I was more than tempted to write something whiny and petulant about the ECNY Awards, but then I saw Marc Maron in a Twitter "fight" today with one of his followers about the principle of paying for art (you should definitely pay for art, whether it's a podcast, a creative performance, or this very Website), and then I saw that Funny or Die had filmed a public service video with Heidi Montag (so they obviously are hard up for cash, because why, why, why), and then I saw even more people were following and media outlets were interviewing a 19-year-old that Conan O'Brien followed for no particular reason whatsoever on Twitter, so really, maybe this is just a lost cause. Anyhow. When I saw Gabe Delahaye a couple of weeks ago, I told him that his Videogum and its mighty minions would beat me handily for "Best Website," so I called it. Still. No matter how silly you think any awards are, when they announce them live and decide to nominate you, there's a moment right before the announcement when you get nervous, and moments afterward where they've announced someone else's name when you have to remind yourself that it's just a silly award. I'd much rather have a job that pays my rent and offers me health insurance, vacation and sick days. So if you have one of those, please consider hiring me? Thanks!
In the meantime, here are your 6th annual ECNY Awards winners...
Best Improv Group: I Eat Pandas
Best One Person Show: Supernormal – Tom Shillue
Best Website: Videogum.com
Best Host: Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate and Max Silvestri
Best Book: Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped and Canceled – Jon Friedman
Best Sketch Comedy Group: Murderfist
Best Technician: Carol Hartsell
Best Variety Show: Risk! True Tales Boldly Told
Outstanding Achievement in Postcard or Flyer Design: Fag Life: A Conversation with Fred Phelps – Mindy Tucker
Best Short Comedic Film: Everyone Poops Trailer – Landline TV
Emerging Comic Award: Myq Kaplan
Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Tweeting: @Lizzwinstead
Best Musical Comedy Act (Group or Solo): Snakes
Best Female Standup Comedian: Morgan Murphy
Best Male Standup Comedian: Hannibal Buress
I have plenty of other thoughts about the ECNY Awards, and comedy awards in general, but I'll save those for another time and place.
The current print issue of New York magazine asked a bunch of insidery insiders in the show bidness to name their favorite funny people who have yet to make it big but coulda woulda shoulda someday, particularly if magazines such as New York would only profile them. It's like opening Paradox's Box in here. So the mag invited 10 of these comedians to perform recently at Gotham, and, spoiler alert, didn't invite an audience! Awkward styling and profiling ensued. Here's some of the video from that experiment (note: some language NSFW):
Features Craig Baldo, Ophira Eisenberg, Max Silvestri, Hannibal Buress, Kumail Nanjiani, Carla Rhodes, Desiree Burch, Claudia Cogan, Reese Waters, and Sara Schaefer. New York also spoke briefly with the comedians afterward. If you pick up an actual copy of the magazine, though, you can see that each of these 10 funny peoples got their own official magazine profile picture and brief bio (thanks for the JPG, Carla!).
If you turn on your TV these days, and you probably do this, unless you never turn the darned thing off, then you may have noticed more and more New York City comedians getting involved in big-time mainstream commercial advertising. Then again, perhaps this always has been the case, but you didn't live in NYC and hang around comedians back then, so you didn't notice. Who are you, anyhow? Trick question.
All of which leads to Jim Beam's new ad campaign, combined with a contest asking you (and I mean you this time) to spoof the ads for a chance to win $25,000 and a trip for four to Las Vegas. For Jim Beam's The Remake contest, they've offered up a few examples for inspiration, including these spots by Gabe & Jenny, and also by Max Silvestri and Gabriel Delahaye. I like how Gabe & Jenny managed to turn one of their classic bits into a TV sketch. Enjoy:
Silvestri and Delahaye have two offerings for you, after the jump.
Did you miss last week's Time Out New York approved comedy showcase at the UCB that was part of the New York Comedy Festival? Would you like to see some highlights from the sets of Anthony Jeselnik, Max Silvestri, Reggie Watts, Sean Patton, Seth Herzog, The Hazzards and host/TONY Comedy Editor Jane Borden? Of course, you would. So here that is. Note: Language is NSFW!
Many comedians are using their offstage time to sound off on the 2008 presidential election, now less than two weeks away. The Huffington Post, in particular, appears to be a platform for several comedians...
Larry David doesn't know if he can handle watching the election returns come in on Nov. 4: "I believe I have big jinx potential and may have actually cost the Dems the last two elections. I know I've jinxed sporting events. When my teams are losing and I want them to make a comeback, all I have to do is leave the room. Works every time. So if I do watch, I'll do it alone. I can't subject other people to me in my current condition. I just don't like what I've turned into -- and frankly I wasn't that crazy about me even before the turn."
Michael Showalter wonders why "Sarah Palin's favorite word is "Ahmadinejad"."
Paula Poundstone asks: Is Anybody Listening to Bush?
Will Durst has something to say about all of this Joe the Plumber business that came out of the final debate.
Lee Camp is mocking the McCain-Palin ticket on a daily basis on 23/6, as well.
And on his own blog, Michael Ian Black realizes he must not be a real American, by Sarah Palin's definition.
Max Silvestri, who takes part in Best Night Ever podcasts for the Best Week Ever site, got his hands on the super duper (as in, not super, so just duper?) list of 20 words that cell phone networks consider "Level 0" and will not be heard in broadcast form over said cell phones. So, piehole is OK, but cornhole (and corn-hole) is not OK? Hmmm. The rest of the list is here. Of course, we can only imagine what the late George Carlin would have done with this list...
Almost missed this entirely somehow...but tonight, as in an hour from now, doors open at 7 p.m. at the Knitting Factory in NYC, there's a comedy benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society featuring Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, Leo Allen, John Mulaney, Max Silvestri, Seth Herzog, Andy Blitz, Daniel Dratch, Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan and more? Get out of town. No, stay in the city and head on over and donate $20 to the cause. Here's a link.
Oh, Super Deluxe. I love how you pay comedians for content. But sometimes, you keep their videos locked away for months and I forget to look for them. Other times, you end up with the most awkwardly appropriate video descriptions, such as Jonah Ray's "Master The Internet," which says: "Everybody's doing it! Why not you, also?" Yes. Everybody is doing this. Jonah Ray does it here, with points for achieving the throwback video look, negative bonus points for unnecessary World Trade Center joke.
This video sure reminds me of something. What could it possibly be? Oh. Right. Gabe & Max's Internet Thing plowed this territory last year, with more than 542,000 viewers on the YouTube since October. A few months later, Tim & Eric did pretty much the same thing with their "The Innernette" sketch on the TV.
Taken individually, each of these videos has its own charms. But three makes a trend, as the mainstream media loves to observe, and this trend reminds me of your basic nostalgia humor trap that stand-up comedians have used over the years for easy laughs. Nostalgia humor traps often include cartoons, commercials and games you remember from childhood. Remember that show? (This is the part where audiences instinctively laugh, even before there is a punchline.) Technology also has fallen prey to nostalgia humor traps as our gadgets get better and make older tech outdated, and therefore inherently funny. The most common one I hear refers to anyone still carrying a pager or beeper. So I'm onto you, Internet videos about the Internet that look like they're from the 1990s. But if I want to really laugh about how far the Internet has come since then, I'll just watch a real-life video about the Internet in 1995. Like this one.
Max Silvestri liveblogged the awkwardly amusing Night of Too Many Stars benefit last night on Comedy Central so I wouldn't have to. The highlight of the night, though, had to be Chris Rock and Steven Wright trading off each other's jokes (video included when available -- the entire show can be streamed online for a limited time here, Rock and Wright are part 10).
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...
If you want to see Max live, he hosts a monthly show at Rififi in NYC's East Village, and the next one is Sunday, Dec. 9, with co-host Jenny Slate and guests Jon Friedman, Lang Fisher, Aubrey Tennant and Crack'd Out.
Gabe, meanwhile, co-hosts the monthly Ritalin Readings series, and at this month's show, he captivated the audience with selections from "The Y2K Personal Survival Guide" (stock up on two-liter plastic bottles, people!) as well as an essay he wrote about Alien vs. Predator hosting a New Year's Eve party. Dee-light-full! He's also a contributing editor to the new fun-with-news Huffington Post blog 23/6.
And here is their original video, which you probably already have seen but now joyously want to relive, so enjoy!