Larry Getlen has written an insightful article on the brilliant comedy, and the tragic addictions, of the late Greg Giraldo. Getlen interviewed comedian Jesse Joyce -- who toured with Giraldo and wrote for his many popular Roasts -- as well as Jim Norton for the piece. But you won't find it in the New York Post, where Getlen is a regular freelancer. This is for Splitsider.
Here are two quotes from Joyce, one about his comedic ability to use intelligence and wit on any audience:
“He was so confident on stage, such a master of words and so naturally funny, that he could take anything he wanted to talk about and make it funny even if you disagreed with his politics on it. At the end of the bit, it was flawless logic,” says Joyce. “You could disagree with the concept of gay marriage, but he would [talk about this] in Texas, or in the South. We’d work together in Georgia, and he would start the bit with some version of, ‘if you think gay people choose to be gay, you’re an asshole.’ He would confront people aggressively to say, what you believe is wrong. But by the end of the bit, not only would he get an applause break, but everybody would be like, ‘Huh. I see your point.” He could take anything he believed in, and make it funny to people who disagreed with him.”
And here Joyce talks about addiction.
“What’s so insidious about addiction,” says Joyce, “is that it tricks you — and everyone around you — into thinking that this is the way it is for now, but that it’s gonna get better. Because we would have these periods of time where it was all fine and great, and I would get lulled into the idea that maybe this time it’ll stick. For me, I know I always have that option. I can always go out and get drunk tomorrow if I want and see where that takes me, get back on that elevator and ride it down a few more floors, but my life has improved enough for me to know that that was the problem. I don’t think Greg ever gave it enough time. He would get inklings of it. He’d start getting up earlier in the morning and read the paper. He would do proactive, productive things, and be on time for flights and stuff. And he’d go, ‘yeah, this is great.’ But I don’t think he ever gave it enough time to really reap the benefits of sobriety.”
You can read the whole thing on Splitsider.
Moving forward, you can help Giraldo's three sons by laughing it up at "The Big Time Comedy Show," a week from tonight on Feb. 9, 2011 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City -- hosted by Tom Papa with performances by Jerry Seinfeld, Lewis Black, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, Ted Alexandro, Judy Gold, Colin Quinn and Jesse Joyce. Tickets available via Ticketmaster.
Up late at night on Oct. 9, 2010, and need a fix? Comedy Central will be your TV sponsor at 1 a.m., setting a time and date for the premiere of "Comics Anonymous."
Here's the network description: "The support groups may be anonymous, but their problems certainly aren’t. Tune in to “Comics Anonymous” for Jim Norton’s analysis of cheating and the dangers of S&M, Rich Vos’s desire for people to rank their favorite children, Robert Kelly’s food addiction and “fat worry” and Mike DeStefano’s convictions about transmitting AIDS by doorknob."
The special taped back in February, and DeStefano told me then that he was hoping to put together a tour this fall. Of course, that was before he went all the way to the final five on Last Comic Standing, and with it, a separate North American theater tour. So you may have to wait until 2011 for a Comics Anonymous tour. Don't worry, though. It'll be worth the wait.
Louis CK created, wrote, directed and edited most of his new TV comedy on FX, Louie, but he has fought with YouTube and FOX this weekend over sharing his content with the masses. After a couple of attempts, he says this comedian poker roundtable scene -- which if you didn't catch it last week, aired in a cold open for the second episode -- is available for your viewing pleasure.
In it, comedian Rick Crom has to defend his homosexuality after several barbed comments from Nick DiPaolo and jokes from others at the table: Jim Norton, Hannibal Buress, Eddie Brill and Louis CK. Crom also answers CK's question about the use of the word "faggot" onstage with a history lesson. Needless to say, language therein is Not Safe For Work. Roll it. Fun fact: In real life, Brill has been hosting the long-running weekly comedian poker game for 17 years now; William Stephenson (not pictured here, but pictured in the Louie premiere) acts as t
Some things you want to unhear but you just cannot, and such is the case with the relentless vuvuzela horn-blasting during the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Some things you want to unsee and unhear, but when Opie from Opie and Anthony has his video camera out, and Jim Norton is sticking a vuvuzela in his ass to play, er, blow, er, fart into it. Well, that's morning radio, people! Roll the clip if you dare:
There are too many people who are so fragmented about their lives, not just "red state" "blue state" stuff, but with our contemporary society making it so easy for you to fragment, compartmentalize and otherwise isolate everything you digest in your daily life. That's sadly just as true for comedy, comedy fans and even some comedy websites. They seem to think that there's only one kind of funny worth paying attention to. But funny is funny. Which is why it made me happy to see Jim Norton not only post this photo of himself with Carol Burnett, but also accompany it with this caption: "Met Carol Burnett, one of the funniest people ever. I did a Tarzan call when she kicked me in the nuts." You can be a fan of Jim Norton and a fan of Carol Burnett. Because funny is funny.
Related: Dave Itzkoff recently caught up with Carol Burnett and wrote about her for the NYT. Read it! And her book!
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.
Amy Schumer made it pretty far on Last Comic Standing a few years ago, and in a few weeks, she'll have her first Comedy Central Presents on the TV. So she decided to hit up her fellow stand-up comedians at the Comedy Cellar in NYC for some testimonials. Should be great, right? Of course, it quickly becomes a sequel to Seinfeld's Comedian, with Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Darrell Hammond and Jessica Kirson talking smack about her. "Doesn't every comedian have a special now?" Indeed. Schumer gets some outside help from Nick Thune (who already has a Comedy Central Presents and more to his credit), and if you're on the sidewalk in front of the Cellar, of course, there will be a moment with Ardie Fuqua. Of course. Don't worry, none of these are really spoiler alerts. Roll it!
On last night's episode of The Jay Leno Show, forever known now as the last night before NBC renewed the late-night wars, comedian Jim Norton appeared for another edition of his special correspondent segment, "Uninvited Guest." Norton aimed to teach golfing legend Tiger Woods a little something about how to leave a proper voice mail to his improper dalliances. I enjoyed Norton's rant more before NBC shortened it and watered it down for primetime -- Norton tried this riff out Monday night at the UCB Theatre's Whiplash show -- but still, having him on is one of the edgier, smarter things Leno has been doing lately. Anyhow. Roll it!
Speaking of Leno, what's new with him depends upon what rumors you want to listen to and read today. One thing's for certain after reading the reports from TMZ.com and the New York Times' Bill Carter (he who wrote about the Leno/Letterman late-night wars of the 1990s), is that NBC's programming lineup will look different after the Winter Olympics. But if they move Leno out of 10 p.m. and after the news, no matter what they do with Conan, Fallon and Carson Daly (yes, he's still on, too!), don't they still need to have something on the channel from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. five nights a week? No matter how many pilots they produce this winter, no matter how many of those they like enough to put on the TV, they won't be ready to do that by March. Or am I missing something here?
In the meantime, Norton followed up his rant last night on voice mails by leaving a cruel one of his own this afternoon to address the Leno rumors.
Jim Norton's "Uninvited Guest" segments for Jay Leno's primetime NBC show have been revealing for various reasons. Last night, he took it a little bit more literally when he poked fun at his body issues and his acting skills, describing how his manager sent him recently to audition for a Calvin Klein modeling gig. Norton is 41, and also about to celebrate 20 years as a stand-up comedy. Why this clip cuts out less than a minute from the end is unknown to me? Did NBC think that after hearing Norton describe his physique in detail, that the final minute was going too far? Hmmm. Roll the clip!
The "dramatic" conclusion in which Norton talks about his strategy for taking off his shirt in front of a lady is here:
I'm on Twitter. You may be on Twitter. Jim Norton uses the micro-blogging social network, too, but the comedian also has some issues with it, as he explained last night on The Jay Leno Show during his "Uninvited Guest" segment. It's a tricky rant to pull off, since Norton is trying to make us laugh by explaining how often people aren't funny on Twitter, and also because he doesn't always the service to deliver jokes (on Oct. 27 he wrote from his perch inside Opie & Anthony's radio studio: "Paranormal Activity stars in studio. I'm scared." With a link to a photo. Of them. In the studio. Not looking scary). Norton also uses Twitter to relay short audio messages from him to his fans and followers. Here's another short burst from Norton about going on FOX News:
And here is Norton's "Uninvited Guest" rant about Twitter. What do you kids think? I think this segment could have been funnier, but in a longer-term sense (if Leno's primetime show can be talked about in longer terms), it appears as though Norton is using this platform to show us how a younger, shaved-head, raunchier version of Andy Rooney would approach five minutes of primetime. If you play the "Andy Rooney game," you get this: "I want to talk this week about Twitter, because like most 14-year-old girls, I have a Twitter account and I never understood how boring my friends' lives were until I started reading their Twitter updates...Larry cut me on the lunch line this afternoon, so I broke a gasoline balloon over his head and set him on fire, LOL!"
Incremental progress, they say, is always a good thing. And so it was on Tuesday night that the second episode of The Jay Leno Show offered some actual comedy for the live studio audience (and those watching on their TVs), courtesy of one of Leno's many comedy correspondents. Sort of. Leno gave stand-up Jim Norton a nice introduction (presumably, we're guessing Leno is going to do this once a night for all of the correspondents, although we're hoping that once the show settles in, he'll be willing to double up on correspondent pieces during the show to double the chances of creative comedic choices). And Norton delivered in his first installment of his segment, "Uninvited Guest." It feels like his version of what Lewis Black was doing a decade ago on The Daily Show, offering up scripted rants on society. We had heard parts of this before as Norton tried out material about airline travel on an unsuspecting UCB crowd a few weeks ago, and he told us then that Leno wanted him to perform live on the set to interact with the audience. And now we see why. Somehow, Leno's show decided to add some unneccessary production imagery to Norton's stand-up (at least one of which, Norton was able to mock on the spot because of its poor timing, although most of the images did amuse the studio audience). But Norton did manage to get a free ad for his Opie & Anthony radio show on the set, courtesy of a WOW sticker prominently displayed behind him.
Why don't I let Norton himself explain how he thought he did, courtesy of this NSFW SayNow.com message he broadcasted immediately after taping last night?
And here is Jim Norton's debut performance on the new Jay Leno show:
Perhaps you have seen the incessant NBC promotions for The Jay Leno Show, promising unprecedented comedy in the 10 o'clock hour for American TV viewers? (If you have a TV, then of course you have, and I wonder if the people in the Central and Mountain time zones get their own ads that say 9 p.m., or if they're just confused? That last part may be rhetorical) Leno has done a lot of press to promote it this summer, from the official TCA "tour," to traveling to various NBC affiliates for promos and interviews, to a conference call earlier this week. We've gotten the message. And the conventional wisdom has been NBC is willing to bet on five hours of comedy as a cheaper option without the promise of big ratings. But. Wait. Just. One. Second.
Five hours of comedy. Much of it stand-up, or taped segments produced and starring stand-up comedians. In primetime! This is a much bigger deal. Jerry Seinfeld, tapped to be Leno's first guest on Monday's debut, has been taking it seriously enough that he has rehearsed his stand-up material several times this week in New York City comedy clubs.
After all, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late 1960s only aired once a week. So was Sid Caesar's Caesar's Hour; Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In; The Milton Berle Show; even The Jack Paar Program that some have compared Leno's move most closely to, only aired one night a week. Which means Leno will need to fill a lot of airtime, and he has enlisted a cadre of comedians to help him do so. NBC so far has announced that Leno will be airing contributions from D.L. Hughley, Jim Norton, Rachael Harris, Mikey Day, Dan Finnerty and the Dan Band, Liz Feldman, Brian Unger, Nick Thune, Owen Benjamin, Marina Franklin, Sebastian Maniscalco and former Leno intern Ross Matthews. UPDATED: Also Dwayne Perkins, who wasn't listed on the NBC press release, but was showing up on the TV ads for Leno during Thursday night's NFL coverage. And here is video of Time magazine photographing Leno on the new set.
In some interviews, Leno has said he's not looking to do what The Daily Show does, (except for the fact that he'll have NBC's own news anchor, Brian Williams presenting funny news) which is true only in that he already had been sending out comedians into the world to file their own takes on the news -- as this NBC clip package shows:
From what I have learned talking to the comedians who are participating on the show, as well as looking at what these people were bringing to the table already, I think I'm safe in telling you what we can expect from the part of Leno's hour that does not include celebrity car races, Headlines, Jaywalking or Jay's monologue.
People think that the funny guy in the office would make a great stand-up comedian, but that humor does not always translate from the workplace to the stage. Ditch Films has produced a series of online shorts that puts a reverse spin on this, taking stand-up comedians and having them do their act in an unnatural setting for stand-up. I'm not sure if it's funnier this way, but it certainly makes for an interesting piece of film. The most recent features Chris Laker in an office cubicle (note: contains NSFW language).
After the jump, videos from Pat Dixon, Nate Bargatze, Jim Norton, Dustin Chafin, Matty Goldberg, Jason Rouse, Tomi Walamies, Mark Demayo and Bill Burr.
Just as ABC is refuting a report in today's New York Times that it may move Jimmy Kimmel a half-hour earlier into Nightline's spot, the late-night ABC news program just happened to devote a segment to stand-up comedy. What a delightful coincidence!
Nightline stopped by the Comedy Cellar, talked to Colin Quinn and broadcast economic jokes from Quinn, Jim Norton, James Smith and D.C. Benny, and also ventured over to Carolines to interview Mario Cantone. Suffice it to say, the premise is that when times are tough, people want to laugh. If ABC News would embed videos, you could see it here. Until then, click here to watch the Nightline "Economy of Comedy" report.
In the theater, you could barely hear Lemmy from Motorhead, and not a lick of his theme song, but everything comes through a-OK on TV, including some fun banter between Norton and Lemmy. Also, making this episode his debut is quite a statement, whether Norton intended it that way or not, as he booked both Jim Florentine, a comic Norton introduced as getting him his first gig in 1990 (which makes it odd that it's now Norton giving Florentine a break), as well as Artie Lange, who as they used to say in the biz, works for a competing morning radio program. Lange's stand-up, which hadn't impressed me as much as his personal health deteriorated, sounded different on TV. His jokes about drug use sounded more like a plea for help from the audience. I know he since went into rehab, and hope he's doing better. The other two performers on the debut episode were relative youngsters Anthony Jeselnik and Whitney Cummings. They both did well, as they usually do. As I wrote after watching two of the other episode tapings, it really does come across as a white, suburban, rock version of Def Comedy Jam. Not that that's a bad thing. It will be interesting to see what Norton does next with the series.
The next new episode airs between 11:59 p.m. Friday and 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
Anyone who doubted whether TBS could or would pull together a full slate of A-level comedy talent for its first edition of The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas without HBO as a partner, well doubt no more. Over the weekend, TBS unveiled its first look at the official schedule for Nov. 20-22 at Caesars Palace, which includes Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Jim Breuer, Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Norton, a roast of Cheech and Chong, David Alan Grier, Jeff Dunham, Laffapalooza hosted by Tracy Morgan, Andrew Dice Clay, Mike Epps, John Oliver, and Caliente Comedy with Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson. The network also says it'll have 25 up-and-coming stand-up and sketch acts performing in a separate LOL Lounge. Full sked after the jump!
This week's TCA (TV Critics Association) press tour saw some news come out of HBO yesterday, with several new comedy series and specials planned. To wit:
Ricky Gervais is taping his shows next week (July 14-16) at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden for his first American stand-up TV special, to air in November. Tickets still available!
Chris Rock will have a new 90-minute special airing Sept. 27.
The following night, Sept. 28, sees the American debut of British sketch comics Little Britain as well as the new stand-up comedy showcase Down & Dirty with Jim Norton. UPDATED: Norton's show now debuts on Oct. 4.
Jim Norton hosted this weekend's Live at Gotham on Comedy Central. I enjoyed his backstage bits of wisdom as much as his onstage material. Here, for example is Norton giving ample advice and warnings to would-be stand-up comedians...
And even when you're performing, then you've got your fellow comedians to worry about...
This is an early review! HBO just taped four episodes of a new stand-up showcase, Down and Dirty with Jim Norton. It'll air this fall (update! debut is midnight Oct. 4, with other episodes premiering Oct. 11, 18, and 25) They taped two episodes last night and two tonight at the BergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey. At last night's tapings, things got, well, down and dirty.
Al Jackson, who I'm watching on Last Comic Standing as I type this, deserves special honors for his work warming up these rowdy crowds. He got some serious laughs and comedy points during the intermission between shows (an intermission that didn't allow the crowd to move) with material about being a teacher and a story involving his first trip to Starbucks.
Fans literally lined up around the block in this suburban Jersey town for the shows, which Norton promoted on his MySpace and via the Opie & Anthony show. Did I mention the crowds were rowdy? Alrighty then. I still haven't gotten full confirmation from HBO on this, but the first night's shows sure seemed like a suburban, white, rock version of Def Comedy Jam. Norton hosts all four shows and does about five to six minutes upfront, and there's a special podium set up for Lemmy from the band Motorhead, who introduces Norton and contributed the theme song. The fans clearly were on board with Norton from the get-go, welcoming him with a standing ovation.
In the first show, Norton opened with a funny bit about our past and present New York governors and their sexual tendencies. Russ Meneve came out first, and when some guy in the audience shouted out during Meneve's first bit, I got more than a bit worried that this crowd wouldn't know how to behave at a TV taping. They settled down, though. And they laughed and laughed. They gave Meneve an applause break when he joked that his last four girlfriends had died in sailing accidents. They continued laughing throughout the night. Joe DeRosa, whom I first encountered opening for a rowdy audience waiting for Dave Chappelle, certainly held his own with an opening bit about what life really is like for comedians on the road. Ari Shaffir went next, though, and attempted to steal the show when he ended his set with a joke about being ready for a blowjob anytime, demonstrating such by dropping his pants and his underpants for a full frontal moment. A moment that continued when he stood like that, then walked away with his pants still down. Hours later, Shaffir told me he didn't warn the HBO folks about his Full Monty moment, because he figured a warning might only result in HBO telling him not to do it. Then again, it is HBO. Moreover, he didn't really give them any chance to edit around his penis. So to speak. Let's see Carlos Mencia try to steal that bit. Norton's retort? "He looks like me, if I was taller and had a clit." Jim Jeffries got introduced as a special guest and had a funny opener about getting a ride home from an audition, followed by his story about coming down with a case of penis cancer. Audience naturally loved him. But they gave a standing ovation welcome to the first show's headliner, Andrew Dice Clay. Yep. He had his leather jacket, giant belt buckle, sunglasses and cigarette. No nursery rhymes. Instead, some different ancient premises that boiled down to dick jokes, black dick jokes (Siegfried and LeRoy???) that resulted in his philosophical outlook on how black men are ruining us. Or something like that.
The second show last night couldn't help but seem tamer. Norton opened that show with a few quick jokes about breaking up with his girlfriend (somehow Facebook alerted this to me first?!) before launching into his extensive breakdown of a video that I have seen (thank you, Joe Rogan?) of a man dying in Washington state a few years ago after allowing a horse to have sex with him. Indeed. I did say this show seemed tamer, though, and that was because the first few acts weren't quite as aggressive, even if they were still raunchy. Louis Katz introduced his own sex move, the Vengeful Louis, and closed with reasons why premature ejaculation is not necessarily a bad thing. Kevin Shea, introduced as Korean-born, also informed the crowd that he was college roommates with one of the YouTube founders-turned-billionaires. Jason Rouse, Canadian, living in England, started with a topic DeRosa had covered earlier but took it in a different direction. Rouse's jokes weren't just filthy but also somewhat misguided. After one joke, Rouse even said, "I know I'm going to Hell for that joke. But f#@k it, it's warm, and I'll know people there." Patrice Oneal closed out the second show with 15 minutes about how he's gotten creepy as he's gotten older. It's funny because it's true. But also because he's really not that creepy.
They filmed two more episodes tonight, with headliners Bill Burr and Artie Lange, and a lineup that looks more subversive (wish I'd seen that!) and includes Anthony Jeselnik, Whitney Cummings, Andy Andrist, Sean Rouse, Geoff Keith, Jacob Sirof and Jim Florentine.