Sorry, comedy fans. The Comic's Comic did not don something scary or silly this Halloween, but that didn't stop plenty of our favorite comedians from celebrating (and sometimes even performing) in costume on Saturday night. And in the age of the Internets (the age...of the...INTERNETS) that also means going online to share our Halloween disguises with our friends and followers. Here are some of my favorites that I spotted over the weekend. Who were yours? Did I miss it? If so, please share!
To kick things off, though, how about a "doodle" from Michael Showalter about Halloween parties:
I don't normally write about legal and personal issues for comedians, because they often have nothing to do with actual comedy, and sometimes turn out to be frivolous, and common people will forget the frivolous part but remember the initial allegations. That said, I did some idle searching of Google News this morning and spotted this headline that I thought had to be fake: "Comedian Carr accused of speeding." From the BBC News, even. So I clicked through and prepared to laugh and laugh at this obviously fake satire. Which, of course, turned out to be true? Me confused. Me very confused. There's even a BBC News TV report on it. So for everyone who thinks American TV goes overboard reporting about trivial celebrity nonsense, know that the BBC is just as incapable at times. Bravo.
Here, at least, is a video of Jimmy Carr making funny on the British telly about oil, automobiles, driving at high speeds and related things, courtesy of Top Gear:
Before I left for Montreal, a comedian told me that walking the streets of London with Jimmy Carr is quite the experience, seeing as fans tend to stop Carr quite often to tell him how funny he is. Carr doesn't yet have that same fame in the United States, though it's more our fault than his. Despite doing two half-hour Comedy Central specials (the most recent of the two airing this spring) and several appearances on Conan and Leno, the clever Carr remains a bit of mystery to us Americans. Why the mystery?
Jimmy Carr provided one of the stand-out performances in the John Cleese-less Britcom Gala at Montreal's Just For Laughs a week ago, and also opened up for Louis CK twice (where he met a rowdier, albeit still welcoming crowd) with his dark, dry wit. Carr flew straight from Montreal to Los Angeles after the fest to tape a five-minute set last night for the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
To me, it's funny to watch the crowd try to play catch-up on Carr's punchlines. Also: how they're split on his jokes about politics that open the set, but really eat up his more sexual material -- which must have had Carr skirting the line with NBC's standards and practices censors. He did take out tags on one joke about women's breasts, and seemed to change another line that skewered Americans to become "Scottish women." Most in the U.K. media who describe Carr's stand-up focus on him being dry, dark and deadpan. He's got a tightly written absurdity similar to other one-liner stand-ups such as Zach Galifianakis, Demetri Martin, Steven Wright or the late Mitch Hedberg, but with an outlook that manages to be both devious and disarming at the same time.
As I sit here, living off of the boissons gratis of the 24-hour Subway restaurant and paying for temporary WiFi access in Montreal's Trudeau airport terminal, I realize that my initial plan to bring you a full slate of reviews from Montreal's Just For Laughs festival today might not come to fruition. Something about spending most of the afternoon trying to get a flight to New York City, then boarding a flight that takes off, and almost makes it there only to circle back and land in Canada, forcing you and your fellow passengers to pass through Customs even though you just left (the Customs agent had a quizzical view of the situation, as well), then spending the rest of the evening and into the morning hoping that the skies have cleared and airports reopened -- it all leaves me tres fatigue, as the French write. At least for a few hours, though, I was sitting in a chair in the sky!
With that nod to Louis CK, who put on two of the best shows (and hottest tickets) during the fest, I do want to share some initial thoughts about Montreal's annual celebration of comedy, and how it fared this summer. More in-depth reviews of the shows I saw will get published once I'm back home in New York City, to be sure. But first, a few thoughts, opinions and ideas to get you thinking about -- and hopefully talking about -- comedy.