A year after they released the pilot for Kid Farm, Jamie Lee, Pete Holmes and the Front Page Films gang are back with a full Atom.com webseries about the family that just keeps on reproducing. No, not the Duggars of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. It's Bill and Jean Engvall. No. Not that Bill Engvall.
Just watch the first two episodes and you'll get the drift. The action begins as the Engvalls get ready to welcome their 18th child to the family. Holmes, as Bill Engvall, is in full "fun Dad" mode, and then some! Katina Corrao plays his busy wife, Jean.
And Episode 3 also is available, so let's watch that, and then find out how this all came about, via Kid Farm co-creator Jamie Lee!
Someone decided it was hot enough in here to buy some ice cream treats, stay home, and get giggly with it tonight. OK. Fine. It was so hot in NYC today that my brain obviously isn't working, so maybe the mush of the TV will make everything right in the world again. Either that, or Craig Robinson and a kitty cat will tell me it's time for the first part of the semifinals of season seven of NBC's Last Comic Standing. Finally we're getting somewhere. UPDATED: Now with video clips!
Are you ready for your first semifinalist, Myq Kaplan? I put the comma in the wrong place there, because he is more than ready, he is already done because this was a taped performance. Don't call in with your votes just yet. Kaplan is feeling bookish this evening, telling us about books, movies, and movies about books. Kaplan also is the first, at least if we're presuming they haven't edited the placement here, to have to deal with the hyped-up live audience at the Alex Theater in Glendale, Calif. Judges Andy Kindler, Natasha Leggero and Andy Kindler all have nice things to say about Myq Kaplan. Kindler says Kaplan "absolutely killed" which means he lost the pool? "I can't think of a funnier line in comedy than Brad Pitt is in this book." And we're getting judges notes, as if it really is going to be the American Idol version of LCS. Then again, we did hear judges give notes to comedians during the semis in previous seasons, so maybe it's just time for a commercial break. Any predictions? I have one!
Jamie Lee is up next, and she admits backstage that she is terrified about being seen by millions on the TV. Too late! You're on TV! Lee gets whoops from audience members when she says she's originally from Texas, but wants to joke about her model roommate in NYC. Lee also mentions dating a comedian, and knowing it's bad when even their inside jokes were bombing. (Note: Lee already has told me that her jokes about her comedian ex are not really about her comedian ex, for those of you who were thinking about someone specific just then). Leggero says Lee has "huge potential," while Giraldo says it wasn't her best set. Based on these notes, you could swap them out with Idol, couldn't you? You could. You could.
Mike DeStefano wants to be so good, the audience sets the place on fire. I'm not sure that would actually be a good thing, but it makes for a soundbite. DeStefano jokes about how everyone in his neighborhood was Italian, including the old Chinese guy and the young black kid. Did you know that Italians shrink and get mean when they get old? This audience is so hot, they're hooting and handing out applause breaks for everything. DeStefano keeps saying "thank you, thank you" like a politician trying to get back to his stump speech. Because he wants you to know how he deals with pretty ladies. Kindler finds him "hilarious" and could not criticize any portion of his set. "And you have screamers," Leggero added. She asks about his Jesus tattoo, and DeStefano corrects her: "It's Jim Caviezel."
If you're not a regular watcher of the TLC cable channel, then you probably have a healthy and sensible life and think it stands for...oh, the heck with this intro. Even if you don't watch the TLC program, 19 Kids & Counting -- the only series on the TV that has to change its title every season because its cast keeps making babies -- seriously, Duggar family, you can stop now. Or maybe you can just tune into the Internet and see how Front Page Films shows all of the things you don't see on TLC about the Duggars. Or, well, let's call them Bill and Jean Engvall, as played by Pete Holmes and Katina Corrao, with help from J.P. (Matt McCarthy), cousin Jamie (Jamie Lee), eldest son Bill Jr., or B.J. (Nate Fernald) and his girlfriend (Heidi Niedermeyer). It's "Kid Farm!"
Fun facts: Holmes and Lee, who co-created and co-wrote "Kid Farm!", were once a couple themselves. Also: Lee is on this season of NBC's Last Comic Standing. And Holmes, who just left NYC for L.A. to be a writer on NBC's Outsourced, is appearing as a father with a baby strapped to him in a currently running Lowe's TV ad for Father's Day, which is Sunday. Fun facts! OK, roll the trailer:
Oh, that was Michelle Buteau as the grocery store cashier who cannot believe what mama Jean is doing, and says so in very NSFW terms. See more of her and everyone else in these deleted scenes and outtakes:
OK, comedy fans. We're back with the first (of how many? of how many???) episodes from the New York City auditions, and after some more glimpses of Tommy Johnagin and a naked Andy Ofiesh, here's Craig Robinson strolling down the sidewalk of West 23rd Street on his keytar with judges Andy Kindler, Natasha Leggero and Greg Giraldo, plus wannabes in tow. Who here wanna be?
Alycia Cooper from Maryland is our first billed auditioner. She made Giraldo laugh with her jokes about D.C.'s horrible sports teams, but she is adding tags that he and the other judges do not condone. She moves on to the night showcase nevertheless. Our first featured contestant of the evening, however, is Mike DeStefano who shows us his fellas in the Bronx to bust his chops and deliver some classic stereotypical Bronx gruff and stuff. "Hey Mikey, if you win, what's in it for us?" I've told you about DeStefano before. I will be telling you more about him in the future. His jokes about dealing with a potential agent show off his style and personality and the crew loves him as much, perhaps more, than the judges did.
Kevin Bozeman of Chicago said he is pro-life except for two times. Jamie Lissow jokes about not getting the NY Times crossword. New Yorker Claudia Cogan jokes about wanting to be a nasty stripper, while I wonder when she'll reply to my email from months ago. They are all part of a montage of yes votes for the showcases, and there is Elon James White brunching hard but not getting his name on camera. Andy Ofiesh, on the other hand, got almost all of himself on camera since he went onstage without any clothes on. Of course, readers here (or people who have been to a Naked Comedy Showcase show in Boston, NYC or Edinburgh in the past few years) knows Ofiesh is an avowed nudist and comedian. All we see and hear, however, is the judges not being happy seeing all of Ofiesh and he kicks off the night's first montage of horribleness.
Kurt Metzger says he has done comedy for 11 years and wonders about performing for three people, especially when at least one of them works with him regularly at the Comedy Cellar. No need to wonder, since Metzger is moving to the showcase.
And we're back. Robinson walks out to inspect the line of crazies. I also inspected this line outside Gotham Comedy Club the night beforehand. Want to see that?
Tommy Johnagin invites the cameras into his hotel room(?) to watch him write his jokes on toilet paper. Johnagin jokes about how women suck for asking him about keeping track of the one time he had sex. Kindler jokes that he feels threatened by Johnagin's humor.
Todd Catalano brought his mullet across the bridges and tunnels from New Jersey, and guess what, he is Italian. Guess what, Giraldo isn't sure if he was laughing with Catalano's insults about women, and this kicks off a montage of stereotypical Italian New Yorker shtickery.
Jamie Lee from Dallas says she quit her corporate job to pursue stand-up (and it was a job with Comedy Central where she had to deal with people like me!) and if you saw the ads of the past week, you already saw her running with joy after whatever the judges said. Giraldo said she felt "still pretty new" to him, which is absolutely correct, and all three of the judges would like to see her perform in front of an actual audience.
When we return from commercial...
When I heard that Pete Holmes wanted to celebrate his 30th birthday by having his friends and fellow stand-up comedians roast him, my first thought was that he had lost his mind. And then I attended the roast last night at the UCB, and was quickly reminded that this is a rare opportunity for comedians to unleash not only their mocking jabs at one another, but also some heartfelt tender moments. But you didn't click here looking for heartfelt or tender, did you? As Holmes himself said during the show: "I want it to be meaner!"
Leo Allen, the regular host of Monday night's Whiplash, served as the roastmaster (pictured here by Mindy Tucker) -- and despite allegedly forgetting that the roast was happening, managed to find several zingers up his sleeves. The dais was a regular who's who of New York City's current crop of up-and-coming comedians, with John Mulaney, Anthony Jeselnik and Kumail Nanjiani represented. Also on board: TJ Miller, who flew in for the event, Jared Logan, David Angelo, Nate Fernald, Seth Herzog, a tardy Julian McCullough and Holmes' girlfriend, Jamie Lee. Here are a few of the many zingers I managed to jot down for posterity:
I wondered how many of the audience members knew what they were in for (there were a dozen or two other comics scattered in the seats, too), and I knew it'd be something when one young woman, when asked by Allen if she knew who Holmes was, shouted: "Security in the basement!" Yeah, that's a Greg Johnson bit. ROASTED!
While you wait to see if I'll break down and break down the funniest reporter contest, let me first get you up to speed on the New York City Underground Comedy Festival's "Emerging Comics Contest," in which comedians who are not yet well known compete to become better known as judges put their know-how to the test. I'm not even sure I know what that means, but then again, what does it mean for a comic to emerge? Does it mean he or she has matured or become ripe with age? Does it mean he or she is ready for more exposure? I can tell you that Reese Waters is emerging as a newer NYC comedian to watch, since he not only won this contest, made the finals in the ongoing So You Think You Can Roast challenge from the Friars Club and won the Carolines March Madness contest earlier this year. Runner-up Jamie Lee could be the next comedian to emerge from within the belly of the industry beast that is Comedy Central (and her day job as a publicist), so that's some feat of emergence right there. Ed Murray finished third, which means, what, exactly? For now, he's just merging? Until I find out the answers to those pressing questions, congrats to all.
Dead-Frog compares last week's SNL cold open with an old live sketch featuring Rowan Atkinson doing something similar, but also quite superior. Hmmm.
ChuckleDumper has a long interview with Tom Shillue (who since the interview has been on tour in Asia (Hong Kong, Manila, then into China) with Matt McCarthy, so he should have plenty of stories to tell!). Lots of quotes to choose from. Here's one: "I don't even know who these guys are that are playing the mainstream clubs now. All the guys I know are off playing these small rooms. I think the thing that's changed is that people can find their own audience now and [the audience] can find out what's going on over the internet and go see these shows. They don't need that marquee name, or chain. Now you can find out on the internet who you're into, and kind of go to that show. You have comics like Patton Oswalt with his Comedians of Comedy, creating these tours, just for his fans and people who like comics like him."
Neil Padover writes a nice profile of Jamie Lee for The Apiary. In case you're curious about Lee's day job (which goes unmentioned in the piece): She's a publicist for Comedy Central. (Future discussion item: How many Comedy Central employees, past and present, also have had comedy careers as performers?)
Punchline Magazine compiles a series of audio clips featuring hecklers and comedians interacting with audience members.
While it's interesting to hear how different stand-ups interact with audiences, whether it's regularly scripted crowd work or truly improvised riffs and observations, I wonder why this has been captured for posterity on audio in the first place? Well, then. Certainly some comedians want their CD recordings (and DVDs, too) to keep the natural ebb and flow of a show in effect, and therefore don't want to edit out any interruptions just for the sake of a pure set. Because there's not really such a thing. And sometimes, a CD/DVD recording cannot help but include an audience interaction. But should they cut it out? Perhaps. Throughout my personal history with the comedy business, I've heard friends, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers alike perpetuate two longstanding and widespread opinions they place on comedy clubs and live stand-up: 1) That they shouldn't sit in the front row because they'll "get picked on" by the comedian, and 2) That if they yell out something, they're "helping" the comedian. These audio clips won't change their minds. Not even the hecklers. Because hecklers don't get it, and when they hear these CDs, despite hearing the comedians rip on them, they'll think, but look at how it made it onto the CD, so it must be not only a good thing but the right thing to do.