As of today, more than 41,500 people were following Denis Leary on Twitter @denisleary for free. The calculation is that there are many more people who like Leary enough to pay for a book of his Tweets. Because that book is coming out in hardcover this December. "Suck on This Year." No, that's the book title.
Here is Leary's video trailer to promote the book. Impressed? Jealous? A third thing?
Denis Leary and his band The Enablers (featuring The Rehab Horns) have released a new single in advance of their Rescue Me Comedy Tour 2, which kicks off May 22 in Atlantic City. Guess what? He's still an a$$hole! The song, "F.U.", has Leary telling you off in no uncertain terms, and in fact, several certainly not safe for work terms. It'll be available May 18 on iTunes as a digital download. But you can listen to it right here, right now.
Denis Leary held court recently with reporters to talk up his upcoming Rescue Me Comedy Tour 2, the sequel, with his TV co-stars and longtime friends in Boston comedy -- Adam Ferrara and Lenny Clarke -- and his band, The Enablers. It kicks off May 22 at The Borgata in Atlantic City and continues through the end of June, wrapping up with two nights at Town Hall in New York City. In between, they'll hit D.C., San Diego, L.A., Vegas, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Cleveland.
Leary, Ferrara and Clarke also just uploaded a "podcast" to promote the tour, essentially an informal NSFW chat that turns into talk about kinky sex. And it's a three-camera shoot! Roll the clip:
For its second year in the Second City, Just For Laughs Chicago is bringing back Ellen DeGeneres for another TV variety show, recording a special with Cedric The Entertainer, and welcoming Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" tour, a Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton, and a daytime sketch show for kids produced by Bob and Naomi Odenkirk.
There's much more to come for the Just For Laughs Chicago 2010 schedule, happening in various theaters and clubs around the city from June 15-19, 2010, including a third TV special to be announced later.
But here is the initial slate of headlining acts. Tickets for all shows go on sale March 29.
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen’s Somewhat Special – Wednesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. (Taped for TBS)
Cedric The Entertainer’s Urban Circus (working title) – Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Featuring comedians, sketches, music and more. (Taped for TBS)
The Rescue Me Comedy Tour with Denis Leary – Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
Featuring Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and music with The Enablers and the Rehab Horns. Portion of the proceeds benefits the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Russell Peters - The Green Card Tour - Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
THE VIC THEATRE
Aziz Ansari – The Dangerously Delicious Tour – Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
The Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton – Friday, June 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Lucha VaVOOM – Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 21+ only show
Featuring Mexican masked wrestling and not-so masked burlesque.
The Not Inappropriate Show – Friday, June 18, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Made especially for kids ages 6 and up, this sketch comedy show stars Bob Odenkirk and Kate Micucci, along with some of Los Angeles’ hottest sketch performers. The show, which is being produced by Naomi Odenkirk, will feature a collection of specially chosen sketches and songs designed for kids who love great comedy.
Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio takes a look at the career of Denis Leary on the episode that debuts Monday, May 4. Through his FX series, Rescue Me, Leary arguably has managed to have a more successful second career as an actor after his first career as a stand-up comedian.
After the jump, I've posted a few bonus clips from Leary's episode, one in which he reveals how he had to talk about sex with his sexy Catholic school nun; one about his hockey team's name; and how he'd like to die while laughing and having sex at the same time.
A quick look at comedy and comedians making news in the past day:
Denis Leary appeared on last night's edition of Late Show with David Letterman (though taped on Monday), and after some funny banter from Leary ribbing Letterman for waiting 23 years before getting married to his girlfriend, Leary explains that he looks as good as he does at the age of 50 because of bacon. It's a joke. Fine. But then, almost six minutes in, Leary decides to extoll the many virtues of bacon:
And, well, then we have to revisit the perennial stand-up comedian debate about whether comics who talk about the same things are stealing from one another or merely following parallel thinking about a common topic. Bacon certainly is common enough for anyone to love and joke about. And yet. Leary's history and reputation make one pause. His examples here also are suspect. Jim Gaffigan has covered this topic famously over the past year, not only on his new CD/DVD, but also last year in detail on Letterman's stage. Here is the finished product from Gaffigan's special:
I always want to give comedians the benefit of the doubt, particularly when you're considering topics such as current events or popular everyday items. That's one reason why some argue about the importance of having POV and referencing your own point of view, or taking it a step further and making the material about your life experiences (which audience may relate to on a general level but are all your own and can never be subject to joke theft).
So I'm asking you, I suppose, is posting this all much to do over nothing, or should we continue to showcase occurrences like this in the world of stand-up comedy? Is this a healthy debate to have? Or has technology made us all too aware of what everyone else is doing onstage, to the point where it's stifling creativity?
UPDATE: My thought, upon further reflection, is that this isn't quite as controversial as the longstanding beef the comedy community has with Leary regarding Bill Hicks, nor the revelation that Leary's first big song was inspired by a Louis CK routine. This feels more like an unnecessary diversion to make Leary's "panel" with Letterman funnier.
P.S. I'm also fully aware that in Gaffigan's special, he has a line about what to do in the event of a bear attack, a topic that's also covered by Eugene Mirman and Mike Birbiglia. That's always just struck me as odd.
It's St. Patrick's Day and the Irish-Americans are smiling, parading and doing (ahem) other things today, so Funny or Die corralled famous Irish-American comedian Denis Leary to explain the secrets of a favorite Irish dish: Shepherd's Pie. It's as if he told you what really goes into a hot dog was dog. How. Dare. He. I refuse to believe any of this is true. You be the judge!
Denis Leary hosted his 14th annual Comics Come Home benefit on Saturday night in Boston to support the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, and after predictably taking on lame-duck President Bush again (only this time, with a fond farewell), Leary lit into the Boston Herald for its coverage of his new book, Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. The Herald, in attendance, filed this report this morning, claiming Leary showed mock front pages of the tabloid showcases other perceived falsehoods. “Everything that was said in the newspaper was absolutely not true,” Leary told the audience, the Herald reported. “This makes me angry, to think I’d be such a (expletive) (expletive) I’d make fun of autistic (expletive) children? (Expletive) you!”
In an interview with USA Today, Leary gave a more measured response, saying that quotes from his chapter, "Autism Shamautism," were taken out of context. He told that paper:
"For me, the reason for writing the chapter was because I know people who have children with autism, and I'm offended by people actually trying to seek out a low-level diagnosis for their kids because they're too lazy to deal with their kids' behavior."
"If I was a person in the same shoes as a lot of the people who read it, I would be just as upset, because it looked like I was talking about the opposite. It really made me angry that that was the way it was painted," he says. "I was a comedy doctor discussing autism, not a real doctor defining autism."
Earlier: Here you can find the Herald column and coverage that prompted this statement from Leary. The timing also coincided with fund-raising letters Emerson College alums received from Leary, which rubbed more than a few the wrong way, the Globe said.
Right before jetting off on vacation last weekend, I managed to get Denis Leary on the phone to talk up Comics Come Home, which returns to Boston for a 12th year Saturday to raise money for the Cam Neely Foundation. Some of my interview got Tracked up today (observant Boston Herald readers should spot which paragraphs have been translated into Track-ese), so here is the full story…
Last year, Leary opened Comics Come Home with a videotaped clips package recounting the many flubs of President Bush. Knowing that last month, Leary and his band debuted a Mel Gibson song, I wondered what he might have up his sleeves this time around. "Actually, we're opening up with an expanded version of the Mel Gibson Blues, which also has an extra verse based on Mel's interview with Diane Sawyer," Leary told me. "It's not a tribute, because we all know the man and his background. I think everybody needs to single him out and know what he's thinking about."
"Every year, we try to do something that coincides with the number for the show," he said. "For No. 9, we had (Bruins legend) Johnny Bucyk alive and there, and then we had Ted Williams' head in a bucket from the freezer. We thought 12, that's the number of the apostles, which is the name of our production company…I think people are going to be very happy when they see the set of the show."
Considering what Leary had to say about religion (and particularly Catholicism) in his 2005 Comedy Central Christmas special, you can pretty much expect something outrageous at Agganis Arena. The show, as always, benefits the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care and the Neely Cancer Fund at Tufts-New England Medical Center. The lineup for year 12 tentatively includes Eddie Brill, Bill Burr, Greg Fitzsimmons, Don Gavin, Kevin Knox, Bob Marley, Brad Mastrangelo, Patrice Oneal, Kenny Rogerson, Steve Sweeney and Steven Wright.
"You're booking around, thank God, the schedules of some of the guys who have become successful," Leary said. "Dane Cook is in Rhode Island filming, so we're at the mercy of his production schedule. Last year, we didn't think he was going to make it, but at the last second he did, so we'll see how it goes this time. And Lenny Clarke is in L.A. filming that new midseason (TV) show with Rob Corrdry. I think that makes it exciting, because you don't actually know who's going to show up…they might not expect to see who they're going to see."
Does it help Comics Come Home if the Bruins are winning? (Note: I talked to him before last night's BRUTAL loss to the Habs) "I try not to think about the Bruins too much, because I'm trying to save that pain for Christmas. But I think it helps. It's just really hard to be around these guys. It's bizarre...Through Cam, I've become friends with so many of these guys…I'll put it into context for you." Last year, Comics Come Home also broadcast a video reel of Cam Neely's greatest hits as a Bruin. "Him and I are watching it, I'm thinking in my head, I'm wondering what he's thinking…there's like 8,000 people in the audience and they're cheering. He turns to me, 'You know what I miss?' I think he's going to say the teamwork and the camraderie and he says: 'Just beating the crap out of guys. If I could do that twice a week in Boston in traffic, I'd be fine.'"
This is the second year Comics Come Home will play its largest venue yet, the Agganis Arena. Any lessons learned from last year? "The thing we learned is how much money we could make, which is fantastic, but there's also not a bad seat in the house." Leary said his family came and sat in various seats around the arena, all reporting back with great reviews. "It's good for hockey, it's good for comedy. That's all I know. I don't know if you can still get tickets, but you better hurry."
Denis Leary's view on the holidays ain't so jolly. Go figure.
A couple of weeks ago, Leary, his band and his 15-year-old son, Jack, performed the actor/comedian's song, "Merry F#%$in' Christmas" as the finale at Cam Neely's Comics Come Home benefit. But it looks and sounds much more subversive when it opens "Denis Leary's Merry F#%$in' Christmas" special Nov. 27 on Comedy Central.
"Live, it's more of a jaunty singalong," Leary told me this week over the phone on a break from voiceover work on Ice Age 2. If by jaunty, you mean an opening verse such as, "Old Saint Nick's got bourbon breath, it's so cold you could catch your death, a cop sold me some crystal meth, it's a merry, f#%$in' Christmas."
"Really, we're just going for the ultimate anti-Christmas song," Leary said. "Then I thought, this is really going to have a great animated video for it. That was the seed for the idea that led to the Christmas special." Cue the claymation! "It's a throwback to Rankin-Bass and all that stuff we know from growing up." Leary said Comedy Central will "bleep" one version of his special, then air the uncensored version sometime later at night (part of what the network calls it's after-midnight Secret Stash series).
How they'll bleep it is another matter. Some skits involve William Shatner, Charlie Murphy, Chris Elliott and the Barenaked Ladies. Leary also pokes fun at Tom Cruise, FEMA and Paris Hilton. "We weren't setting out to make a timeless special. If you wanted something that was evergreen, you couldn't be as funny," he said. "Although I think 'It's Jihad Time, Farley Towne' is timeless." Yes, that is a Peanuts spoof.
Any worries about taking on Tom Cruise, who's known to sue? "I had a big fight with Viacom and Comedy Central," Leary said. "They didn't want Tom Cruise to sue me. It's comedy. If you're not pissing people off, you're not doing your job." So he skewers both Scientology and Catholicism at the same time. "We carry on this stupid tradition with kids, and it's really the beginning, the tradition is deception," he said. Leary's son, Jack, makes a cameo during the special's musical finale, but he doesn't perform. "He said, 'Is it funnier if I act like I'm bored and couldn't care less?' I said, 'You mean like in real life?'" Leary said.
The Learys are hosting many relatives from Massachusetts and even Ireland this weekend for Thanksgiving, so he feels your pain. "Once your family leaves on Sunday, or you leave your family, you'll need a good hearty hour of laughs to get it out of your system," he said. "And it'll also get you in the right mood for Christmas."
Related: The show's Comedy Central site.
Here's a sketch with Bobby Tisdale on the mic:
Every fall, Bruins great Cam Neely brings some of the Hub’s funniest comedians onstage for Comics Come Home, with Denis Leary hosting his benefit for the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care at Tufts-New England Medical Center.
Only now, Neely is a Hall of Famer.
Does Leary, who spoke at Neely’s induction ceremony earlier this week, have anything up his sleeve to commemorate the occasion here? "Not as far as I know,” Neely said, already chuckling at the notion.
"You know, I never know year to year,” he said. "I choose to do it that way so I’m just as surprised as anyone else.”
What makes Neely laugh?
"Anything from Don Gavin, where you really have to pay attention to what he’s saying, to a guy like Kenny Rogerson. He did a bit on the French and Lance Armstrong at Denis’ charity benefit on the Cape that was phenomenal. It was so hilarious. I don’t want to spoil it, but I hope he does it again,” he said.
"Obviously, Steve Sweeney, with the way he nails the different characters in Boston. Anything you can laugh about is generally my kind of humor.”
Does Neely get embarrassed anymore by what the comics might say about him?
"I certainly hope they’ve covered all the bases, in that regard,” he said. "But you never know with these guys.”
Any silly memories from past Comics Come Home?
"One year, when Dane Cook came out and had these sweat pants on, he ripped them off. It had snaps on the side. It caught everyone by surprise,” Neely said. "Another time, they had Bucky Dent show up. It was a year . . . where the stage looked like the Green Monster. That caught Denis big-time by surprise. He handled it well, though. His typical Bucky (bleepin’) Dent.”
So, hanging around with Leary and the other comics all these years has made Neely that much funnier, right?
"Um, no,” Neely said. "I learned a long time ago to try to not compete with their kind of humor.”
Comics Come Home XI, with Denis Leary, Lenny Clarke and other comics, 8 p.m. tomorrow at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. Tickets, $30-$150, available via Ticketmaster. Or go to www.camneelyfoundation.org