If you missed the debut of Chelsea Peretti's first half-hour Comedy Central Presents, which aired over the weekend, then you can relive it through recaps.
Peretti opened by acknowledging her "weird actractiveness level" with the audience, as they're apt to be judging her on her looks before she gets them with the jokes.
Want to learn about Chelsea Peretti's attitude toward sex? Well, you're in luck! You get to hear a lot about that in this half-hour. Here she is acting out her feelings toward talking during sex, as well as how some men describe women as "screamers" or "a wildcat" in bed:
Fun fact: When I first heard this recording of someone's dirty talk with Peretti, I thought of Jim Norton. Now it's your turn. Whom did you think of? Go!
Briefly in the comings-and-goings department, two up-and-coming stand-up talents have moved into new office jobs this week, as Hannibal Buress has left the writing staff of Saturday Night Live inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza to write for NBC's 30 Rock, while Chelsea Peretti started work Monday as a writer on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Peretti previously had written for The Sarah Silverman Program.
I'm sure you'll still see Buress and Peretti on the stand-up circuit when they're not busy writing must-see TV. Congrats to both on their new gigs!
It's nice to see that FX has some of its new promo commercials for Louis CK's upcoming sitcom, Louie, are online for all to see. Is it weird that when we see an ad nowadays, we immediately think we can go online and find it to see again and again? No, that's not weird. Is this weird, though: Louie still looks very much like a more honest, in-your-face, 21st-century version of Seinfeld, with clips of the comedian performing his actual routines at the Comedy Cellar in NYC, spliced with semi-autobiographical dramatizations of his routines. You can see that Ricky Gervais (already a big fan of Louis CK) is on board as the comedian's doctor, while it looks as though comedian Chelsea Peretti is fulfilling the role of composite character girlfriend, or at least that role for one long extended bad date. Roll the clips!
Here's the second one:
And another thing. Funny or Die just released this video to promote its upcoming spring college tour with Nick Kroll, Chelsea Peretti and Donald Glover (not pictured in this video), in which they're supposed to be scientific specialists on decoding text messages. Um. Hmmm. Er. Uhhhh. What? Roll it?
This is one of those cases that always strikes me as more than a little interesting, because what we have here is a comedian who wrote a bit about a topic, and then later finds himself (or herself, but himself in this case) doing a sketch about the same topic, but with that corporate edge that takes away the edge of the thing. If you have not seen it, here was Kroll's routine imagining an award show for text messages called the Texties. Or one version of it. Presenting evidence in 3, 2, 1...
Notice any differences?
Like I said, Sarah Silverman took part in a conference call this afternoon to talk about season three of The Sarah Silverman Program, which debuts Feb. 4 on Comedy Central -- and also on Logo, the gay and lesbian cable channel that helped fund production costs for the third season.
The first episode, "The Proof is in the Penis," has a more cinematic sweep and tone to it, even if it may set a new record for the number of times the word "penis" is said in 22 minutes -- including one scene in which Silverman screams "I swallowed my penis!" over and over. You'll also find out that Silverman's donning of a mustache at the Emmys might not have been a prank as much as it was a tease. But the look and feel of the third-season debut definitely feels like a movie, and with a sisterly duet thrown in, reminded me of Silverman's movie, Jesus is Magic. The second episode, "The Silverman and the Pillows," written by comedian Chelsea Peretti, also opens with a musical number, and might have some people mistakenly trying to draw a parallel to the Leno/Conan debacle at NBC. That'd be silly, although Silverman said she's on Team Conan.
"I think the first one, 'Proof is in the Penis,' feels really cinematic to me," Silverman told me today. "We haven't been on the air in 14 months." With such a long wait for new episodes, she wanted to return to the air with something big and "special" for the fans. "We weren't on the air in 2009 at all," she said. "You'd think we were The Sopranos or Lost with all of the gaps in production, and not a 21-and-a-half-minute show about fart jokes."
As for the added musical element, Silverman said there's no hard and fast rules about it this season. "It's very uneven," she said. "I think the second episode has three songs. It's just however it works with the story and however we were moved...Usually in the (writers) room, someone will get a snag in their brain. There's an episode where Steve writes a song that becomes famous called 'I'm Glad You Hurt Your Hand.' That just came from me, and Rob Schrab hurt his hand, and I just started singing, (singing) 'I'm glad you hurt your hand. I'm glad you hurt your hand.'"
The folks at Montreal's Just For Laughs uploaded videos last week from its 2008 collection of comedians participating in the New Faces and Masters showcases, so you can finally see what I saw this summer. Rather than bombard you with two dozen embedded video clips, I'm going to embed one or two of my faves, then link to the rest.
From the 2008 Masters, here is Todd Glass, and you'll immediately wonder, what's the rest of Larry Miller's funny story introducing him, and who is Glass calling back in his jokes. Jokes, people! Jokes! Todd Glass is a comic's comic, so always welcomed here (language NSFW):
And from the 2008 New Faces, here is Sean Patton's set that got industry people talking (language NSFW):
Everyone else after the jump.
Eugene Mirman has announced the planned lineups for his crazy-yet-true-because-it-is-Eugene-after-all comedy festival named for him, taking place Sept. 25-28 in Brooklyn. Mirman pretty much has it covered -- most of his usual and unusual suspects will appear over those four days and nights at two venues, Union Hall (where Mirman already hosts the popular Tearing the Veil of Maya showcase on Sundays with Michael Showalter in Park Slope) and The Bell House (a new joint the Union Hall folks are opening nearby).
Time Out NY playfully hinted at what a Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival might look like, with hints from Mirman himself.
Want to see who's scheduled to perform?
Why would anyone mourn a venue that's essentially a dive bar with inconsistent air conditioning, horribly horrible bathrooms, a movie screen that had a massive tear in it (until, ha-ha, this past week!) for a place that still had a sign outside boasting it was Cinema Classics, and really, all of the fun that the East Village had to offer? Then again, the independently-produced comedy community of New York City has been through this before, whether it was last year at Mo Pitkins or years ago with Luna Lounge. So there we were, after an abrupt email sent out in the wee hours yesterday morning, trying to figure out if it really would be the final hours for comedy at Rififi. Spoiler alert: It was.
While rumors flew about what made July 30 the last night for Rififi (a month-to-month lease that finally found someone willing to pay the increasingly high East Village rents seemed to be the leading speculation), the indie comedy scene hastily recast the weekly Gelmania show originally scheduled for this Wednesday night. The hosts from Thursday's Totally J/K (Joe and Noah) and Friday's Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy Show certainly would be there. So, too, would many others come to pay final respects. The Whitest Kids U Know, Andy Blitz and Todd Barry showed up as spectators. The final bill would see Joe Mande and Noah Garfinkel take over first-half hosting duties, with one final "List of Nothing" and a joke Mande had uttered earlier in the day via Facebook, that the current Rififi owner would be fleeing on Thursday and taking all of the Glade air-fresheners with him to "Molester Town." Gabe and Jenny (Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate) returned to host the second half. The final schedule will show that Adam Newman, Pete Holmes, "John McCain," Baron Vaughn, John Gemberling, Slightly Known People, Hannibal Buress, Tom McCaffrey, Chelsea Peretti, Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy, Jon Glaser, John Mulaney, Leo Allen and Eugene Mirman took part in this last Rififi effort. There was a one-woman lip-synch effort to Les Miz with Pez, or is that called Pez Miz? Mirman shouted out requests to Glaser to "do some oldies!" Mulaney even used the opportunity to try new jokes! The show began auspiciously late (?) at 9:11 p.m. and lasted past midnight, with Mirman taking the stage at 12:01 a.m., getting all rock 'n' roll by play-real trashing the stage, and Leo Allen rejoining him onstage for some last-minute banter that was odd and appropriately poignant for the occasion.
Among the quips I quoted...
"Rough week, first Bennigan's, now Rififi!" -- Pete Holmes
"I like how the owner never learned our names," Jenny Slate said. "And we had a show here for two years," Gabe Liedman replied. "Well," Slate said, "He only knew me by who I was sleeping with."
"So, Rififi's closing...ninth time's the charm, right?" -- Tom McCaffrey
"I only saw the last episode of Seinfeld, if that makes you feel any better." -- Chelsea Peretti
"I could stand up here and tell jokes that I've told 5,000 times on this stage, and I think I might." -- Greg Johnson
"Greg Johnson and I tried to save Rififi once." -- John Mulaney, adding that they discovered at a city meeting that, at that time, Rififi didn't even have a license to host live events such as comedy. Rut-ro!
"I like Rififi because you could do things that you thought were funny, but most audiences would disagree vehemently with you." -- Leo Allen
"When you leave, take a door with you!" Eugene Mirman said, then made some banging noises on the ceiling. "Oh, wait. The neighbors will complain...to the next landlord."
I have video of the final 13 minutes of the show, after the jump. You may think it a bit anti-climactic, but remember, comedians and fans didn't really have much of a chance to plan this out, even though we all knew this night would be coming sooner or later. Perhaps all of those false closing rumors of Rififi made some believe the dive would never change hands. This night proved us wrong. So now where does this scene hang out and perform now? Suggestions and thoughts encouraged in the comments. Don't be shy.
The people at Just For Laughs in Montreal decided to recap some of their shows in video highlights, which means you can get a feel for what you saw, or what you missed. Although they don't give all of the New Faces face time (hmmm), but the Just For Laughs video portal (yes, they have their own video portal for you to upload your own funny fun-time videos) includes a highlight reel set to music and with more Galas and French Canadians than any other JFL video. So let's start with that one, with the New Faces, Amp'd and Masters after the jump!
So, while in Montreal, I completely forgot to set my DVR to record last Friday's edition of Live at Gotham. Sorry! So I, like you, must make do with Internet videos. Here are two routines from Chelsea Peretti that she performed as part of the New Faces in Montreal at Just For Laughs. The other stand-ups from this episode (Bob Biggerstaff, Hari Kondabolu, Mike DeStefano, Hugh Moore and Ryan Sickler) get clips, too, after the jump. Enjoy!
The judge's rulings are final. So I'm going to withhold final judgments on some of the New Faces until further review. At Montreal's Just For Laughs, the New Faces have to deal not only with the pressure of a large foreign comedy club, but also with the added nerves of performing for all of the industry people who likewise stand and sit in ultimate judgement from the back corners of the bars, ready to make or break a comedian's career. Wow. What a build-up, eh? First off, let it be acknowledged that nobody bombed last night. Referring to my Simon Cowell Playbook, I can definitely also say, however, that several of the comedians need to do more to make a lasting impression, if they want that impression to be a positive one.
Host Greg Giraldo killed it, both in his opening remarks and also, at the halfway point, after he threatened a particularly persistent idiot heckler, surging into several minutes of high-power comedy. "Maybe I can get a show called Washed Up Hacks Stomp On 60-Pound Dickbags," he wondered aloud. Giraldo also reflected on how important this night was for "these kids," and what it means about his career that he'd be calling the New Faces kids.
Among the kids, the two real stand-outs from last night were Sean Patton and Brendon Walsh. More than a few people asked about Patton afterward and wanted to know what I knew of him, considering that he's based in New York. I have another post coming shortly on that aspect, but can tell you that he delivered a strong set from the get-go, opening with having to call in sick with a case of "the roars," followed by a case of "the beatboxes." With the crowd on his side, he paused for a beat. Then exclaimed: "You motherf%$#ers want to to fight me???" It was the best way I'd ever seen him introduce this bit about how to defend himself in an unexpected fight scenario, and it got a big laugh. He closed wih a weird and wild ode of what his ex did to his broken heart. Messed up, to say the least. As for Walsh, he proved to me once again that the Austin comedy scene seems to churn out very creative and clever comedians. Walsh's opening line: "Just like every other comedian, I have a fictional girlfriend, and we're having problems. It's rough." Walsh also has some very mean pranks up his sleeves, so tell puppies and Gene Hackman to watch out. And he can end any hopes of being forced to sing karaoke again just by taking on "Zombie" by The Cranberries.
For the record, though, current Last Comic Standing finalist Iliza Shlesinger scored not one, not two, but three applause breaks during her brief performance. Someone recently commented on my site that she's like a female Dane Cook, and waching her live, I can see that comparison. Take it for what it's worth. And right now, I can tell that some of you are taking it to either extreme. Suffice it to say, she's physical, she likes playing with sounds, she attacks the stage and has immense stage presence. It's a lot for some to take, I know. I get the sense that Shlesinger is trying to prove a broader point that she should be on TV more, in any capacity, whether it's stand-up or acting. I do know this: You'll be seeing a lot more of her on your TVs this summer, and in the clubs this fall.
Chelsea Peretti and Ira Proctor both delivered decent sets. Proctor's could have been better if the crowd had cooperated with him. Harris Wittels suffered from an unfortunate microphone malfunction, but recovered well enough to deliver a ballsy routine that even the band used as a callback, to hilarious effect on an unsuspecting Giraldo later in the show. There was a moment during Michael Palascak's set when I closed my eyes and thought I heard Mike Birbiglia. Tu Rae's deep voice had his routine down to a couple of key phrases, "know your limitations" and "do the best you can." Is that his advice for his career, too? Discuss. And Erik Griffin, taking the stage last after midnight, didn't get to play to a full and engaged room. They and the other New Face in this group (Seaton Smith) will get a second opportunity to make a first impression on Friday.
It's the second week of the 2008 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, which means we finally learn the identities of this year's crop of New Faces and Masters to perform later this week. Much more to come, as I'll be reporting from Montreal starting on Wednesday. For now, though, let's deliver some names and congrats to all! Links available via the JFL MySpace blog post.
New Faces Montreal, 2008: Brendon Walsh, Tu Rae, Ira Proctor, Seaton Smith, Chuck Watkins, Sean Patton, Vanessa Fraction, Erik Griffin, Mo Mandel, Harris Wittels, Mike Palascak, Iliza Shlesinger, Jeff Dye, Kenny Johnson, Chelsea Peretti, Anjelah Johnson, Trevor Boris, Jamie Kilstein, Nate Bargatze, Malik Sanon.
Masters Montreal, 2008: Billy Gardell, Todd Glass, Thea Vidale, Henry Phillips, Hal Sparks, Kevin Brennan, Henry Cho.
The San Francisco Chronicle headline today already has you groaning before you read the actual story: Yes, guys, they're funny and female.
I went to a comedy show last night that featured four very different female stand-ups: Whitney Cummings, with a comedic sensibility that's very Los Angeles; Laura Krafft, striking writer from The Colbert Report with a hilarious list of suggested laws for pedestrians; Chelsea Peretti, willing to break down all barriers to make you laugh; and Janeane Garofalo, godmother to the "alternative" scene who's unafraid to still bring that notebook onstage and talk about what politics or what she's watching on TV and let you know she's likely not going to read this site because she doesn't have a computer or an email address.
You could argue that the Chronicle was trying to help the cause of women in stand-up comedy. But, eh, not really. Some notes sound condescending. There's an odd need at the end of the article to mention that some of the comedians asked about which quotes be put off the record. Odd, because all sorts of people in all sorts of professions wonder how they'll be portrayed at the end of an on-the-record interview, so to point it out for female comedians just makes them look worse for no good reason. And for bonus points, in interviewing Rachel Dratch, the reporter (and in turn, the editor passing the story along) allow the actor to talk about the difficulties in getting good roles without asking her about getting forced out of 30 Rock, a decorated TV show created, written by and starring a woman who happened to work with Dratch on Saturday Night Live (that'd be Tina Fey for those of you who somehow clicked here with no previous knowledge of comedy).
That said, at least it's some extra publicity for SF Sketchfest, right?
Today is the final day for open voting for the ECNY Awards, which used to stand for Emerging Comics of New York, but now just is ECNY to honor other kinds of comedians, sort of how KFC decided it was much more than merely Kentucky Fried. The awards ceremony is Jan. 28 at Comix. And the show promises to be a hoot. Jon Friedman hosts. Look for live performances and pre-taped magic, and for a sneak peek, I caught up with ECNY's producers as they got some of the nominees on camera. So I got them getting them on camera. Here's a fun snippet with The Apple Sisters...
Who will be getting your votes? Perhaps more importantly, who'll get my votes? I'm on the "Industry Committee," which means not only do I get until Jan. 20 to place my votes, but also that the Industry Committee's votes count for half of the total -- perhaps they got that concept from Dancing With The Stars, in which the judges get 50% of the say, the audience the other 50% through call-in votes. Since I still have some time before I fill out my ballot, perhaps you can help make the case for your favorites or get me to take a second look at someone I may have overlooked.
As it stands, my thoughts are...
Now that I've had a chance to rest and gather my thoughts, a few things still left to be said about The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas.
For one thing, I'm still not really sure what Ellen DeGeneres was trying to accomplish with "Ellen's Really Big Show" at Caesars Palace. They say you shouldn't critique a TV taping, because it all looks much better once it's edited for broadcast, but really...this show was a really big dud. DeGeneres had talked up this special as an attempt to rejuvenate the variety show. Only the variety show doesn't need rejuvenating. Her guests included jugglers, acrobats, and the quick-change artists who had already made a splash on America's Got Talent. And that show isn't going anywhere, considering its relatively high TV ratings and the ongoing Writers Guild strike. DeGeneres also included a nod to Ed Sullivan. But isn't David Letterman doing something similar with his odd assortment of guests with their stupid human tricks every night (when not on strike)?
Frank Caliendo impresses you much more in person doing stand-up than on his fledgling TV show, which only makes me question Barry Katz (his show's executive producer) that much more.
One thing you often hear about The Comedy Festival is how it's built for headlining acts and not for showcasing up-and-coming talent. But I saw plenty of industry people and tourists checking out the so-called smaller shows such as "Unprotected Sketch!" and Broadband Theatre. And any chance for Kurt Braunohler, Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts to perform before new audiences is a good thing. The Broadband show, which included performances by Pete & Brian, the folks from Blerds.com, Chelsea Peretti, GarageComedy.com -- featuring the talents of Brody Stevens (whom I still fondly remember from his days in Seattle when Jews and Samoans would take over the world, or at least your cable access TV), and a new Funny or Die video (see below).
Another fun festival fact: Comedy industry lounges attract all sorts, and in Vegas, they bring out the other comedians performing on the Strip, including Carrot Top (cover of that week's Las Vegas Weekly) and George Wallace (performing across the street from Caesars), plus other comedians who may or may not have coincidentally scheduled gigs in Vegas that weekend. Oh, really? There are agents and casting directors in town? Who knew?
Jon Stewart and Katt Williams were down the Strip for the opening of Planet Hollywood Resort, but didn't make it over to Caesars.
And finally, kudos also should go to the HBO comedy festival staff, who managed to maintain solid morale under difficult working circumstances -- whomever thought it'd be a great idea to announce that HBO would be streamlining its comedy operations before the festival?! I wholly sympathize with their situation, particularly since the festival represented a turning point in my own career as well. Good luck to us all. May we meet again under happier conditions.