted. And therefore it was being recorded, and you want to capture those nights, because those are the best nights. Do you go in with…you said you probably couldn’t replicate it, and there are lots of different reasons. Crowds obviously change the way a performance can go—but is there a lot that you go in prepared with? Oh sure. It’s always important for any performer to have an actual act, you know what I mean? I don’t know anybody that could improvise an entire show every night. If you’re just a little bit off or the crowd’s not with you, you freeze. So, of course. I have a lot of different acts. I have some acts that are with a full band, so they’re more prepared and big pieces and big musical numbers. Then there are the nights that are like the night I did in San Francisco where I have my guitar player and it’s more casual. But even on those nights I have fall-back material, and a point A to point B. You’ve got to have that outline as an artist to get through the night, because as I said, if you freeze up, you’re done. I’m curious how much over the years the way that you go into these things has changed. You’ve become one of these iconic figures, so you’ve got to assume that most of the time the people who are coming to see you are the people who already love you, so you know you’re going to have support there. Right. That’s true. That makes me feel more responsible. Because if somebody comes back to see me year after year, I don’t want to cheat them. I don’t want to phone it in and be like, “You’ve heard this a hundred times.” I’m constantly pushing myself and challenging myself to write new material and try to be on the cutting edge, because there’s a lot of new performers, there’s a lot of people out there. You’ve got to stay in the game and be prepared and willing to do the work. I always try to do that. It’s really important to me. I know the covers on the album [Melanie’s “Beautiful People” and a hybrid of Pink’s “Just Like a Pill” and Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly”] are beloved covers that you’ve done before. Will those change as well when you start touring with this? Oh yeah. I’m always looking for new songs that I’ve always enjoyed over the years, and then some of my original tunes. I’m constantly churning up the musical aspect as well. But I do come back to some of the ones that people like, because if you go to see Stevie Nicks, you want to hear “Rhiannon.” You’ve got to walk that fine line, except when you’re doing more comedic monologues, you’ve got to keep that a little bit fresher. How did you ever decide on Lita Ford for a cover? I just love that song. Even though when you look at it for the surface value, you think, Oh, this is a tacky song, there’s just something about the Runaways and the early days of women in rock and roll, and they continued to be out there doing their thing…there’s something heartbreaking about it on a certain level and emotional. I don’t know, I just always manage to find the underpinnings to a song like that and relate it to all the kids that listened to it and all the kids that made out to it. There are so many layers to a great rock song, so I always tap into that. And I feel like she was sort of rare. She was this one chick among all these rocker guys when that song came out. Exactly. There she was in her leather and her bustier. She was kind of groovy and weird and I don’t know, she’s cool. I like to pay homage. I have to ask if your girlfriend has heard the album. Um, no. But she kind of knows all my material. She knows that I can go off on tangents. I’m always curious…you are obviously not someone who I would describe as afraid to express her opinion—you talk about your girlfriend, you talk about your friend Iman, you talk about the people at the Kaballah Center…. You’re still a real person. When you go home, is it like, “Oh, that’s just Sandra doing her thing,” or is there hell to pay when you go home and your girlfriend knows you’ve talked about you guys being in therapy or her being uptight and reading over your shoulder? (laughing) Well, you know, I’m sure there’s always consequences to everything, but we’re all on the same page, and I don’t think I ever cross that line with my family. Hopefully people understand. But that’s a very fair question. Well, I’m wondering also—and this may be a question of just age, too—if your daughter ever listens to your stuff. She does, but not really. She’s not that interested. She kind of goes like, “Uh, Mom, whatever.” She’s in a different headspace—she’s a preteen. I think she’s just preoccupied with other stuff. We’re very close, and she loves me, and we talk about stuff, but I don’t think she’s that interested completely in what I do at this point. She comes to my shows and she likes to be backstage and run around, but she’s so like…whatever. And it’s a much healthier way to be. Do you think she has any leanings toward showbiz herself? I think she’s starting to express some interest in singing and acting. We’ll see how far that goes. We’re just sort of letting her do her thing. One thing I noticed about this album, and I’m curious if it’s intentional or not—it’s not that political. There’s the stuff that you say about Obama, which I have to say, personally, I completely appreciated, because I don’t think that’s a very popular view right now. Right. Well, you know, I’ve been political. During the last election I was very political. I think during the Bush administration there was a lot more to talk about for people like me because I felt very threatened by what he was doing. I think I needed a major psychic break from talking about it. The cards are on the table. Any thinking, sentient person knows, you have one way of looking at things or you have another, and I think my way of looking at it is a much more rational way. I just can’t fight that fight every day, and onstage, especially if people are coming to see me, people are coming to see me. It’s not like I’m in Vegas and people are wandering in from the casino and I have to watch what I’m saying. I feel like it’s just not really worth the exhaustion to talk about things that drive me crazy about the Republicans at this point. There was some stuff that you said about Sarah Palin a couple of years ago, there was some backlash to that—and again, like I said, I think of you as a pretty fearless person, but you’re also a person, so I wonder if that has any impact on you. Yeah, it did, it did have an impact, only because the people that are out there are very threatening, and they threaten violence, and they’re just scary people, so it’s like, I want to put myself on the line? The outcome was the outcome that I wanted. She kind of faded into the mist—maybe she’s resurfacing now. I mean, it’s obvious what she’s about, and I don’t feel like I need to put myself out there. It’s not like I’m on Bill Maher where we’re having a political conversation. When you’re onstage by yourself, you have to make things funny, you’re up there by yourself. I am a woman, I mean, there are different levels…sometimes it’s just not worth it. If she ran again, do you think she’d become something you talked about again? Well, I would certainly…I would have to sit back and watch how far it all went. In terms of Sarah Palin, I feel like she’s been talked about, and she’s exposed herself and exploited her family and, I mean, there’s really nothing left to say that’s really in the realm of humor. It’s this weird personal thing that she’s played out, and I think it’s very narcissistic. I don’t want to contribute to celebrating her negatively or positively. She has a film coming out apparently that she’s producing where she shows people trashing her. If that doesn’t say it all about somebody, I don’t know what does. I don’t want to be involved in that particular weird scene at this point or any point in the near future. You talk about being on Twitter, and you obviously tweet a lot. You make a funny comment about it—it is this weird kind of, “Yeah, we don’t want to see people in real life, we just kind of want to tweet at them from afar a little bit.” Right. I’m wondering if you ever hear from people that you talk about onstage, whether it’s on Twitter or otherwise…like, you’ve made some comments about Kathy Griffin, and you were talking about Arnold Schwarzengger, and I wonder if you ever hear…like, is Kathy Griffin tweeting at you? I never Twitter about people. You can’t fully…once again, it’s not like you’re onstage or in a conversation on a talk show where people see you going back and forth with someone. You’re doing it from a void. And if you just say in 140 letters “This person’s an idiot,” of course that’s going to stir up a hornet’s nest, which I’m not interested in doing. And PS, by the way, I don’t have any battle with Kathy Griffin at all. I simply said she has borrowed from me along the way and she’d be the first to admit it. And what she does has taken it in a whole different direction, but I know that did influence her. And sometimes it’s like, hey, you know, I don’t want to cheapen what I do. Sometimes people take it in a direction I don’t agree with, but I do a more sophisticated kind of performing, and that’s how I like to do it. But there’s definitely no battle. Well here’s the thing: If you look online at that video you did with Rob Shuter, it doesn’t look like there is. I feel like what happens is, people love battles. They’re so desperate to find people who are sniping with each other like the Housewives of New York, New Jersey, Orange County, that that’s what they always want to see and they forget that there’s social criticism, that there’s a way of saying things that’s not about starting World War III, it’s about saying, I know this person. I feel like this is the influence and this is how I approach it. I’m not taking the piss out of Kathy Griffin, because I don’t want to. I don’t have the need to do that. She’s very successful, she’s a woman, she’s out there, God bless her. Good, yay, another funny woman who’s got the temerity to stick it out and become a success. So on that level, I support her. She’s not doing anything, y’know, really bad or disruptive. It’s just a difference in style, and that’s all I was commenting on. [audio:http://www.punchlinemagazine.com/audio/bernhard.mp3] You mention on the album that Arts and Crafts [Bernhard’s play with Justin Vivian Bond] didn’t have a home yet, and obviously it played here in New York City at Joe’s Pub, so congratulations on that. That was more or a less a night of bringing in producers and stuff. We still don’t have a home. We’re still working on that. We’re looking to meet with a director/producer or a theater company or somebody who will develop it to the next level and put it up at a theater. It’s a long process. I’m super busy, and Justin Bond is very busy, so we’re trying to merge our schedules around meeting with people and making it all happen. That’s a work in progress. And when you’re trying to get something to happen, you still have to make money, so you can’t put the brakes on the rest of your career because if something isn’t generating money, it’s sort of a weird double-edged sword. And anyway we’re working on something I want to see happen for sure. I typically think of you as a one-woman thing—when I think of your albums and shows and all that you’ve written. Is the process of collaborating with another person, especially a friend, something you particularly enjoy? Oh yeah, and I’ve done it in the past. I’ve written with my girlfriend, I’ve written with friends, yeah, it’s really important to have that break of just not constantly having to do your own work. It’s exhausting. I write my own material, so you need those breaks in between and it’s great to collaborate with people that you’re friends with and projects that don’t always see the light of day, but there’s something very fulfilling about continuing to push it in new directions. Speaking of being exhausted, you’re about to start an international tour of this album? Well, you know, it’s not all just going to happen at once. We’re rolling it out during the year. June is very busy, because I have a couple of dates before Town Hall on June 8, and Town Hall’s a big, big show, I have special guests coming in. And then I’m going to the West Coast, I’m going to Napa, and then I’m doing the entire Gay Pride weekend in San Francisco. I’m doing two nights of my show, but then like two other nights of stuff that’s just associated with Gay Pride, so that’ll be a busy time. It’ll roll out during the summer and out through the year, yeah, we’re tying it in with the album because that’s a great platform when you perform live to sell things. So, I mean, that can kind of go on for at least the next year if not more, because it’s not like you’re trying to push a single of an album, so it makes the shelf life a little bit longer. Is that harder to do now? You have a 12-year-old daughter, you’ve been doing this for a long time—is it something you still enjoy? Oh yeah, I do. I really do enjoy going to new markets, going back to cities I’ve been to. We always try to stay in a nice hotel, we always try to eat great food, so even though it’s work and it’s pressure and it takes a lot of focus, some of the stuff around it—you get to see friends you haven’t seen in awhile—I always enjoy it. And it always ends up being an enriching experience. You meet fans, people who’ve come back again, it’s like this great thing. Did you read Roseanne Barr’s recent piece in New York magazine?. I have read it and loved it and really think she is as always on the cutting edge and so smart and so daring and really has continued to tell it like it is. She did it for 10 seasons on her show. And having been a part of that and having seen how she worked and how much energy and effort went into that along with the emotional sidebar of it all—no pun intended—um, yeah, I loved that piece. I thought it was right on. So it was accurate to your experience on the show? Well, my experience on the show was very different. I would come and go. I got to come in and have a great time. It was all on her shoulders. She was the one where the buck stopped and she created it and it was her life that she put it on the line every week. That’s a big responsibility. I guess I could do it, but I don’t think anybody could do it again because I don’t think they’d let a woman do it again. And that’s kind of what she said, too. That Roseanne was a first and a last. I think she got in under the wire. She happened to hit at a certain time with a certain opening in the universe and she made shit work. I honestly don’t think it could happen again. For more info on Sandra, check out sandrabernhard.com. You can pre-order the new album on iTunes.
Original Article

Comedy Matters with Woody Allen, Jon Stewart and more!

Strip Action Richie Tienken is a very kind and caring man. He does lots of charity work, and recently did two major fundraisers, one for The Red Cross and the other for the American Diabetes Association. In conjunction with Karen Horn, an executive from The Red Cross, Richie produced a great show that raised a good amount of money for the charity. Hosting the show was the always entertaining Jim Mendrinos, who has lots of projects on the fire right now, including a one man show he plans to open in August. [caption id=”attachment_9901” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Bob Wachs, Jim Mendrinos, and Richie Tienken at The Strip.”][/caption] I myself always wanted to do a one man show, but I could never figure out who that one man should be! ( Do I really need to put the LOL there??? I’m hoping that’s a redundant question!) The Red Cross fundraiser was a sold out event that saw comics like Louis CK, Alan Colmes, Wayne Federman, Joe Bolster, Sherrod Small, and Colin Quinn among others, stop by to perform and support. [caption id=”attachment_9902” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Louis CK and Richie Tienken backstage at The Strip.”][/caption] [caption id=”attachment_9903” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Wayne Federman, Colin Quinn, and Jim Mendrinos at The Strip for Red Cross.”][/caption] Then I produced a fundraiser for Diabetes which is a killer disease that affects so many people in this country. In my case it took my Dad. My daughter Elizabeth is a well known and successful nutritionist, whose specialty is Diabetes. She called me one day to ask if I thought I could put together a comedy fundraiser. I knew I could count on Richie and I was right. Once again I asked Jim Mendrinos to host, because he’s the best, and he too lost his Dad to Diabetes. We also had a sold out event, with a guest appearance by the great Elayne Boosler, the first woman to ever have a one hour cable TV special, plus performances by Letterman’s Eddie Brill, Louis Ramey, Jeff Pirrami, Jon Fisch, from Comedy Central and VH1, Chuck Nice, host of The Hot 10 on Centric, Goumba Johnny, famed radio guy from KTU, and a newer guy named Harrison Greenbaum, winner of the Andy Kaufman Award, who I think will do big things, and certainly did big things that night. [caption id=”attachment_9904” align=”aligncenter” width=”348” caption=”Harrison Greenbaum, Eddie Brill, Goumba Johnny, Jeff Pirrami, Elayne Boosler, Jim Mendrinos at The Strip for my Diabetes fundraiser.”][/caption] We raised a good amount of money and everyone had a fantastic time. So many comics offered their services. I wish I would have been able to accommodate them all but the show would still be going on if I had. The day before we did a spot on a TV show called “ Inside City Hall” , with host Errol Louis and I brought premiere political comics Barry Weintraub, Scott Blakeman, and Sherrod Small to bring the funny to the political scene and to promo our Diabetes event. I’m very grateful to all who performed and attended. [caption id=”attachment_9905” align=”aligncenter” width=”348” caption=”Sherrod Small, Barry Weintraub, Jeffrey Gurian, and Scott Blakeman on the set of Inside City Hall for my Diabetes fundraiser.”][/caption] Paul Reiser came to New York to promote the new show he was doing on NBC called The Paul Reiser Show. Where they got than name I’ll never know, but Paul came to the club to rehearse, since it had been a while since he had done stand-up. You certainly couldn’t tell from his performance. I guess it’s like riding a bike. When you’ve spent that many years honing your craft onstage, it comes back to you pretty quickly. And The Strip was Paul’s home club, so that’s where he migrates to when he wants to work out material. It’s where he feels most at home. I’m sure it brings back lots of fun memories for him. [caption id=”attachment_9906” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Richie Tienken, Paul Reiser, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip.”][/caption] Gotham Happenings Anjelah Johnson is an anomaly. First of all she’s part Mexican and part Native American, ( hence the amazing hair! ), but has the last name Johnson, which was hard for her growing up because she always wanted to be considered a Mexican “chola.” ( Female Mexican gangbanger, … for the uninitiated! LOL) Then she’s really cute and sexy, which to me is a great mix in comedy, but only started happening as of late, since for some reason it seems harder for pretty girls to get laughs, and she only started doing comedy at age 24, after taking an improv class at her church. Before she went into stand-up she was a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders. [caption id=”attachment_9907” align=”aligncenter” width=”350” caption=”Anjelah Johnson onstage at The Gotham Comedy Club.”][/caption] Since then she’s been in films, and a cast member of MadTV, where she developed her popular character Bon Qui Qui, ( which you can see on You Tube), and speaking of You Tube, she also had a viral smash with her short film Nail Salon. Chris Mazzilli goes out of his way to have the best talent at Gotham, and I had always heard about Anjelah but had never seen her, so when I found out she was headlining Gotham, I made sure to be there to check it out! It’s a good thing I made reservations cause it was a sold-out show! Not only is she funny but she’s clean! Squeaky clean! I don’t mean physically, (which I’m sure she is too! LOL ) … her material is really clean, which is a nice change. She takes her Christian background seriously and sticks to G-rated topics. It’s much harder to work clean than it is to work dirty, especially when working a nightclub where people are drinking. One of the things I always respected about Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser when I first met them back in the day, was that they ALWAYS worked clean. And let me tell you it’s not always easy. When you’re working a late night crowd that’s had a few drinks, it’s very tempting to throw something in that you might not share with your parents, cause you know it’s an easy laugh, but to resist that temptation takes a strong person. So explaining her ponytail she says, “I’m not a Lesbian. I’m just lazy! “ Not only does she do great voices and character work but she’s also a good singer! The girls got it going’ on! Another cool thing is that she travels with her brother Mitchell who also functions as her photographer! He’s very cool and helps her with whatever she needs as well as being on hand at the end when she greets the audience and signs autographs. MC’ing the show was Dean Obeidallah, a Palestinian-Italian comedian who tours the country with Jewish comedian Scott Blakeman trying to bring Muslims and Jews together. I don’t know what particular jokes will accomplish that, but it couldn’t hurt, right? The problem is the people who most need to hear those jokes are not the people showing up to the shows. Most comedy shows don’t draw a big fundamentalist crowd, as far as I know! Then Cipha Sounds from Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg, co-host of Hot 97’s morning show took the stage. The dude insists he’s not a comedian, but you could fool me! He’s consistently funny and a real crowd pleaser. He also hosts a weekly show at Carolines and works hard to hone his comedic skills. And then Anjelah had a favorite of hers who’s also a favorite of mine, Nate Bargatze. There’s an unusual name. Kind of like Ben Bernanke. It’s so unusual you can’t tell where it’s from. All I know is that Nate is really funny. He does some great Chinese language stuff, cause that’s a funny language, and the accent is a killer. Not particularly sexy or romantic, but interesting! I wish I could imitate a Chinese accent, at least as good as Russell Peters, doing a Chinese guy arguing with an Indian guy. Anyway, Nate told a great story about a guy at the airport not getting the best care and pulling “the race card.” Only he was white. He was like, “ you’re only doing this to me because I’m white. And after all we’ve been through. Then he turned to Nate for back-up, and Nate was like, “Hey man, if you wanted me to back you up on this, you should have given me more notice! “ It was a great , great show and I hope to see Anjelah when I’m out in LA over the summer. I also caught Jim Breuer’s sold out show, and Jim is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser. They go crazy just when he’s introduced and he always puts on a high energy show, cause that’s who he is. [caption id=”attachment_9908” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Jim Breuer and Jeffrey Gurian at Gotham!”][/caption] He also had copies available of his new book, “ I’m Not High” cause of his eyes which make him always look high. He claims that Richie Tienken first brought it to his attention early in his career when he asked him if he was doing drugs, as the reason why his eyes looked like that. Of course he wasn’t, but that’s why he called his company “Lazy Eye Productions.” [caption id=”attachment_9909” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Jim’s new book, “I’m Not High.” Make sure to buy it, ( and read it too! )”][/caption] At Anthony Anderson’s fantastically fabulous monthly Mixtape show, I ran into both Dawn B. and Chuck Nice two of my favorite people in the world! [caption id=”attachment_9910” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”The sexy Dawn B. and the sexy Chuck Nice at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape show at Gotham.”][/caption] Comedy Central 1st Annual Comedy Awards I had so much in my last column I didn’t have room to write about the 1st annual Comedy Awards from Comedy Central. Comedy Central pulled out all the stops on this one, and everyone who ever told a joke or laughed at a joke was there. Tracy Morgan presented the first “Comedy Icon” award to Eddie Murphy, and you could see he was thrilled to do so. Eddie influenced so many Black comics who came after him. He probably influenced a lot of White comics too, but they didn’t do as good a job of following up! (LOL) [caption id=”attachment_9911” align=”aligncenter” width=”350” caption=”Tracy Morgan presenting Eddie Murphy with the Comedy Central Comedy Icon award.”][/caption] It was a thrill for me to see him since in a six-degrees of separation thing, I feel like I know him since Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs, owner and founders of The Comic Strip, both managed him for so many years, and in doing the book on the club, I’ve heard all the stories. Tina Fey was there as a presenter, and also won for Best Comedy Actress for her work in Date Night, where she dropped an f-bomb while accepting , and telling how she crushed Helen Mirren in acting., with her tongue so firmly planted in her cheek, it looked like she was hiding a crab apple in there! Btw, has anyone noticed she may possibly have the best legs in comedy??? David Letterman was there, and accepted the night’s highest award from Bill Murray called “ the Johnny Carson Award For Comedic Excellence”, and Alec Baldwin came out on stage with Chloe Moretz of “KickAss” fame, and accepted an award for Best Comedy Actor for his work in 30 Rock. [caption id=”attachment_9912” align=”aligncenter” width=”350” caption=”Chloe Moretz and Alec Baldwin on stage at The Comedy Awards.”][/caption] I was on the red carpet shooting the arrivals, ( sounds so violent! ), and got to see Christian Finnegan who was hosting the red carpet, and was very humble about having been chosen for what I thought was something very special. Comedy Central’s Aileen Budow ran the red carpet with great skill as she always does, assisted by Eve Kenny. I got to interview Jon Stewart who I hadn’t seen in quite a while. John won for Best Late Night Comedy Series, and is managed by an old friend of mine, James Dixon. I knew James when he was an agent at William Morris, where he could always be found with fellow agent Mike August, who I understand is with him at Dixon Talent. [caption id=”attachment_9913” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Jeffrey Gurian and Jon Stewart at The Comedy Awards. Photo by James Dixon!”][/caption] James also handles Stephen Colbert and a few other names you may have heard of, like Adam Carolla, Carson Daly, and Jimmy Kimmel, and James was kind enough to actually snap the photo that appears below. So added to all his other credits is this photo credit for the shot he took of me and Jon. I also got to see Will Ferrell, Olivia Munn, The Gregory Brothers, Mark DuPlass and his wife Katie Aselton, who made the movie Cyrus, with Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson from The Office and Louis CK who received an award, and will also be honored in Montreal this summer as the Comedy Person of the Year. Check out the little film right here. Richard Lewis at Carolines Richard Lewis came to New York to headline at Carolines, and we made up to meet at The Friars Club. Richard is in a class by himself when it comes to comedy. To me, he’s a modern day Woody Allen, and I mean that as a compliment to both of them. Funny that they’re both in this column together! Richard’s one of those rare performers that has such a strong comedy identity, … that of an angst-ridden Jew, … that a comedy writer like myself, who understands that head perfectly, could have a ball writing for him, except that Richard has never used a writer. [caption id=”attachment_9915” align=”aligncenter” width=”350” caption=”Jeffrey Gurian and Richard Lewis in the dining room of The Friars Club.”][/caption] Once many years ago when he starred in the movie “Drunks” I presented him with some material, and before I even got home that night there was a message on my answering machine, thanking me, and telling me that the material was not only hilarious but “brilliant”, and it was obvious that I could write a funny joke, but that he couldn’t use it because he always writes his own material. That phone call is actually on my website here in the little film that plays automatically when the site opens. The fact that Richard answered me right away is part of his character. In making plans to meet at The Friars he was meticulous in keeping in touch, and planning the exact time, like the Allies planned the invasion of Normandy! [caption id=”attachment_9916” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Richard Lewis sitting under his prized Al Hirschfeld caricature at The Friars Club.”][/caption] I got there early to set up, and Richard was right on time. We sat in the bar, where we could be undisturbed, and he was very gracious with his time, since Richard prepares incessantly for every performance, and tends not to meet with anyone while he’s doing so. It was only because we’re old friends that he graciously agreed to meet with me. I showed up not knowing whether I’d be able to film him, but he was so accommodating he even helped me set up the camera at the right angle, and suggested a couple of shots for me that he thought would work. Richard prepares like no other comic I’ve ever seen. His work ethic is admirable, and shows on stage. He sold out Carolines with all his shows. He works with such an incredibly high level of free association that he actually interrupts himself with a new thought, before he allows himself to finish the thought he was talking about. He hardly lets himself finish a sentence. None of his shows could ever be the same. Check out the full story in my Comedy Matters Vlog at and the video on my Gurian News Network You Tube channel at Comedy Matters Shorties Phil Rosenthal Exports Raymond For The Friars Club Charlie Prince is appropriately named, especially when it comes to his work for The Friars Club. He heads up the Friars Film Festival in in doing so, manages to bring great films to be screened at The Friars on a constant basis. Phil Rosenthal was the Exec. Producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, so when he was asked to bring that show to Russia, he was smart enough to make a documentary out of his ordeal, which is what it turned out to be. A successful ordeal, but an ordeal never-the-less. [caption id=”attachment_9917” align=”aligncenter” width=”348” caption=”Phil Rosenthal and Jeffrey Gurian on the step-and-repeat for Exporting Raymond.”][/caption] I had last seen Phil in Montreal last summer when the film was being shown in the the Just For Laughs festival, but I didn’t get a chance to see it then, because Richie Tienken and I were there to show the trailer for Eat, Drink, Laugh, the doc on The Comic Strip. This screening was so well attended that we had to show it across the street from The Friars at The Core Club which is where I sat down with Phil for this little interview you can see in my Vlog. Rhonda Hansome on Louie Rhonda Hansome is back on the comedy scene with a vengeance, and not only performing all over town, but also did a guest spot on Louis CK’s “Louie.” [caption id=”attachment_9918” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Doug Stanhope, Rhonda Hansome, Louis CK, Leo Goodman, Santos Morales”][/caption] Story Pirates With Jon Stewart Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey co-hosted the third annual “After School Special” at Symphony Space on Broadway, and it was a really fun enjoyable event for the children’s writing initiative known as Story Pirates. Story Pirates takes elementary school kids stories and well known actors act them out. I was prepared to be bored, but it was fantastic and very entertaining., because the children’s stories are very entertaining and creative. I kidded Jon that the reason it was called “Story Pirates” was because these well known performers steal the ideas from small children and then use them as a performance, and that he could actually do the same thing on The Daily Show if he wasn’t doing it already! That got a big laugh from Jon. [caption id=”attachment_9919” align=”aligncenter” width=”347” caption=”Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Jon Stewart at Story Pirates!”][/caption] The event drew lots of stars besides Jon and I got to speak not only to Jon, but to John Oliver, Kristen Schaal, who looked so cute in a pony tail, and Ana Gastayer who was there with her son Ulysses. Artistic director Lee Overtree is to be commended, as is Kiki Valentine the talented performance artist who helped bring attention to the event. [caption id=”attachment_9920” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Jeffrey Gurian interviewing John Oliver at Story Pirates.”][/caption] You can see it all here on video. [caption id=”attachment_9921” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Reggie Watts, Jeffrey Gurian, and Kiki Valentine after one of Kiki’s recent shows.”][/caption] Men of Violence Slated for 2012 My only non-comedy project, a feature film I wrote called “Men of Violence” was picked up by director John Gallagher, and is posted on IMDb Pro. as being in pre-production for 2012. John Gallagher is a film director who always works with star-studded casts like Amanda Peet, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, John Leguizamo, Zach Braff, Heather Matarazzo, and Denis Leary, and has directed award-winning films like “Blue Moon”, “Men Lie”, and The Deli” . [caption id=”attachment_9922” align=”aligncenter” width=”346” caption=”John Gallagher and Jeffrey Gurian on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival!”][/caption] He’s currently working on horror movie DIGGER 3D starring Heidi Kristoffer and Ryan O’Callaghan; the gangster comedy FICKLE starring Frank Vincent and the short comedy I LOVE YOU starring Ryan O’Callaghan. I recently saw John at the Soho International Film Festival where he is on the Advisory Board, when I did interviews with him and actor Frank Vincent in an event John produced, plus a great interview with Michael Imperioli who was there presenting his own film “The Hungry Ghosts”, with Sopranos co-stars Steve ( Bobby Bacala) Schirippa, John (Artie Bucco) Ventimiglia, Vince ( Johnny Sack) Curatola, and Sharon (Rosemary Aprile) Angela. I was there with the beautiful, and talented internet sensation Lauren Francesca. You can see the video here! [caption id=”attachment_9923” align=”aligncenter” width=”347” caption=”Lauren Francesca and Jeffrey Gurian on the red carpet for the Soho International Film Festival.”][/caption] Men of Violence is about a successful plastic surgeon obsessed with violence , who accidentally kills the son of a powerful mob boss and has to become the baddest man on the planet to save his wife and kids from retribution. The Night I Made Woody Allen Laugh Woody Allen has always been my inspiration and was actually the first big star to read my very early ideas. That is a story I will tell in depth on my blog, because it’s a long one, but suffice it to say that he read my material over the course of two nights, and encouraged me to make films because he said my comedy was very visual. This was many, many years ago, and our paths had not crossed in quite some time, so when my dear friend Rosa Gudmundsdottir, a talented singer, and friend of Woody’s close friend John Doumanian, told me he was performing at the Café Carlyle, we went up to see him. [caption id=”attachment_9924” align=”aligncenter” width=”348” caption=”Jeffrey Gurian, Woody Allen, and Rosa Gudmundsdottir at Café Carlyle.”][/caption] As John was about to re-introduce me to Woody, I stuck out my hand and interrupted with, “ Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!” He thought about that for half a second and burst out laughing, which is not an easy thing to make happen, as you might be able to tell from the serious way he comes out in photos! [caption id=”attachment_9925” align=”aligncenter” width=”349” caption=”Jeffrey Gurian with his best friend in the world, Woody Allen. That’s why he looks so happy! ( Jeffrey, not Woody! LOL) “][/caption] It was a special moment that I wish I had on video. I do have two witnesses however and their names are Rosa Gudmundsdottir and John Doumanian. Anyway, until next time, remember, …. COMEDY MATTERS!!! And remember to check out the Comedy Matters Vlog for many more stories and interviews.
Original Article

Jun 16

Star-A-Scopes: Like horoscopes, but more accurate

[caption id=”attachment_9732” align=”alignright” width=”200” caption=”Dan Cummins”][/caption] It’s time Punchline Magazine provides a valuable service to its readers— beyond, of course, offering you the latest in comedy news and interviews. So, obviously, that means we’re going to give you a weekly dose of astrology. And by “we,” I mean comedian Dan Cummins. Dan has been studying the stars for years and is finally sharing his gift with the world. Below you will find the only horoscopes you’ll need this week. -dylan Aries: Tomorrow, you will murder one hipster. Your lucky letter is Q.

Taurus: In two weeks, you will wake up in a cocoon, and then, after a 24-hour incubation period, you will emerge as an elderly black woman who has to take the bus to work for a white family she despises. Unless, of course, you already are an elderly black woman who hates her white family/boss. In that case, you will emerge from your cocoon looking much the same as before, except older, angrier and blacker. Steer clear of seafood. geminiGemini: People have a hard time liking you. This trend will continue indefinitely. You have no lucky numbers this week.

Cancer: Tomorrow you will stumble across two corpses and a bag of cash in an alley. Don’t ask any questions. Throw away your cell phone and passport, sneak across a border - any border - and start a new life. Your kids won’t miss you. Your lucky time is 4:44 pm.

LeoLeo: No one wants to say anything, but, you’ve been drinking too much. It used to be funny, but now it’s just sloppy and sad. Time to grow up and snort coke like an adult.

VirgoVirgo: Two strange dogs have been lurking around my shed. This week, it’s your job to figure out what the fuck they want with me. Oh, and ease up on the garlic. It’s obnoxious.

LibraLibra: Lately, you’ve been thinking about a lot of things and whatnot. That needs to stop. Just be. No more thinking. About anything. Just be. Just be a robot. Just… be… a… robot.

ScorpioScorpio: You are about to come to an important realization. A moment of clarity. You will soon know for a fact that cats are not, in fact, tiny, furry humans, and it’s silly and annoying to make them wear clothes and ask them questions as if you expect them to answer you. Knock it off. Your lucky year is 1876.

SaggitariusSagittarius: I know you may not be prepared for this, but, in three days, at midnight, you are going to become pregnant. Even if you’re a man. Get ready to break the laws of nature. You’re giving birth to an abomination!

CapricornCapricorn: A small band of nefarious lizards has been watching you for weeks. Even I don’t know what they’re up to. Be very afraid. They probably mean you harm.

AquariusAquarius: This week, eight plus eight will equal seventeen. Next week, things will go back to normal. Invest in pork barrels.

PiscesPisces: Good news: On Friday, you’re going to get a promotion. Bad news: On Saturday, you will be fired for money laundering. Don’t worry, on Sunday, you will discover the powers of both levitation and remote thought control. Take over a small island and show the locals no mercy. The time for action is Monday.

Dan Cummins is a nationally headlining comedian with many network television appearances to his credit. His debut album Revenge is Near was released in 2009. Crazy With A Capital F, his Comedy Central hour special, DVD and album, was released in 2010. You can get more info at dancummins.tv.
Original Article

Bryan Callen

If you’re like me, you first caught glances of comedian Bryan Callen during his years on the long-running (but not long enough!), totally under-appreciated sketch show MadTV. But over the last few years, the man has established himself as an in-demand, nationally headlining comedian and recognizable flick actor— thanks, in no small way, to his appearances in both Hangover movies. We first knew him as “Eddie,” the slimy wedding chapel operator in the first; and just weeks ago when it opened, we saw Callen as “Samir”— still slimy, but this time the manager of a strip club in Bangkok. I recently got to chat with the Los Angeles-based comic about his good times in Bangkok, his upcoming MTV show, the proper way to shave your nutsack and much more. Check it out! Your role in The Hangover Part II was pretty similar to your role in the first Hangover. Yeah, when Todd Phillips calls you and wants you to be in his movie and it’s The Hangover II, you just do it. I don’t care if I’m playing a wave or a tree. I would do it, because I’m a whore. It’s the Hangover II for godsakes. I never read the script, it was all under wraps. All I can say is that I found myself in Bangkok at the Four Seasons in a suite. All I knew about my character before the shooting is I had to play a guy who owns a strip club and could get you anything you want. I got to work with Paul Giamatti which was fun. He’s a great guy. But, I wore a wig and a vest. I look better as a swarthy Middle Eastern strip club owner with curly hair than I do as an Irish Italian with crappy hair. C’mon, Bryan. You’re a handsome guy That’s what I like to hear. How long were you in Bangkok? I think I was there a total of 12 days. But with that kind of movie, you’re shooting three days and hanging out nine. It was good times. Basically what happens when you do a movie like this is, you get to hang out in a suite in a hotel and eat great food and I get paid. I mean, it’s ridiculous. If I were into underage sex, I would’ve really had a good time in Bangkok. Maybe you can go back some other time and experiment a little bit. When I become a 65-year-old German guy with barnacles on my face, that’s when I’ll do that. That’s a lot of what you see— sex tourists there. It’s very strange. How do you know they’re sex tourists? Because they have that deviant look and oh, by the way, they’re walking around with some 18 year old who wouldn’t normally look at them twice. I was making a joke one day when I was there—they look like the number 10, because she’s really skinny and he’s really fat and just walking down the street and she’s tick, tick, ticking behind him in heels and they’re not having any conversation because he’s German and she speaks Thai. But they are speaking the language of love— actually, they’re speaking the language of money. We went to the strip club and I noticed all the girls had numbers on them and I asked what that was. And they said is you basically just call out a number, pay a bar fine – which is basically 18 bucks – and for 60 bucks they’ll go back to your hotel. And I was like that girl will come back to my hotel room for 60 dollars? I can close this place down with $4,000 for chrissakes. I had to have a talk with myself. ‘Don’t do it, Bryan! Don’t do it!’ But there’s no way you can be a deviant and be an actor. I was at the strip club and I got recognized. This guy came up to me and said, ‘are you the guy from the Hangover?’ So there goes that. So I was just looking. I was playing a strip club owner so it was only for research. You’re starring in an MTV show called Death Valley, which premieres late summer. What’s the show about? It’s so much fun. It’s just a blast. It’s shot like Cops. We shoot zombies and werewolves and vampires in the valley of Los Angeles. I am the captain of the Undead Task Force. It’s our job to rid the valley of all monsters of all kinds. And its funny and crazy and we just have a blast. We shot 12 episodes and hopefully they’ll give it the kind of advertising it deserves. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that you just do your job and go home. If it’s a hit, great. Chances are in this business it won’t be. So you just move on to the next part of the process. I look at everything I do now as, ‘have fun while you’re doing it.’ Because it’s a privilege to be working and I’ve been lucky to be working more than a lot of comics— probably because I always emphasized acting over comedy. It’s one of those things where every time I get a job, I’m so surprised— like really? You guys want me? Oh, ok. Nice. I’ll do it. That’s a healthy outlook. Well, you have to have it. You got to have that perspective. Otherwise you’ll go crazy. It comes from going though years when you don’t have any work. You wake up and you’re like, ‘hey man I’m in my 30s and I’m jobless.’ But then I did The Hangover and one thing leads to another and then you’re working all the time. It’s pretty cool. It also helps that I’m fucking good looking. (laughs) That does help. Like you said, I’m ridiculously handsome. Did you use the word ‘ridiculous’ or did I just put that word in your mouth? I didn’t use that word, but I wouldn’t deny that I said it if you said I said it. That’s what I’m talking about. I like your attitude and I like the way you conduct an interview. Tell me about the one-hour special you just shot. Where did you film it? I filmed it in Orange County. Hopefully it’ll air on Comedy Central or Showtime. We don’t know yet. I was onstage for an hour and a half. I had a blast. I used Jeremy Piven for a whole segment. He comes on stage and takes a lint brush and de-lints me. I told everyone that he’s my assistant. I have an A-level celebrity as an assistant. And then I’m in a movie called Warrior for Lions Gate. I have a pretty good part in that. And hopefully this fall, I’ll get to the next level, man. Whatever that is. Exactly. What is the next level? When you stop becoming ‘that guy.’ Like, ‘I think I went to high school with that guy… to ‘hey, I think that’s Bryan Callen.’ That’s a big jump. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach it but it’s always been a goal. If you get to that point, that’s the difference between hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been seeing you in those Gillette commercials on television, too. Yes sir. When you do a campaign like that, it’s such a great thing because it just pays your whole year. The ProGlide that I’m actually hawking, I’m telling you it is the best razor on the market. No question about it. Do you use it just for your face? Because you keep your hair really short on your head as well. I do keep it short. I don’t shave my legs though, but the night is still young. Have you used it on your head? No, I don’t keep it that close. I just use the number five clipper, know what I mean? I’m not implying you’ve shaved your balls with this razor, but do you think you’d recommend it for that purpose? That’s a very dicey prospect, to actually take a razor down there. I believe you should use scissors and do it manually. However, if you were being bold enough to take a razor to your nutsack, then the only razor to use is the ProGlide. C’mon, man— it’s got five blades! I’m going to pick up a ProGlide on your recommendation. I’m telling you, you will not be disappointed. And I want to see a picture of how smooth your nutsack is when you’re done with it. I’d be happy to send that to you. Good man. What were you doing before we started talking today? I was playing the drums. I’m learning the drums. When I’m 90, if I live that long, it’s one of the things I’m going to wish I had done. One is to learn Spanish and the other is learning the drums. So now I’m doing both. I’m not a good drummer yet. But some day. You can’t do everything, ya know. You’re already a comedian, an actor and a handsome man. Why do you have to add to all that? You know what I really want to be? It’s going to sound weird. I love Miami. I want to be Cuban. I want to wear silk suits and fedoras and I want a thin mustache and I want to be a professional Salsa dancer. And I want to be a revolutionary. Not a communist revolutionary because communists are idiots. But more like a regular revolutionary for freedom. I basically spend my time wishing I was someone else. That’s what I do. I want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star. I want to be a Navy Seal. I want to be all those things. I can’t make up my mind who I really want to be. I want to be a great artist, a great warrior, porn star… I don’t know… something cool. You can see Bryan in The Hangover Part II (in theaters now), on stand-up comedy stages across the country and on Death Valley on MTV, starting later this summer. For more info check out bryancallen.com.
Original Article

Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup

Norm MacdonaldOnly a certain kind of comic can adventurously open his set with a death riff. For lack of a better word (because there is no other word, until now), we will call this sort of confidently kooky comedian: grimsical. Yeah, yeah: half grim, half whimsical. Norm Macdonald acts grimsical much of the time on Me Doing Standup, his sometimes sentimental and consistently sharp new album from Comedy Central Records, though all the while sounding mordant, not morbid, an impressive achievement maybe only a funnyman of his stature can accomplish. Always the smart aleck, always the wise guy, first as the anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live in the ’90s, now as the host of Sports Show With Norm Macdonald, a SportsCenter spoof on Comedy Central, Macdonald speaks fluent sarcasm. On Me, he uses that skill to soften hard truths (some personal) about mortality and violence and disease— unusual comic topics, agreed? Looking at life from odd angles allows Macdonald to see the upside of alcoholism: “It’s true you’ve got a disease,” he explains, “but I think you’ve got the best one.” He defies the usual gravity of an AA meeting with incisive analysis of participants who painstakingly camouflage their identities but candidly illuminate their darkest secrets to strangers with startling detail: “Did I ever tell you I blew a dog for a pint of gin?” He detours from his singular set list only to ride comedy retreads Tiger Woods (“Are you telling me that super-handsome, charismatic dude likes to lie with the ladies…? He always presented himself in public as a golfer”) and O.J. Simpson, his bane on SNL. Mostly, though, he humorously reveals his nostalgic and sinister sides. Any members of Future Psychosexual Sadists of America reading this, listen up: Macdonald has, well, killer tips for you. We highly recommend you snag a copy of Me Doing Standup. Just click the image below!
Original Article