Are you going to an Oscar party tonight? Are you in the Oscars? Are you nominated for an Oscar? If so, are you just reading this to take your mind off of the Oscars? Oops.
Here's a timely sketch about an Oscar party. Warning: Includes profanities, as well as arguments about the endings of Inception and Blade Runner. Starring Eliza Skinner and Greg Burke, and featuring Sara Jo Allocco, Elaine Carroll, Greg Tuculescu and Joe Spellman.
Somebody let the sketch group Chubby Skinny Kids get their hands on some Ghostbusters equipment...uh oh! In this bit for Funny or Die, they imagine what would happen if the Ghostbusters were a little too into their jobs.
Featuring: Thomas Middleditch, Eliza Skinner and Baron Vaughn. The Chubby Skinny Kids are Dan Gregor, Doug Mand & Adam Pally.
Eliza Skinner may be spending her August in Edinburgh performing at the fringe festival with Baby Wants Candy, but she wants Tyler Perry to know she is available for his next film, whatever that may be. Did you know Skinner appeared in an episode of the first season of TBS' Are We There Yet? She did. As she says in describing her audition, she writes: "I love Tyler Perry. As a white actress there are only a few roles I could play in his movies. Here is my audition for all of them."
Here is Eliza Skinner's audition reel for Tyler Perry. Roll it!
Such a beautiful day here in New York City. Snow fell overnight. Everything looks pretty. Maybe you'd like to pay us a visit? If you do, you'll need tips. The 92YTribeca assembled a bunch of comedians to offer their best advice already, and now they've done it again.
Remember to carry your walkie-talkies when you visit the Eiffel Tower on 34th Street.
Featuring: Paul Scheer, Eliza Skinner, Todd Barry, Fred Armisen, Julie Klausner, Jenny Slate & Gabe Liedman, Rob Huebel, Janeane Garofalo. Thanks, 92YTribeca!
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.
Only now unwinding from my second tour through the Upright Citizen Brigade's Del Close Marathon, which ended Sunday night (though starting the tour after an all-nighter to Washington, D.C., and back probably contributed to the fatigue on my end), and wished, as I did last summer, that I had gotten to see more of the 150+ improv and variety shows that happened during DCM10. At least two video cameras captured some of the highlights, which I expect to see online one of these days at UCBComedy.
The Marathon is crazy for improvisers and comedy fans alike, with shows running almost continuously (save for a couple of breaks to clean the theaters) at the UCB home in Chelsea and three nearby theaters from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. Comedians come from all over the country to participate, and even then, to fill all of those hours, the Marathon's programmers schedule some completely off-the-wall shows. I cannot speak for the daytime shows from last weekend, but during the primetime and late-night hours, the atmosphere -- hot, sweaty and reeking of alcoholic sweat -- really favors the louder, crazier uptempo shows over the improv groups that actually try best to honor Del Close and his Harold long-form. It's not a fault of the performers. But after you've seen "Gary Busey" prove he's the smartest expert in the universe, it's hard to pay close attention to all that's going on in the Scramble. And the Marathon peaks at 2:30 a.m. Sunday during the half-hour lunacy that is Match Game 76, and when Horatio Sanz as Heath Ledger's Joker launches a smoke bomb, well, even a troupe hoping to parody Close has no chance. I spent my entire DCM10 at the UCB (sorry, big-time shows at the FIT, but maybe we'll meet again in 2009), and the best shows I saw over the weekend were strong in concept, structure and execution.
James Adomian as "Gary Busey" during The Smartest Panel of Experts in the Universe Ever.
Photo by Keith Huang
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...
Christmas is coming, and who cares if the goose is getting fat, because where are the comedy audiences? Probably off to their families, much like the comedians themselves. But the holidays also tend to bring comedians together, too, with holiday-themed parties, shows and sketches. Tonight in New York City, you have several opportunities for holiday ha-ha-hoedowns. Yes, really. Such as and therefore like (sorry, watching a repeat of VH1's Best Year Ever whilst typing not a good idea) here are a few shows you might want to mark on your calendar, except that it's tonight, so no need for calendar-marking...
Auntie Sara's Big-Ass X-Mas Spectacular and Afterparty, 7 p.m. at Ochi's Lounge, downstairs from Comix -- hosted by Sara Benincasa, with Oren Brimer, Ces Marciuliano, Diana Saez, Sean Lynch and Pat Stango
The Apple Sisters Holidoozy of a 1940s Christmas radio show, 7 p.m. at The PIT
Holiday Dazzles, 8 p.m. at the UCB, hosted by Eliza Skinner and Carolyn Castiglia, and featuring Adira Amram, Ann Carr, Katina Corrao, Jessica Delfino, Becky Drysdale, Robert Keller, Nate Kushner, Tom Middleditch, Matt McCarthy, Glennis McMurray, the New York Neo-Futurists, Mindy Raf, Mike Still and more.
And finally, last but not least as they say, it's the Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy Christmas Show, starting sometime in the 8 o'clock hour at Rififi, with Andy Blitz, Chelsea Peretti, Bobby Tisdale, Santa Claus, Brian Kiley, Mike Burns (on his last night in NY) and special surprises.
But what about last night, you ask? Last night I got to see some of this holiday razzle dazzlematazz up close and in person, thanks to the Slightly Buzzed show put on by Jon Friedman and Stuckey & Murray (no Stuckey this night, as he's off to Alabama). First up, The Apple Sisters. I'd heard more than slight buzz about these three ladies, and they lived up to it last night with their musical ode to Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men. They pack a wallop, these three! Fast, fun, full of surprises. Here's a photo that barely captures that:
Sean Crespo followed with a Christmas miracle story about rescuing a small bird from the clutches of Central Park South. Murray, sans Stuckey, sang a love song for a Jew. Eliza Skinner presented one of her hilarious theatrical pieces from her one-woman show, Eliza Skinner is SHAMELESS! Adam Wade didn't talk so much about the holidays as he provided evidence that while he may have peaked in the sixth grade, he's still scrappy. Scrappy-Doo! Adira Amram and Ann Carr presented something so wild that if I were to have photographed it, the picture would've blown your mind. They'll be performing their Christmas sketch again tonight at the UCB, so you can go see it there and then. Let's just paint the opening for you, though: Amram is Hal the Square Snowman, and Carr is Randy the Red-Balled Reindeer.
Friedman, for his part, showed a short film that he'd written the screenplay for in college. Sean W. Cunningham filmed it. And it is "Santa Claus and the Jew." Friedman read some of the YouTube comments for it and offered that perhaps the comments would be different if they knew his backstory on it. It's about Friedman wondering why, as a child, Santa never visited his house. In the video, the explanation, and the truth, hurts.
After the jump, a photo of Jon Friedman and I in happier, sunnier times!
New Yorkers already have come to know and love Eliza Skinner for her musical talents as part of the popular musical improv duo I Eat Pandas. Even as a solo act, though, Skinner shines in her production of Eliza Skinner is: SHAMELESS! which returns for two shows this month, tonight and again Nov. 16, at the UCB.
With only the help of title cards to set the scenes (and add extra jokes), Skinner dives into character to portray three uniquely disturbed women: Karen, the inappropriate insensitive mother who feels an intensely special bond with her daughter; Deborah, a 30-year-old mother who has a thing for one of her child's friends; and Amy, whose Friday night out on the town turns into a trainwreck. Skinner rotates through each character three times, each time updating and accelerating their individual descents into shamelessness. She holds what could easily be a two-, three-, or four-person sketch together all by herself. It's impressive work. So go see it. Showtime is 7 p.m. Cost: $5.
I Eat Pandas, by the way, performs next at the UCB on Nov. 7.