On last night's episode of America's Got Talent, musical comedian J Chris Newberg did not get one of the four spots in the semifinals. Spoiler alert? Although if they're doing four out of 12 in each of the quarterfinals, you'd suspect that there might be a special episode later in which the judges get to advance a few of their own favorites...hmmm.
In the meantime, Newberg gave this interview on a red carpet outside of the show last night.
Following the clip, Newberg recounts his experiences in his own words...
Howie Mandel loves him. Piers Morgan hates him. But what does Sharon Osbourne think? You'll have to watch the whole segment to find out, as J. Chris Newberg performed in the first of four quarterfinals last night as part of the 2011 season of America's Got Talent.
Was that probably a bad idea? Was it? No. Really. Was it? We'll find out when the votes are counted from you Americans.
Roll the clip!
If you appear on America's Got Talent and make it to Vegas Week, but they never identify you by name, then does it still count as a credit? While I wait for Nick Cannon to get back to me on that one on behalf of the three "comedians" who didn't make the cut, three other comedians did make it through to the top 48 who will be performing on the live shows for this summer's voting audiences.
Melissa Villasenor got fast-tracked by the judges to Hollywood along with a few other contestants with varied talents (including the more circus-y big-tent types), while J. Chris Newberg (at left) and Geechy Guy both received approvals following Vegas auditions.
And Newberg got to tell Piers Morgan: "Suck it."
You know how people sometimes glamorize the life of a touring stand-up comedian?
Yeah. Well. Not always. Sometimes you have to endure some hell gigs. This is what faced J Chris Newberg last night when he played the student center ballroom at Cleveland State University. Four people. Six if you count the tech guy and the other guy standing (who appeared to be merely supervising?). Newberg titled this video "Smallest Comedy Crowd Ever?" I think I've seen smaller, but Newberg teases there'll be another video to come.
I wonder how well Kyle Cease and Steve Hofstetter drew in that room last month? Maybe they'll fill us in on this cushy comedy room!
After the unexpected ending of his musical performance on last night's finale of American Idol, Dane Cook told me this morning via email a little bit more about the "before" part of the process, and credited comedian J. Chris Newberg not just for working with him on the song, "Simon Said," but also on how he "certainly rose to the occasion in that behind the scenes insanity."
How was Dane Cook even on Idol, though, you may wonder? Credit another Simon, Idol's creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. "Simon Fuller is a fan of mine for some years, so they just asked me to be a part of it," Cook told me.
Internet sleuths may also know that Raquel Houghton, who sang at Cook's HBO taping of "Vicious Circle" when she was dating him back in 2006, made it to Hollywood Week of Idol in season eight last year.
Anyhow. Back to Cook, who gently mocked me for suggesting that his Idol performance would be a duet and not a solo act, saying: "As far as collaborating with my buddy Daughtry? Oh come on, Sean don't you know me yet?? When do I ever do what people expect?"
If you'd like to hear the full studio version of "Simon Said" that Cook recorded with Newberg and a band, it's available on iTunes by clicking this button:
With Simon Cowell's final season as the judge who matters on American Idol coming to a close last night, I wouldn't have thought that there would be actual comedy to pay attention to, but of course that meant that there was, and let's talk about it.
Without any explanation, the show zoomed in on Dane Cook at center stage strumming a guitar and roasting Simon. Sure. Um. OK. As I suggested at the time remotely on Twitter to New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff, perhaps FOX was rewarding Cook for his loyalty to MySpace by letting him sing -- after all, Cook did find his path to fame by making 2.6 million friends on MySpace and clinging to the network long after everyone else jumped to Facebook and Twitter. Lo and behold, later in the Idol finale, it turned out that the show was betting on MySpace for its 10th season. I guess I wasn't surprised that Cook would be singing on live network TV -- he had told me about wanting to pursue a music career three years ago, although I would have figured that, given his friendship with past Idol finalist Daughtry, that he would have showed up on the finale with Chris Daughtry for a duet instead of as a solo act. That wasn't the news that came out of Dane Cook's appearance, however. Roll the clip!
So, yes. That happened. At the end of the song, some of Idol's biggest rejects got the chance to run onstage alongside Cook, and wouldn't you know that one of them would want to grab the microphone for another chance at infamous glory on live network TV? Wouldn't you know that? It seems like if you were a producer, you would know that. So I don't know how you could claim this is anything like what Kanye West did at the MTV Music Video Awards, because Kanye West had not been invited onstage by producers. At all. Nope. That was a surprise. This?
No matter what Cook said -- and he said this on Twitter afterward: "That was not staged. Weirdo hijacked the song. Just glad he didn't hit me in the face w/the mic or Americal (sic) Idol would b American Beatdown," Cook wrote on Twitter. "Weirdo = Fuckface." It looks like FOX producers set him up. Ian Benardo, the first freak to take the mic before second freak Tatiana Del Toro wrestled with him onstage for control of it, told MTV that that was the plan all along.
About the song and roast itself, it turns out that Cook wasn't acting alone, anyhow. Musical comedian J. Chris Newberg had an active hand in the writing and production of the song, and posted as such on Twitter and Facebook last night. After the live TV ruckus, he said Benardo's stunt only meant that the song he wrote with Cook would garner more attention in the morning, which hopefully would boost sales of the song on iTunes. Before it happened, though, he posted this photo with Cook from backstage, saying: "My writing partner, Dane Cook, before he made TV awesomeness."
The song, if you want to hear "Simon Said" as it was intended, should be available later today on iTunes.
When the Tiger Woods car accident became a full-fledged adultery scandal, how many people would have guessed that a stand-up comedian already knew about it? Well, J. Chris Newberg did, because he had been trying to get Jamiee Grubbs to go out with him for a long time, only to have Grubbs turn Newberg down, in part, because she was busy getting busy with the world's best golfer as his mistress. Fore! Here's how Newberg explains it in song:
It's always interesting to me as a follower of comedians to see talented performers move from New York City to Los Angeles, or vice versa, and also tracking the hows and the whys of these decisions. But what about all of those other people who say they're going to move to L.A. and become famous? Well, J. Chris Newberg has a song for you about that, and in his new video for it, he got plenty of L.A.-based comedians on camera (and several also lip dub for him). I have met about a handful of these folks. How many do you recognize. It's "The Shut Up Song." Enjoy: