Wasn't sure what to make of this latest installment of the "Stand-up Comedy Is Not Pretty" animation series, especially considering it was labeled as an interview with Kyle Cease about his stand-up comedy boot camps, but did not say Cease participated in the video. Cease later told me he didn't have anything to do with this. So keep that in mind when you watch. It imagines a hipper-than-hip podcaster trying to take down Cease. You know who you are, comedy hipsters.
So watch already! Roll it.
Just watched this new 26-minute interview with Kyle Cease, which isn't really so much an interview as it is an infomercial for his "stand-up comedy bootcamps," although it's not so much an infomercial as it is really the whole thing. In a nutshell.
Did this save you a bunch of money? Did it make you want to spend all of your money on a bootcamp? And by all, I mean all $299, with a money-back guarantee, as Cease himself tells me. Does it change your mindset at all on Cease, hearing what he has to say about the typical mindset of a stand-up comedian, and what it should be instead? Let me know, after you've watched him make his case. And if any of you ventriloquist dummies don't know why I'd ask questions as if this is an issue, then you haven't read any message board debate over this. Also: Kyle Cease himself says in this video that he believes comedians tend to have the wrong mindset, and wants to right it. Did he? Could he? Roll it!
Normally I wouldn't write about a stand-up comedy class, because there are many of them out there in comedy clubs and community colleges, and well, are they really all worth writing about? But Kyle Cease's stand-up comedy bootcamp, and the promotional videos his brother produced for it, caught my eye earlier this year and have generated quite a bit of discussion within the comedy community.
So here is your official update on all of that. If you follow Cease's Twitter feed, you'll know that he is working on a new call-in radio program with John Heffron, and also something else involving giving paid work to aspiring stand-ups. Do you like paid work? Of course you do. His stand-up comedy bootcamp is another thing entirely (I've heard spirited discussion both for and against it), and if you want to rehash all of that, just go back into my archives on it or view the trailer on the Standup Bootcamp site. Fact is, Kyle Cease is putting on a fall edition of his Standup Bootcamp, to be held Oct. 17-21 at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal City, Calif. Over the course of 60 hours, participants will hear from Cease and Lovitz, as well as Tom Wilson, Wendy Liebman, Steve Byrne, Alonzo Bodden, Bryan Callen, ANT, Chris Porter and John Heffron, and get to ask questions of and showcase in front of agents and other industry.
The cost? $599-$799-$999
The pricing packages are listed here. You'll pay $799 if you want one-on-one coaching with the aforementioned headliners. It'll cost you another $200 to perform in the industry showcase (and also sit in the front row?). For what that's worth. What is that worth to you?
Kyle Cease "won" the 2009 Comedy Central Stand-Up Showdown, which is a testament to his humor, and/or the amount of time one has on his or her hands to get as many people to vote for him during a limited timeframe (which also is a testament to one's humor/charm). Cease had undergone a lot of self-reflection last year on his MySpace blog, and this year, has decided to turn this into an effort to helping others with their comedy. Seems admirable enough, right? So long as you have the time between your own gigs, I suppose. But something also seemed a little weird. One of Kyle's friends, Chase Roper, wrote this post on Punchline Magazine about Cease's decision to teach stand-up. Neuro-linguistic programming? Something about self-help and "programming" struck an alarm chord, and sure enough, just go ahead and Google NLP and Scientology and you'll find 652,000 results. I'm sure all of this works for plenty of people, and whatever floats your boat and doesn't sink mine is a nice libertarian way to think about life in general, but then, well, just watch this. If you were thinking that Funny People would be the most melodramatic look at comedy this summer, then think again...
This is the official promotional video for what Kyle Cease is doing (his brother, Kevin, put this online), with an "inspirational" assist from Ant. Yes. Ant. And remember when you're watching the people crying and providing testimonials, that this is not a reality show, not an infomercial, not a cult religion, but rather, a COMEDY boot camp:
Please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts, comments, and rebuttals!
Comedy Central's upcoming Reality Bites Back debuts on July 17. It's a game show spoof of reality show contests. Meta meta. Michael Ian Black hosts.
Who's going to play? Kyle Cease, Chris Fairbanks, Jeff Garcia, Red Grant, Tiffany Haddish, Bert Kreischer, Mo Mandel, Donnell Rawlings, Amy Schumer and Theo Von. Winner gets $50,000. It's like one of those Real World-Road Rules Gauntlet things, isn't it? Which means Von should win, easy. Right? Bold press-release prediction from our host: “I believe ‘Reality Bites Back’ will do for reality television shows what ‘Alf’ did for extraterrestrial puppet shows,” said Michael Ian Black.
If you hadn't seen it yet, here's a preview:
Only one day before the debut of season six of NBC's Last Comic Standing, but right now, somewhere in this country (most likely Southern California), several comedians are competing in a spoof of all of the other "reality" TV shows. It's tentatively called Reality Bites Back, coming to Comedy Central on July 17 (same night as the return of The Gong Show with Dave Attell). It's a real competition modeled after parodies of actual "reality" TV contests. As the show's initial online home says, it'll include competitions such as "Are You Smarter Than A Monkey?," "So You Think You Can Dive!," "Almost American Gladiators" and "The Amazing Disgrace."
Michael Ian Black is hosting. Competitors include Donnell Rawlings, Kyle Cease and Theo Von. Von, as you may recall, first came to our collective attention on MTV's The Real World.
More importantly, though, there are seven other comedians taking part in this show. Do you know anyone competing? Please tell us!
UPDATED: You can see who's in it from this preview clip.
A tip of the cap to friendly funny blogger Max Silvestri for picking up on this new video offering from fellow friend in funny Kyle Cease (and as always, a co-starring mustachioed role for his comedy roommate, Bob Bledsoe). Here are some secret card trick tips! Also, very much NSFW. Enjoy!Melgicians magician tricks for magicians
Comedy Central's annual "Stand-Up Showdown" airs today, rebroadcasting the top 20 stand-up specials as voted online by fans over the past month. It's airing now!
The full schedule/countdown...which began at 11:30 a.m. today...(with applicable taping season)
20) Loni Love (season 11)
19) Doug Benson (season 8)
18) Chelsea Handler (season 11)
17) Steve Byrne (season 10)
16) Maria Bamford (season 11)*
15) Rich Vos (season 7)*
14) Dane Cook (season 3)
13) Stephen Lynch (season 12)**
12) Mike Birbiglia (season 10)*
11) Demetri Martin (season 8)
10) Mitch Hedberg (season 1)
9) Jim Gaffigan (season 3)
8) Pablo Francisco (season 4)
7) Kyle Cease (season 10)
6) Mitch Fatel (season 11)
5) Lewis Black (season 6)*
4) Frank Caliendo (season 8)
3) Lisa Landry (season 11)
2) Josh Sneed (season 11)
1) Jeff Dunham (his Spark of Insanity hourlong special)
* These comedians have multiple half-hour CCPs. Rich Vos has one upcoming this season.
** Stephen Lynch is the only one from this current crop of CCPs to make the list. Which, of course, is unfair to the many comedians this season who also taped with Lynch but haven't gotten on the air yet. Then again, this whole "showdown" is essentially just a test to see which comedian wants to mobilize his or her fans to vote early and often for them to get an extra TV airing. Really, that's it. No big cash prize. No trophy. But it certainly got us paying attention to Comedy Central on a Sunday in January, right? Of course, if I were one of the comedians who made the top 20, I'd probably still feel pretty good about it (while also looking at the other comedians who got listed ahead of me and behind me and wondering where I stood, which is why you have to realize and remind yourself that this isn't a "showdown" at all).
The Seattle Times dropped in on its local comedy scene for a random portrait. So, as with most random portraits of comedy, the piece opens with things not going swimmingly at an open mic!
The focus seems to be on the "hipsters" (not my word, nor ever my word) of The People's Republic of Komedy. The male and female halves of Shecky have more experience with them than I have -- I left Seattle in 2001 -- so perhaps I can try to make more sense of what Shecky calls the headscratcher quote from my friend Ron Reid at the Comedy Underground. Reid gets quoted thusly: "It's a little more indie and artsy than it's been in the past. The shows are either free or 5 bucks, so ... there's not this push to be exclusive or 'make it big.' I think the hipsters like it because no one's 'selling out.' "
So how was it in the past? Well, if we're talking about 10 years ago, when I first began frequenting the open mics to make the transition from improv, in Seattle, you had two nights at the Comedy Underground, a night at Giggles, and then random weekly bar nights that would spring up around the city whenever a fellow comic could convince the bar's management to give comedy a try. The open mics attracted just about everyone in the scene, very inclusive in that respect because we all were in the same boat, whether newbies like me or guys and gals with years in the game, merely looking for stage time wherever and whenever we could get it. Maybe that's what Reid means about it being artsier now, because the scene now has a subset that not only encompasses the certain types of comedians at the open mics but also the audiences. We didn't have a specific comedy-savvy audience at our open mics. We had unsuspecting bar patrons, for the most part. So the Seattle comedians now have a more welcoming atmosphere for them to experiment and grow their voices. And that's great news.
The Seattle Times article mentions Mitch Hedberg and Kyle Cease as guys who've used the Emerald City as a launching pad. I saw Hedberg win the Seattle contest in 1997, and not long after that, saw a teenaged Cease (in a suit, as I recall!) already headlining at Giggles. There are many others who've started in Seattle and gone on to bigger and better things (for one example, Joel McHale was a star at TheatreSports before going to L.A. where he now hosts The Soup on E!). And then there's a guy like Reggie Watts, who somehow found a way to start his comedy life in Seattle without the traditional open mics and venues to become an Andy Kaufman Award winner and fixture in New York's comedy scene. Where does he fit into the equation? Just wondering.
What do you think? Your thoughts and comments are welcome.
This video is silly and not at all safe for work (profanity), but it does show that Blake Lewis has a sense of humor after American Idol, as well as a sense of Seattle-area camaraderie with comedians Kyle Cease, Bob Bledsoe, Tracy Tuffs and others. Even if they're all Hollywood now. Enjoy.