The only thing people love making more than year-end list are decade-end lists, and some of them seem as much about generating page-views as they are about subjectively ranking things that should not be ranked. That's rank! So where are my lists? I've got something else up my sleeves for this December, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you the iTunes list of their choices of the 20 best comedy discs from 2009, along with my thoughts on said list.
For one thing, it's really across the board. Any list that puts Brent Weinbach side-by-side with Katt Williams is looking to appeal to all sorts. I'm not exactly sure I agree with everything on here, but then again, I haven't quite listened to all of them just yet -- there are stacks of CDs and DVDs in my apartment, and I hope to get through them all by year's end and share my own thoughts on them with you. I have listened to and reviewed eight of the iTunes 20; most of the rest are waiting in my queue, and a few I don't even have my hands on just yet? My loss or yours? Also, iTunes missed some great ones from the past year. No John Mulaney? I haven't heard Paul F. Tompkins new disc yet, but would presume it's worthy. And no ladies on the list? Not even Maria Bamford? Harumph. Here, then, are the iTunes choices from the year in comedy -- I'm not sure if they have a ranking order from iTunes, so I'll list them alphabetically:
Flight of the Conchords, the Grammy-winning musical comedy duo from New Zealand, announced today that they would not be continuing their HBO series for a third season.
Bret, Jemaine and James (co-creator/director) said “we’ve noticed the less we say about the future of the show, the more people want to talk about it, so in an effort to reverse this trend we are today announcing that we won’t be returning for a 3rd season. We’re very proud of the two seasons we made and we like the way the show ended. We’d like to thank everyone who helped make the show and also everyone who watched it. While the characters Bret and Jemaine will no longer be around, the real Bret and Jemaine will continue to exist.
The quirky musical sitcom had a cult following and also gave some juicy supporting roles to comedians Kristen Schaal, Arj Barker, Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry and Demetri Martin, among many others. It will be missed.
If you missed Comedy Central's network television debut of Rhys Darby's stand-up special, "Imagine That," well, then, you missed it. Or did you, really? Comedy Central broadcast the special at midnight Friday, with no plans for future broadcasts on the schedule, at least for the time being (with Comedy Central, specials can reappear at any time, and sometimes at the oddest times). Anyhow. You want to know how "Murray" from HBO's Flight of the Conchords is as a stand-up?
Turns out he's an odd mix of his self-deprecating character from the HBO show, lightweight stories about his childhood and history in the New Zealand (or is it Kiwi?) army, with a heaping portion of sound-effects as if he were New Zealand's answer to Michael Winslow. Which he may very well be. No, seriously. That's what you get. I was as surprised myself when I first saw him make helicopter and robot noises during a live spot in one of Ellen Degeneres' variety shows at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. So you are forewarned, or at least sitting down now? Good. Here is a clip of Rhys Darby doing his robot:
And now, here is he showing us how when he played war as a kid, he really got into it. Cue the guns:
Imagine That was filmed in 2008 at the El Rey in Los Angeles, and came out on DVD late last year. But despite airing on Comedy Central, it's not available for North Americans to buy on DVD (import only!). So you'll just have to be content with getting your Rhys Darby fix via Internet videos and Flight of the Conchords. Which may just as well be for the best. Imagine that.
In real-life, the New Zealand comedy music duo Flight of the Conchords won a Grammy this year and is up for another one in 2009. In their HBO show, however, Bret and Jermaine are still trying to catch a break as the second season opens. Funny or Die gets to bring us the premiere a month before it airs on HBO, for American audiences only (sorry, not my call), so watch it now, and see what happens. Greg Proops, Andrea Rosen and Andrew Secunda make appearances, as well as season one regulars Kristen Schaal and Arj Barker. There's also a subplot for Crazy Doggs (the competing band from Todd Barry and Demetri Martin).
Watch to the end, and you'll also get a sneak peek at the HBO comedy, East Bound & Down, featuring Danny McBride, Will Ferrell and Andrew Daly. Enjoy!
For the 51st annual Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy went with a live, primetime announcement/mini-concert. But you want to know who got nominated, don't you? While putting American Idol's star judge Simon Cowell up for Record of the Year (he produced "Bleeding Love" for Leona Lewis along with Clive Davis and Ryan "Alias" Tedder) certainly contains some comedic value because you wonder if he'll show up in a tight black V-neck or a tight black tuxedo, we do have some other actual comedy honors to share with you as well. Although there are some truly outrageous and ridiculous nominations among the dozens of categories, too (but that's for me to analyze in another forum).
Best Comedy Album nominees from 2007-2008
Lewis Black, "Anticipation"
Flight of the Conchords, "Flight of the Conchords"
Kathy Griffin, "For Your Consideration"
George Carlin, "It's Bad For Ya"
Harry Shearer, "Songs of the Bushmen"
Didn't Flight of the Conchords win last year for their EP, which is just a shorter version of this album? If you want to get all technical about it, then, yes. So cross them off the list. And do not be surprised for a posthumous honor to go to Carlin.
In Best Spoken Word Album, Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up" goes up against Stephen Colbert's "I Am America (And So Are You)" and David Sedaris ("When You Are Engulfed in Flames")! Also in this category: Sidney Poitier ("Life Beyond Measure") and the trio of Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon and Blair Underwood (reading Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"). As much as Colbert has been the man of the moment for the past two years, Martin really should get this, wouldn't you agree?
Freestyle Love Supreme can celebrate some more, as Lin-Man and King Sherman's "In The Heights" soundtrack is up for Best Muscial Show Album (against Gypsy, The Little Mermaid, South Pacific and Young Frankenstein).
John C. Reilly singing "Walk Hard" got nominated for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (also earning Judd Apatow a nomination as co-writer). They're up against John Mayer, Peter Gabriel, Carrie Underwood, and Amy Adams.
Flight of the Conchords won't return to HBO for a second season until January 2009, which seems so much more than a month from now. It seems like an entire year, which is technically true but not so it's silly. Here comes help, as Funny or Die will have the exclusive pre-premiere of the first new episode, debuting at noon Eastern (9 a.m. Pacific) on Dec. 17 and available for online viewing through Dec. 21.
You might want to be checking the Funny or Die FOTC page here.
More than 480,000 views and counting since Sub Pop Records put this little ditty on the YouTube on Tuesday...it's "Ladies of the World," by Flight of the Conchords. The song comes from the New Zealand duo's self-titled record, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts. In week two, it dipped only to #17, and on the May 24 chart list, it's still hanging around at #46.
Earlier: CD and tour info.
New Zealand's favorite musical parody duo with an HBO show, Flight of the Conchords, debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts this week by selling 52,000 copies of their self-titled full-length. Take that, Dane Cook?! Cook, as you may recall, rocketed into the mainstream's collective consciousness three years ago when he became the first comedian in three decades to reach the Top 5 on Billboard's pop chart (he hit #4). So, really. Take that. Especially since the Kiwis released several of these songs before, just a few months ago in October, on their EP "The Distant Future" (Billboard reports that disc only reached #116 on the Billboard 200). So, take that! Of course, 52,000 discs gets you a lot higher up the charts these days in a sluggish record business. And if you're going to make a comparison to Flight of the Conchords, Weird Al Yankovic might be more apples to apples than Dane Cook. Although Weird Al, despite a couple of hit songs, only peaked at #10 on the album charts. How do you like them apples, anyhow?
AOL's music site, Spinner, has the Flight of the Conchords new CD up this week for live streaming, which means you can listen to all 14 tracks and 39:31 of it for free. At least until Spinner changes its preview lineup next week. It may hold you over until January 2009, when the Kiwi duo returns to HBO for their second season of TV tomfoolery. They're also on tour across America in the coming month, May 5-June 1 (buy tickets here!).
Tickets go on sale at noon today for the two New York City dates at Town Hall for Flight of the Conchords, so I thought I'd look and see what other comedy tours are hot sellers.
Flight of the Conchords at Town Hall (NYC) May 6-7. Get tickets!
Lewis Black has a new Comedy Central tour "Let Them Eat Cake" beginning May 1. Get tickets!
Kids in the Hall already on tour, coming to NYC's Nokia Theatre at Times Square April 18-20. Get tickets!
Chris Rock's "No Apologies" tour hits Madison Square Garden's WaMu Theater from April 30-May 4. Get tickets!