Comedian and musician Dave Hill may be "Big In Japan" (that's his one-man show, which is on again tonight at the UCB Theatre in NYC, coincidentally! also March 11), and may also be big on NPR (I heard him on the car radio as I drove my dad across Pennsylvania the other night, and Dave is big enough that Ira Glass didn't even to say his last name on This American Life!), but he has something even bigger in mind for this coming Friday, March 5, 2010.
He calls it International Holy F@#king Sh*t Day. Look out, Improv Everywhere. Because this isn't about inciting global panic, but rather the polar opposite. As he explained on his blog yesterday:"So here’s the deal -- on Friday, March 5, 2010 at exactly 11:00am Eastern Standard Time in the United States (that’s 8:00am on the West Coast; 4pm in London; 5pm in Oslo, Norway; 3am, March 6, in Tokyo --sorry for keeping you up so late! -- etc. You can find the exact time in your area here), stop what you’re doing and scream, yell, mumble, or whisper “Holy F@#king Shit!.” If someone near you does the same thing, you must look at each other and either wink, give each other a military salute, kiss on both cheeks (like the people of France), and/or -- if it feels right -- pat each others’ butts (like the people of France). And if someone around you says “What?” or something to the effect of inquiring as to why you just said “Holy F@#king Shit!”, you must respond by saying “Oh, nothing…”, “What?”, or even “Huh?” and then just get back to whatever you were doing. It’s that simple."
I asked him about it last night. "Yeah, it just hit me as something fun and ridiculous to do and see what happens with it," Hill replied.
Yeah, let's see what happens! You can check out the IHFS Day Facebook group, and this fan-made flyer.
Hey, look at this new thing from the folks at 92YTribeca. If you enjoyed their parody of the New York Times ads for the Weekender edition, then perhaps you may also enjoy this thing, in which the locals tell you how to best enjoy your visit to this city. Featuring Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Kumail Nanjiani, the Sklar Brothers, Dave Hill, Brett Gelman, Paul Dinello, Julie Klausner and Nick Kroll. Roll it!
Ira Glass is hosting a live edition of his radio program, This American Life, that will happen before a sold-out audience at NYU's Skirball Center and broadcast on 400 movie screens across the country, with stories from Mike Birbiglia, Dan Savage and Starlee Kine, a "special investigation" by Dave Hill and David Rakoff, a new cartoon from Chris Ware, visuals from Arthur Jones, and an appearance by Joss Whedon. It happens at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain -- then tape-delayed for 8 p.m. Pacific. You can check for tickets at a cinema near you. If you cannot make it tonight but still would like to enjoy this show in a movie theater, some cinemas will rebroadcast tonight's show on May 7.
New York magazine lets comedian Dave Hill interview other performers and put it to video, and what makes it special is how he conducts his chats openly in a public elevator. "Going Up!" Here, Hill corners Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, who has a feature film debuting tonight, Medicine for Melancholy, at the IFC Center. The conversation takes a turn and targets John Oliver. I enjoy the fact that Hill and company don't mind at all that other people get on and off the elevator. They cannot be deterred from their mission of providing us with chuckles. Watch:
Related: After the jump, watch the trailer for Medicine for Melancholy.
The presidential debates are over, so now it's time for the final stretch of the election campaign, and the Sundance Channel has launched its own online campaign venture called Voices on the Election, complete with serious and satirical videos and interviews. Including this series by comedian Dave Hill, Dave Hill's Guide to Voting. Here's a sample:
Among the other comedic offerings...Attack Ads by Amsterdam based comedy troupe Boom Chicago; a Panty Raiders series of mock elections held on the streets of Bombay, London and Mexico City called Project Vote; a mini-opera by comedian/songwriter David Driver called Sometimes the Dream is Real; and Gail Levin's The Naked Campaign, a series of animated profiles of the candidates via New Yorker cartoonist Steve Brodner.
Want to see the attack ads? After the jump we go...
So I'm in Boston all week, which means I missed the grand meeting of the minds when Steve Guttenberg appeared live last night on The Dave Hill Explosion (Best Week Ever documented it for posterity). Hill also likes to produce short videos, and here is a new one that has appeared on Super Deluxe. Yes, Super Deluxe. In this episode, Dave signs up to become a Big Brother. Sounds nice. Except when Stone and Stone show up.
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?
Speaking of fringe festivals, these also are the final few days for the FringeNYC, which is more theatrical in nature than about the stand-up comedy. But that's not stopping some comedians I know from taking part. Jena Friedman just moved to New York City from Chicago and brought the musical parody she wrote with her, along with a cast of Second City alums. It's called The Refugee Girls Revue, and here, we see said girls flyering for their show outside the object of their satire, the American Girls store. Dave Hill plays the token male in this musical. Shows on Friday and Saturday.
Also, if you love I Eat Pandas, then you'll be thrilled to learn that Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner are starring in a scripted musical this week. It's Gem! A Truly Outrageous Parody! And you can still experience it live tonight and Saturday at The Barrow Street Theatre.
Other comedy efforts at the FringeNYC of which I have been made aware include Desiree Burch's 52-Man Pickup, Chicago sketch group PennyBear, Fancy Guts & Ghosts -- a two-woman production out of Seattle, Houston's Choose Your Own Play with 80 different endings, and countless shows that have not been brought to my attention. If you have time, check one out! Especially one of the first two I mentioned.
It only seems like we have had to wait eight months for this video to land on the Internet because it has taken eight months for this video to resurface online. So, with that, enjoy Dave Hill and his friend, Little Michael Jackson, in their most absurd fracas yet. For the complete series, Little Michael Jackson and Me, go to Super Deluxe. Today's very NSFW episode, "We Can Work It Out," featuring roles for David Rakoff and Carl Arnheiter:
Big weekends don't begin on Fridays, but rather on Thursdays, so that's how I found myself on a bus to Washington, District of Columbia, last week to arrive just in time for the kickoff of last weekend's DC Comedyfest.
Someone joked that night that D.C. really was hosting the Chicago and New York fest, due to all of the comedic talent arriving from those two cities, but I know I wasn't the only person excited to see the all-local District of Comedy showcase, as a few other industry types joined me in the DC Improv's lounge on Thursday night to check out some comedians we hadn't seen before. How would we know at the time -- how could we know? -- that this show would prove more worthwhile than the official industry showcase that followed on the Improv's mainstage later that night? But we'll get to that soon enough.
Jason Weems, from Baltimore, appeared on both the D.C. and industry showcases that night, performing essentially the same set twice, although he had the misfortune early in having to compete with a noisy waiter and an awkward atmosphere later. And, um, "scrotum meat?" OK. That's a phrase that certainly sticks with you...hope you didn't order the nachos. Also noticed his vocal delivery seemed to be influenced by Chappelle. Not that that's a bad thing. He's also all over that McCain joke about how his being a POW doesn't make him good at winning wars.
Aparna Nancherla claims she is an introvert, which is an odd-but-true trait for a stand-up comedian, but is quick to point out, "I watch, TV, too!" so you can relate to her. She has a good, strong stage presence. If only she hadn't gotten the silent treatment from Last Comic Standing this year, perhaps she would have been the first female winner?
Kojo Mante sees why it'd be foolish to endorse a national gas holiday, but has more to say about the foolishness of building a statue of a homeless guy, which apparently they've done there. Hampton Yount is one shiny, happy, white boy, and the audience loved his boyish boyishness (that's a not-so-hifalutin way of describing his energy), all the way through his closing bit about the energy you need to sustain to write an angry letter. Jay Hastings went to the trouble of wearing the same outfit he had on in the Post's Express spread on him, but apparently, people don't even read free newspapers in D.C. any longer. "You think when you make the Express you'd be on the showcase," Hastings ranted. Although his bit on fingering probably would not have worked there...trust me on this one. Jon Mumma closed the local parade by imagining "swirlio" guys at the gym doing calf raises, poking fun at a Brad Paisley lyric, and noticing the things kids can get away with that adults simply cannot. He sounded like a guy you hear on the radio.
So, yeah. About that "Fresh Voices Industry Stand-Up Audition Show." It'd be for the best if I left all of the names out to protect the innocent, but really, some things need to be said about this show, which went awry from the get-go and only barely got back on track for a moment or two. Comics were buzzing before the showcase about the fact that TJ Miller couldn't make it to D.C. to host because he was in New York City auditioning for Saturday Night Live (catching up with Miller later over the weekend, he said, well, perhaps I shouldn't say what he said because SNL is making final decisions this week on him and a few others as possible cast additions). But without Miller, the festival looked to Dave Hill to substitute as host. As much as I love Hill and his quirky sensibility, he's really more of an anti-host. It's more than fine when it's his own show, but he doesn't bring the kind of energy to the room that young comics looking for TV exposure are going to want or need. So that started the show on an odd foot. But Jared Logan, first up, made things terribly awkward by starting his showcase for the industry by verbally attacking Hill -- "Is that the host we're going with tonight?" -- and creating a mood where the audience was expecting a night of fights rather than laughs. Which leads me to another point of order. If you are performing for a panel of TV scouts (which this was, with people representing Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1 and E!'s Chelsea Lately), wouldn't you want to do material that you could imagine them delivering on the TV? As I texted someone later during the show: "Some odd choices to showcase yourselves to TV scouts. Crowd not great, but not their fault." Many in the lineup simply didn't bring the right stuff on this night. Kumail Nanjiani, or am I supposed to be calling him Ali now, went long but managed to engage the crowd and get everybody involved with the show again, leaving some scraps for the final two performers of the evening, Sean Patton and Brooke Van Poppelen. Patton got applause for his bit about calling in sick, and Poppelen found more than a few fans with her thoughts about brunch. You know what? It is for the best to leave out the other names from this showcase, because they'll have better opportunities to shine in the future.
On a brighter note, I managed to get some sleep on the Greyhound bus back to New York City on Friday morning without losing my head. So hooray for that.
For fun, I clicked on Super Deluxe to see if they're still around. Guess what? They are! And they just today finally got around to uploading Dave Hill's dance video, co-starring David Rakoff and featuring Martha Plimpton. Love the Band-Aid!
Dave Hill took his fuzzy microphone and his endearing demeanor to the New York Comic Con, and Super Deluxe got around to uploading the video today. So here it is. Enjoy! The strong language on the warning label? It's for one profanity at the very end.
For proof of the ridiculousness of Gelmania, Brett Gelman's Wednesday night showcase that replaced Invite Them Up at Rififi, please allow me to enter this video clip as evidence...Gelman leads Dave Hill, Eric Drysdale and Neil Casey as SMOOCH, the KISS tribute band that unfortunately had their instruments and costumes stolen an hour before the show. They did manage to get their makeup right, though! So the show must go on, and onward they go with this little rendition of the KISS song, "Deuce." Enjoy.
Early this morning, Dave Hill sent out a note to his friends and fans to say that his MOJO High-Def cable show, The King of Miami, would not return for a second season. And a nation mourns. Or...wait. We can still watch the first season online, thanks to Hulu? Great! The original episodes sometimes still pop up on TV. In New York City, MOJO costs a few bucks extra on Time Warner, but it's part of the cable package with Comcast, where I saw it originally in Boston. This episode reappeared while visiting my family over Easter, and still holds up as an historical document for anyone looking to take over Miami by land, by air and by sea. Enjoy.
Watching the March Madness today on the TV and seeing if my Final Four brackets hold up, and thinking about these ESPN Bracketologists videos that feature my friends, comedians Dave Hill and Ben Schwartz. Enjoy!
Other videos, from future friends(?) Bobby Moynihan and Eugene Cordero, after the jump.
Standing room only the other night at the UCB Theatre for the latest edition of The Dave Hill Explosion, one of the more unique talk show experiences you can, well, experience.
What sets Dave Hill apart? He's from Cleveland. No. That's not it. True, though, it may be. Onstage, Hill has a personality of contradictions that somehow makes a winning formula. His awkward presence comes off as charm. He has a big ego, but wrapped in insecurity.
Last week's show, which featured guests Ira Glass and Moby, certainly helped pack the venue more than normal. Hill was ready for them. But was the audience ready for Hill? His new one-man show, "Ordinary Activities Made Profound Through the Music of Philip Glass," certainly shocked and awed. How much yogurt could he eat, exactly? On this night, three cups. Hill delivered further on his promise of a multi-pronged entertainment attack with the screening of a new video, "Stomp!*" featuring David Rakoff and Martha Plimpton. *Not to be confused with that other Stomp, although confusion always reigns supreme with Hill at the helm.
Hill then welcomed Ira Glass, host of the popular public radio program, This American Life. Hill had done his homework. But what impressed and amused me more was watching Glass react throughout the interview. He could not stop smiling and laughing. At one point, Glass told Hill: "I've never had the experience when someone is interviewing me and I want to reassure them and tell them it's OK." No reassurance needed. This is all part of Hill's secret master plan. Glass acknowledged that he enjoys editing the radio show more than actually performing on it. Also: "I'm not so keen on the television," though he did plug his second season of the TV edition, coming May 4 to Showtime. It's not that he doesn't want to be on TV, but rather the process -- the hurry-up-and-wait of TV production -- that he'd rather do without. David Mamet may have said glowing things about Glass, but Glass had a big compliment in store for Howard Stern. "Howard Stern has the best radio show in the country," Glass said. "Have you heard him since he went to satellite? He's so happy!" The segment culminated with Hill performing an original song on guitar that he wrote for Glass, called, ahem, "Ira Glass," and the folks at UCB Comedy better have recorded this and uploaded this soon, because I predict it will become a nice big video hit. And I wish I'd recorded it myself on video. It was a moment to remember.
Of course, the show wasn't over. Hill's cohort in comedy, Phil, emerged to say he wanted to split and form a band with Moby, and Moby walked onstage in a baby blue suit and a fake mustache. (I hadn't seen Moby since I met and interviewed him at a radio station festival in Washington state nine years ago!) A verbal battle ensued between Hill and Moby, with Hill asking the musician: "I liked that Play record. When are you going to put another one out?" And Moby retorting with a profanity-laced tirade about Hill sucking up to Glass forever and relegating Moby to a few minutes of stage time. Anyhow, all's well that end's well, and Phil and Moby did a cover of "We're Not Gonna Take It," then had Hill join them for a trio on Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song."
Anyone have pictures from this show? Please holler my way. Thanks.
When I met the UK duo Bishop and Douch (rhymes with couch, not the other word) in New York City on Wednesday night, they seemed pleasant enough, but told me they couldn't quite explain what they had planned for their UCB show the following night. They weren't joking.
Their sketch show was all over the place, with segues happening onstage, and comedians Dave Hill and Leo Allen and musician Andrew Thompson participating in the sketches in addition to providing stand-up buffers. In one scene, Bishop played Jesus Christ as a hapless stand-up who shared a flat with King Herod, which culminated in a musical number, which then had Bishop disrobing to become a guy complaining to Douch and his friend about problems at Disneyland, or something to that effect, with Allen dressed up as a princess and the self-knowing repetition of the line that this scene was "perhaps a little too ridiculous!" Also ridiculous, the next sketch in which Bishop and Douche try to steal candy, with Hill as an overly aggressive security officer, superheroes and theme songs. It was all so bizzare that afterward, they had Hill and Allen question the entire show onstage. Maybe a Beatles song or the Benny Hill theme would've helped ease the audience into this, Allen suggested. Another sketch had Bishop and Douche looking for their replacements and getting upended in the process.
Twas all quite whimsical. Reminded me very much of the Monty Python phrase: "And now for something completely different!"
In fact, that's what Bishop and Douch said they were going for, with Douch telling me later last night: "Every show is different." Bishop said they wrote these sketches specifically for New York City, and that when they watch the video back, they'll be surprised to see what they came up with themselves. They'll also perform Sunday at Pianos before heading back to the U.K. on Monday. And expect to see them in Edinburgh this summer.
And in fact, they didn't even rehearse any of it properly beforehand. So Leo Allen and Dave Hill walked into last night's show pretty blind (they did great, considering). "A sketch show with no rehearsal -- I haven't done that in a while!" Allen told me. Hill, I thought, had it even tougher, considering he was hosting his own talk show at the UCB immediately afterward.
After an opening bit from Dave Hill about Osama bin Laden and an elephant of the same name, it was time for the show, and your host Carl Arnheiter. The title, Inside Joke, may clue you in to the interview format, but when you add a live audience and a lively comedian, who knows exactly how much interview and how much showcase you'll get. Galifianakis said the recently finished Funny or Die tour with Will Ferrell, Demetri Martin and Nick Swardson was good, and joked that "the tour was going to be called two Greeks, a fag and a successful guy."
Then we went inside. His first paid gig was in a strip mall in Maysville, Kentucky and he talked about starting in the back of Hamburger Harry's in Times Square. He talked about his short-lived late-night talk show on VH1 -- nine weeks! -- and how he turned down an 11-day gig worth $700,000 to be the spokesman for Time Warner Cable.
And then he showed his new Absolut ad with Tim and Eric. He has been showing this video for weeks now at various shows, but it finally went online over the weekend.
Galifianakis told me a few weeks ago how he admired Tim and Eric, and he said it again on this night. "I really do think it's the funniest, most creative thing on television...It reminds you of when you were a kid. You'd laugh at a stupid fart joke. They're two big farts!"
On another short-lived TV show, Dog Bites Man: "I got to talk to the Grand Wizard (of the KKK) if he's ever seen Big Momma's House 2."
On being an SNL writer for two weeks, in which he tried pitching a sketch to guest host Britney Spears. Galifianakis thought he'd been hired to be on the show, and instead, he was hired to write for Molly Shannon.
He talked about smoking so much pot in Vancouver, B.C., that he couldn't remember his lines for Tru Calling. The secret to getting that TV gig? "Don't care." He reportedly got the job not because of how well he read his lines, but because in the audition, he wrote a joke on the back of his script pages. Arnheiter closed this show with a surprise for the audience, introducing Janeane Garofalo to hand out his Rice Krispie Treats and then help read an unaired scene from Tru Calling with Galifianakis.
Hey, comedy fans. Did you know that Liam McEneaney is back from his big European expedition and has resumed his great free Monday night showcase, Tell Your Friends? You're acting like you've forgotten. This most recent Monday, 12 of us made it down to the basement of Lolita bar in the Lower East Side, where we got to witness John Oliver's extended role-playing session with himself as his father, Carla Rhodes and her Vaudevillian ventriloquism, Dave Hill unleash a new multi-pronged comedy attack, and Tony Camin manage to keep that intimate vibe laughing like 12 dozen audience members had filled that basement.
As much fun as it was seeing John Oliver enjoy rousing success two weeks ago in his first Comedy Central taping, it was even more thrilling to watch him figuratively throw out his joke book and start over again. Which is part of the allure of this weekly basement showcase. So, go on. Tell your friends about Tell Your Friends. It's back.