Month: December 2005

Tony V gets busy around the holidays

The end of the year always tends to get extra busy for Tony V in Boston, as he’s in demand to preside over the annual holiday comedy parties at both the Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection, usually also gets asked to perform for the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration, plus his regular club work. "People forget that this is when we work," he told me. "They’ll go, ‘Can you come to party on Saturday night?’ No!" Tony V said he helped start Boston’s First Night comedy shows, which over the years moved from Suffolk University to the State House ("that room is not actually conducive to comedy") to the Wang Center to the Hynes Convention Center. "You’re basically in a plane hangar," he said. "The room we’re in is about as big as basically downtown Concord, New Hampshire. On one side of us there’s a band, on the other side there’s an ethnic thing. Everything is going on at the same time. I’d like to think it’s me, but it is First Night and I’m not a mime. Not cast aspersions, but at least we’re talking to them." He did refer to then-Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey onstage by a four-letter word that remains one of comedy’s few taboos. But he said comedian parties allowed for exceptions to the rule. "That night is intended for us to do everything we...

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Gary Gulman goes home for the holidays

Last year, I introduced Gary Gulman to an Arizona comedy-club audience as "the pride of Peabody."Turns out there is now some truth to that.Gulman, 34, lives in Los Angeles but returned to his hometown this summer for a special performance on "Gary Gulman Day.""I got a proclamation from the mayor," he said. "I did a show to raise money for the YMCA in Peabody. The show took place at City Hall. It was really cool. So I am sort of the pride of Peabody, I guess – along with the Northshore Mall."He comes back every couple of months."It’s very odd to go back there," he said. "Most people from Peabody, I don’t know if you know this, but they’ve never been to Boston. They’ve never seen me in person. So I’m pretty excited."Plus, Gulman is a celebrity of sorts after two seasons in prime time on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Do people treat him any differently?"I lift weights for free at PowerFit Gym, which is nice," he said. "I still have a core group of fans everywhere I go, but here I don’t worry about selling out the shows as much. That’s really helpful."Fans have learned about his obsession with cookies, candy and snack food. Sold-out shows across the country during the Last Comic Standing run attracted long lines of adoring fans, many with bags full of cookies."I put...

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South Park’s Christmas tradition

Well, if it isn’t Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo. Don’t expect to see the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and Comedy Central singing Christmas carols together.In the past week, Catholic League President Bill Donohue has condemned the Viacom-owned cable network for airing two Christmas shows that mock Catholicism.Donohue unsuccessfully sought apologies and/or early retirement for Denis Leary’s Merry F#$%in’ Christmas and the South Park season finale, “Bloody Mary.”Leary’s special re-airs five times between Saturday and Christmas, while the “Bloody Mary” episode of South Park is set to repeat Dec. 28 as part of a marathon re-airing of the Emmy-winning animated comedy’s ninth season.The Catholic League remains hopeful, though, that an appeal to Viacom director (and Roman Catholic) Joseph Califano might find more success than past complaints over the years. They previously tangled with South Park over the 2002 episode, “Red Hot Catholic Love,” to no avail.“We realize appealing to Comedy Central on a moral basis isn’t going to get us anywhere,” said League spokeswoman Kiera McCaffrey.Appealing to the public isn’t likely to work, either. Two-thirds of the almost 30,000 responses to an online survey at thebostonchannel.com think Comedy Central shouldn’t apologize for last week’s South Park episode, which featured a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary and a parody of Pope Benedict XVI.Another cable channel, Bravo, calls South Park one of its “Great Things About the Holidays.”The...

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Val Kappa does Premium Blend

Val Kappa makes me smile, chuckle, giggle and laugh all the time. So when her Comedy Central debut approached with Premium Blend, I did what I could to promote her. Good thing I get to interview comics every week, eh? Val on MySpaceVal’s blogWatch a clip of Val on Comedy Central Val Kappa, 27, has a very subtle, dry, wry style.That might explain why she hasn’t exactly taken to the hills to toot her own horn."I haven’t told a lot of people," she said. "For some people, I’ll say, ‘Hey, just a warning, I look like a corpse mother on it.’ "At least that was her impression after seeing herself on TV."I took a quick peek, and then I looked away," she said. "I think I look like a mom who just got out of a coffin and said, ‘Hey, I think I’m going to try my hand at stand-up comedy.’ "Didn’t the other comedians on the show, which include Emerson College colleague Dan Levy, give her pointers?"No. They were like, ‘Just walk to the microphone,’ " Kappa said.Comedy Central was equally, um, helpful."There was a memo sent out, and it said not to wear certain colors," she said. "We were told not to wear red."So Kappa had to find a different shirt."Normally, I won’t wear pink," she said. "But I’m not on TV, so I thought, ‘I guess...

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Andy Ofiesh and his Naked Comedy Showcase

Andy Ofiesh anticipates the first question about why he prefers to tell his jokes in the buff."Why, oh why, Andy, are you doing naked comedy?" Ofiesh asked rhetorically at the start of last month’s Naked Comedy Showcase in Cambridge. "I said I’m living a dream – and it’s the one where you’re naked, standing in front of a bunch of strangers, doing comedy."This Waltham software writer and stand-up comic has fulfilled that dream on several occasions during the past three years, from private house parties to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and ImprovBoston in between.Ofiesh began a regular residency at ImprovBoston last month, holding court in nothing but shoes the first Wednesday of each month through February.He delivers some of the same jokes clothed each Saturday at the Comedy Studio, but also gets laughs from Cambridge’s detailed legal explanations for nude performance.Some comics tell jokes without referencing the fact that they’re naked, while others address their nudity directly. One woman last month presented a silent clown skit, while Chris Walsh closed out the show with his parody of Puppetry of the Penis.Spectators who appreciated the comedy seemed to outnumber those who may have simply wanted to see naked people.Ofiesh advises the comics – who tonight should include both men and women and both stand-up and sketch acts – not to worry about their self-image, but to embrace it."When...

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