Minutes ago, Conan O'Brien unveiled a sneak peek at his new TBS late-nighter, Conan, with something he called "Show Zero." When fans tuned in online, however, O'Brien surprised viewers by announcing that he'd be attempting to adapt to Internet viewing habits by hosting the shortest talk-show ever.
With Andy Richter, a member of his band and a small audience gathered inside a conference room at Conaco Productions offices on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, O'Brien welcomed The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons and New Jersey band Steel Train as his guests. And within a few minutes, it was all over and credits rolled.
Was it the shortest late-night talk-show ever, though?
In a Late Night coincidence, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon blogger Jon Friedman set the record -- according to the URDB (Universal Record Database), which presided over Friedman's 3-minute, 41.45-second show on May 25, 2010, at Joe's Pub in New York City. Friedman welcomed announcer Mamrie Hart, house band The Defibulators, desk guest Joe Randazzo of The Onion and stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
Watch them both. Here was Friedman's show:
And here was Conan's "Show Zero." Richter's announcement starts one minute in, and credits roll at the 3:53 mark, which would make Conan's effort about 48 seconds quicker.
Asked to comment, Jon Friedman said this to The Comic's Comic:
"It looks like I still have the record. Although I wish I had a dancing taco."
HBO might have led all networks in terms of wins at the 2009 Creative Arts Emmys, which were handed out Saturday night in Los Angeles and parts of which will be broadcast Sept. 18 on E!, but Lorne Michaels must be smiling more than a lit bit, too, as decisions on shows he executive produces brought home multiple Emmy statuettes of their own.
The Emmys agreed with Michaels' decision to bring Tina Fey back to Saturday Night Live to skewer 2008 Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, as well as multiple SNL cameos (and one hosting gig) by Justin Timberlake, awarding Fey and Timberlake with the Outstanding Guest Actress and Actor in a Comedy Series. As executive producer and the guy who helped give Jimmy Fallon a talk show, Michaels also decided to launch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon first as a blog before putting it on the TV, and the blog won the Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. Special shoutout to Sara Schaefer (pictured), Jon Friedman and Cory Cavin for that! Not just because this means writing a comedy blog can win an Emmy, but especially because it did! And Michaels' other SNL spinoff that's not really a spinoff at all but a rather clever sitcom, 30 Rock, took home two Creative Arts Emmys, for Outstanding Casting and Outstanding Picture Editing.
Of course, 30 Rock is also looking to repeat its multiple wins at this Sunday's Primetime Emmys, to be broadcast live on CBS.
But before we get to that, let us toast the other comedians and comedy shows that earned themselves Creative Arts Emmys this year.
Among them: Chris Rock for his HBO stand-up special, Kill The Messenger (writing; picture editing, special) South Park (animated progam); How I Met Your Mother (art direction, multi-camera series); Pushing Daisies (art direction, single-camera series; costumes; makeup, single-camera); Californication (cinematography, half-hour series); United States of Tara (main title design); MADtv (makeup, multi-camera); Entourage and Weed (tied for sound mixing, half-hour); Chuck (stunt coordination); Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog (special class, short-format live-action); and The Simpsons (voice-over, for Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson).
If you had romantic plans on Valentine's Day, then, well, God bless you and your loved ones. But if you were like me, and had no one to share in the love and the forced romanticism of Feb. 14, then you were at the UCB Theatre in New York City for Jon Friedman's third annual heartbreak edition of his monthly Rejection Show. Actually, I saw quite a few couples in the audience clearly still dressed up from a night on the town and a fancy dinner, but whatevers. The show was great. Afterparty greater. And twas all for a good cause, celebrating the book release of Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled, which Friedman edited. His introduction -- itself a rejection piece of sorts -- is ingenious. Several of the contributors (among whom include folks from Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The State) took part in either the Valentine's Day party or an earlier book release this month at the Bell House. You should go to your nearest book store and/or online bookseller and get yourself a copy.
This morning, though, Friedman ran headlong into the maniacally diabolical fourth hour of NBC's Today Show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. Friedman managed to retain most of his Friedmanesque qualities during their chat. Enjoy!
Related: You can watch Jon Friedman's Today Show appearance on Hulu, too. And Friedman is now blogging for the new Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, which starts on NBC next Monday, March 2.
Many new books are hitting store shelves and becoming available for online shipping today, but only one book dares to publish the essays, stories and scripts that no one else wanted. That book, naturally, is called "Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped & Canceled," and it's edited by comedian Jon Friedman, who has hosted a monthly Rejection Show of written and broadcasted performances in New York City for some time now (read: I'm not sure how long, but long enough to turn it into a book). Friedman has even more reasons to celebrate this week, as he just started a new job as a writer/blogger for NBC's upcoming Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. So tonight's free book release party at The Bell House in Brooklyn's Gowanus neighborhood should be quite the hoot, with live performances from book contributors David Wain, David Rees, Mike Albo, Dave Hill, Todd Levin, Odd Todd, Sara Schaefer, Tom McCaffrey, Katina Corrao, plus live music from Rejection Show house band The Defibulators and Adira Amram.
UPDATED! This just in from Friedman via email: "My dad is doing a duet with Adira Amram. Also, free cupcakes."
Videos and book info after the jump.
Last night's special "on-air" edition of Jon Friedman's Rejection Show featured some very fresh and updated tales of failure and humiliation from comedians. Carolyn Castiglia, castigated by not only anonymous online commenters but also on TV by Jimmy Kimmel (ABC) and Joel McHale (E!) for her performance last year on The (White) Rapper Show, got invited back on TV to compete on the new reality competition show, ego trip's Miss Rap Supreme. The show debuts Monday at 10 p.m. on VH1. You can sneak a peek at the entire premiere on VH1.com and see whether MC Serch can handle what Miss CKC is putting down, freestyle! Also, Khia returns to show us if she's got more than just My Neck, My Back. There's rapper-on-rapper kissing and much more foolishness in store. In this teaser clip, you get glimpses of Miss CKC dancing in the background and rapping her "booty" off.
As a journalist, reaching the final page of the notebook always prompts mixed emotions. First, excitement at the prospect of starting anew with a clean, fresh pad of paper. Then, a touch of sadness, because you've held this pad literally close to the vest for months, and inside it are memories, written down and kept with you, but nevermore. And you know that even though you keep your notes around for years to come, the odds remind you that you'll likely not open this pad again, leaving it with the other memories of shows and interviews and news gone by. Was there something you'd written that shouldn't be left behind, you wonder? If you're lucky to remember, you flip back through the pages looking for important phone numbers, names and notes to self that actually became notes to self.
I found a few shows I'd seen that made my notepad but hadn't been shared yet. So let's get to it.
Goodnight, OJ: This one-woman show by Livia Scott (directed by Baron Vaughn) has its final performance tonight (Jan. 30) at the UCB Theatre in NYC. In it, Scott re-examines and performs actual letters written to OJ Simpson when he was in jail back in 1994 charged with double murder. I saw this show Nov. 29, 2007, when Simpson had just come back into the news -- and jail -- for his Vegas shenanigans. Scott and Vaughn made a conscious decision to include not only letters of dark humor but also darkly depressing notes. Wasn't expecting that. Scott told me they've shuffled the order of the letters from show to show, and believes the Simpson trial was one of the last things (9/11 notwithstanding) that brought everyone together to watch in shock and awe. I found the Colette letters as well as the notes from children to be quite funny and touching. Still not sure about including some of the darker stuff (one letter is addressed, "Hey, Sambo"), but I suppose that's what makes this more of a theatrical piece than a straight comedy.
We Kate Shelly: Sketch comedy from Kate Hess and Shelly Stover. Stover has such an expressive face and uses it to great effect. The duo has a big musical number finale. At the show I saw, their impact was lessened a bit because, without microphones, some of their scenes were more difficult to follow. They're at the UCB in NYC on Jan. 31, Feb. 4, and Feb. 18.
The Collective: There is a management firm known as The Collective. This is a diferent collective of New York City actors and comedians, and they invited me to see a comedy show they held after a play at Centerstage on West 21st Street. Fourth-floor venue. Very theatrical crowd, obviously most watched the company's play and stayed afterward, and quite welcoming to all the comedians. Amy Schumer hosted, talking to the audience as if she were friends with all of them (which heck, she may have been!). Comedians on the lineup included Mike DeStefano, Jackie Monahan, Demetri Martin, Mara Herron, Maggie Champagne and Jesse Joyce. Schumer told me later that night that they hope to produce more plays and comedy shows, just looking for the right venue.
Ritalin Readings: The Slipper Room had the feeling of a cozy living room before December's showcase of writers and comedians reading, with hosts Lindsay Robertson and Gabriel Delahaye. Delahaye opened with a bang by reading from "The Y2K Personal Survival Guide," with the helpful tips such as stocking up on two-liter soft drink bottles. Didn't hear much from Robertson but hope to next time. The show did throw me for a bit of a loop, though, when the first two performers didn't read at all. Sean O'Connor did stand-up. Elna Baker presented a story she was rehearsing for radio's This American Life about working in toy demonstration at FAO Schwartz. Both funny, but wasn't this about reading? Lang Fisher did have a letter she'd written to a potential employer in becoming an assistant farmer, while Will Leitch read from his upcoming book (now out) based on his Deadspin experiences, and show producer Jon Friedman shared an email he sent to all of his coworkers on his last day as an NBC intern. Patrick Borelli closed the show with crazy, true and quick stories.
I think that gets us almost caught up.
Over the years, I've witnessed some of the uglier facets of comedy contests as both a participant and as a judge. Last night, however, I saw the sunnier side at the ECNY Awards (please don't call them the Emerging Comics of New York anymore) ceremony at Comix in New York City. Even before the showcase started, you could see something special happening. Comedians got dressed up. There was a red carpet. Small, to be sure, but still there and still red with correspondents talking to a camera in footage that presumably will wind up on the Internet. A very festive air. And so nice to see a scene -- or at least a distinctly unique scene -- come together in celebration of the art of comedy. Host Jon Friedman said they changed the name of the awards KFC-like to just ECNY to show they were rewarding all sorts of comedy, not just the emerging kind. At the same time, though, it would've been nice to really see all of New York comedy represented in the room. When the ceremony ended, several comedians had to turn around and go back to their table because they didn't have their proper receipts on hand for the door guys. We spent the night in a traditional comedy club with traditional item minimums and rules, and yet we could've used a few more traditional club comedians. Maybe next year?
Anyhow. I was saying how nice the night was, right?
Some highlights: The show opened with a six-minute video montage of the nominees speaking directly to the camera. Well-edited. And made funnier after Joe Mande said it'd be creepy if this montage turned out to be their memorial video. Friedman, not only hosting the show but also an organizer and a nominee for best host, acknowledged the conflict, quipping: "This for me is a lose-lose." Later, when he lost, he immediately asked the other "losers" in his category to play his Rejection Show. Another big laugh line from Friedman: "I was told to be very Seacresty." Scott Bateman provided professional animated videos to list all of the nominees. And most of the award presenters brought it, too. Matt McCarthy, presenting best director, opened the proceedings with a wicked Stanley Kubrick from the set of The Shining. Andres Du Bouchet delivered the opening and closing lines from Act 1 of his upcoming fictional one-man-show (100 and Me Percent?) that went over so well, he almost wasn't joking when he said, "I can tell it's going to be a big hit." The Whitest Kids U'Know went to see a psychic yesterday for help determining the best sketch group winners. Carolyn Castiglia joked: "It's great to see so many comedians get dressed up to get drunk and cry. Usually I do it naked and covered in pizza!"
What else? All of the musical comedy nominees performed during the show. Only Reggie Watts got a standing ovation. And didn't win. Eddie Brill received the first "lifetime achievement award" and really took it to heart, confessing in his speech, "I've never been more nervous." They also debuted a new soap opera parody from A.D. Miles called "Horrible People" that'll begin airing soon online on My Damn Channel. I sat next to Jordan Carlos and Andrew WK. Carlos was nice. WK was nice, but awfully quiet aside from his brief stint as a presenter. The show limited acceptance speeches to 30 seconds, but the show still lasted close to two-and-a-half hours. The afterparty at Comix lasted just as long. At said afterparty, Nate Sloan from The Apiary wanted Todd Jackson from Dead-Frog and I to dish our "hot tips." I'm no Gossip Girl. XOXO.
The winners! Congrats to all, for whatever an ECNY Award is worth, you got one! Hooray!
Best Director: Kurt Braunohler
Best Improv Group: I Eat Pandas
Best One Person Show: Nick Kroll (Fabrice Fabrice)
Best Sketch Comedy Group: Harvard Sailing Team
Outstanding Achievement in Flyer or Postcard Design: The Apple Sisters (Matthew C. Johnson, Keith Huang)
Best Technician: Pat Baer
Best Short Comedic Film: Minesweeper: The Movie (Elephant Larry)
Best Website, Original Content: The Onion News Network
Best Website, News and Commentary: The Apiary
Best Host: Eugene Mirman and Michael Showalter, Tearing the Veil of Maya
Emerging Comic Award: Joe Mande
Best Musical Comedy Act: The Apple Sisters
Best Female Stand-up: Kristen Schaal
Best Male Stand-up: John Mulaney
And for those of you playing the Full Disclosure Home Game, four of the five producers of the ECNY Awards also were up for awards (the exception: Alex Goldberg). Friedman (host) and Carol Hartsell (tech) didn't win. Alex Zalben (sketch) and Nate/The Apiary (website/news) won. I was not nominated. Snub? Jackson joked to me that I was too new to New York City to get a nod and would have to wait my turn, like Barack Obama. I'll take an Obama comparison, so thanks, Todd!
UPDATED/CORRECTED! I cleaned up a couple of things in this post that weren't entirely clear when I first wrote them (thank you, commenters!). Also, if you want to see what I look like, as well as Dead-Frog's Todd Jackson, there is a lovely picture of us taken last night by Rachel Kramer Bussel!
Today is the final day for open voting for the ECNY Awards, which used to stand for Emerging Comics of New York, but now just is ECNY to honor other kinds of comedians, sort of how KFC decided it was much more than merely Kentucky Fried. The awards ceremony is Jan. 28 at Comix. And the show promises to be a hoot. Jon Friedman hosts. Look for live performances and pre-taped magic, and for a sneak peek, I caught up with ECNY's producers as they got some of the nominees on camera. So I got them getting them on camera. Here's a fun snippet with The Apple Sisters...
Who will be getting your votes? Perhaps more importantly, who'll get my votes? I'm on the "Industry Committee," which means not only do I get until Jan. 20 to place my votes, but also that the Industry Committee's votes count for half of the total -- perhaps they got that concept from Dancing With The Stars, in which the judges get 50% of the say, the audience the other 50% through call-in votes. Since I still have some time before I fill out my ballot, perhaps you can help make the case for your favorites or get me to take a second look at someone I may have overlooked.
As it stands, my thoughts are...
Christmas is coming, and who cares if the goose is getting fat, because where are the comedy audiences? Probably off to their families, much like the comedians themselves. But the holidays also tend to bring comedians together, too, with holiday-themed parties, shows and sketches. Tonight in New York City, you have several opportunities for holiday ha-ha-hoedowns. Yes, really. Such as and therefore like (sorry, watching a repeat of VH1's Best Year Ever whilst typing not a good idea) here are a few shows you might want to mark on your calendar, except that it's tonight, so no need for calendar-marking...
Auntie Sara's Big-Ass X-Mas Spectacular and Afterparty, 7 p.m. at Ochi's Lounge, downstairs from Comix -- hosted by Sara Benincasa, with Oren Brimer, Ces Marciuliano, Diana Saez, Sean Lynch and Pat Stango
The Apple Sisters Holidoozy of a 1940s Christmas radio show, 7 p.m. at The PIT
Holiday Dazzles, 8 p.m. at the UCB, hosted by Eliza Skinner and Carolyn Castiglia, and featuring Adira Amram, Ann Carr, Katina Corrao, Jessica Delfino, Becky Drysdale, Robert Keller, Nate Kushner, Tom Middleditch, Matt McCarthy, Glennis McMurray, the New York Neo-Futurists, Mindy Raf, Mike Still and more.
And finally, last but not least as they say, it's the Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy Christmas Show, starting sometime in the 8 o'clock hour at Rififi, with Andy Blitz, Chelsea Peretti, Bobby Tisdale, Santa Claus, Brian Kiley, Mike Burns (on his last night in NY) and special surprises.
But what about last night, you ask? Last night I got to see some of this holiday razzle dazzlematazz up close and in person, thanks to the Slightly Buzzed show put on by Jon Friedman and Stuckey & Murray (no Stuckey this night, as he's off to Alabama). First up, The Apple Sisters. I'd heard more than slight buzz about these three ladies, and they lived up to it last night with their musical ode to Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men. They pack a wallop, these three! Fast, fun, full of surprises. Here's a photo that barely captures that:
Sean Crespo followed with a Christmas miracle story about rescuing a small bird from the clutches of Central Park South. Murray, sans Stuckey, sang a love song for a Jew. Eliza Skinner presented one of her hilarious theatrical pieces from her one-woman show, Eliza Skinner is SHAMELESS! Adam Wade didn't talk so much about the holidays as he provided evidence that while he may have peaked in the sixth grade, he's still scrappy. Scrappy-Doo! Adira Amram and Ann Carr presented something so wild that if I were to have photographed it, the picture would've blown your mind. They'll be performing their Christmas sketch again tonight at the UCB, so you can go see it there and then. Let's just paint the opening for you, though: Amram is Hal the Square Snowman, and Carr is Randy the Red-Balled Reindeer.
Friedman, for his part, showed a short film that he'd written the screenplay for in college. Sean W. Cunningham filmed it. And it is "Santa Claus and the Jew." Friedman read some of the YouTube comments for it and offered that perhaps the comments would be different if they knew his backstory on it. It's about Friedman wondering why, as a child, Santa never visited his house. In the video, the explanation, and the truth, hurts.
After the jump, a photo of Jon Friedman and I in happier, sunnier times!