I hope Jimmy Fallon paid comedian Patrick Borelli to do part of Borelli's one-man show about book covers. Oh, wait. He has paid Borelli? Borelli is on staff with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon now! Great news, then! Hooray for Patrick! Score! It's still kind of weird, though, to see Fallon read and talk about some of these books just because I've already seen and heard Borelli talked about them in his show, "You Should Judge a Book By Its Cover."
I emailed Borelli overnight while the show was on, but since he has a day job writing for the show, he probably sleeps like a normal person now, and he got back to me today. He said he retired his bit and repackaged it for Fallon. He also told me:
Here's the clip from Fallon:
And here is the opening video to Borelli's old one-man show, which also includes some commentary from book-design critics about "Cooking With Pooh." Roll it!
I hope we can look forward to more Not Reading Lists in the future!
Eugene Mirman has announced the planned lineups for his crazy-yet-true-because-it-is-Eugene-after-all comedy festival named for him, taking place Sept. 25-28 in Brooklyn. Mirman pretty much has it covered -- most of his usual and unusual suspects will appear over those four days and nights at two venues, Union Hall (where Mirman already hosts the popular Tearing the Veil of Maya showcase on Sundays with Michael Showalter in Park Slope) and The Bell House (a new joint the Union Hall folks are opening nearby).
Time Out NY playfully hinted at what a Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival might look like, with hints from Mirman himself.
Want to see who's scheduled to perform?
Last year, I remember walking into Rififi and seeing a flyer for The Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy Show that had several quotes, but they all referred to the club, and not the actual show. I offered them one: "The most consistently funny and daring show in the city." They went on to win an ECNY Award (is that a thing?) and this past Friday, well, I saw something that really lived up to my quote. After the intermission.
Here is what I saw...all after the intermission...
Guest Host Patrick Borelli had a video presentation about awful book covers (that he plans on incorporating into a one-man show at some point). Alien bears!
Fred Armisen (yes, Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live fame) played a yet-unnamed character who is a piano-playing lyricist with a wig, a white jacket, and lyrics that make no sense.
Rick Shapiro followed Armisen onstage, and, being Rick Shapiro, kept his emotions unchecked as he rambled on about this, that, and the other thing, and mostly the other thing. "Not everyone's cup of tea," he acknowledged at one point. But always worth watching.
Then Eric Andre took the stage, and proving it's possible, made Shapiro seem tame. That's just how Andre rolls. Also, he showed us his directorial debut, which may be the most retarded thing I've ever seen on video. And by retarded, I mean, Andre might be mentally retarded. Or I am, for watching it.
But the show wasn't over. Still enough time for Larry Murphy to present his Puppets N Such, his ventriloquism act that had everyone in stitches.
That's not a show I think you'll see anywhere else in this city, or any city. All after the intermission.
Hiding out from the heat, still, and my Google Reader points me to Videogum, who's on top of the video situation, as always, and alerts me to the presence of a new McCain Girls video. This time, the Girls are asked to act more than they ever had before, the older one got her hair did and got herself a stunt dancer, and there's even a cameo for McCain Girls co-creator Patrick Borelli as a dancing judge. Enjoy!
Previously: My interview with Borelli about the McCain Girls.
If you're reading this, it's a Sunday morning, and probably not the time you're thinking about seeing a comedy show. Unless you have kids. And then you may want to hear about a limited-time production called The Wizard's Lounge, which offers performances today and next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the UCB Theatre in New York.
Billed as "part PeeWee's Playhouse and part Harry Potter," the hourlong show built for small children is the work of comedians/animators Matt Hall and Patrick Borelli, with wizards, knights, odd guests, riddles, magic orbs and more. They're helped by a cast of comedians that you'd normally see producing comedy for adults and adults who feel more like kids on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning, including Brett Gelman, Jenny Slate, Jon Benjamin, Jon Glaser, Larry Murphy and Leo Allen. But there they were last Sunday, performing for an audience at the UCB that consisted almost entirely of small children (ages ranged from toddlers to around 8) and their parents. Last week, Gelman helped open the show and warm up the kids as Samuel Squire. Hall hosted as Dr. Carl Manteesean, Wizard's Order 3rd Class. His sidekicks included Prince Mando, who, turned into a raven, was played by the voice of Glaser, and Wrangleswift the Sleepy Knight, played by Borelli. The knight is on hand to protect the show from getting taken over by the bad, evil wizard (played last week by Allen), except his sleeping fits meant he'd need the kids to wake him up early and often. Over the course of the show, Hall used animated displays to lead the children through a series of riddles and games that alternated between silly and slightly educational. The show also would see several drop-in guests, including Lady Flufferton (Slate) to play a version of the memory game, and the Rollin' Yogi (Benjamin) to display his "magic" talents of perception.
With kids in the audience, you always/never know quite what to expect (and I know this all too well from a year I spent working as a professional clown at birthday parties and company picnics in Seattle back in 1997). Last week, the performers realized they had to watch their language even more than simply avoiding profanity when one of the children in the audience blurted out in reply: "Stupid is a bad word!" There were giggles all around. Also the kids really latched onto Glaser's raven and his sales pitch for his potential nightclub, "The Bird's Nest," and somehow picked up on it themselves as a natural callback throughout last week's show. The kids loved Buzz the bee's song last week, yet hated it the week before. And the kids did manage to hold off throwing their magic orbs until properly cued, at which point Allen's evil wizard hat made for a surprisingly easy target. All in all, the show did offer laughs for both children and adults alike. It still felt like a work in progress, though, as I mentioned earlier, most of these performers are probably more used to dealing with subversive college-age crowds than innocent and attention-starved children. They told me afterward that if all goes well this week and next, they may decide to mount the show again later this year. It'll be interesting to see how it develops as both the performers and the audience get more and more accustomed to the framework of the show.
Today's New York Times says that the McCain Girls videos are a spoof made possible by 236.com. Who knew? Well, we sorta knew, didn't we? After more than 1.66 million views of the initial music video parody, "It's Raining McCain," the Huffington Post's politically-minded humor spinoff site has come forward and taken credit for it officially on the YouTube channel today.
Co-creator Patrick Borelli sat down for an exclusive chat with The Comic's Comic to talk about the making of the McCain Girls and the aftermath.
Which idea came first, Jon Glaser's Barack
Obama-sistible or your guys It's Raining McCain? Do you guys have a
I'm not sure which idea came first. I think they happened around the same time but independent of each other. I love Detroit Octane. I've known Glaser for a while and I'm good friends with the guitarist, Tedward. I love Detroit Octane's songs—they way Glaser sang them is so earnest. But yes, to answer your question, the McCain Girls hate Detroit Octane.
(Updated clarification: Brian Spinks, video department guru at 23/6, sent Benjamin and Glaser a bunch of voter-generated campaign songs and asked how we could make fun of them.)
What other songs did you guys consider spoofing before you hit upon that one?
Jon (Benjamin) and I were on the phone and he told me that 23/6 asked him to do some sort of a political music video, since Obama Girl was so huge. I thought, "What's opposite of Obama Girl?" and It's Raining Men popped into my head. I loved the video when I was younger. How could you not? It features three plus-sized women singing about all heterosexual women's fantasies, which is, to have men who are good at dancing fall from the sky in a soft manner, so that they are able to land softly and then proceed to find a woman they can dance for. So, I said, "We should do It's Raining McCain," and Benjamin laughed and agreed. And that was that. He called 23/6, since he had basically made most of their videos for them and we got to work on it almost immediately.
How did the writing partnership between you and Benjamin start and evolve?
I first started working with Jon when I performed on his Pajama Jam show, which was a live talk show he started about four years ago and ended about a year ago. Matt Hall and I would come up with goofy bits and do them every month. It was really one of the best shows going. Then, Jon created Assy McGee for Adult Swim and asked me if I'd write a few episodes with him. We have a pretty similar sensibility. He's really fun to write with because he's all about the ideas whereas some comics are angling more to get their idea across, even if it isn't the funniest. Jon's not like that. He's all about what's funniest.
How did you divvy up the work on McCain Girls?
We pretty much shared everything. We each wrote a version of the song separately and then when we got to the recording studio, we married our versions together. Jon's really great at honing in on the ridiculous and he came up with the line, "I'm gonna' go out and let myself get, absolutely JOHN McCAIN!" That's my favorite line. We were both in the recording session, giving feedback. Holly Schlesinger, who works at 23/6 and is a good friend of mine, was at the recording and actually sang. We had a third girl booked that failed to show, so Holly agreed to do it. I placed the ad on Craigslist and picked the three women. I wanted women that were all different from each other, both in age and race. Jeff Buchanan, who's a really great editor and camera guy, shot and edited the video. And Brian Spinks, who runs the video department at 23/6, did all the graphics and effects.
What was the Craigslist ad and what kind of response did it get?
The ad said something like, "Plus-sized female singer wanted for musical parody and video shoot." That was pretty much it. I got about fifteen responses.
How tough was it to make the video look amateurish (and I mean that in a good way)?
Not too hard. I lent them my one-chip camera, which doesn't look nearly as sharp as a 3-chip or HD camera. We figured that would help sell the amateurish feel. And Jeff did some really funny, crappy editing moves and shots made it look perfectly sloppy. And Spinks did some really funny effects, like having the woman on the left, Barbara, just fade in and out of the green screen. So it looks like she's in the process of being beamed up, Star Trek style.
When 23/6 decided to put your video on YouTube instead of 236.com, how did you guys feel about being anonymous?
That was our idea and 23/6 agreed to it. We knew if it were connected to 23/6, that no one would think it was authentic. And we were right. So many people thought it was real that John McCain admitted to having watched it a few times and said he was a fan. There's no way he would have said that if he knew it was created by a humor site.
How have you felt about all of the commentary out there, not only
online but also from the mainstream media and political pundits? Did you think much about any potential impact on the
actual campaign? Does it matter if you and Benjamin personally support
McCain or not?
I've loved seeing the video's audience grow larger and larger. When I saw the FOX News footage where they asked McCain if he'd seen or heard about the McCain Girls and he laughed and said yes and that he was a fan, I was thrilled. That's the ultimate joke, really. To create a parody that reaches the subject and not even they know it's a parody. I don't think it matters who we support but it's pretty safe to say that we do not support McCain.
response video (above) from the seemingly lead McCain Girl, getting all sassy
and NSFW, seems real enough to be her own words. How much input did she
have on that?
That response video was all Darnelle. She's legitimately angry. She should be. She received a majority of the mean comments and most of them were either about her weight, looks or race. They're just awful to read. I recorded it. I said to her, "Just respond to all those jerks. Tell them what you think."
And now that you aren't anonymous, what's next for the McCain Girls?
We're not sure. We haven't figured that out yet.
In the meantime, 23/6 has reloaded and reuploaded the sequel video, Here Comes McCain Again, on its own site. Here it is, too. Enjoy.
Around the same time that Jon Glaser's Barack Obama-sistible song parody hit the Internets, the folks at 23/6 also decided to pluck a YouTube video from obscurity and shine a spotlight on the McCain Girls. Coincidence? The Washington Post didn't think so, and suggested a connection in a March 24 blog post. As It's Raining McCain kept racking up page views, people wondered if this was a joke to bash McCain or a sincere effort to help him, a la Obama Girl. McCain himself told FOX News yesterday that he liked the videos and had a sense of humor about it all. But Karina Longworth at New TeeVee reported that she'd heard Jon Benjamin acknowledge at a show at Union Hall that not only was there indeed a 23/6 connection, but also his direct involvement in writing and producing the song. Glaser and Benjamin have performed and produced shows together over the years. And Benjamin also has a frequent co-conspirator in Patrick Borelli, with whom he has co-written a Super Deluxe series (Thunderpoint) as well as two episodes of Assy McGee (see a picture of Borelli and Benjamin celebrating the latter with Assy's voice actor, Larry Murphy). The men are staying mum on the subject for now. We'll see if we can pry something out of them soon enough. Until then, enjoy these videos, again or for the first time.
Note: Here Comes McCain Again now says it has been pulled due to a copyright claim. Ah, song parodies.
Last night at Union Hall (Park Slope, Brooklyn!), a three-for-one nighter, with Eugene Mirman hosting Tearing the Veil of Maya with guests that included Reggie Watts, Zach Galifianakis and Tim Minchin, followed by Sara Schaefer's Name That Tune live game show, followed by a viewing party for the second season premiere of Assy McGee, voiced primarily by Larry Murphy, on Adult Swim.
Quotable: "I'm glad this is going well. I want my stuff to be Merchant Ivory, but it's more Merchant Ivory Wayans." -- Zach Galifianakis
Best team name of the night: Nobody Puts Jerry Orbach's Eyes in the Coroner
Larry Murphy voices all of the main characters for Assy McGee, the animated series about a unique detective for the Exeter, N.H., police department. The show begins its second season on Adult Swim on Sunday night (well, early Monday, 12:30 a.m.). Murphy is quite the character. In fact, if you see him live, you could say he's just as animated and funny onstage as he is doing voiceover work. You can catch him every Friday night at Rififi for the ECNY Award winning variety show, The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show. Let's learn a little more. First question, please!
Where does each voice for Assy McGee originate?
Most of them are very bad impersonations. If they were good ones you would know who I was doing. Others are based people I've known.
Do you go through the stereotypical actor's questioning of "what's my motivation" for each character?
I hope I never asked that "Acting Question" about "Motivation." Generally whoever you might be asking that of is looking to you to provide the answer. If something is written well it usually tells you what to do just fine.
How did you decide how a talking, walking ass would talk?
Before I auditioned they specifically asked for a voice that was out of breath. I just kept thinking about the fat, sweaty, boozy Police Captain Orson Welles played in Touch of Evil. Not necessarily the voice but the character Hank Quinlan. The guy was tremendously disgusting. Unfortunately that answer comes across as extremely pretentious when you're talking about an animated ass.
How do you keep all of the voices straight when you're in the studio?
I never really think about that one although if it's been awhile I occasionally might need to hear a voice I previously recorded again. Also it's good to have a director listening who keeps you honest and lets you know when you lose it.
Were you a big fan of Looney Tunes as a child?
I think I watched my share of cartoons but mostly I lived in my own little world as a child.
Then what influenced you or steered you into voiceover work?
I think in a lot of ways I sort of fell into it. I certainly didn't have any plan. I was doing sketch stuff with Brendon Small at the Comedy Studio when he got Home Movies. I did a voice in one episode and it was a running joke for awhile that I never did any more episodes on his show because I didn't pony up the money to join the Union. I was still very much working what I thought was a real job. Eventually the folks at Soup2Nuts came back to me for something else and eventually I got wise and joined the Union.
Were there other voice actors that you studied or looked up to growing up?
When I was a kid I don't think I understood that was a thing you could actually do. Ironically the first time I took notice of anyone's voice in a thing was Jon Benjamin as Ben in Dr.Katz (which was also produced by Soup2Nuts). He was so damn funny. I remember I watched the credits thinking "Who is that guy?" He's one of the funniest people I know and I'm extremely fortunate I get to work with him on stuff now.
Most people in New York only see you as a live performer, but even
then, you use your talents to give voice to some absurdly hilarious
characters (Sal Lupo, Marlon Brando, Puppets n Such).
Where did the idea for Puppets n Such come from?
I saw these two puppets, a fireman & a cop at a Toys-R-Us when I was buying Christmas gifts for my nieces & nephews and told my wife I had to buy them. She's used to that sort of thing. They sat quietly for several months before I figured out why I needed them.
Are you a fan of ventriloquism?
Fan? Hmmmm not quite but I really liked the movie Magic starring Anthony Hopkins. Netflix that.
When will we see the autobiographical sketches from Marlon Brando again?
Soon I hope. I've always been a fan of Brando and got really inspired after rereading this biography by Peter Manso. It just became to me the most unintentionally funny biography ever written. I'd really like to make some videos of that character if anyones willing to fly me to Fiji.
Has it always been part of the plan to have a different co-star each time?
No. That was no plan. I think I just happened to ask several different talented people to help me do the sketch. It's quite a bit to ask of another performer come to a show with you so he can help you do a staged reading of your poorly written three-act play in which he gets shit on by Marlon Brando and Marlon Brando gets shit on by some seagulls.
And finally...Do you have an HIV-positive, Native American dad? (Pictured?)
No Comment Comic's Comic. Tell Patrick Borelli to expect a call from my attorney.
See Larry Murphy live and on TV!
Tonight: The Greg Johnson & Larry Murphy Show, 8 p.m. at Rififi, with special guests Zach Galifianakis, Demetri Martin, Jesse Popp, Jon Friedman, Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Rosinsky and Kenny Zimlinghaus.
Sunday: Assy McGee viewing party, 11:30 p.m., Union Hall, Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Monday: Assy McGee season two premiere, 12:30 a.m., Adult Swim (Cartoon Network).
Here's a clip! Most likely NSFW.
CORRECTION! Patrick Borelli wrote in to The Comic's Comic exclusively to reveal that his root canal ended up focusing on Tooth #18, not Tooth #19 as previously disclosed. Borelli is back on the comedy circuit, listed on the bills of two fun-loving comedy shows tonight. You can catch him at Max Silvestri's I Like Attention at Sound Fix Records in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (also on that lineup: Reggie Watts, Eugene Mirman, Joe Mande, Tom McCaffrey and Baron Vaughn), or later this evening at the debut of ¡Sacapuntas! at Jimmy's No. 43 in the East Village, Manhattan (on a lineup presented by Dan Allen and Ray DeVito with Michelle Collins, Tom Shillue and Andres du Bouchet). Which reminds me, you can see upcoming NYC shows on my Google calendar, which I try to update regularly.
For more of Borelli, you can catch his NSFW animated series on Super Deluxe, Thunderpoint Worldwide. Here's the first episode, from late January, to learn the ropes. And yes, that's David Cross singing the theme song. Enjoy.
EXCLUSIVE!!! The Comic's Comic has learned that comedian Patrick Borelli will have to cancel his Thursday night performance at Gabe & Jenny's New Experience due to a root canal scheduled for 3 p.m. tomorrow. Borelli told me last night that the best dental experts have targeted Tooth #19 for the invasive surgical procedure. He's unsure when he'll be able to perform again. But certainly not Thursday night. Donations are not necessary at this time, although friends ask that you keep Borelli and his teeth in your prayers.
UPDATED! We've also obtained this exclusive X-ray of Tooth #19*