Say the word "Trio" and you'll think of many things (but probably not about the short-lived cable network), which is why when I tell you about "Pilot Season," you'll maybe think of a real thing that happens in Hollywood each winter/spring, but you're not likely to think of the documentary that Trio did about that real-life thing, and definitely not going to say, hey, wasn't there an improvised comedy about that real thing? (Unless you are a comedy nerd to the nerd power, or knew these people personally) Before NBC Universal acquired and terminated the Trio network, the channel was perhaps best known for celebrating TV pilots and programs that didn't get their due in Brilliant But Cancelled. In 2004, Sam Seder (who now co-hosts a daily online show with Marc Maron) wrote, directed and starred in Pilot Season, a six-episode mockumentary about actors and actresses going through the TV pilot process. The cast included -- are you ready for this -- Sarah Silverman, David Cross, Jon Benjamin, Isla Fisher, Andy Dick, Matt Besser, Ross Brockley, Laura Krafft, Marc Maron, Matt Price, Laura Silverman, Brendon Small and David Waterman. And now,
"8 years later," My Damn Channel is giving us another look at Pilot Season. More coming in April. Here's a teaser voiced by Janeane Garofalo, who famously does not have an email or use computers, and yet voices an Internet comedy spectacle. UPDATE: Sam Seder wisely reminded me that Pilot Season was, as explained in this clip, the sequel to a 1997 project Seder and company did called Who's The Caboose? If only that was available on Netflix! Enjoy:
If you're looking for something to do tonight in New York City, and think it might be a wee bit crowded at Rififi for night two of the Invite Them Up finale, then here are three shows to consider...
1) Sweet. Seth Herzog's weekly comedy showcase at The Slipper Room on the Lower East Side is one of the more unique experiences you can find, even among the myriad of offerings in New York City's comedy scene. Herzog exemplifies the term "host with the most." This guy gives audiences more material to chew on every Tuesday night than other hosts, and you never quite know what's going to come out of his mouth next. He might dress up as Wonder Woman. He might dance up a storm. He might ramble on. You just never know. You do know, however, that you'll get to hear him chat up his mother -- who has her own cadre of comedy fans. Think of David Letterman's TV routines with his mom back in the day, then add a heaping dose of Mama Herzog reality. Seth also grew up as childhood friends with Michael Showalter, so there's that to consider. And he has a mailing list and fan base that seems to include every performer in this city. On recent visits, I've spotted actresses Natalie Portman and Kristen Johnston in the audience. Herzog also has a sidekick/DJ by his side each week, which adds some ad-libbed banter and fun to the proceedings. Herzog's guests tonight include Michael Showalter, Laura Krafft and Kumail Nanjiani. He also has some surprise guests on the agenda. Oh, and if you know of any real-estate deals, please let Seth know. He needs to move out of his infamous spot.
2) Diamonds in the Fluff. Jamie Lee (day job, Comedy Central publicist; night job, stand-up comedian and show producer) launches a new monthly comedy benefit show at Hugs in Williamsburg, with all of the proceeds helping the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition. Lee's guests tonight are Diana Saez, Eric Andre, Baron Vaughn, ventriloquist and musician Carla Rhodes.
3) And in the last, but certainly not least department, Gotham Comedy Club hosts a Bill Hicks tribute tonight. Hicks died 14 years ago today. Jesse Joyce will host, with live performances by Ted Alexandro and Greg Giraldo, recorded footage of Hicks -- including portions of a new documentary in the works by the BBC -- and a live Q-and-A with his only brother, Steve Hicks. It'll cost you $20 and two drinks, but the $20 goes to the Bill Hicks Foundation for Wildlife Rehabilitation.
I don't know that I meant to post so many videos today, but they keep popping up on my computer and why wait until later what you can post now, right?
First up, Erik Charles Nielsen. He performs at some of the non-mainstream, you might call them "alternative" rooms in the Los Angeles area, got his comedic start in Boston, got a comedic break in Aspen last year, and well, you have to realize that even though he's technically acting in this sketch for Erik the Librarian, that the genius of Erik is that for everyone who doesn't get him or doesn't want to get him, there are plenty of other people (among them, comedians) who simply cannot stop laughing. Just watch the reaction from The Office's Mindy Kaling, for instance.
The second clip comes from a new site called Big Think, where big thinkers come to express their big ideas, or something like that. Here we see three striking writers -- Dan Goor, Colin Jost and Laura Krafft, talk about the ongoing WGA strike.
The San Francisco Chronicle headline today already has you groaning before you read the actual story: Yes, guys, they're funny and female.
I went to a comedy show last night that featured four very different female stand-ups: Whitney Cummings, with a comedic sensibility that's very Los Angeles; Laura Krafft, striking writer from The Colbert Report with a hilarious list of suggested laws for pedestrians; Chelsea Peretti, willing to break down all barriers to make you laugh; and Janeane Garofalo, godmother to the "alternative" scene who's unafraid to still bring that notebook onstage and talk about what politics or what she's watching on TV and let you know she's likely not going to read this site because she doesn't have a computer or an email address.
You could argue that the Chronicle was trying to help the cause of women in stand-up comedy. But, eh, not really. Some notes sound condescending. There's an odd need at the end of the article to mention that some of the comedians asked about which quotes be put off the record. Odd, because all sorts of people in all sorts of professions wonder how they'll be portrayed at the end of an on-the-record interview, so to point it out for female comedians just makes them look worse for no good reason. And for bonus points, in interviewing Rachel Dratch, the reporter (and in turn, the editor passing the story along) allow the actor to talk about the difficulties in getting good roles without asking her about getting forced out of 30 Rock, a decorated TV show created, written by and starring a woman who happened to work with Dratch on Saturday Night Live (that'd be Tina Fey for those of you who somehow clicked here with no previous knowledge of comedy).
That said, at least it's some extra publicity for SF Sketchfest, right?