Month: March 2006

Frisky Feline Fool: Erin Judge

(part of a series of April Fools profiles of comedians worth your attention) Who are you? Erin Judge How old are you? 25 Where do you live? Somerville, Mass. What’s your story? She has her own night at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge’s Harvard Square (since January 2005) and also her own sketch group. A Wellesley grad, Judge began performing comedy almost four years ago. Her original roots are in improv, "but that was in college, so it doesn’t count," she said. She "loved stand-up addictively as a kid. I didn’t have any friends. And then I stole people’s jokes. And then I made friends." She remembers watching Ellen DeGeneres, Judy Gold and others on showcase stand-ups, and said she probably respects Chris Rock the most. She leads sketch troupes in  themed performances that range from artistic to zany but mostly dabble in subtle satire. What’s your foolosophy? "I think comedy should be funny. It’s so tempting to do comedy about standard, traditional, predictable stuff," she said. "The trick is to be innovative and still have a product that people can relate to." What’s your niche? "The way the show is, with the themed shows, it’s not entirely unique, but the shows themselves have taken on a life of their own. And as a solo performer in Boston, I’m not a girly girl. I like to think of myself...

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Thinking Man’s Fool: Baratunde Thurston

(part of a series of April Fools profiles of comedians worth your attention) Who are you? Baratunde Thurston How old are you? 29 Where do you live? Somerville, Mass. What’s your story? Originally from Washington, D.C., Baratunde Thurston is a Harvard grad who bills himself as a vigilante pundit. His book of jokes and political musings, "Keep Jerry Falwell Away From My Oreo Cookies," is available online as a free download, as are his regular audio blogs, "The Front Porch Podcast." He’s also recently become part of the Laughing Liberally show in New York City. On April 25, he’ll perform for a fund-raiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick. He also has appeared on panels for SXSW’s interactive portion of the festival. Baratunde started doing stand-up four years ago. What’s your foolosophy? "Make ’em laugh. Make ’em think. It’s somewhat covert. I feel like some of my jokes are spies, a Trojan horse. Some of my jokes are silly, too." What’s your niche? "I’m a young, hip, brown Jon Stewart." What are your goals? "Take over the world! Jokes are a really good cover for...

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What happened to Chef?

The mystery continues to spur online debate. Let me say a couple of things right off: First, I did point out the sudden flip-flop by Isaac Hayes about the "Trapped in the Closet" episode of South Park. Quoted his Onion interview in my original story on March 14, before FOX News started floating rumors. Last week, I noted that Matt and Trey would quickly respond to the mess by skewering Hayes and his Chef character. My first two paragraphs: “South Park” is responding to Chef’s departure the only way the show knows how – by mocking it. The 10th season of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series premieres tomorrow night with, of all things, “The Return of Chef.” Coincidentally(?), CNN Headline News that morning had its entertainment reporter, Adrianna Costa, talk about South Park’s intentions with these lines of dialogue: "South Park is responding to Chef’s departure the only way the show knows how – by mocking it! The 10th season of Comedy Central’s hit series premieres tomorrow night with, of all things, ‘The Return of Chef.’" Yeah, I know. Pretty gosh darn familiar. I tend to catch part of Headline News in the mornings before I head out the door. Last Tuesday, I did a double-take and rewinded (thank you, Comcast DVR) to make sure I wasn’t dreaming it. Yes, she did read my lines. Plagiarism? Or flattery? Since it’s...

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Funniest reporter rematch

I’ll be performing tonight in New York City as part of this event (press release follows): “THE RETURN OF THE FUNNIEST REPORTERS”Witty Writers Take the Stage at The Laugh Factory Comedy Club WHAT: Reporters from The Funniest Reporter on the Planet Contest at The Laugh Factory last January are returning to the comedy club stage. WHO: Comedian, writer and actress Jenn Palumbo is hosting the event with the following reporters performing:Catie Lazarus – The Forward – winner of Funniest Reporter on the Planet ContestJamie McIntyre – CNN – 3rd place of Funniest Reporter on the Planet ContestBrian Balthazar – MSNBCMike Maiello – Forbes MagazineSean McCarthy – Boston Herald WHEN: Tuesday, March 21st at 7:30 p.m. WHERE: The Laugh Factory 8th Avenue – between 42nd and 43rd Streets New York, NY WHY: According to Jamie Masada, owner of The Laugh Factory, “I often think, here are professionals in front of the public everyday, on TV, radio, even with a by-line, they see the craziest things, have the best stories. I said to myself, gee I bet these people can make us laugh, if they only had the chance. I know they can’t tell jokes when they are doing the 6 o’clock news, but I bet they want to.” Tickets to the event are $15. For background, read the transcript from "On the Media’s" Bob Garfield and his account of the...

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Jerry Seinfeld, at the Wang Theatre

Many comedians cover similar material in discussing relationships and observational humor. Tom Papa demonstrated that well enough in 15 minutes warming up the packed Wang Theatre crowd for Jerry Seinfeld last night. Of course, Papa’s NBC sitcom only lasted a few episodes, while Seinfeld’s has been heralded as one of TV’s best ever, and continues to prove its mirthful mettle nightly in syndication on stations across the country. But that’s not the only reason Seinfeld can bound onstage without an introduction and garner an enormous roar of audience approval. Sure, plenty of other comedians tell jokes about Cialis or cereals, just as Seinfeld did last night. Where he always has stood out from the stand-up pack has been in his presentation — deconstructing the details of an observation to the very essence of its lunacy. An extended bit about the process of how items become garbage segues into asides about eBay ("Why don’t we mail our garbage back and forth across the country?") and the irony in the collectibles market, to another segue into death and the art of being buried with your possessions ("They say you can’t take it with you. I say you can!"). That’s what still makes Seinfeld, for lack of a better cliche, the master of this domain. Some jokes you’ve likely heard before, but that doesn’t make his take on prescription drugs any less...

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