Just a quick programming note and reminder. In about an hour, or 2 p.m. Wednesday EDT, I'll be joined by Michael Ian Black, Judah Friedlander, Sara Benincasa and The Comedy Store's Alf LaMont for a free-wheeling discussion about comedy and the Internet for Internet Week NY.
The panel is called "Everyone's a Comedian," and you should be able to follow along via UStream at the #iwny live-streaming site.
We talked about how the Internet has opened up the world of comedy to everybody and anybody, and how that is both a very good thing, and sometimes a problematic thing. And also other things. Twitter! Tumblr! YouTube! Witstream! Facebook! The Bronx Zoo Cobra! An obligatory Weiner reference up front, despite it being too easy! Just sit back and listen. Maybe you'll learn something. Hopefully you'll laugh. And there will be at least one moment while Judah talks that leaves us all slightly stunned.
UPDATED with VIDEO! In case you missed it, or just want to relive it all over again...
My panel at SXSW Interactive 2011 on social media and comedy was so much fun ("F**k Yeah!"), that when The Comedy Store's Alf LaMont told me about Internet Week New York, it took me no time at all to say, let's do it again! But different.
So. Please. Come and join me, Alf, Michael Ian Black, Sara Benincasa and a wild card to be announced shortly for the panel "Everyone's a Comedian" at Internet Week New York 2011.
It's all happening at 2 p.m. June 8, 2011, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th Street, New York, NY 10011.
From the description I wrote up for it: "Comedy is Hard, So Why is Everyone Doing It Online? A look at how Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube has made everybody -- and we mean everybody -- feel like they're now comedians. From Charlie Sheen to Pro Wrestlers, from Taco Bell To GM. Why it's important to separate the pros from the amateurs, and what it takes to move from the latter to the former. Comedians, Comedy Bloggers, and Industry professionals discuss the comedic takeover of the Internet and how you and your business can profit from the use of some levity in your marketing."
Speakers: Sean McCarthy, Editor/Blogger The Comic’s Comic - Michael Ian Black, COO of WitStream, Author, Comedian, Actor - Sara Benincasa, Award-Winning Comedian, Writer & Radio Talk Show Host - Alf LaMont, VP of Marketing & Development at The Comedy Store
My very first live podcast, everybody, and it happened at SXSW's 2011 Interactive Festival!
For those of you who missed the panel I moderated in Austin, "Social Media and Comedy: F**k Yeah!" or who just want to listen to it all over again, it was recorded for posterity. I asked Marc Maron, Michael Ian Black, Comedy Central's digital director Jordy Fox Ellner, The Comedy Store's Alf LaMont and Kambri Crews all about how the Internet has completely changed the game for comedians in the past few years. We talked about Twitter (obviously) but also MySpace (because it mattered) and more.
The hour starts out rough, but only because I moderated the panel and opened in a manner that suggested I needed to watch The King's Speech first, and also because I want to do what I've already just done in this paragraph, which is to lower your expectations. Don't worry, though.
Since we had a large screen hooked up to my laptop in the Hyatt's ballroom, I'll give you a few link cues to click on things during the discussion.
Enjoy listening to "Social Media and Comedy: F**k Yeah!" live from SXSWi 2011.
Follow my panelists on Twitter and elsewhere:
Kambri Crews @kambri
and me, Sean L. McCarthy @thecomicscomic
Twitter won't let me go back to find the questions that went unanswered via our official hashtag at #smcomedyfyeah, so if you did have a question during the panel, please remind me again and I'll try to provide you with an informative and slightly amusing answer.
Also, if the guy who held up his new iPad 2 throughout the hour to videotape us (and also thereby block the view of the people behind him, if he decides to share his video with the rest of us, I'll be sure to post that, too.
Furthermore: Give feedback on my panel back to SXSW via the mobile APP, or email them at inter AT sxsw DOT com
Coincidence? I think not.
On Sunday, March 13, 2011, comedian Michael Ian Black sat down with me, Marc Maron and others for a special panel at SXSW called "Social Media and Comedy: F**k Yeah!" (photographed above by Carlos Miller). Among several topics, we discussed how comedians can use the Internet's social networks to further their careers. Black, for his part, revealed how he has used Twitter in the past to garner attention to himself.
And eight days later, he did done gone and proved it again.
Since then, his campaign attracted attention from a wide array of people, including Jake Fogelnest and Meghan McCain, whom normally might not agree on much else. But they agree on MIB's bid to become the Taco Bell spokesperson. It's not as if it's a ridiculous idea. Black pitched Sierra Mist for years. He has spoken for Klondike bars and Pets.com. He told Vh1 how much he loved the 1980s.
In less than 24 hours, he received this reply from Taco Bell:
So what's next?
A series of video pitches to President Barack Obama, obviously.
If you had attended our SXSW panel, you could have seen this coming. Or maybe you could have figured out how to do it yourself!
Here's something you didn't see almost 20 years ago. It's rare footage of The State in their first MTV office in the early 1990s, singing a version of "The Boner Song." See how young they all look! Also, they're college kids singing about boners.
If you think it's unusual for footage from The State to linger in archives for more than 14 years, then you probably also didn't know that it took that long for their January 1996 recording to become public. But that's exactly what happened with their CD, "Comedy For Gracious Living." It captures all of them at their youthful indiscretioniest. Is that a word? Who knows. This is an actual CD, though.
Fans of Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter may be excused for feeling a bit of deja vu right about now, because in a repeat of what happened when they teamed up with David Wain for their 2005 series, Stella, they've found out that their 2009 series, Michael and Michael Have Issues, also is done after only one season on Comedy Central. No formal reason has been given yet for the show's cancellation, or non-renewal.
Maybe if Black and Sho still have "issues," they can try taking their longstanding friendship feud to NBC's The Marriage Ref to solve them?
According to the show's online site, these were the guys' favorite moments from the season. Here's Showalter's favorite moments, which include sweatpants, bunny stomping, pee, and poo. Roll the clips!
And here's Black's favorite moments, which include Showalter as a "quiet" weatherman, mattresses, farts and frogs. Roll the clips!
Some comedians make their names via commercials, and some commercial campaigns seek out name comedians to lighten up and brighten up their brands. This new holiday gift TV ad blitz by eBay definitely falls into the latter group, going to go-to guys Jim Gaffigan, Kevin Hart, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter to make you think about looking up an online auction or two for your gift ideas this winter. I saw one of Gaffigan's spots on my TV last night. There is a bunch of extra videos and insider insight on the ad campaign on eBay's site. Here is his advice on homemade gifts:
After the jump, all of the other new eBay ads with stand-up comedians!
When Miley Cyrus quit Twitter, it made news, but we're not sure why, since her claims of privacy were trumped by her YouTube video rap, which wasn't very private at all. When Michael Ian Black quits Twitter, it's strictly business. Funny business. Black has joined Lisa Cohen in creating a comedian version of Twitter called WitStream.
The site is up and running in beta already, but informally launches with a live stand-up comedy show on Monday, Nov. 2, at Comix in NYC, with performances by Black, Michael Showalter, Pete Holmes, Josh Fadem, Morgan Murphy at Baron Vaughn.
One way WitStream hopes to stand out vs. Twitter is how it makes running conversations easier to follow than @replies, such as this example (see inset at left) following one woman's query about fart etiquette.
They're all representative of the kinds of funny people WitStream wants to be in business with, sharing short bits of comedy and starting dialogues. The launch press release noted that "founding contributors" also included Rainn Wilson, Al Yankovic, Mike Birbiglia and Rob Corddry, and mentioned that Black would be leaving behind his 1.36 million Twitter followers @michaelianblack, hopefully bringing them with him over to the new site. "WitStream is like going to a party with the funniest people you know without leaving your house or dealing with their annoying problems," Black said.
I InterSpoke with WitStream founder Lisa Cohen about her new venture, and competing with Twitter -- which launched a new feature called Twitter Lists last night that seems like a response to services such as hers.
"My response to the lists is this: At the end of the day it's still a lot of proactive work dumped into the lap of the user/reader. Yes, they can now make lists out of those they are following, but what if that total list is small and boring to begin with? It takes a lot of insider knowledge to find the good ones in the first place. And let's say someone is engaged enough to have a following list as inside-comedy as mine. They also have co-workers and community members and politicians and chefs they want to read on Twitter, so who's to say the comedians will be heard above all that noise? They're too good at this, they deserve their own space, and by living all together they're helping each other gain broader exposure."
I first met Cohen at this summer's Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. How has her gameplan changed in the three months since then?
"I could spend about another six months making everything perfect featurewise, and I still have a long list of everything I want to do, but it's at a place where we can put it out there and see how people like it," Cohen said. "It probably hasn't changed that much. I put it live just before Montreal just because I knew I was going to be talking it up. Back in July I had maybe 30 people on there. Now I have maybe 100. It's been a lot of signing up people, perfecting things, getting the bugs worked out, learning things from use. It's a living, breathing thing that's always evolving, so you have to learn how people use it. I now have a thing called spotlight."
The site also spotlights each member with a profile page that includes a bio, schedule for upcoming live shows, and pages for them to share videos, reviews and sell merchandise.
What about Twitter?
Do you feel like you're already in withdrawal from Michael & Michael Have Issues? Well, if you can hold on a few weeks, you may get to see Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter perform live in your city. Or you can sit right down (are you sitting down yet?) and watch/listen as Mr. Black reads from his own literature for you right now. Or as soon as you click on one of these videos.
Black's book of essays, My Custom Van, is now out in paperback, and the author sits down to read one of said essays for you. It's called "Taco Party." This is going to be some f-ing taco party. Did I mention it contains profanities? Roll the NSFW clip.
Wow. That had a lot of f-ing swearing, didn't it? Let's cleanse ourselves with a completely different MIB reading, this time from his children's book, Chicken Cheeks. In a chicken suit. Obviously.
But that's not all!
I was busy moving (or rather helping the movers move) on May 28, when the upcoming Comedy Central production, Michael and Michael Have Issues, taped a show in NYC before a live audience. But through the magic of cameras and Internet access, we can bring you some snippets of stand-up that Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and show writer Kumail Nanjiani performed for that audience during the breaks, as well as for the show itself. Clips after the jump! (thx, CCInsider)
When you throw a party for a TV show, much less a Web series, you're never quite sure how it will translate as a live experience for audiences to sit and enjoy. No such worries last night at the 92YTribeca, which hosted "Wainy Days Live," a party that not only marked the start of the fourth season for David Wain's amusing ode to seeking love and finding plenty of sex jokes along the way, but also the relaunch of a newly designed My Damn Channel, which made Wainy Days possible.
Rob Barnett, head of the small, plucky crew at My Damn Channel, told the audience at the start: "My Damn Channel is a brand-new thing today." The redesigned site features a larger player and a cleaner design. Barnett told me that his strategy all along has been to focus on a small group of talented performers and give them free reign to do what they do. That's how My Damn Channel can stand out from the many other players in Web comedy. He told me that Sam Seder's "Pilot Season" had gotten two million views in its first two weeks as a reborn Web series. So far, so good.
David Wain kept the live show moving at a nice pace last night. In between video clips of this week's latest episode (Amanda Peet has a curious fetish in #27, "Jill") and a snippet from #28 that features Lake Bell -- Wain warned before screening it, "If it shows up on YouTube, I will kill you!" -- he treated the crowd to several musical performances from Wainy Days (Wain has skills both on the drums and piano), readings and an anti-chat.
Leo Allen and Callie Thorne re-enacted their performances from Episode #4: Cyrano d'Bluetooth, with Joe Lo Truglio playing Wain's part. Live, the pacing was a bit slower and the reactions a bit more animated. But still quite amusing and over-the-top NSFW. Amy Miles sang selections from an upcoming "two-part epic rock opera" that may not be epic, but certainly provided reason enough to bring Paul Rudd onstage. The crowd also got a sort-of Stella reunion when Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter arrived to perform a sketch the Michaels claim Comedy Central does not want them to produce for their upcoming series, Michael and Michael Have Issues. Though for the life of me, I could not see what could be so wrong about having "extra farts" with dinner. "Can you believe it? They don't want us to do that one," Ian Black said. "But we're going to tell them that the f---ers at 92YTribeca f---ing loved it!" Wain got most of the actors from Wainy Days, plus Thorne and Rudd, to stage a reading of what Wain claimed was his first draft of the series, written when he was 12 (but most likely last week). Let's just say that even as a middle-schooler, he was preoccupied with sex. Best offensively funny line: "That's cool. What's the point of Roe v. Wade if we're not going to use it?" The "Stella" trio also got the audience to indulge them in their own spin on Mad-Libs. And he topped off the evening with an anti-chat segment with Rudd (sample topics: How much fun must it be on a Judd Apatow set? And the cast of Friends really are friends!).
Videos after the jump:
If you want to know what to expect from the upcoming Comedy Central sketch show, Michael and Michael Have Issues, then perhaps this preview sketch might help explain things for you. Michael Showalter tries to guide Michael Ian Black through a voiceover session on farting butterflies. No fooling. Or, rather, much fooling!
|Michael & Michael Have Issues||Premieres Thurs, July 15, 10:30pm / 11:30c|
|Preview - The Farting Butterfly Sketch|
The kids who spawned Reno 911!, Stella, Viva Variety and the upcoming Michael and Michael Have Issues are all grown up now, and they're finally bringing their original 1990s MTV sketch showcase, The State, to DVD. Five discs full of extras, coming July 14, 2009. Here's the trailer!
The team of Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter officially have kicked their upcoming Comedy Central series into high gear, auditioning actors and actresses for sketches, hiring writers (Jessi Klein and Kumail Nanjiani) and prepping production for their first season of episodes for Michael & Michael Have Issues. The network ordered seven episodes of the series back in February, and they're supposed to begin airing in July. On top of all of the work that goes into developing a new show, Black and Showalter also have begun contributing to their own show blog. And on day two, Michael & Michael Have Issues online already has checked off the meme for cat photos.
If you live near New York City, or even in New England, you see the TV ad for the New York Times Weekender subscription a lot. A lot, a lot. Perhaps this ad even runs nationally? Regardless, the new 92YTribeca facility, which has been booking lots of great comedy shows (thank you, Bart Coleman), just released this new advertisement written and directed by Michael Showalter and featuring Paul Rudd and many funny stand-up comedians. How many do you recognize? If you need a hint, just look at my category tags below. Related: The 92YTribeca's comedy schedule. Enjoy!
To Do Thursday: See Wayne Federman host Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Jessi Klein and others in 92YTribeca's weekly Comedy Below Canal series (tickets and info).
This is a big weekend for Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. Not only are they celebrating a reunion with both The State and Stella this weekend at the SF Sketchfest, but they're also getting a new series together on Comedy Central. I'd heard rumblings that the pilot had gotten picked up earlier this week, today saw they had a MySpace (already 778 friends as I type this) and tonight, MIB himself confirmed that you'll be seeing Michael and Michael Have Issues on your basic cable TV eventually this summer. Congrats! As he wrote:
Michael and I are already hard at work thinking of ideas. The first idea we came up with: try to make a show that people want to watch. This is a radical departure for us, but after a long and successful career spent making television programs which the public says “no thank you” to, we’ve decided to go in the opposite direction.
Related: Rolling Stone has a lengthy Q&A with The State gang about the good old days of the early 1990s.
So, having just witnessed the end of Super Deluxe, we move on to the survivors in the online comedy video business, and it should come as no to surprise to anyone who has watched Wainy Days on My Damn Channel that David Wain has brought his Stella mates, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, into the fold. Here is their new original short, Birthday, that debuted this week:
We knew when we saw Stella hosting the New York magazine party this month, something funny was afoot and sure enough, Michael Ian Black told his fans late yesterday that he, Michael Showalter and David Wain would reunite Stella for a short tour this winter. As Black wrote: "If you've never seen Stella before, then you are in a for real treat. There's a lot of banter, potty talk, and making fun of David. Plus, we'll probably bicker!!!" Also, new videos.
Stella Winter Tour '08 Dates
Nov. 30: PHILADELPHIA - Keswick Theater
Dec. 2: WASHINGTON DC - Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
Dec. 5: CHICAGO - The Vic (not yet on sale)
Dec. 7: CLEVELAND - House of Blues
Dec. 9: NEW YORK - Nokia Theater
Dec. 10: NEW YORK - Nokia Theater
Dec. 11: BOSTON - Wilbur Theater
Dec. 12: SAN FRANCISCO - UC Berkeley