Jimmy Pardo is bringing his Pardcast crew, aka Never Not Funny, to New York City for a live taping Saturday at the Gramercy Theatre with special guests.
But before that, Pardo took some time to talk to The Comic's Comic about his ninth season of Never Not Funny (which just debuted last week -- this week's episode of NNF features guest Al Madrigal), podcasting, and becoming a more visible presence on Conan, the show he has been warming up audiences for since O'Brien and company moved to the West Coast.
You usually record Never Not Funny in a studio with just Matt Belknap, Pat Francis and your guest. I know you go live and public each year for your Pardcast-A-Thon for charity (related reading on Pardcast-A-Thon from 2009), but only sometimes go on the road in front of live audiences. How does the live audience impact the feel and flow of the podcast?
For the second time going, Jimmy Pardo and his crew at the Never Not Funny podcast will be broadcasting a live 12-hour marathon, dubbed Pardcast-a-thon, with special celebrity guests, starting at 6 p.m. Pacific (9 p.m. Eastern, whatever time where you live tonight).
It raises money for Smile Train, a charitable organization that funds surgeries for children suffering from unrepaired cleft lips and palates. It's a good cause and a good time and even if you're not a comedy nerd, you're likely to see more than one famous face that everyone loves during the live-streaming broadcast.
Roll the quick tease from Pardo and Matt Belknap!
The first person we see on tonight's TBS special, Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live, is a writer of the online variety as Team Coco's blogger Aaron Bleyaert visits the dressing room of host Andy Richter.
The first person we see performing onstage is Reggie Watts, the musical talent and Team Coco's opening act on this spring's North American theater tour as suggested by Conan's TV writers. Watts provides the special's theme music and also delivers a rather straightforward -- well, in as much as anything Watts does can be construed as straightforward -- song about women who carry big ass purses.
And as Richter notes in his opening monologue, it's a wonder any of the writers are getting primetime TV exposure, joking: "The main reason you're getting to see them at all is because Conan cannot be on TV until the fall. And as I think everybody knows by now, Conan is very easily threatened and unbelievably insecure. So he has been keeping these guys down for years. But not tonight!"
As for the writers who we do get to see on TV, Brian Kiley kicks things off properly with a tight five-minute set of his well-crafted one-liners about parenting. After the first commercial break, Richter introduces Deon Cole by noting that Cole had performed so well as a stand-up on Conan's show that they hired him to join the writing staff full-time. Cole, a native of the Chicago suburbs, joked about curing a hangover with a hangover, what it's like to be the only black person in the writers' room, and closed with a routine about the things black and white people don't want to do in front of the other race.
Jimmy Pardo, the warm-up comedian for Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show audiences, gets a shout-out for his Never Not Funny podcast in Richter's introduction. And I'm going to avoid the trap Pardo set for bloggers, instead choosing to focus on his otherwise meta routine and his one-liner roast of Watts, who remained onstage throughout the taping: "What don't you have: Scissors or a mirror?"
Josh Comers got introduced with the selling point of still having "that new writer smell." Comers wondered why little girls would ever wear a T-shirt saying "You Wish" across the chest, what it's like when your landlord is a Holocaust survivor, and boasted that one joke makes him lose 10 Facebook friends every time he tells it. You'll know it when you hear it.
Andres du Bouchet closes out the special, and Richter introduced him as a veteran of the NYC comedy scene since 1996 and, for Conan's viewers, as the "Tiger Woods joke caddy." Du Bouchet came out in character with a smoking jacket and gave the audience a preview of the one-man musical about his life: "100 and Me Percent: The Andres du Bouchet Saga." And yes, he did include the number about 9/11.
For those of you keeping track, Matt O'Brien and Dan Cronin also performed sets at the tapings which did not make it to broadcast. Eric Andre also provided an energetic stand-up routine as the warm-up comedian.
Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live debuts at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight on TBS.
The Team Coco presents The Conan Writers Live was a big hit last night at Chicago's Bank of America Theater, but I can tell you that perhaps it was too much of a big hit.
The show, hosted by Andy Richter and featuring musical wonders from Reggie Watts, included stand-up sets from eight of the writers for Conan O'Brien's short-lived edition of The Tonight Show on NBC. But there's only room for six of them to perform on the 60-minute special, set to air on TBS at 10 p.m. Sunday, June 27. So who will make the cut? What if they all performed well during the taping? Couldn't TBS just extend the special to 90 minutes if it's all "very funny"? The special debuts late on a Sunday after the Ellen DeGeneres variety special, so it's not as if they're going to push anything major off the air to make do. A quick look at the schedule listings for June 27 shows that TBS plans to immediately repeat both Ellen and Coco, followed by a 1 a.m. rebroadcast of the movie, Vegas Vacation. I'm sure Chevy wouldn't mind getting bumped, right?
As for the show itself, it was more than a little heartwarming to see the audience immediately take to Watts even before the taping itself began. I had to scramble to find a seat because my seat in Row G had been (mild spoiler alert?) occupied by a young Conan doppelganger.
Host Andy Richter explained onstage that since Conan himself cannot be on the special -- due to the terms he negotiated upon his exit from NBC -- that meant his writers would get to have this time in the limelight. "Tonight they get to tell their dick jokes in their own voices!" Richter boasted.
Except now it looks like two of them might not get to be seen on TV. That's not fun. To add to the awkwardness, none of "The Conan Writers" actually have jobs with TBS yet. Yes. You read that right. TBS has signed Conan, but since he, Richter and some of his writers have been spending their entire spring on a North American theater tour, the budgeting for the new late-night show on TBS has not included hiring any of the writers. Of course, you'd suspect that anyone Conan brought along on his official "Team Coco" tour and branded on the TV as "The Conan Writers" would be reasonably assured of a full-time writing job in the fall. Just like you'd reasonably think they'd get their time on TV next weekend. Right? Right???
UPDATED: For those of you wondering, the eight sets did not include any of the sketch performers from Conan's various late-night TV shows, but did include Matt O'Brien, Jimmy Pardo, Josh Comers, Brian Kiley, Andres du Bouchet, Dan Cronin, Deon Cole and a Reggie Watts set.
Andrew Koenig, who made his name as a teen actor on TV's Growing Pains but was also the video producer of popular comedy podcast Never Not Funny (via Monkey Go Lucky) and the son of Star Trek's Walter Koenig, went missing last month and was found dead of a suicide last week in Vancouver, British Columbia. His brother-in-law, Jimmy Pardo, and Matt Belknap (AST's isoS) paid tribute to him yesterday in a special edition of Never Not Funny. Listen here.
Pardcast-A-Thon 2009 began just over an hour ago and continues live until 6 a.m. Pacific (9 a.m. Eastern) this morning, with host Jimmy Pardo, co-host Matt Belknap (A Special Thing's Editorial Director, isoS), Pat Francis and a cavalcade of guest comedians and stars. Todd Levin just left the booth, and Jon Hamm is sitting in with the guys now. Tune in to watch PARDCAST-A-THON 2009 on Ustream. It's all a benefit to raise money for Smile Train. Need further convincing? Watch this short video:
If I were in Los Angeles tonight, then I would definitely be hoping to check out "Pop Genius" at the UCB Theatre. A friend shared this clip with me, and dare I say (nay, no dare needed), this seems to be the kind of game show that would be an instant hit on the TV. Looks like a 21st-century version of Match Game, combined with the silly celebrity world that gets parodied by folks such as Best Week Ever and The Soup, with hints from funny people a la Password or Pyramid. Jimmy Pardo is a natural as a game-show host, as anyone who knows anything knows (although the Internets tell me that Paul Scheer used to host the monthly Pop Genius last year?), and the panels look funny, too. Here's a clip, with a panel that includes Andy Daly, Matt Besser, Danielle Schneider and Andy Richter:
Don't let this picture fool you. Match Game is returning to TV, with two tapings today in Los Angeles at CBS. But Sarah Silverman isn't hosting. She'll be one of the celebrity panelists. UPDATE: The other panelists for the pilot, shot at CBS but for TBS, were Norm MacDonald, Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall version, not Carrot Top), Rashida Jones, Super Dave Osborne and Niecy Nash.
So who will be hosting in place of the late Gene Rayburn?
Pardo went to the message boards and offered congratulations to his friend Daly, writing...
Since the petition was started here on AST, I feel I should let you guys know what has happened. I am sad to report that I did not get the job.
Obviously, I am very disappointed but ASTers can rejoice in knowing that the producers picked a great talent in one Mr. Andy Daly.
Andy is a great friend and will do a super job.
I don't have to tell anyone on this board how funny Andy is and I'm sure the show is going to be a great success.
It doesn't end there...