The newest movie under the Judd Apatow umbrella -- he didn't write nor direct Get Him to the Greek, but is still out promoting it on TV as its producer (sorry, Nick Stoller) -- is a spin-off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall focusing on Russell Brand's character, rock star Aldous Snow. Apatow is calling it My Favorite Year with more heroin and PCP, but these kinds of movies (the plot has Sean Combs aka Diddy instructing Jonah Hill to go to London, fetch Brand and literally get him to the Greek for his rock show within 72 hours) always remind me of how much I enjoyed and still enjoy Midnight Run as the king of time-sensitive road trip comedy films. Anyhow.
The people behind Get Him to the Greek (red-carpet premiered last night; in cinemas wide on June 4) just released their behind-the-scenes featurettes, which you'd normally have to wait to see on DVD or on a random 15-minute block on pay cable between other movies. Spoiler alert: One of their featurettes shows Brand's Aldous Snow performing in concert at the Greek Theatre. Not that you couldn't have guessed the movie would have somewhat of a happy ending, right? Anyhow times two.
In case you want to learn more before deciding whether to see the movie, let's look behind the scenes, in plot order west from London to Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Step one: London.
Step two: Vegas. Watch Diddy run. Watch Brand and Hill run. Watch TJ Miller as a desk clerk for a second or two.
Step three: Russell Brand takes a slow-rolling tour around a Vegas casino floor (the Orleans?) and causes very small amounts of trouble. Hijinx, if you will.
Step four: Got Him to the Greek, with 1,500 background extras for his concert.
MTV asked British comedian Russell Brand to host the channel's Video Music Awards for a second straight year, but watching the show broadcast last night from NYC's Radio City Music Hall, you may have wondered why. Seriously. Why? Brand caused enough of a stir in 2008, I suppose, to earn his return. But his monologue and later quips this time around sounded more like the ramblings of a scatterbrained pervert (which, well, he has acknowledged his sex addiction publicly, again and again and again) than anything resembling a punchline. When he lovingly introduced Jimmy Fallon (with Andy Samberg), I thought about how Fallon had hosted an MTV shindig before and might have been a better choice for all parties concerned. Fallon and Samberg covering Boyz II Men was amusing, yes; Beyonce singing along, even more so. (And yes, we noticed how the Internets quickly mashed up Kanye West's VMA heckler routine with Obama's speech)
But this ad for this week's upcoming VH1 Divas, featuring comedian Brett Gelman as an agent for Paula Abdul, was funnier than anything that aired during the actual VMAs. Seacrest, out?
Among the many protesting the G20 summit in London, comedian Russell Brand. He likes trouble, but also enjoys discourse. So it makes total sense to find him among the masses here. Interesting to see how he does or does not take the bait from the media. Would you have acted the same way if you were in his shoes?
Russell Brand is tonight's first guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. That's not what got my attention. This did, though. Minutes ago, Fallon typed this into his Twitter feed: "Trying a Twitter experiment around 6:00pm eastern time. Should be fun. Check in around that time." In other words, while he is taping his show for tonight. And here is this video message from Brand yesterday about wanting more Twitter followers by tonight's taping. Ergo, there shall be two celebrities, on your television late tonight, talking Twitter and Tweeting. You have been warned. As I type this, Jimmy Fallon's Twitter had 267,862 followers, compared to 84,003 for Russell Brand's Twitter.
Your imagination is not playing tricks on you this week. That probably is British rapscallion Russell Brand you see on your TV screens. Brand's first Comedy Central hour special debuted Sunday night (re-airs this coming Friday, March 13), his memoir, My Booky Wook, arrives on American bookshelves Tuesday, and he has a live date March 12 in NYC at the Manhattan Center. All of which means even more of Brand on the promotional circuit (last week on Leno, tonight on Letterman, later this week on Fallon, plus other daytime talkers likely).
Live Nation has just announced that more seats are available to tonight's Comedy Central taping with British comedian Russell Brand in New York City "due to production releases." Tickets cost $45 (online via Live Nation or Ticketmaster, or by phone at 212-307-7171). But is it worth it?
That depends. Let me tell you what happened last night and see if that piques your interest. Doors open at 7 p.m. at Teatro Heckscher of El Museo Del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave., in Spanish Harlem. But last night's show didn't start until 8:40 p.m. as the crew worked out a variety of tech issues. Perhaps this explains the decision to release more tickets tonight? Regardless, the show. Well, first, the set. It looks like a Persian palace lounge, with long hanging tapestries of red and orange separated by equally long bands of yellow beads. Three gold painted skulls stare out from the front of the stage between the speakers. Brand has created a "Den of Thieves" for his Comedy Central debut to American audiences.
What you won't hear: Any more apologies from Brand about what the British tabloids have called "Sachsgate," the prank phone call that led to him quitting his BBC Radio gig. That's most likely not a sin of omission, but rather a decision that American audiences would not care for an explanation of that incident in a comedy show. Brand knows fans would like to hear more about what happened when he hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, though, and delves in-depth into that for upward of a half-hour. He'll tell you the jokes he had planned that he decided NOT to say that night on MTV, as well as offer this additional thought on the Jonas Brothers: "I'm about as angry about the Jonas Brothers as I am about cotton candy!" Want to know what he means by that? Want to know what story The Daily Mail published about him that made him believe "they're reporting from inside my insecurity?" Or would you just like to see Brand in form-fitting pants with prominently large shiny zippers on his crotch and buttocks? In 70 minutes -- and Brand chose not to do any of his traditional crowd work, mind you -- this personable personality with a wickedly poetic use of vocabulary also touched upon his experiences filming Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the temptations of meeting the Queen, and his oral sex tips. Much of his closing bit, you must figure, will have to air during Comedy Central's overnight "secret stash" timeframe, if it makes it to air at all, or will show up later on a DVD. I'm not sure how they'll get "seagulling" around the standards and practices censors, but I'm sure Brand will try. The boy likes to seek out trouble, don't you know? Or is that all part of his master plan to make himself as famous in America as he is infamous in Britain?
Russell Brand is taping his first hour special for Comedy Central this weekend in New York City, but Live Nation has just added another date for Brand to get ready for that gig...late tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Bleecker Street Theatre. Doors at 10 p.m., show at 10:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale at 2 p.m. today via Telecharge.com, or by phone at (212) 239-6200.
Perhaps you have heard something or other about British comedian Russell Brand leaving obscene prank voice mail messages for actor Andrew Sachs, who played the Spanish waiter Manuel in the classic Britcom Fawlty Towers? The incident (which also involved British TV host Jonathan Ross as a co-conspirator) has led to Brand having to quit his BBC Radio show. Brand still is set to perform and record an hourlong Comedy Central special in New York City next month. Almost seems like the guy likes to court trouble -- remember, Brand showed up to work at MTV in the U.K. dressed as Osama bin Laden on Sept. 12, 2001. If you want to know everything about Brand's latest kerfuffle, the BBC has compiled an impressively obsessively detailed timeline.
Related: Brand arrives in the U.S. this weekend, performing Nov. 2-3 at Largo in Los Angeles, Nov. 5-6 at Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco, and taping Nov. 13-14 at El Museo Del Barrio.
Want to see Russell Brand perform live in New York City as he tapes his first Comedy Central special? Here are the details: He performs Thursday, Nov. 13, and Friday, Nov. 14, at the Teatro Heckscher of El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave. (at 104th Street). Doors at 7 p.m., shows at 8 p.m. Tickets: $35, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24, via Live Nation. If you'd like to order tickets by telephone, call 212-307-7171.
For you Left Coasters, Brand is warming up for the special with gigs Nov. 5-6 at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco.
Did comedy happen at last night's 25th installment of the MTV Video Music Awards? Well, did it? Were there hijinx to report? Amid all the hubbub that British comedian Russell Brand would host and Britney Spears would open, did controversy mount? Well, did it? Not really.
Britney Spears endured a cold open sketch with Jonah Hill that not only wasn't funny, but also showed us Spears looking for her cue cards (or was she merely looking for the exit?). When Spears officially did open the awards broadcast, it reminded me of the awkward time six years earlier, in 2002, when she tried to give Michael Jackson a birthday present and he thought he was getting a prize as "artist of the millenium." Remember that? As for Russell Brand, he began by relaying his need for fame to make him funny, which only reminded people in the crowd that they might not know him, which only undermined his bits about Obama, Bush (whom he called "a retarded cowboy"), Sarah Palin (whom he called a "VILF"), the Jonas Brothers, Madonna and A-Rod, and boy bands. Brand certainly was more than a bit risque, which MTV probably loved/hated/loved, with plenty of sex jokes about the Jonas Brothers and their idea that they won't have sex before marriage. A joke about the Jackson kids turning out OK got laughs from the audience, but it was difficult to tell how the rest of his monologue went over. What else? Jamie Foxx, as the first presenter of the evening, said "s#$&" while ad-libbing but the censors were ready and dubbed it out. Christoper Mintze-Plasse, aka McLovin, talked about being "f@#&ing wasted" while presenting with Slipknot, and more than a few people wondered, Slipknot? Everything else was so manufactured, from the "live" performances down to the multiple awards for Spears, that it only made perfect sense that this all took place on a movie studio lot. At least now MTV can get back to doing what it does best: Manufactured melodramas.
Dana Carvey talks to the San Jose Mercury News about returning to stand-up after "semi-retiring" to be a husband and father: "I've been at this for 25 years," Carvey says. "I did SNL. I did some movies. My kids have grown up. I've saved a lot of money — that will go over good — and I'm having fun."
Lenny Clarke lives on Martha's Vineyard, and it's a rare but true thing to see him perform on the island, which he'll do Aug. 17 during a break from filming Rescue Me.
My friend and former colleague Lauren at the Boston Herald interviews Chelsea Handler about her latest book of essays, which has been a bestseller all summer. “When I got that news, I was like, OK, well, this must signal the end of the world. I’m on The New York Times Bestseller List? It’s not like I’m Salman Rushdie. I mean, I have a show on E!.”
Artie Lange is already out of rehab, and talks to SF Weekly about enjoying the Bay Area.
Russell Brand reveals to Defamer that he keeps up with pop culture and music, which is a good thing since he's hosting this year's MTV Video Music Awards. Brand describes Miley Cyrus as "confusingly attractive," the people of The Hills as having "the general air of louche attractiveness and easy availability." Here is a promotional clip with Brand, Britney Spears and the elephant in the room. No, really.
MTV has tapped British comedian/actor Russell Brand to host this year's Video Music Awards, live on Sept. 7, 2008, in Hollywood. If you read this site, then you already have learned that this is how Brand plans on converting his title as the U.K.'s hottest stand-up to our American shores and inlands. It shouldn't be a problem for him, really, as he already has worked for MTV in the U.K. For those of you who need brushing up on your Russell Brand, you can read what I've written about him here.
It's time for one last look around the 2008 Montreal Just For Laughs festival, which Variety reports raked in $10 million (which is about the same in Canadian as it is in U.S. dollars these days!) this July. Which means this final recap must begin with the guy who buzzed about the festival...
Doug Stanhope, who set up his Slamdance to their Sundance, aka Just For Spite festival with shows Friday and Saturday at Club Chaos, told me on Saturday night that he'd been offered a paltry $1,100 to perform 10 nights of one-man shows at the fest (or as he added, less than what he earned during his first trip to Montreal's JFL), which prompted his fury. Much of the buzz about Stanhope during the fest itself centered around two incidents, both of which Stanhope wrote about online. He first aired his grievances on Wednesday via 236.com, then on Friday night, after getting kicked out of a JFL venue by fest organizer Bruce Hills, Stanhope went to his MySpace to fill us in on the details.
Most pleasant surprise in a one-man show: Patrice Oneal. Here's a guy who seems so in your face and so not safe for work that, well, that's how his career even began in Boston, challenging another comedian. And he has made his name on the club circuit as that guy who won't take no gruff. But you take him out of the comedy clubs and put him in an intimate theater setting, give him a stool or a chair and just let him speak...wow. As I noted earlier, his one-man show, Positivity, is positively brilliant. He may think he's not getting any smarter. But this show is the smartest thing he has done.
The lucky New Faces bump? Last year, Tom Papa hosted all of the New Faces showcases and handled himself with such professionalism and managed to bring the funny, that I recall singling him out and hoping he'd get a show of his own. This year, Papa got the special one-man showcase named after the late Richard Jeni and earned nightly standing ovations for his show, Only Human. Here's the Montreal Gazette review to chew on. I saw similar magic coming from Greg Giraldo this year in hosting New Faces, and hope he gets a similar promotion in 2009. Giraldo always has mastered the art of topical social commentary, but there also has been so much going on in his world, both professionally and personally, that could be mined for a one-man show. Let's make that happen.
Funniest comic-on-comic impersonation: Greg Behrendt, who introduced himself to the audience as "a 45-year-old alternative comic," doing Russell Brand at the midnight Alternative showcase, slinking his way around the stage and joking about Brand having sex with Kate Moss.
Toughest ticket for a show I wished I'd seen: They say you mock the ones you love (some do), so Behrendt must have been paying tribute to Russell Brand's status as the hot comic of the moment. You had to sweet talk your way into his sold-out performances. Thankfully, I got to see Brand a couple of days later in New York City (my review of Russell Brand).
Toughest ticket for a show I'm not sorry I missed: Apatow For Destruction. Movie producers and movie stars should not always be confused for great stand-up comedians.
How young is he, again? Bo Burnham, at 17, is the new sensation, already signed to Gersh with a Comedy Central EP that zoomed up the iTunes charts. Where did he come from? Outside of Boston, since you asked. He generated some "heat" as they say in the bidness. I saw him the previous weekend open up for Joel McHale at Carolines and deliver an amazingly proficient and efficient 13-minute musical set of songs and rap. How did this tall, scrawny high-school kid making YouTube videos gain so much poise onstage with less than 20 live performances to his credit? He told me. "I'm young, dumb and fearless." Here's a recent fairly NSFW video from Bo fo yo (argh, I just really typed that and didn't backspace backspace delete, didn't I?):
State of the Industry vs. Comedy Person of the Year: Andy Kindler wins in a walk-off, as Kindler filled the room to more than capacity, with people standing in the foyer, then half of them walking out to skip the festival's awarding of "Comedy Person of the Year" to Judd Apatow. Having Apatow did guarantee that all his famous friends and industry associates would show up in Montreal, though, leading to some heartfelt words from Apatow himself, and a funny quip from Seth Rogen: "Look at us. We're a parade of bad fashion...It's like we're at the rehearsal for the award."
Just Comedy? Remember the days when you didn't have to pay $500 to attend a festival thrown on your behalf? Oh, those were days. But Just Comedy's two-day confab proved to be kind of eh. As I joked to Andy Kindler in our short video interview, I only stayed at the Webisode to Episode panel for about five minutes, because that's as long as that panel should have been. Don't they know this already? Because of that, I missed out on perhaps the liveliest panel of the confab, as club owners kvetched at length about the business of live touring.
All-around favorites: You couldn't go anywhere in Montreal without someone reminding you how great John Mulaney and Brent Weinbach were at the festival. I shall sing Mulaney's praises to anyone who asks, and it was great to see him knock it out of the park (that's a baseball term) at JFL, with people especially rapt over his tale of playing a joke on a restaurant at age 11. Mind you, he's only 25 now. He will tape a Comedy Central Presents next month and you will enjoy it. He's also co-headlining at Comix next month (Aug. 22-23) with Nick Kroll. As for Weinbach, he won the Andy Kaufman Award in Vegas last year for a reason, and showed why in Montreal with an over-the-top performance at the alternative showcases.
New Faces recaps: My favorites or yours? Brendon Walsh stood out for me with his cleverness, while Sean Patton surprised me because I had never seen him in a mainstream club before. Harris Wittels delivered the ballsiest set, ending a routine that included misnamed bands and masturbation issues with a joke about racism. Ira Proctor turned it around so much from the first set to the second that veteran Larry Miller couldn't stop complimenting him. Mo Mandel was the singular standout from the other group. Although truth be told, most people I talked to from the industry were relatively underwhelmed by this year's crop of New Faces as a whole. Then again, they were relatively underwhelmed in general.
State of the New Faces Industry: What does it say about the comedy industry and Montreal's New Faces that two of them, Iliza Shlesinger and Jeff Dye, are among the finalists for this season on NBC's Last Comic Standing? A few things. Among them: The NBC producers prefer fresh-faced comedians, even if they're relatively inexperienced, because it allows them to have control (read: earn money) by launching their careers nationally. Also, it means tough luck for industry wanting a piece, as NBC and the producers have them under its contractual spell already. Anyone want to guess whether Shlesinger and Dye already are locked up for the nationwide club/theater tour that follows the season finale?
The Masters: Speaking of Larry Miller, what a class act he proved to be in Montreal, not just for actually watching younger comedians and saying nice things to them, but also for being the consummate host for the Masters showcases. Miller has been one of the more amusing voices of reason on Bill Maher's HBO chat show, Real Time, and it's so nice to be able to see Miller onstage again doing stand-up. As he told audiences, "Almost everyone on the show is someone I've known for years and respect -- and they're all good." Well, I'll be the judge of that. Henry Cho, a Korean raised in Tennesee, "so I'm South Korean." If you didn't enjoy Esther Ku's jokes about getting Koreans confused for each other, what would you make of this master's trip to the homeland with his father: "When we went to Korea, he walked 20 feet away and I lost him!" Hal Sparks continues to sport his Criss Angel hair and magician look, despite how it looks. It looks like Criss Angel. Instead, Sparks ranted against people who miss his short hair, talked about losing his Kentucky accent, and did a big act-out about sexually peaking. Cathy Ladman hates her New York voice, and Montreal audiences weren't exactly thrilled with it, either. Another trip to the therapist and everything will be OK. Henry Phillips and his guitar? Well, here's a little number you may have heard before, "Sweet Little Blossom of Mine." Todd Glass: I hadn't seen him live in four years, and man, how I missed seeing his energetic self. Glass is a guy who's always on, even when he's not on he's on. What a bundle of fun! Remember when Glass was on Last Comic Standing and kept mugging for everyone at everytime...good times. At the Masters, Glass riffed on both Sparks and Phillips and then himself, and destroyed with a bit about how easy recipes are, such as corn pudding! Meantime, here's an oldie but a goodie from Glass. Thea Vidale and I sat next to each other on the "regional jet" up from New York City, and regional jet means really small plane, which means I actually should have and could have used the phrase, "C'mon and sit on Daddy's lap!" And Billy Gardell closed by focusing on how kids have changed and how we've all changed because of anti-depressants, with a presence that shows you what a veteran stand-up headliner's set is all about.
Shuttle buddies: Don't know how it worked out like this, because we didn't see other during the fest and came from different cities, but Kent from Ask A Ninja and I ended up on the same shuttles to and from the airport in Montreal. Serendipity?
But what about next year: What about 2009? As noted or hinted at previously, several industry folks grumbled openly about wondering why they'd come to Montreal again in the first place. The festival certainly didn't dispel stereotypes about the friendliness of French Canadians, as they tried every manner in the book to get industry up to Montreal -- including their annual withholding of the New Faces and Masters names until two days before most would arrive, adding this two-day Just Comedy confab and charging industry $500 to show up -- then giving industry folks multiple hassles once they made it to Montreal. And that's not to mention the outrageous prices in the Hyatt Regency ($3 for a Coca-Cola, $10 for a bottle of beer), the attitude of the Hyatt toward the industry (even though the festival encouraged them to stay in the Hyatt) and the fact that some Hyatt workers were picketing outside made for a big barrel of not-fun. Stanhope wasn't the only one to openly ask if Montreal has become more about making a profit off of comedy fans and less about being a place for discovering and launching comedy careers. So what will happen in 2009 when JFL joins up with TBS to host a comedy festival in Chicago the month before Montreal? Will the industry go to Chicago and skip Montreal entirely? It only served to make me miss the atmosphere in Aspen, a festival run by people who really wanted it to be a home for the comedy industry (even if it proved too expensive and snowy). It also makes me want to start up my own comedy festival, a true showcase to bring industry to the talents worth watching, both new and old. If anyone wants to help me make that come true, please holler my way. Thanks.
Russell Brand's show proved the toughest ticket in Montreal last week, but would Americans (and our ex-pats) react with similar enthusiasm to his New York City debut? Brand's first two shows, Sunday-Monday at the 600-seat Blender Theater at Gramercy, served as a promising introduction for the comedian who already is considered the hottest talent in the U.K.
As Brand acknowledged openly, he's a star on that side of the pond, while here, Americans just barely have gotten to know him through his breakthrough film role in this year's Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Brand wisely constructed his set as an introduction to these new fans. But first, some "playful banter," as the comedian is wont to walkabout into the audience for his crowd work -- Monday's banter was perhaps a bit more abbreviated as fans who had returned from Sunday's show tried to hijack the discussion, although Brand, upon returning to stage center, had a bit of fun with a blind woman in the front row, telling her, "I wish I could help, but despite my appearances, I'm not Christ."
Slithering, crouching and twirling about onstage, his sprawling updo of hair flowing and bouncing behind him, Brand dresses and acts the part of a rock star, not just with the wardrobe and the charisma, but also in his great gift for lyrical storytelling. How many other comedians can weave in words such as recalcitrant and ensconced, with references to Baudelaire and Nietzsche, and have everyone in the audience at rapt attention? Yet again, this was for most in the audience, their first chance to hear Brand tell any stories, and so he quipped: "I'm very famous in Britain, you know...Fame loses some of its luster if you need to tell people about it." He spoke about his need to be famous, whether it's something as simple as perfecting his seduction techniques or Googling himself. He devoted quite a bit of his 75-minute set to stories surrounding Forgetting Sarah Marshall, from meeting Seth Rogen on the red carpet, to spending three months in Hawaii and his misadventures in horseback riding, surfing and snowboarding and wooing Mila Kunis away from her boyfriend "Mac." He also encountered Woody Harrelson on the island, and a variation on that story can be viewed on video here (fairly NSFW):
Brand had some wickedly funny things to say about Michael Jackson. Even more wicked, he opened up about trying to score a date with Serena Williams after they met on a chat show this summer, reading aloud the horribly awkward email he sent her at 3 a.m. But Brand has more success in Britain, mind you, so he has gotten to meet the queen, which also means he has to resist many temptations. And in his final 15 minutes, Brand closes with a raunchy section in which he describes all of his sexual tricks and tips. Don't know when we'll get to see this 33-year-old Stateside again, though he's in the process of Americanizing his memoirs, My Booky Wook, for a February release, and in various stages of production on several more big comedy movies. So we will see him plenty more in 2009. Be ready.
Related: My interview with Russell Brand, parts of which appeared in this week's Time Out New York.
This week's issue of Time Out New York, out today, includes my new interview with British comedian Russell Brand, who just so happens to be arriving in Montreal today for Just For Laughs hot off sparking a new controversy over in the U.K. Coincidence? I'll have to ask Brand about that.
Americans and Canadians alike probably have just started getting to know Brand -- named best comedian in the U.K. by Time Out London -- from his breakthrough performance in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. No coincidence that Brand is here in Montreal this week along with Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. He'll make his New York City debut next week (Sunday and Monday, July 20-21) at the Blender Theater. Click on my Ticketmaster button for tickets.
Aside from what Brand already told me in our interview, here are a few other asides...
What Brand has learned from other Brit comedians. Among them: "Eddie Izzard literally told me don't consider yourself a stand-up until you've done a hundred gigs. So he gave me a vital piece of advice there," Brand told me over the phone from London earlier this month "And Ricky Gervais told me, don't give explicit tales of prostitutes in his hometown."
On coming to North America to win over new audiences, Brand found a comparison here, saying: "I know sex is a delicate proposition, but that doesn't meatn that it shouldn't be undertaken with delicious enthusiasm."
He did get to perform in Los Angeles earlier this year, and learned this: "I made sure I had a set that was not entirely strewn with English references and bizarre idioms."
On Montreal and JFL: "I remember seeing Just For Laughs on the telly. That little green lizard monster thing."
As he has gotten more famous, has his rocker-style hairdo gotten larger and larger? "There's a direct corollary," Brand told me. "It's a cloud of brunette fuzz, the size of domes atop of the cathedral."
Variety magazine named its "10 Comics to Watch" for 2008 and wrote up profiles on each of them this week. Their choices? Read what they have to say about Russell Brand, Brandon T. Jackson, Anthony Jeselnik, Jon LaJoie, Ralphie May, TJ Miller, Jay Phillips, John Mulaney, Paul Rust, Casey Wilson.
Let's assess. John Mulaney, I've had the privilege to see him several times since moving to New York City, and every time, he slays. This kid, and really, he's still only four years out of college (the same time I finally dipped my toes into professional stand-up comedy) and already so masterful and such a stage presence, it's amazing. He's a writer for Demetri Martin's upcoming Comedy Central sketch show, and he'll tape his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents at the end of the summer. Big fan of Mulaney, I am. Not that I'm a comedy Yoda just yet.
Anthony Jeselnik is a great joke writer. Sometimes a bit dark (a bit?). But yes, keep an eye on this fella. Also getting his Comedy Central Presents this year.
Time Out London named Russell Brand U.K. Comedian of the Year, and he chewed up the scenery in his movie debut this year in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I'll have much more to say about Brand next week when we meet up in Montreal.
Casey Wilson, well, already has a big "watch me" sign on her as the newest member of Saturday Night Live, joining the cast after the Writers Guild strike this spring. It'll be more than interesting to see what role she gets to play this fall.
When I saw T.J. Miller last year in Aspen, I knew he'd be on TV very soon, and he was the best thing about the short-lived ABC sitcom Carpoolers. But I don't care how much he jokes about it, the caps of the ketchup bottles are the feet. They just are.
Paul Rust works in the Los Angeles, and I saw him last fall doing sketch work in Vegas at The Comedy Festival. I can see how you'd want to keep an eye on him.
Ralphie May: Shouldn't he have been the one to watch in 2003 when he was working on TV projects with Jay Mohr and getting submarined by Dat Phan on the original Last Comic Standing? Curious.
I'm not that familiar with Brandon T. Jackson, because he's a kid and I'm not, but he'll be in the cast of Tropic Thunder, so, OK. Jon LaJoie? Huh? Don't know what to say about Jay Phillips, but I need to get out more (no, I don't). Fine. I'll see you all in Montreal!