Calling all romantics. It's Valentine's Day today, and some comedians are ready to help and serve you with advice both real and really funny.
Marc Maron wrote an essay for the New York Post about how all men can learn from his past mistakes. Stick with chocolate and flowers, please. "Another thing, you might be tempted to get something cute and creative, like a cool rock, a daisy, an ironic vinyl record and a card you made out of a diner menu and used Metrocards. This is only okay if you are 14 to 25 (or emotionally that old)."
Rob Delaney has a few choice words for Funny or Die about the day, and his dream date: Jennifer Hudson.
If you wrote in to The A.V. Club looking for advice today, then Julie Klausner has some for you.
The Axis of Awesome knows that even down under, it's still Valentine's Day, and what better time to teach you how to write a love song:
When you think of romantic men, the first two names to pop up were Moshe Kasher and Brent Weinbach. Obvs. This short film on dating etiquette has a 25% funny rating! Which means three out of every four people have no idea what's going on here.
If you're on Twitter and enjoy reading funny things, then odds are strong that you likely already know and follow the quick-hit offerings of Rob Delaney @robdelaney. If you read The Comic's Comic, then the house won't even take your odds, because I've mentioned his ribald brilliance on the Tweets multiple times.
But what happens when you see Delaney in person, spinning a 45-minute yarn in real life, in real time? That's what you get in "Naked and Bloody," which Delaney is quick to point out is not just a one-man show. Only the worst people do one-man shows, he says in a short stand-up routine before he regales the audience with his story.
Delaney opens his narrative arc directly at the title's tipping point, with himself bleeding and revealing all of his naughty bits about nine years ago, precariously perched on a wheelchair in jail. He goes on to explain what he did to get to there, and what he did to get better. Along the way, you'll hear him talk glowingly about "the fun" and "great people" he encountered, even as he's describing scenarios that don't sound like they'd be much fun to experience yourself. "Naked and Bloody" can be looked at as a cautionary tale, a shining beacon of hope out of the darkness of life, perhaps both, or even just an obscenely funny story about the lowest points of Delaney's own young life, and how he has emerged a different man because of it. A seemingly normal tall, dark and handsome man to look at, with an even taller, darker and more beautifully absurd and raunchy sense of humor inside of him.
Delaney has performed his show in Los Angeles and Seattle, and last night performed in New York City's UCB Theatre to an audience packed with some of the funniest people utilizing Twitter.
He'll bring "Naked and Bloody" next to San Francisco for SF Sketchfest, and he says he'll continue to share his story with audiences when and where the situation fits, and enjoys telling the story because he says it continues to evolve.
I enjoy watching Rob Delaney continue to evolve as a comedian and a man, and you should demand to experience him for yourself in person in a theater or comedy club near you.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of comedian Rob Delaney on Twitter. I've said so on Twitter. But get to know @RobDelaney past the 140-character limit, and you'll find that he's not exactly the profane absurdist he is there, but in fact, so much more. He's profoundly real.
Here's what Delaney had to say in writing a piece about comedy and comedians for Vice Magazine's "comedy" issue (as referenced in earlier posts today):
When a magazine does a “comedy issue” it’s usually just a few pages of pictures of famous comedians (or more likely comic actors, who aren’t really “comedians” at all) wearing expensive clothes in a silly photo shoot that, despite its purported aims, winds up being the opposite of funny. I’d like to offer a tiny antidote to those offensive shit rags.
Delaney then goes on to get real. He talks about drugs and alcohol, depression and suicide, pills and therapy, and what it all means, not just for all comedians, but for him. And it's all worth reading. Read it! Rob Delaney on "Comedy" in Vice.
In addition to the lengthy interviews with Buck Henry and Robert Smigel, there's a more playful Q&A with Chelsea Peretti, Paul Rust's letter to Prince, a book review for sale, and a screenplay course to follow from Bob Odenkirk, behind-the-scenes with Johnny Knoxville, and a lengthy piece on the North Carolina comedy scene that's behind Eastbound and Down. Does that make Vice's "comedy issue" different from the rest? I don't know, but having Delaney's essay is enough for me to be sold on it.
The fourth season of AMC's critically-acclaimed Mad Men begins on Sunday with a new season set in the 1960s in New York City, but wouldn't you rather watch the current-day MA Men of Boston? They've got to figure out who will say "Time to make the donuts" in a new series of Dunkin' Donuts ads. Featuring Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block, Nate Corddry, Jamie Denbo, Jessica Chafin, Nat Faxon and Michaela Watkins. Fun fact: In one of my first articles for the Boston Herald in 2005, I made fun of NKOTB for their Super Bowl Halftime Show, and shortly afterward, got a call from one of Joey's relatives in Southie who wasn't happy and said so and then some. Fun facts! Joey is great in MA Men so now need to call. We all like it. Roll the clip!
And so it begins again. Two years since we last left NBC's Last Comic Standing with an abrupt five-person finale, the show has returned to us, reborn with a new host (Craig Robinson), new judges (Andy Kindler, Natasha Leggero and Greg Giraldo) and a new promise to focus firmly and seriously on the business of comedy. Do they mean it this time?
For one thing, it's more than entirely possible that we already have seen this year's winner on TV before. By we, I mean the collective we and not just the you and me we, although that's also true -- Oui! Oui! -- because by taking comedy seriously, the producers already have made it clear that even though all of our contestants could be called up-and-coming and even aspiring, they are by no means rookies. When LCS first hit network TV in 2002 as comedy's version of American Idol meets Survivor, the bounty of a televised stand-up comedy special and development deal meant so much more for the field of participants. In 2010, so many more half-hour specials, late-night slots and cable showcases have given stand-ups a chance to grab a TV credit or two or more. So much so that as we, in real-time, already have our 10 finalists, we know that many of them are in this game for a lot more than a half-hour TV special. They're here for primetime network TV exposure on a regular weekly basis, the national theater tour that's sure to follow for the final five, and fame, fortune.
But first. We open Craig Robinson playing the keyboard and singing about the show's return, to reveal the Hollywood Improv and contestants behind him, as we saw in one of last week's teaser videos. Then we get the first montage of our judges as well as many quick looks at comedians, including a sneak peek at a naked Andy Ofiesh. Andy Ofiesh! Each of the judges gets an introduction, which is nice and also weird since they are peers or idols of the contestants. Giraldo gets a clip from his 2009 DVD special, while Leggero gets meta with a clip mocking reality TV competitions from Leno, and Kindler is even more meta as Robinson specifically credits Kindler for "The Hack's Handbook."
Our first contestant featured at the Hollywood Improv is Maronzio Vance. He says he auditioned way back in season two, and his first joke is about the woes of living in a studio apartment. Kindler gives him props for playing to the production crew, and they go at it. "We will see you tonight!" Kindler says. We will see him again, yes indeed. Our second featured contestant is Felipe Esparza, who shows us his apartment and friends in Los Angeles before we see him telling jokes. "What do you guys think? More? Less?" Giraldo says he knows how funny Esparza is, but thinks his audition set didn't showcase him fully, and he makes it to the night showcase despite getting a no from Leggero. "These guys pushed you through," she says. How far will they push him through, you may be asking?
And then there's a guy with a guitar and a red devil outfit. He wants to call himself my professional clown name, so even before the judges say no, I say NO! A KISS something or other. Other nuts. A guy who opened by saying, "No joke." Interviews with the longshots standing on the sidewalk for hours, with Robinson telling them eternal truths such as NBC giving the prize to Jay Leno.
And we're back to actual comedians, with Kirk Fox. We saw him in a teaser video, too, although here we see him surrendering during his routine. No surrender, though! He makes it through to the night showcase.
Our next featured contestant is Laurie Kilmartin, whom I think of as a NYC comedian but is listed here as a Walnut Creek, Calif., resident, showing us her new home with her son, talking about being a single mom and stand-up comedian. Now here she is onstage joking. And the judges like what they see. Hmmm. We are less than 20 minutes into the show, and already this much good news? They are trying to win us over early, it appears.
In the first running non-sequitur bit of the series, Giraldo sets up Kindler by giving him more time to come up with wardrobe suggestions for Kilmartin (whom, fun fact, seemed to wear the same outfit in her backstage and onstage appearances; and even funner factor, has been someone I knew about from when I first started in comedy in Seattle in the 1990s because her headshot stood out from the others along the wall of the Comedy Underground), and then we see him testing the confidences of several other comedians, starting with Renee Gauthier (in an unbilled cameo) and going through several others. "I want you to wear your hair up AND down," he tells one woman.