Everyone is hungry for laughs this year, and cue the rest of this metaphor, because the fifth annual edition of Sketchfest NYC certainly delivered with a healthy appetite (Zoinks!) of fun times, served up with a side of...you know what I'm trying to say, right? Food was on the brain and onstage in many of the highlights from this past weekend's celebration of sketch comedy in the Big Apple. Harvard Sailing Team reimagined the callback auditions for a Pizza Hut ad. Elephant Larry screened a "viral video" for Subway that never went viral, in a special edition of The Rejection Show. Kristen Schaal claimed that her comedy partner had gotten turned into a stuffed bird. Rue Brutalia handed out rolls of Rolos and compared fast-food sandwiches in a job interview. Pangea 3000 interrupted a sketch to eat ribs. The Apple Sisters modeled "ration fashion" featuring watermelon muffs, hats and shoes. The 3rd Floor served up pancakes to one lucky audience member. Kevin McDonald put on his one-man and one-guitarist show, "Hammy and the Kids" (ham not included). Let's review some of these things in further detail, shall we?
The Apple Sisters made a triumphant return to NYC, having all moved out within the past year to Los Angeles and showcasing a new 1943-era radio programme set aboard the USS Sketchfest Intrepid en route to Hawaii. Cora, Candy and Seedy were looking to get lei'd with the seamen, but first had to deal with a mutiny, a pirate, an emergency SOS call and more. Quite saucy and sassy, these broads! A fun moment when the captain declared: "You can't just ovulate all over the ship!" To which Candy replied: "Well, what am I supposed to do with this?" thrusting her hands to her pelvis. Funnier still, when the ladies modeled their "ration fashions," with actual juicy watermelons getting all over themselves and the theater floor. "Anybody hungry?" Cora asked afterward.
Also on Thursday: Kristen Schaal made her fourth Sketchfest NYC appearance, but first without comedy partner Kurt Braunohler (who was performing in Tennessee at Bonnaroo); Team Submarine took on "Who's On First" but with 69 jokes; Rue Brutalia played good-cop, bad-cop to investigate the ultimate riddle: Who farted? and also unveiled a sketch that somehow didn't work when they tried it in a Brooklyn hip-hop club; A Week of Kindness fashioned an awards show completely around Bee Movie; Murderfirst wanted to prove that being loud, fat and naked makes any sketch idea funnier (did it work?); Sam and Timmy from The Whitest Kids U Know tried to tell a story about when the kids got interviewed by High Times; and Olde English deconstructed the plot to Pixar's new hit movie, UP, to such a degree that you wonder how the film ever got made in the first place.
Sometimes April Fool's Day just brings good ol' fashioned funny news, and the folks from Sketchfest NYC have done just that, unveiling the first featured shows taking place from June 11-13, 2009. Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald will do double duty, performing his one-man show, "Kevin McDonald's Hammy & The Kids," as well as sitting down for a chat with Carl Arnheiter in "Inside Joke: An Evening of Lies." Also announced today: The cast and crew of MTV's The College Humor Show will give you a behind-the-scenes look at how it all happened, as well as whether it will ever happen again. The Rejection Show and Olde English's Very Fresh, The Story Pirates present Found Magazine, and a kids show, Striking Viking Story Pirates, also are on the bill. Look for more announcements soon.
A new video from Olde English pooped up today on the Internet site you forgot about until it was too late, otherwise known as Super Deluxe. They envision a foody future that does the digesting for ya! Title spoiler alert: It's the machine that turns food into poop. No, really.
Turns out Super Deluxe does still introduce new videos every now and then, if you know where to look (or even if you just stumble upon it), and today introduced the rap on O'Doul's by NYC sketch group Olde English, which shows they've at least continued to embrace the voice effect technology they used on their highly popular Akon calling T-Pain sketch from earlier this year. Language is NSFW. Enjoy.
Just in time for Sunday's Academy Awards, Olde English weighs in with two new looks at two of the Best Picture nominees.
This one features Jackie Clarke as Diablo Cody.
Just checking my feeds from some of my other favorite comedy sites (look on the left column here, and you'll see the most recent postings from Comedy Central Insider, Dead-Frog, The Apiary, The Baston and Shecky Magazine, as they're updated) and saw a couple of new and funny videos posted on CCInsider, thought I'd take a look-see at what else is new and online.
First up, Olde English proves that sometimes it's better not to overthink a situation:
After the jump, we've got videos from Pete & Brian, Funny or Die featuring Nick Swardson and David Spade, and Harry Shearer revealing the Katie Couric you don't see. Click and enjoy!
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...
Or a recap of other shows and stuff from Friday and Saturday at the 2007 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival
Colbert received his Person of the Year award from CNN's Jeff Greenfield, as they sat in front of a giant poster/mock magazine cover of Colbert as the Person of the Year with the subtitle: "Not you. Me." A good dig at Time. Also fitting for the Colbert character. He said this was his third time at the festival, but "this is the first time I've looked out at the front row and not seen everybody asleep!" I barely got in, and barely made it to the post-show press opp (my bad on both counts). Very funny and friendly guy. For those of you playing the home game, the Colbert Report writers come up with most of the “Word”s on Fridays, because it can take a while to write the backstory and explanation for each word. Some insightful comments on Bill O’Reilly and Barney Frank. Video tributes from his friends and colleagues. More to come on this in other forums that pay me. But the show was so packed, Colbert made time to give props to people stuck in the lobby.
Fat City Lounge
The title of this year’s late-night show at Aspen, where anyone and everyone can drop in for a few minutes of stage time. Friday night’s hosts Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter joked about the show’s musical theme and riffed on the Irish (hey!?). Charlyne Yi, who played an NBC page on a recent episode of 30 Rock, stepped up first with her guitar and rocked out to a song called "God knows I finished my whiskey." Hmmm. Sketch group Olde English followed with a sketch about the Fernberger family whose condo the troupers were staying at in Aspen, showing off the family's framed photos, posters, paintings, living room chair, track lighting and drapes. Apparently, the HBO folks weren't so happy about the sketch ending with the troupers simulating sex with said items. Either way, what made me enjoy it was not knowing whether the guys really did take these items from the condo or not. TastiSkank brought the funny with songs about "I heart dirty boys," "Hydrocodone," "Please manscape the area," "Oops, I f--ked you again" and "You're the worst sex I've ever had." Showalter had to take off to his other scheduled show, so Ian Black introduced a special guest, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (as played by UCB's Seth Morris) who read his open letter to Hollywood. Tim Minchin closed the show. In the first 30 seconds, I wasn't sure what to make of this Aussie as he air-drummed, air-guitared and lip-synched. But as soon as he sat down to the piano, everything changed. He can play. He can sing. And he can tell some wickedly perverse jokes. Anyone who can write a peace anthem for the Middle East is good in my book, even if I'm going to keep on eating pigs. So glad I decided to catch this show.
After watching the pilot for this new FOX sitcom that debuted Sunday night (twas funny in an outrageous way, although upon watching it and the second episode Sunday, I've decided that it's entirely due to Rob Corddry and Lenny Clarke), Spike Feresten moderated a panel discussion with creator Ricky Blitt, star Corddry and Seth MacFarlane. "It's sort of a Wonder Years starting at 32," Blitt said. MacFarlane joked about drinking so early in the day: "I drink because I'm comfortable being the only white person in this town." Corddry downplayed all of the roles that are coming his way in movies. "Those nine films, they're all like don't-blink roles," he said.
Best of the Fest Awards ceremony
Hosted by Jamie Kennedy, with presentations also made by Judith Light and William Baldwin. Deciding to sit with Shane Mauss and a guy from SuperDeluxe front row center turned out to be a wise decision, especially when Mauss won an award as the best stand-up of the fest (along with Kirk Fox, who got off one of the funniest ad-libs by saying, "William Baldwin's complaining he didn't win an award? He already won an award. He's not Daniel."). For his part, Baldwin kept cracking jokes, perhaps to let us know that he, like older brother Alec, is ready and willing to do sitcom work! At one point, though, Baldwin stopped to look out into the crowd and saw the fro of Eric Andre. Paraphrasing here, Baldwin shouted to Andre: "You were on fire last night. Do you remember? You crashed the party, holding a sled over your head as you shouted, 'Let's rub boners!'" Um. Yeah. I was there. I remember. But most people in the audience were merely weirded out. Afterward, the guys from Super Deluxe took Mauss, myself and Ben Kronberg out to dinner at La Cantina. Fun, quick Mexican meal, and then Mauss and I raced back to the Belly Up for his final showcase.
Group B: Andy Borowitz hosted this standing-room only stand-up showcase. Erik Charles Nielsen went first, and seemed less intense than the first night I'd seen him, mixing up his material a bit. But the audience wasn't quite ready for him, and his decision to back into an unlit corner of the stage during his closer didn't help, either. Alexandra McHale has some funny nutritional advice, but I had to make a note in my notepad to alert Gary Gulman that someone else is coming for his cookie jokes! Na'im Lynn must really have a problem around the holidays, though he seems nice enough. TJ Miller has so many characters in his act, I feel like I'm watching an audition for SNL. To which Dan Boulger asked, "What's wrong with that?" John Ramsey has so many sharp, solid, clever jokes that he must be introduced to Myq Kaplan to see if they'll either become fast friends or mortal enemies. A poop joke as Russian history? Seriously? Seriously funny. Shane Mauss, fresh off his festival win, got to close the show and was funnier than I'd ever seen him. He threw in some old jokes and some rare jokes. And he had the audience at his bidding.
The parties: The Sierra Mist Lounge in the St. Regis provided a fun and comfortable environment to kick back after the shows each night during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, although it seemed better on its slower nights (Wednesday and Saturday) than on Thursday and Friday, when it got so packed you could barely move. Met some nice comics (Nick Swardson) and even some nice lawyers (Jeff B. Cohen, aka lawyer to the comics, aka Chunk!). A ping pong table and foosball. Dan Boulger thought he had a brush with Cheryl Hines. Only problem was that the parties ended too early, as the lights came up at about 1:45 each morning. Which invariably led to the afterparties.
The UCB "house" was where it was at each night. Seth Morris and the rest of the guys couldn't have been nicer. The basement hopped. Anyone and everyone would show up (see my earlier post about William Baldwin's party reference during the awards ceremony). And our small band of comedians and merrymakers bonded throughout the week, making for a four-day party. Only problem was that we'd have to shepherd each other back up the icy mountain to the condo.
The so-called "mansion," on the other hand, ugh. Took a lot of effort to get there, by car and by foot. And once there, it really was too large and anonymous to have any fun there. As we remarked to each other afterward, we could've had much more fun at the UCB place. Or even at our place.