The Daily Show with Jon Stewart does not air live on Comedy Central, but they go with the first take anyhow. Which last night added another layer of comedy and drama to the proceedings, when, during a cold open bit in which Stewart held a press conference to apologize for not covering the actual press conference by his friend, Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, Stewart broke a cocktail glass and cut open his right hand.
So Stewart really did have blood on his hands over the Weiner penis-picture scandal!
The second season of John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show debuts tonight at midnight after The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
Chances are you'll enjoy the comedy from Oliver and all of his friends over several weeks, who include Maria Bamford, Greg Behrendt, David Koechner, Kirk Fox, Al Madrigal, Pete Holmes, Anthony Jeselnik, Brendon Walsh, Deon Cole, Glenn Wool, Jen Kirkman, Kumail Nanjiani, Kyle Kinane, Marina Franklin, Mike Lawrence, Moshe Kasher, Rory Albanese, Rory Scovel and Tommy Johnigan. But, pray tell, how did these comedians make the cut? Or even if you don't pray, how about getting John Oliver to tell me? So I asked him. In Austin. During SXSW.
Roll the clip!
As you may recall, January is stand-up comedy month at Comedy Central, which means it's almost time to start seeing the new season of half-hour Comedy Central Presents, and it's time, like it or not, for your favorite comedians (and some you don't favor) to curry favor with you on Twitter, Facebook and however else you receive pleas for votes for the annual "Stand-Up Showdown."
But wait. There's more.
You read the headline. John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show returns for a second season on March 24, 2011, but Oliver and his friends will tape their episodes over three nights this month -- Jan. 14-16 -- at NYU's Skirball Center. Lineups are still being finalized, but so far, we know that Greg Behrendt, Pete Holmes and Maria Bamford will serve as the three show headliners. If you're 18 or older and will be in the NYC area during those nights, you can ask for tickets to watch the tapings here.
Famous funny people, they're just like us! When they have kids, they want to make sure they end up in nice schools, and if the public schools aren't cutting it, they send them to prep school! Or they try to make the public schools better. Witness Jon Stewart and Louis CK. Right now. Witness them!
Exhibit A: Jon Stewart. He and his wife, Tracey, are big on Story Pirates, an organization that promotes literacy in some of our neediest schools (sad but true spoiler alert: many of our schools are neediest schools). Through comedy. Watch Stewart give Larry King a testimonial about Story Pirates:
Now he's lending a hand -- and his very name -- to an upcoming Story Pirates fund-raiser called After School Special, taking place March 21 in NYC at Dixon Place, with Daily Show correspondent John Oliver hosting. Lots of fun things up for bidding in online auctions, including for comedy fans, tickets to SNL, The Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and the Ellen DeGeneres Show -- which in itself, is usually a double prize, seeing how often Ellen hands out goodies to her audiences. Oh, and also one other bid -- You could get Jon Stewart himself to perform with the Story Pirates for your kid's story at the March 21 benefit. This package includes 4 VIP tickets to the event, the performance of your kid's story, and a meet-and-greet with Stewart. Bidding for this package closes at 11:59 a.m. on March 16 (current bid at this posting is $1,150). How high will you go? For your kid?
Exhibit B: Louis CK. He's not only one of our funniest current stand-up comedians, but also a staunch supporter of NYC public schools, volunteering at the school his daughters attend. He has a second fund-raising performance coming up this Sunday, March 14, at Carolines. Get tickets here. As he said, in part: "Public school is, to me, the most important thing in the whole world that actually exists. I seriously mean that. I think it's the solution to almost everything. Obviously, public schools are in big trouble all over the country, and in 'this economy' it's getting much worse. I don't want PS3 to lose more than it has to."
Ready for six episodes of high-quality stand-up comedy? Ready or not, Comedy Central is bringing it to you over its television network at 11 p.m. Fridays, starting tonight with the debut of John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show.
Oliver, best known as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, hosts and will give you what amounts to a new hourlong special of his own over the course of the series. That's cool. Also great: Pretty much everyone he'll be showcasing to you. Tonight's debut features Maria Bamford, Fabrice Fabrice (Nick Kroll), Greg Fitzsimmons, and a triple dose from Eugene Mirman. It's all funny stuff that the comedy nerds in New York City and Los Angeles may have heard before, but it's great to see it get showcased on a national/global scale via Comedy Central. Want to know who else taped sets for the show? Full list of comedians here.
Here's a clip of Rob Riggle "helping" John Oliver promote his show. Roll it!
Related: John Oliver talked recently with the New York Times about his series. Relevant quote? Sure thing! I did done cut it and pasted it for you:
The comedians on your Comedy Central series, they were chosen just because they’re performers that you liked? "And Comedy Central liked. It wasn’t just me. Alongside the fact that we’re trying to book it so there are very different styles of comedian in each show. So you can get Maria Bamford in one segment, and a young guy like Hannibal Buress in another. The only thing that really binds them as comedians is a high level of quality."
Hooray for Hollywood! That's a saying, right? I bet these people are saying things like that this week, even if they're nowhere near Los Angeles, because the show business is making their TV projects into TV realities, and sometimes reality TV projects. They include:
Bob Saget is going on a great American road trip for A&E in his upcoming seven-episode series, Bob Saget's Strange Days. He had made the cable net's pilot list back in May, and now he has his order -- series sounds a little bit like Dave Attell's Insomniac, only not constrained to the overnight hours and instead seeking out "oddball" American culture wherever Saget can find it and riff about it. Money quote: "Bob Saget has been a part of the television landscape for years, but now we'll be seeing him in a completely different light as he travels the country to explore ways of living that most of us know nothing about," said Robert Sharenow, A&E senior veep of nonfiction and alternative programming. Production begins in early 2010. (via Variety)
Remember way back when John Oliver taped six episodes last month of a stand-up showcase for Comedy Central? You do, of course. So it's kinda anticlimactic that Comedy Central put out a press release announcing it had ordered the series. What if they didn't? That'd be awkward. Anyhow. Congrats! Oliver's hourlong show -- featuring performances by Paul F. Tompkins, Janeane Garofalo, Marc Maron, Brian Posehn, Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman, plus Maria Bamford, Greg Fitzsimmons, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Nick Kroll, Matt Braunger, Hannibal Buress, Pete Holmes, Amy Schumer, Chris Hardwick, Matt McCarthy and Hari Kondabolu -- will debut as a series on Jan. 8, 2010, at 11 p.m.
Wondering what Ricky Van Veen is up to since leaving CollegeHumor to launch a spinoff company called Notional? The new video production arm of IAC, which already produces Chopped for the Food Network and Don't Sweat It for HGTV (neither of which make you scream College or Humor), unveiled a slate of new projects for all sorts of video platforms (TV, Internets, inside your head?!), all of them game-showy, with titles including: Ready, Set Dance!; You Vs. America; Chase The Money; and Love Taxi. Here's a money quote from Van Veen: "We are thrilled to be up and running so quickly, with a few shows already on the air and some great ideas ready to bring to market. We are particularly excited about 'Ready, Set, Dance!' because it's an innovative show format that truly combines our unique television and online expertise. This is exactly what we set out to do in building off of CollegeHumor."
We're about to see a bunch of new live stand-up comedy on our basic cable TV sets thanks to Comedy Central. The fourth season of Live at Gotham debuts this weekend, and in the first week of November, 24 stand-ups get to tape their very own half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials to air in early 2010. In between those two things, the network has given the go-ahead to John Oliver to present his very own stand-up showcase. If John Oliver & Friends sounds like something as fun and magical as the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, well, then you can pretty well guess the lineup. It's going to be good.
There will be three tapings (Oct. 23-25) at NYU's Skirball Center, which will produce six half-hours of stand-up comedy, featuring Oliver and his friends. A few names appear multiple times, which is curious and suggests the format could spin a bit. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we!
SHOW 1 ~ Friday - Oct. 23 - 6:45 p.m., with Marc Maron, Janeane Garofalo, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Wyatt Cenac and Pete Holmes
SHOW 2 ~ Saturday - Oct. 24 - 7:45 p.m., with Paul F. Tompkins, Maria Bamford, Greg Fitzsimmons, Nick Kroll and Eugene Mirman
SHOW 3 ~ Sunday - Oct. 25 - 5:45 p.m., with Brian Posehn, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Greg Fitzsimmons, Eugene Mirman, Pete Holmes and Mary Lynn Rajskub
If you're going to be in NYC and are at least 18 years old, go to The Black List's John Oliver page and follow the instructions to request tickets.
Would you like to see a weekly half-hour sitcom about community college that stars Joel McHale and features Chevy Chase, John Oliver and Donald Glover, among others? Of course you would. NBC announced it has added Community to its fall 2009 schedule. More details to come, both on this show and the rest of NBC's fall 2009 plans (and how this impacts Glover's 30 Rock writing). But I wanted you to know about this new development and share with you this quirky featurette. Enjoy!
New York magazine lets comedian Dave Hill interview other performers and put it to video, and what makes it special is how he conducts his chats openly in a public elevator. "Going Up!" Here, Hill corners Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, who has a feature film debuting tonight, Medicine for Melancholy, at the IFC Center. The conversation takes a turn and targets John Oliver. I enjoy the fact that Hill and company don't mind at all that other people get on and off the elevator. They cannot be deterred from their mission of providing us with chuckles. Watch:
Related: After the jump, watch the trailer for Medicine for Melancholy.
You knew that the correspondents from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart have lives and comedy careers outside of TV, right? Whether you knew it or not, you can see what some of these guys and gals are like when they're crafting their own jokes. Here are a few examples just today and this weekend...
John Oliver joins behind-the-scenes laugher staffers Rory Albanese, Adam Lowitt and others tonight at Comix in NYC. Aasif Mandvi, meanwhile, showcases and talks up a movie he wrote and stars in, 7 to the Palace, tonight at the 92YTribeca in NYC. And on Saturday, Albanese and Rob Riggle will join Oliver for a showcase at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as part of The Comedy Festival.
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!
Eugene Mirman has announced the planned lineups for his crazy-yet-true-because-it-is-Eugene-after-all comedy festival named for him, taking place Sept. 25-28 in Brooklyn. Mirman pretty much has it covered -- most of his usual and unusual suspects will appear over those four days and nights at two venues, Union Hall (where Mirman already hosts the popular Tearing the Veil of Maya showcase on Sundays with Michael Showalter in Park Slope) and The Bell House (a new joint the Union Hall folks are opening nearby).
Time Out NY playfully hinted at what a Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival might look like, with hints from Mirman himself.
Want to see who's scheduled to perform?
While we all wait with bated breath to hear if anyone new has made it onto the cast of Saturday Night Live, the folks over at The Daily Show have not been shy to pull the trigger on hiring new correspondents, and I have to hand it to them. After seeing some of their cast members leave to go on to starring TV and movie roles (Steve Carell, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms and Stephen Colbert), they've successfully hired some bold replacements. John Oliver has more than proven himself worthy of any assignment. Rob Riggle has made big splashes traveling abroad to Iraq and China. And their hire of Wyatt Cenac this summer already has provided some classic new Daily Show moments. This one is my early favorite, in which Cenac meets with elderly Florida Jews to talk about Obama. The dinner talk is priceless!
Since Cenac moved to New York for the show, I've also gotten to see him perform stand-up a few times in mainstream clubs and the smaller alt rooms. Sharp, edgy stuff about race. Here are a couple of clips of him in action onstage, courtesy of Effinfunny. Examples: Wyatt Cenac on how other n words are not the n word (NSFW, obvs); and on being single (also NSFW).
Comedy Central released a few video clips to tease John Oliver's hourlong special, Terrifying Times, which debuts at 10 p.m. Sunday. I can tell you that even before the editing, Oliver's special is something special, and prove it because here are my notes from attending the taping earlier this year. The reviews from the mainstream media are, well, mixed?! A guy from the New York Times essentially yawns. The Detroit News found Oliver quite cheeky. The AP focuses in on this bit about how a soundtrack can make all the difference.
Roll the clips!
One thing comedians always love to mention about the New York City scene is the ability to book multiple gigs any night of the week. They don't often mention that all of these gigs are not equal. Take Tuesday night, for example, when Daily Show correspondent John Oliver taped a performance in the late afternoon for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and a nationwide TV audience, then ventured over to the basement of Comix to perform mostly new material for a few dozen people at the free Drink at Work showcase. Two wildly different experiences, with two wildly different results.
The Conan appearance itself even provided a mixed bag, as his set didn't hit with the studio audience with quite the same punch and reaction that he normally gets live or on Comedy Central (perhaps he was too clever for the room?), but then, during his "panel" set with Conan, Oliver easily knocked all of Conan's set-up pitches out of the ballpark (so to speak). You can watch it all here, via Hulu. It begins at the 33-minute mark, which I've hopefully just led you to here:
Meanwhile, Oliver told the Drink at Work crowd upfront that he was testing out new bits. And, as I've seen him do this before, the unpredictability works in his favor. He's so witty and self-aware, in the moment able to react to the audience's reactions and create jokes about his jokes. "Good," he noted after one joke, then instantly poked fun at himself for commenting aloud on his performance. "Telling jokes is so arrogant," he said after another bit. "Sometimes a moment of silence is nice." Another bit that I've seen him perform earlier this spring continues to impress, as he workshops a routine that begins simply with nostalgia about an odd family dinner ritual, then spirals into something else completely that allows Oliver to go anywhere and everywhere, for as long as he and the audience are willing to enjoy the ride. The bit appears in a completely different form on his new Comedy Central special that airs April 20. For my insider report on that special, take a trip back with me to the taping.
Comedy Central has revealed its list of upcoming works and pilots under the modest heading: "The Future of Comedy."
Next year, prepare for a fantasy-comedy set in medieval times, "Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire," written by Peter Knight.
The pilots include projects by or featuring Snoop Dogg, Andy Richter, Daniel Tosh, David Alan Grier, Nick Swardson, Paul F. Tompkins, Opie & Anthony, Zach Galifianakis and A.D. Miles. Scripted development deals go out to Bobby Lee, Jordan Rubin, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter.
And there will be specials. John Oliver's "Terrifying Times" debuts April 20. Carlos Mencia's hourlong "Performance Enhanced" debuts May 18. Brian Regan's yet-untitled special will air in the third quarter of 2008.
John Oliver taped an hourlong Comedy Central special of his own two weeks ago in New York City, and despite technical glitches that interrupted both tapings (and kept the second show audience out in the cold that much longer), 'twas a rousing success. I may have mentioned that earlier today.
For many in the audience who only know him as a correspondent on The Daily Show with John Stewart (as pictured), Oliver's stand-up comes as a revelation. In fact, the folks over at Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch couldn't believe it. Believe it. In fact, much of his material has been honed over the past couple of years in the alt-venues of New York City, his Bugle podcasts with Andy Zaltzman (who appeared onstage as a professor for a sketch with Oliver that encountered audio problems during the first taping, and prompting Oliver to quip, "If you cannot speak without static, then I don't know what to say.") and even the Aspen festival last year for the comedy industry. Alone on the big stage at Symphony Space, though, Oliver had added production values at his disposal, allowing his biting wit and geo-political commentary to have more bite. Bits on a world math problem and unfair trade got visual aides on the screen behind him. Trust me, it's better to see Oliver's illustration of unfair trade on a big screen than on a folded-up piece of paper in his hands. Another routine he's performed often, on how the influential melodrama of layering power ballads from the 1980s and 1990s can make even the most poisonous rhetoric sound wistful, seemed even more effective with images displayed behind him. We also learned in this hour why Oliver became a comedian and not an athlete. Throughout the taping and its pitfalls, we saw Oliver remained quick on his feet. From the beginning, when stagehands rushed a mic offstage to him, when he said, "This gig has not yet begun and yet I am talking. Don't let the maverick beginning fool you. It'll get much more conventional soon enough." To the end, when he stumbled over the word "protest" and uttered "plotest" instead: "We can invent words...change your Scrabble boards."
John Oliver's Comedy Central special is tentatively scheduled to air April 20.
Ryan Hamilton had the tough task of coming out cold to warm up the audience ("I'm just here to get the wheels greased"), but in 10-11 minutes managed to get them going with his regular opening bit about looking like the white Chris Rock or the illegitimate child of Jerry and Elaine from Seinfeld, his views on speed dating, glitter, garbage disposals, and an energetic/nostalgic bit about bike safety and getting the wind knocked out of you.
Hey, comedy fans. Did you know that Liam McEneaney is back from his big European expedition and has resumed his great free Monday night showcase, Tell Your Friends? You're acting like you've forgotten. This most recent Monday, 12 of us made it down to the basement of Lolita bar in the Lower East Side, where we got to witness John Oliver's extended role-playing session with himself as his father, Carla Rhodes and her Vaudevillian ventriloquism, Dave Hill unleash a new multi-pronged comedy attack, and Tony Camin manage to keep that intimate vibe laughing like 12 dozen audience members had filled that basement.
As much fun as it was seeing John Oliver enjoy rousing success two weeks ago in his first Comedy Central taping, it was even more thrilling to watch him figuratively throw out his joke book and start over again. Which is part of the allure of this weekly basement showcase. So, go on. Tell your friends about Tell Your Friends. It's back.
First of multiple reports from the late-night TV landscape, post WGA strike.
Jon Stewart mentioned the writers first thing, and the show reverted back from "A" Daily Show to The Daily Show..."I believe the finest writing staff in the business," he said. "It's like Christmas morning. From what I've been told." And they opened with...the Westminster dog show. And a quip on the "war on terrier." Stewart moaned. "Really, you've been gone 100 days. This is the s--t you're going to pull?" He then cut to John Oliver in black tie and a monocle for the ultra-Brit caricature. And. Then. We're back to election coverage, what with Tuesday primary election coverage to cover. Larry Wilmore shows up as "senior black correspondent" to process Obama's winning streak as directly related to Black History Month. After the break, "Torture Talk with Jon Stewart," in which he compared Sen. Arlen Specter's opinion on destruction of torture tapes vs. the destruction of New England Patriots tapes. After the break, a guest. No writing involved.
Will update with video when available.