The Bell House in Brooklyn was packed to capacity and even beyond, with gawkers spilling out past the doors to hear readings from Jon Glaser's new book, My Dead Dad was in ZZ Top. It didn't hurt that the book party was free. Oh, and that among those reading included John Hodgman, Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd!
Jon Hamm read from letters and secret government documents purporting to reveal the true origins for the band Butthole Surfers.
Paul Rudd followed by reading a selection of letters imagining the bands and musicians who asked Jay Leno about becoming his new house band after Kevin Eubanks left The Tonight Show. Rudd chose to voice Leno's parts as Leno. You like?
The book is available now.
Do you really need a tornado to be transported to another world? Maybe. It certainly helped add to the theme last night when thunderstorms brought funnel clouds through Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, uprooting trees just a block or two away from the start of the third annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, which just so happened to be kicking off at The Bell House with a show themed "An Evening of Comedy From 1986."
Mirman says the festival is a joke, but one in which he and his organizers have committed to fully. Each year they provide fun things for audiences to enjoy, both free and available for purchase. A merch table last night offered traditional items such as posters and free guides, but also "Industry Rocks" (rocks engraved with names of real-life comedy industry people, for $15), velvet Eugene paintings ($25) and more. Inside the venue, audience members could feast on free roasted duck, set up on a table beneath a banner that read "Eugene's Pee Your Pants Comedy Villa." At the door, each audience member received 3-D glasses to watch Mirman's 3-D "welcome video."
As for the show itself, Mirman introduced Tony V with the credits he would have had in 1986, and Tony joked about his small role in the 1986 movie, One Crazy Summer. The "best impressionist" Sandy Gorman followed, played by Larry Murphy in a white wig, holding a giant phone and wearing a suit jacket with the sleeves rolled up. Among his impressions: Jack Nicholson, Ronald Reagan, Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro on a party line. Mirman next brought out Teddy Ruxpin. Yes. The stuffed teddy bear that can talk. Mirman sat the Teddy Ruxpin on a stool in front of the mic and walked off, letting Ruxpin spew forth a filthy NSFW stand-up routine. Ron Lynch opened his set by reading off notes of how a stand-up should act, then noted that the rolled-up sleeves really was a trend in stand-up back in the 1980s.
"How did that happen? Who was the first? How many of you have no idea what I'm talking about?"
In a special treat, Lynch played the cassette tape that Louis CK sent him back around 1986 as an audition to get booked in a club Lynch ran in the Boston area. Afterward Lynch mocked him, which prompted Louis CK himself to appear in a cameo that delighted the crowd. Lynch closed with his classic bit from the future in which a Disney-engineered robot explains what stand-up comedy was all about.
Did you know that Cartoon Network's Adult Swim has moved up the premieres of new episodes of Delocated to Thursday nights, ahead of what now are repeats on Sundays? Weird, right. That's what the Delocated blog says. News to my DVR. I'll top that with this: Jon Glaser received a new ski mask just in time for the Jewish New Year. Here he is sporting a Hasidic Clockwork Orange number, knitted by his friend, comedy producer C.J. Arabia.
Fun fact: Arabia is, as they say in Facebook (and in real life), "in a relationship with" Mather Zickel, who plays Glaser's security detail in season two of the series. You may have even seen Arabia and her dog on last week's episode, "Dog Mayor."
Fun fact part two, electric boogaloo: Arabia tells me, "I make custom orders for the holidays." That's right. If you'd like her to knit you something special, Halloween is coming up, after all, go to her site, Where My Knittas At, and contact her. She said projects can take at least a week, or up to a couple of months to complete.
You can see Delocated on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 10 p.m. Sunday.
My friends at Asylum caught up with comedian Jon Glaser on the set of his Adult Swim series, Delocated (airing Sunday nights, two episodes into the second season, which I hope and trust you're all watching because it's now twice as fun at a half-hour length!). And Glaser had these handy tips for you to stay cool during this deathly hot summer, especially if you have to wear a ski mask.
"Chip chop, beat the heat!"
The second season of Jon Glaser's Delocated will return to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim on Aug. 22 as a half-hour, twice as long as before, and sources have told me that Adult Swim liked the early episodes so much they already have extended the second season. You can see some behind-the-scenes shots and comments from Glaser about Season 2 and Season 2.5 on the Delocated Tumblr.
Here's what else I can tell you based on the first two half-hour episodes, which I have seen. It almost immediately switches from a silly comedy to a "silly drama" as the TV network seeks out Sergei Mirminsky (Steve Cirbus) to do the job that his brother, Yvgeny (Eugene Mirman), could not: Kill "Jon." Episode #201, "Decoys," ups the ante as Sergei goes on a killing spree, while "Jon" goes on defense by hiring a slew of decoys. We also see the introduction of Jerry Minor as "Mighty Joe Jon, the black blonde," and Todd Barry playing himself, as a comedian friend of Yvgeny's. If you remember from season one, Yvgeny, in addition to being a Russian hit man, also began to pursue a career in stand-up.
Episode #202, "Conversions," finds things spiraling further out of control. Mather Zickel shows up as federal agent Rob, who also happens to be the new boyfriend of Jon's wife, Susan.
Larry Murphy returns as the doorman, Jay, while Kevin Dorff plays Jon's personal agent, Mike.
There's violence, there's nudity, there's multiple personality disorder. Something for everyone, really, wouldn't you agree? "Jon" made this clip to welcome us all back to his meta world of being the first reality TV star who's also in the witness protection program. Roll it.
I'm not sure how or why, but Toyota is throwing a contest that allows fans to "Sponsafy Your Ride" for an upcoming NASCAR all-star race, and comedian Jon Glaser, star of Adult Swim's Delocated, decided to design his own ski-masked ride as part of a promotion for the upcoming second season of his TV series.
Actually, he submitted a "Rage Cage" design earlier, but that got rejected. This one is in the running, and had 578 votes by early this morning. You can check out Delo-Car-Ted 2 and the rest of the gallery here.
As Glaser wrote yesterday on his Tumblr for the show:
If I win, which will never happen, this car will get made for real and I will get driven around a race track for a lap in it before a race. FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, let's talk Delocated! The first-season finale aired overnight on Adult Swim, and cliffhanger alert! Am I right? Anyhow. If you missed, I shall not spoil it for you, and neither will the network, because the episode isn't online yet. Better for you, though, because you can still catch the penultimate episode for a limited time and look at country club golf in a "hole" new light.
Everything about this show should be awful but instead is awfully hilarious. The only thing wrong about these seven episodes, or 77 minutes of awesomeness, that I can see is that when you try to watch the clips online later, Adult Swim presents them in reverse order, so you watch it a la Memento. Even that's satisfying, though.
In related news, star "Jon" Glaser hosted a live Delocated show on March 19 at the 92YTribeca, and it was the oddest thing I'd seen since seeing Glaser get his fake band Detroit Octane to perform as the real musical guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Glaser's Delocated comedy show was perhaps the ultimate anti-comedy show. Scott Adsit (30 Rock) performed as a ventriloquist who wasn't providing the voice of his dummy. A.D. Miles presented a slide show without the slides. Andy Blitz twirled comedy circles as "Peanut Butter" repeating his punchlines twice in a set that seemingly went on forever. The Pontani Sisters performed burlesque in masks, and one of them did a "strip-tease" for "Jon's" son from the show. Yo La Tengo closed the night with a short set of music, in masks and with voice modulators. Eugene Mirman, who plays "Jon's" would-be assassin on the show, provided a video about vodka singalongs that "Jon" co-opted for the rest of the night. Can you really sing any song and change part of the lyrics to say "vodka"? Yes, yes you can. Oh, and Glaser also presented his own illustrated book response to Kim Cattrall's sex book. Two weeks later, I'm still not sure what I experienced. Photos? Yes.
Location, location, location. That's the mantra in real estate, and perhaps the folks at Adult Swim followed it by choosing Bleecker and Lafayette as the setting for their larger-than-life advertisement for Delcoated, the very funny new short series that airs on Thursday nights. (Thanks, Aziz)
You can catch up with Delocated here.
But about that location. The billboard looms large over 45 Bleecker, which is home not only to Mike Birbiglia's successful off-Broadway run of Sleepwalk With Me, but also Lizz Winstead's Shoot the Messenger satire of the morning news, as well as the new one-man show by Marc Maron, Scorching the Earth, which will play Sunday nights at the theater in March.
Coincidentally, Maron sat down with his show producer/comedy blogger Dylan P. Gadino for "A Tight Five."
Jon Glaser is responsible for some pretty ridiculous concepts, and I have to congratulate him once again for getting this premise onto the airwaves -- Delocated, which debuts Thursday night on Adult Swim (10:30 p.m. Eastern), stars Glaser as the father of a family that ends up in the witness protection program. Oh, almost forgot. They agreed to move to New York City, putting on ski masks and disguising their voices and being taped for a reality show. And they're being chased by a stand-up comic (Eugene Mirman) who doubles as a hitman. Roll the clips!
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Glaser also will be a guest tonight (Feb. 10) on The Best Show on WFMU (8-11 p.m. EST), 91.1 FM in the NYC area, or online at WFMU.
After the jump, an episode guide if you want to know what's coming...
Today's "big deal" on Funny or Die is the short, "Bang, Blow and Stroke," a behind-the-scenes look at the metal band Vesuvius, from the upcoming film The Rocker with Rainn Wilson. Jason Sudeikis and Jon Glaser provide commentary, and band members include Will Arnett, Fred Armisen, Lonny Ross and Bradley Cooper. As a few commenters on FOD already have pointed out, this sounds and looks quite a bit like a 21st century version of This is Spinal Tap. Would it seem as much, though, if the band members didn't take on British accents? Watch, compare, then discuss. Here is your (warning: NSFW) look at Vesuvius:
And here, for you kids who need a reminder, was Spinal Tap. Go back in the Wayback Machine to the official movie trailer, which manages to include the essential scenes without giving away some of the most memorable lines:
The funniest thing I've seen on Sony's CSpot just so happens to have been filmed in my neighborhood this summer. Coincidence? Who cares. Just sit back and enjoy the online series, "The Line," featuring the crazed fans of the fictional movie FutureSpace, including Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jon Glaser, Bobby Moynihan, Chris Gethard, with Jason Sudeikis as the cinema manager, Paul Scheer as "the spoiler," and more. Fun fact: The Cobble Hill Cinemas only charges $6.50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hooray! The season finale went up today. Directed by Seth Meyers. Written by Hader and Simon Rich. You can see all of "The Line" episodes here big and even in HD. But begin at the beginning, please:
UPDATED: The New York Times wrote about it today, notes that Hader and Rich wrote the online series during last year's strike, and also the Sony Pictures product placements. Ah, comedy meeting commerce.
Why would anyone mourn a venue that's essentially a dive bar with inconsistent air conditioning, horribly horrible bathrooms, a movie screen that had a massive tear in it (until, ha-ha, this past week!) for a place that still had a sign outside boasting it was Cinema Classics, and really, all of the fun that the East Village had to offer? Then again, the independently-produced comedy community of New York City has been through this before, whether it was last year at Mo Pitkins or years ago with Luna Lounge. So there we were, after an abrupt email sent out in the wee hours yesterday morning, trying to figure out if it really would be the final hours for comedy at Rififi. Spoiler alert: It was.
While rumors flew about what made July 30 the last night for Rififi (a month-to-month lease that finally found someone willing to pay the increasingly high East Village rents seemed to be the leading speculation), the indie comedy scene hastily recast the weekly Gelmania show originally scheduled for this Wednesday night. The hosts from Thursday's Totally J/K (Joe and Noah) and Friday's Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy Show certainly would be there. So, too, would many others come to pay final respects. The Whitest Kids U Know, Andy Blitz and Todd Barry showed up as spectators. The final bill would see Joe Mande and Noah Garfinkel take over first-half hosting duties, with one final "List of Nothing" and a joke Mande had uttered earlier in the day via Facebook, that the current Rififi owner would be fleeing on Thursday and taking all of the Glade air-fresheners with him to "Molester Town." Gabe and Jenny (Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate) returned to host the second half. The final schedule will show that Adam Newman, Pete Holmes, "John McCain," Baron Vaughn, John Gemberling, Slightly Known People, Hannibal Buress, Tom McCaffrey, Chelsea Peretti, Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy, Jon Glaser, John Mulaney, Leo Allen and Eugene Mirman took part in this last Rififi effort. There was a one-woman lip-synch effort to Les Miz with Pez, or is that called Pez Miz? Mirman shouted out requests to Glaser to "do some oldies!" Mulaney even used the opportunity to try new jokes! The show began auspiciously late (?) at 9:11 p.m. and lasted past midnight, with Mirman taking the stage at 12:01 a.m., getting all rock 'n' roll by play-real trashing the stage, and Leo Allen rejoining him onstage for some last-minute banter that was odd and appropriately poignant for the occasion.
Among the quips I quoted...
"Rough week, first Bennigan's, now Rififi!" -- Pete Holmes
"I like how the owner never learned our names," Jenny Slate said. "And we had a show here for two years," Gabe Liedman replied. "Well," Slate said, "He only knew me by who I was sleeping with."
"So, Rififi's closing...ninth time's the charm, right?" -- Tom McCaffrey
"I only saw the last episode of Seinfeld, if that makes you feel any better." -- Chelsea Peretti
"I could stand up here and tell jokes that I've told 5,000 times on this stage, and I think I might." -- Greg Johnson
"Greg Johnson and I tried to save Rififi once." -- John Mulaney, adding that they discovered at a city meeting that, at that time, Rififi didn't even have a license to host live events such as comedy. Rut-ro!
"I like Rififi because you could do things that you thought were funny, but most audiences would disagree vehemently with you." -- Leo Allen
"When you leave, take a door with you!" Eugene Mirman said, then made some banging noises on the ceiling. "Oh, wait. The neighbors will complain...to the next landlord."
I have video of the final 13 minutes of the show, after the jump. You may think it a bit anti-climactic, but remember, comedians and fans didn't really have much of a chance to plan this out, even though we all knew this night would be coming sooner or later. Perhaps all of those false closing rumors of Rififi made some believe the dive would never change hands. This night proved us wrong. So now where does this scene hang out and perform now? Suggestions and thoughts encouraged in the comments. Don't be shy.
After we all saw the deliriously delicious sight of political parody band Detroit Octane perform "Barack Obama-Sistable" on TV for Conan O'Brien, we wondered -- OK, maybe just a few wondered -- what could possibly follow that up? Well, lead singer Keith Garrity has produced a solo effort that combines his love of political parody with his equal passion for the catalog of Billy Ocean. Hence, Detroit Ocean. And this song for Obama, "When the Voting Gets Tough." Enjoy.
Conan O'Brien has welcomed some beautiful musical moments on his late-night TV show and some truly rocking bands. And then on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, he had Detroit Octane on the program. And he even introduced them as a parody act. Amazingly, this was perhaps the third time during this hour that Conan said "this show would not air." Look closely for Glaser's retort. Also keep an eye out for the "attitude stool." If Hulu goes down, you can also view it here on the 236.com site. Such a weird moment in television history.
The political parody site, 23/6, opens up an investigative reporting wing with this new series, Exposed. In the first episode, political "comedian" Barry Goldstein gets his comeuppance. With cameos by Michael Showalter and Mike Birbiglia, shot in part at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Enjoy.
If you're reading this, it's a Sunday morning, and probably not the time you're thinking about seeing a comedy show. Unless you have kids. And then you may want to hear about a limited-time production called The Wizard's Lounge, which offers performances today and next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the UCB Theatre in New York.
Billed as "part PeeWee's Playhouse and part Harry Potter," the hourlong show built for small children is the work of comedians/animators Matt Hall and Patrick Borelli, with wizards, knights, odd guests, riddles, magic orbs and more. They're helped by a cast of comedians that you'd normally see producing comedy for adults and adults who feel more like kids on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning, including Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate, Jon Benjamin, Jon Glaser, Larry Murphy and Leo Allen. But there they were last Sunday, performing for an audience at the UCB that consisted almost entirely of small children (ages ranged from toddlers to around 8) and their parents. Last week, Gelman helped open the show and warm up the kids as Samuel Squire. Hall hosted as Dr. Carl Manteesean, Wizard's Order 3rd Class. His sidekicks included Prince Mando, who, turned into a raven, was played by the voice of Glaser, and Wrangleswift the Sleepy Knight, played by Borelli. The knight is on hand to protect the show from getting taken over by the bad, evil wizard (played last week by Allen), except his sleeping fits meant he'd need the kids to wake him up early and often. Over the course of the show, Hall used animated displays to lead the children through a series of riddles and games that alternated between silly and slightly educational. The show also would see several drop-in guests, including Lady Flufferton (Slate) to play a version of the memory game, and the Rollin' Yogi (Benjamin) to display his "magic" talents of perception.
With kids in the audience, you always/never know quite what to expect (and I know this all too well from a year I spent working as a professional clown at birthday parties and company picnics in Seattle back in 1997). Last week, the performers realized they had to watch their language even more than simply avoiding profanity when one of the children in the audience blurted out in reply: "Stupid is a bad word!" There were giggles all around. Also the kids really latched onto Glaser's raven and his sales pitch for his potential nightclub, "The Bird's Nest," and somehow picked up on it themselves as a natural callback throughout last week's show. The kids loved Buzz the bee's song last week, yet hated it the week before. And the kids did manage to hold off throwing their magic orbs until properly cued, at which point Allen's evil wizard hat made for a surprisingly easy target. All in all, the show did offer laughs for both children and adults alike. It still felt like a work in progress, though, as I mentioned earlier, most of these performers are probably more used to dealing with subversive college-age crowds than innocent and attention-starved children. They told me afterward that if all goes well this week and next, they may decide to mount the show again later this year. It'll be interesting to see how it develops as both the performers and the audience get more and more accustomed to the framework of the show.
The presidential hopes of Barack Obama seem to have slipped recently, at least if you believe the media. But Obama's campaign has a secret weapon: Campaign operative Daniel Phelps. Two of several things I love about this video, after the jump! And it's not a song parody from the 1980s. Take that, dirty tricksters.
Today's New York Times says that the McCain Girls videos are a spoof made possible by 236.com. Who knew? Well, we sorta knew, didn't we? After more than 1.66 million views of the initial music video parody, "It's Raining McCain," the Huffington Post's politically-minded humor spinoff site has come forward and taken credit for it officially on the YouTube channel today.
Co-creator Patrick Borelli sat down for an exclusive chat with The Comic's Comic to talk about the making of the McCain Girls and the aftermath.
Which idea came first, Jon Glaser's Barack
Obama-sistible or your guys It's Raining McCain? Do you guys have a
I'm not sure which idea came first. I think they happened around the same time but independent of each other. I love Detroit Octane. I've known Glaser for a while and I'm good friends with the guitarist, Tedward. I love Detroit Octane's songs—they way Glaser sang them is so earnest. But yes, to answer your question, the McCain Girls hate Detroit Octane.
(Updated clarification: Brian Spinks, video department guru at 23/6, sent Benjamin and Glaser a bunch of voter-generated campaign songs and asked how we could make fun of them.)
What other songs did you guys consider spoofing before you hit upon that one?
Jon (Benjamin) and I were on the phone and he told me that 23/6 asked him to do some sort of a political music video, since Obama Girl was so huge. I thought, "What's opposite of Obama Girl?" and It's Raining Men popped into my head. I loved the video when I was younger. How could you not? It features three plus-sized women singing about all heterosexual women's fantasies, which is, to have men who are good at dancing fall from the sky in a soft manner, so that they are able to land softly and then proceed to find a woman they can dance for. So, I said, "We should do It's Raining McCain," and Benjamin laughed and agreed. And that was that. He called 23/6, since he had basically made most of their videos for them and we got to work on it almost immediately.
How did the writing partnership between you and Benjamin start and evolve?
I first started working with Jon when I performed on his Pajama Jam show, which was a live talk show he started about four years ago and ended about a year ago. Matt Hall and I would come up with goofy bits and do them every month. It was really one of the best shows going. Then, Jon created Assy McGee for Adult Swim and asked me if I'd write a few episodes with him. We have a pretty similar sensibility. He's really fun to write with because he's all about the ideas whereas some comics are angling more to get their idea across, even if it isn't the funniest. Jon's not like that. He's all about what's funniest.
How did you divvy up the work on McCain Girls?
We pretty much shared everything. We each wrote a version of the song separately and then when we got to the recording studio, we married our versions together. Jon's really great at honing in on the ridiculous and he came up with the line, "I'm gonna' go out and let myself get, absolutely JOHN McCAIN!" That's my favorite line. We were both in the recording session, giving feedback. Holly Schlesinger, who works at 23/6 and is a good friend of mine, was at the recording and actually sang. We had a third girl booked that failed to show, so Holly agreed to do it. I placed the ad on Craigslist and picked the three women. I wanted women that were all different from each other, both in age and race. Jeff Buchanan, who's a really great editor and camera guy, shot and edited the video. And Brian Spinks, who runs the video department at 23/6, did all the graphics and effects.
What was the Craigslist ad and what kind of response did it get?
The ad said something like, "Plus-sized female singer wanted for musical parody and video shoot." That was pretty much it. I got about fifteen responses.
How tough was it to make the video look amateurish (and I mean that in a good way)?
Not too hard. I lent them my one-chip camera, which doesn't look nearly as sharp as a 3-chip or HD camera. We figured that would help sell the amateurish feel. And Jeff did some really funny, crappy editing moves and shots made it look perfectly sloppy. And Spinks did some really funny effects, like having the woman on the left, Barbara, just fade in and out of the green screen. So it looks like she's in the process of being beamed up, Star Trek style.
When 23/6 decided to put your video on YouTube instead of 236.com, how did you guys feel about being anonymous?
That was our idea and 23/6 agreed to it. We knew if it were connected to 23/6, that no one would think it was authentic. And we were right. So many people thought it was real that John McCain admitted to having watched it a few times and said he was a fan. There's no way he would have said that if he knew it was created by a humor site.
How have you felt about all of the commentary out there, not only
online but also from the mainstream media and political pundits? Did you think much about any potential impact on the
actual campaign? Does it matter if you and Benjamin personally support
McCain or not?
I've loved seeing the video's audience grow larger and larger. When I saw the FOX News footage where they asked McCain if he'd seen or heard about the McCain Girls and he laughed and said yes and that he was a fan, I was thrilled. That's the ultimate joke, really. To create a parody that reaches the subject and not even they know it's a parody. I don't think it matters who we support but it's pretty safe to say that we do not support McCain.
response video (above) from the seemingly lead McCain Girl, getting all sassy
and NSFW, seems real enough to be her own words. How much input did she
have on that?
That response video was all Darnelle. She's legitimately angry. She should be. She received a majority of the mean comments and most of them were either about her weight, looks or race. They're just awful to read. I recorded it. I said to her, "Just respond to all those jerks. Tell them what you think."
And now that you aren't anonymous, what's next for the McCain Girls?
We're not sure. We haven't figured that out yet.
In the meantime, 23/6 has reloaded and reuploaded the sequel video, Here Comes McCain Again, on its own site. Here it is, too. Enjoy.