Belated congratulations to Nate Bargatze for winning the 2010 edition of the New York's Funniest Stand-Up competition. The contest finals were held Saturday afternoon at Carolines, but the announcement was only just made official today.
Maybe they needed all that time to Photoshop his photo?
Regardless, congrats to Nate on his victory, for which he receives $500 and a week of gigs at Carolines. He's also attempting a double-win this week, already advancing to the semi-finals in the annual Boston Comedy Festival contest.
If you need to know more about Nate Bargatze, you can read my Meet Me In New York profile of him from last year.
As part of the busy opening night of the New York Comedy Festival, Louis CK sat down for a conversation at the Paley Center with Time magazine's James Poniewozik about the comedian's revelatory and innovative take on the sitcom with FX's Louie.
One thing I hadn't heard him discuss, and then relay to you, about the show was the split-second shot in the opening credits, in which an unidentified young man spins toward the camera to flip it the bird with his middle finger, all while Louis CK was eating a slice from Ben's Pizza around the corner from the Comedy Cellar.
Here's what the comedian had to say about it:
"During the opening credits of the show, some guy flips off the camera. There was a young, NYU-looking kid -- spiky hair and just real contrary. He was walking with some real "yeah fuck everything" type guy. I was eating the pizza and I saw them, and I was already thought 'Jeeesus.' I think they saw a camera and they saw people making a sincere effort in something... So one of them went 'YEAHHHH' and he flipped off the camera. And I remember that moment very well because I was eating pizza and I watched him flip off the camera and I could tell by the angle that we caught it. And I thought -- when that happened, I knew we were gonna be on TV. Because that was when we were shooting the pilot, and it was a test. For some reason I remember seeing that and thinking, 'That's just meant to be. That's gonna be in the opening credits. It'll be fuzzy because I fucking know how the camera works. It's gonna be a little fuzzy because it's out of the depth of field and people are going to see it.' I just knew. That was just a sign to me. That we were going to get to be on TV."
Thanks to my friends at Funny or Die for duly recording the panel for posterity. The Paley Center also should have a video clip and photos from the event uploaded to its site later.
We set up shop in the basement of Comix, dreamed up the impossibly creative title "The Comic's Comic at Comix," and invited the comedians into our lair.
First up, both when it happened and when you're seeing it, is my sit-down with Hannibal Buress, a great young stand-up comedian who wrote for SNL during the 2009-2010 season, and this summer joined the writing staff of 30 Rock. I'm not the only one saying great things about Buress, who showed up in episodes of Louis CK's Louie and also got Chris Rock to not only stop by his Sunday night showcase at The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg, but also talked up Hannibal and his show to Howard Stern. And yet, Hannibal Buress remains relatively humble and modest.
Let's hear what else he had to tell me!
Want to see more interviews like these? You're in luck! We'll be rolling out new videos the rest of the week. I can tell you with the utmost confidence that my comedian chats will get more and more outlandish, too. Oooh. So look forward to that.
And if you want to see Hannibal Buress live, he's got two big shows later this week in NYC as part of the New York Comedy Festival. He'll be part of the Best of Whiplash show on Nov. 4 at the UCB Theatre, and opening for Aziz Ansari on Nov. 6 at the Beacon Theater.
After last night's semifinal action, we now know who's still in the running to be named "New York's Funniest Stand-Up."*
Who will emerge victorious? You'll have to attend the finals, at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Carolines to find out. Or just wait and read it here. But you should go and see for yourself! It's all part of the New York Comedy Festival. Fun times.
*That's funniest of comedians who entered the competition. Obviously. Past winners include Wil Sylvince, Julian McCullough and Myq Kaplan.
The New York Comedy Festival is growing outside of New York City a little more this year with the addition of live online shows, through the partnership between Carolines on Broadway and Comedy Central's Jokes.com.
Announced today: The Jokes.com Live show, which Bobby Lee will host with Kurt Metzger, Morgan Murphy, Donnell Rawlings, Joe Mande and others, to be broadcast live from Carolines to your Internet on Nov. 3.
See it live in person: Tickets are available for purchase.
See it live online: Coverage will begin at 9:30 p.m. Eastern with backstage and green-room looks, with the show starting onstage at 10 p.m., and comedians communicating with fans online via Twitter and Facebook when they're not onstage.
See it later: The Jokes.com Live show will be sold afterward on iTunes.
“We are excited to be able to bring the first live streaming event from a club that has seen a lot of firsts!” said Caroline Hirsch, the fest's founder and namesake owner of Carolines. "We wanted to be able to include fans who are not able to make it to New York City for the shows and Jokes.com is a great partner to make this happen.”
Want to know who's in the running to be named New York's Funniest Stand-Up in 2010? It's a lot simpler to find out this year, as Carolines did away with the stand-by line and asked comedians to file online applications in advance. After reviewing more than 150 entrants, they've narrowed the list down to these 53, who will audition this Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Only about 30 will make it to live semifinal rounds on Oct. 27 at Carolines, with a winner determined in the finals on Nov. 2, also at Carolines. Past winners include Myq Kaplan, Julian McCullough and Wil Sylvince.
Good luck, everybody!
We're only a month away from the New York Comedy Festival, which means it's time for the city's funniest up-and-coming stand-up comedians to put their best punchlines forward in competition for the title of "New York's Funniest Stand-Up."
Past winners include Myq Kaplan, Julian McCullough and Wil Sylvince.
This year, you don't have to stand outside of Carolines and brave the weather in Times Square for who knows how long just for a chance to audition. That's because we have Internet. Or, should I write, Carolines and the festival have set up an online "open call" audition process. No lines this year.
Here's how the process will work (straight from the festival folk):
Email the following to email@example.com: Your full name; Your cell phone number; When, between 10 am and 4 pm, you’d like to audition, and a URL link to a video of you doing stand up (can be YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
Send in applications by Sunday, Oct. 17. Audition spots will be posted on nysfunniest.tumblr.com on Monday, Oct. 18, with auditions held at Carolines between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Each comic should prepare 2 minutes of their best material for the audition. Thirty comics will perform in the semifinals on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at Carolines. Finals are Tuesday, Nov. 2 at Carolines. Winner gets cash, another slot in the festival and more!
Need more info? Check out the New York's Funniest Tumblr.
The New York Comedy Festival has filled out its slate of programming for the 2010 celebration in November with a series of panels, conversations and other goodness. They already announced their headlining shows, and have added a second show for Kevin Hart due to ticket demand. Here's the rest!
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Mike Birbiglia and friends celebrate his book, "Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories," 7 p.m. at Carolines on Broadway
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Lewis Black: "I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas," in conversation with Bill Scheft, 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Union Square
Best of New York Sketch, 8 p.m. at the UCB Theatre
"Louie: A Conversation with Louis CK," moderated by Time magazine's James Poniewozik, 8:30 p.m. at the Paley Center for Media
The UCBT Improv All-Stars, 9:30 p.m. at the UCB Theatre
Best of Whiplash, 11 p.m. at the UCB Theatre
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Comedy Central's "Ugly Americans" panel, moderated by Randy Pearlstein, 6 p.m. at the Apple Store Soho
The Best of the Breakout Artist Comedy Series, 7 p.m. at Carolines on Broadway
Time Out Live, hosted by Time Out's Jane Borden, 7:30 p.m. at the UCB Theatre
Best of Stripped Stories, 9:30 p.m. at the UCB Theatre
Best of Whiplash, 11 p.m. at the UCB Theatre
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Comedy Central Presents: Patrice Oneal, 8 p.m. at the Skirball Center
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Tracy Morgan live, moderated by The New York Times' Bill Carter, 4 p.m. at the TimesCenter
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Dick Gregory, 7 p.m. at Carolines on Broadway
The 2010 New York Comedy Festival won't be updating its website until Tuesday morning, but tickets will go on sale Wednesday for several of its headlining shows, which the festival announced tonight on its Facebook Fan page.
You can figure out the headliners from my headline. Louis CK already had told me he was playing Carnegie Hall in November, so seeing him on the schedule isn't a surprise. Joel McHale playing Carnegie, however, is one. It'll be interesting to see what Rosie O'Donnell has to say for herself these days, whether Margaret Cho's show is all stand-up or a mix of comedy and music, and whether Carolla's shows at Carolines are more stand-up or podcasty.
Here is the schedule as it stands. Carolines and the NYCF will unveil more shows and performers in September. The festival runs from Nov. 3-7, 2010.
Comics to Watch at Carolines, 7PM
Stand-Up for Heroes at Beacon Theater, 8PM
Kevin Hart at Beacon Theater, 7:30PM
Louis CK at Carnegie Hall, 8PM
Gabriel Iglesias at Town Hall, 8PM
Joel McHale at Carnegie Hall, 7PM
Margaret Cho at Beacon Theater, 8PM
Luis Jimenez at Hammerstein Ballroom, 8PM
Rosie O'Donnell at Town Hall, 8PM
Adam Carolla at Carolines on Broadway, 7:30PM and 10PM
Aziz Ansari at Beacon Theater, 8PM
Maz Jobrani at Town Hall, 8PM
Brian Regan at Avery Fisher Hall, 8PM
Adam Carolla at Carolines on Broadway, 7:30PM, 10PM, and 12:30AM
Nick Swardson at Town Hall, 7PM
Adrienne Iapalucci opened last night for Bill Burr at Town Hall as part of the New York Comedy Festival. How'd she do it? By winning the People's Choice "Opening Act" contest, that's how.
Here is the set she uploaded for the contest:
So you can see why she'd be a good match for Burr's audience, right? I heard she was nervous to go up, but killed it. When you can be funny in the Bronx, how is a theater audience in Times Square supposed to be intimidating?
She was beaming when I saw her last night. I also caught up with Iapalucci via the Internets, and here's what else she told me about winning the contest:
"As far as the People's Choice, I get to open for a headliner at the festival, get to stay in a really nice hotel, have transportation provided, get to go to L.A. and receive a People's Choice Award. There have been a lot of things that I have received that weren't part of winning but were a direct result of me doing so, got to meet with Caroline Hirsch and Louis Faranda of Carolines, met with someone from the New York Times and had a featured article, have been asked to do an interview for Stagtetime Magazine, have done some other interviews, and have been exposed to other things that I would have never been exposed to. So it has been a great experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity.
"I actually didn't have a real strategy. My boyfriend had seen the competition posted on your website and he decided to submit me for it. The funny thing is at first I wasn't sure I was going to do it. When I heard that I was a finalist and was selected out of hundreds of people for a nationwide contest I was very happy and from there just posted it to friends and family, asked them to forward to people they thought would like it and let nature take its course."
If the Golden Globes people checked out Ricky Gervais last night at Carnegie Hall to see what to expect out of him as their host...well...buckle your televisions! Can you buckle a television? I don't know. Here's what I do know.
In the past year, Ricky Gervais has praised Louis CK as the best stand-up comedian currently working. Last night, we certainly saw how CK has influenced Gervais, as the British star got more than a little bit "off-color" in his first performance at Carnegie Hall. That despite an encore musical duet with Elmo! How could this be? Let me tell you how this be.
This is a fan's photo of Gervais in tuxedo singing "New York, New York" with Elmo. I saw many fans pulling out their phones and cameras at the end to capture this. But did they fully comprehend what came before that? Instant flashback!
I arrived midway through the proceedings (having the Comedy Central Presents tapings a few blocks away is convenient, except totally not -- Sophie's Choice of comedy, people!), and saw Gervais delivering a deconstruction of an illustrated book for kids about Noah and the Ark, complete with picture pages from the book on the big screen behind him onstage. Considering I had just seen the comedy world celebrate Bill Cosby the other night and reminisce about his classic "Noah and the Ark" routine, I cannot say that I L'd to the OL'd. But plenty of those in attendance laughed along, and Gervais certainly was witty enough responding to the book's text and pictures.
He also presented his view on mermaids -- "If I was going to have a girl/fish combo, that's the way I'd have it." Of course, he added, his conversational nemesis Karl Pilkington had other ideas.
Gervais then went "off-color," as he acknowledged, after talking about famous quotes by Oscar Wilde -- riffing off of one quote into a routine about customs, and then, on countering the logic of gay marriage, explaining how it's illegal for gays to marry but perfectly fine for a man to perform handjobs on groups of men. As Gervais then demonstrated with an act-out. "I never thought one day I'd be doing that here," Gervais confessed to the crowd. "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Well, you jack off 15 blokes!" He followed that up by taking a closer look at another illustrated book, this one by a guy who claims that the animal kingdom also has specific homosexual communities, with slides on the big screen depicting sex between squirrel monkeys, dolphins and lesbian marmots?!
"I hope I haven't offended anyone," he said afterward from the stage. "But I don't apologize."
Gervais clarified that he'd never tell an off-color joke about children to pedophiles. His philosophy on stand-up comedy: "There's a social contract between the two parties that neither of us are really like that."
Of course, this all made his quick costume change into black-tie for the duet with Elmo all the more jarring. Elmo's Muppet master couldn't stop giggling behind the grand piano -- which as Gervais acknowledged, served only one very specific purpose. And that wasn't as a piano. "They spent thousands for this piano, and it's just to hide something!" he said. He asked Elmo: "Do you want to sing a song anyhow, Elmo?" "Is it PG?" "Yes, it's PG." It was "New York, New York."
Related: Ricky Gervais appears with Elmo this month on Sesame Street to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary. Roll that!
How did two Mikes win the 2009 New York's Funniest Stand-Up contest? Well, it wasn't Michael and Michael having issues, because Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black didn't even enter; and it certainly wasn't Mike and Mike in the Morning, because that's a sports talk-radio show. No and no. The contest, part of the New York Comedy Festival, had two winners this year thanks to the addition of the People's Choice Awards.
Myq Kaplan took home the trophy and the cash prize as winner of the contest. But the audience said Mike Vecchione, who narrowly missed out on the prize last year, deserved to be honored -- and he won the People's Choice Award and will get to do so in Los Angeles when the awards are handed out in early 2010. Who gets custody of the award's opening slot in the New York Comedy Festival, as well as a weekend of gigs at Carolines? I don't know. Considering both guys would have done both already, I'm sure they'll work it out. Congrats to both!
I'm not sure how the finalists for the 2009 Andy Kaufman Award coped with having "Tony Clifton" host the event. Talk about a distraction! Blaine Kneece knew how to overcome it all, though -- my Internets tell me that he's a New Yorker who originally hails from the Philadelphia area, and had made the finals of the Kaufman Award twice before -- and used a taped performance piece to take home the trophy and cash prize. Since it's on video, it's also already on YouTube. How about that? So here goes. It's all part of the New York Comedy Festival. Watch and learn!
I only made it through about an hour of last night's semifinals for The Andy Kaufman Award -- would you believe 25 acts in all competed at Carolines last night? It seemed like Halloween all over again, with several comedians in costumes, pretending to be people they weren't. And I don't think it was my sleep-deprived imagination fooling me, but one semifinalist from Minnesota took the stage and sounded exactly like 2007 award finalist Mary Mack (also from Minnesota), who some people feel sounds too much like Maria Bamford. Which made me wonder, do all of the female stand-ups from Minnesota have the same exact voice? Not sure how the Kaufman family nor I feel about that. But I do know which six acts, though, lived up to the Kaufman name enough to make tonight's finals -- also at Carolines -- as part of the New York Comedy Festival. And they are...
Mike Amato, Eric Davis (aka Red Bastard), Harrison Greenbaum, Blaine Kneece, Robby Roadsteamer and Sasha and the Noob (aka Steve Gadlin).
They'll all be competing for the title tonight, with the "one" and "only" Tony Clifton hosting! True story! Here are the initial video submissions of the finalists, after the jump.
Scott Adsit is an actor (30 Rock, The Informant), an improvisational comedian with three regular shows at the UCB (Gravid Water, Let's Have A Ball, Adsit and Gausus) and a writer/producer/actor of animated comedy on Adult Swim (Morel Orel, and coming soon, Frankenhole). When he's not doing any of those things, though, you might find him reading a celebrity's ridiculous memoir in front of a live audience for the show Celebrity Autobiography.
The meta-celeb reading series normally happens at the Triad in NYC's Upper West Side, but will head into Times Square for a special event Wednesday at Carolines as part of the New York Comedy Festival. Adsit will join Eugene Pack, Kristen Johnston, Richard Kind, Carol Kane, Carson Kressley, Andrea Martin, Dayle Reyfel, Michael Urie, and Alan Zweibel in taking pages out of celebrity memoirs and exposing their silliness through the time-honored tradition of reading. I chatted with Adsit a little bit about the show, 30 Rock, why he's not on Twitter, Tracy Morgan's autobiography, and Adsit's latest Adult Swim project.
Having Jeff Dunham on 30 Rock last week made the show seem even more meta than ever! This season has been all about trying to appeal to a broader audience, hoping a new cast member will do the trick -- and you guys got 6 million viewers for that episode, or slightly more than the 5.3 million that Dunham got for his debut on Comedy Central. So, um, congrats?
"It's reflecting, I think what the writers are going through in a way, or in the past. I talked to Tina briefly about who we'd get for that. And she said the guy who could act it well enough. I dont think it was a stunt cast, but I guess if you're going to go with a ventriloquist, he's the most popular one out there. Is a ventriloquist ever stunt casting?"
Well, I am a McCarthy, so it's a touchy subject for me. Let's talk about Celebrity Autobiography. How'd you get involved with that show?
"About a year ago, maybe a little less. My friend (Rachel) Dratch was doing it, and she mentioned it to me."
Here's a clip from ABC's Nightline to give the overview of the show if readers need catching up before we resume. Roll it!
Trick or treat! Comedian Dane Cook uploaded a new video last week in which he interviewed himself to promote his upcoming show this Thursday at Madison Square Garden as part of the New York Comedy Festival. Strange but true. Roll the clip!
Related: Buy tickets to Dane Cook's show at Madison Square Garden, or any of the remaining dates on Dane Cook's arena stand-up tour this fall.
Furthermore: Check out my own interviews with Dane Cook...
June 17, 2009 -- on Isolated Incident
Nov. 12, 2008 -- at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas
Sept. 21, 2007 -- answering his critics
April 16, 2006 -- on the night he taped HBO's Vicious Circle in Boston
Drum roll, please? The other five finalists advancing to the finals of 2009's New York's Funniest Stand-Up contest are (in alphabetical order): Geno Bisconte, Stephanie Holmes, Vidur Kapur, Carmen Lynch and Mike Vecchione.
Who's your pick to win?
Advancing from last night's first semifinal of the 2009 New York's Funniest Stand-Up contest, please congratulate (in alphabetical order): Myq Kaplan, Gerald Kelly, Joe List, Matt McCarthy and Rory Scovel. They move on to the contest finals on Nov. 3 at Carolines, part of the New York Comedy Festival.
Eliminated in the semis: Josh Accardo, Vince August, Gina Brillon, Joey Gay, Jason Good, Eric Reynolds, Erik Rivera, Yamaneika Saunders, Dan Soder, Josh Spier and Reese Waters.
The 2009 edition of New York's Funniest Stand-Up contest has compiled its field of 30 semifinalists who'll take part in two groups next week. The semis will be held Oct. 27 at Stand-Up NY and Oct. 28 at Gotham Comedy Club, with the five best from each group moving on to the finals Nov. 3 at Carolines. It's all part of the New York Comedy Festival. Are you on this list? Do you know someone on this list? Congrats!
Note: The 30 semifinalists are listed in alphabetical order (by first name)...