Month: October 2006

Marc Maron moves past bitterness to anger

Air America may have declared bankruptcy this week, but that wasn’t my first question for former morning radio guy (and always bitingly funny) Marc Maron, who comes back to Boston (well, Somerville) for shows tonight and tomorrow at Jimmy Tingle’s place. No, my first question was about his current effort to upload all 36(!) clips of his Conan appearances onto his MySpace site. "I’m glad that those are working," Maron told me. "I just learned how to do this stuff. I’m stupid with it. But I got this good machine…like most people, when you buy toys you don’t read the directions. You just want to use it…it’s ridiculous when you walk into the Apple store and ask them, ‘How do you turn this on?’" He said YouTube was giving him some issues, since all of the Conan appearances have NBC copyrights. But about Air America. "It was all a very convoluted thing at the time. I was being pushed out by this CEO who didn’t like me." A backlash against the CEO led to Maron’s L.A. radio show, which Air America picked up, but that also ended over the summer. "It was just a long, harrowing experience," he said. "I plan to get back on the air somehow or another. I’m a little spoiled. I don’t want to sit out in my garage and do a podcast. I’ve looked...

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Two Girls For Five Bucks

Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree met years ago through Improv Asylum, and they’ve returned to Boston and IA with a limited engagement show of their own that deserves your attention. Their aptly-named "Two Girls For Five Bucks" began its run Oct. 5 and continues at 10 p.m. Thursdays through Nov. 9. They begin simply enough, sitting next to each other, facing the audience and describing what they’ve learned about love from their parents. Whether true or not, it’s no matter. They ably set up the rest of the show through this opening confessional, playing off of each other throughout various sketches about love and relationships, with Deupree’s characters invariably wilder and carrying more psychological and emotional baggage. The show has nice pacing, building throughout Act One to a winning Platoon climax. And their chemistry is great. Whether they’re acting out awkward conversations with ex-boyfriends or imagining the scenario for loooonely war brides in WWII, these two know how to co-exist in a scene, allowing Carr and Deupree to shine equally. Many duos don’t sustain such balance, instead prompting you to wish you could see one more than the other. Both Carr and Deupree commit to their characters and scenes with such abandon that you willingly go along with them for the ride. A recurring skit about two wholly inappropriate employees from Human Resources gets progressively crazier, to good effect....

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A comedian for president?

The premise behind the movie, Man of the Year, which suggests that a late-night TV host could become president. Sort of. Anyhow. Here are some additional thoughts from comedians on the subject. From Lewis Black, who plays the joke-writer/speechwriter for Robin Williams in the movie. When is the right time for a comedian to run for president? "Yeah, when Christ returns and there is total peace on Earth, then you might want to have someone who just tells jokes. Then, but only then." Black said he had some input on the script, sitting around with writer/director Barry Levinson and co-stars Williams, Christopher Walken and Laura Linney to talk out the plot and figure out speeches and jokes. But what if people wanted you to run? "My official stance is I would never run, because I would only use it to get laid on a regular basis." He said the trappings of the office offer too many diversions, from a bowling alley in the White House to a boat to anything else he probably could think to ask for. "And it wouldn’t be for good!" Most presidents wake up early, but he wouldn’t. "I would be asleep by five in the morning." No, but seriously. "I did some political stuff for a while. It just made, it wasn’t, the people who do it made me crazy." Of course, Black’s act...

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Gaffigan goes beyond the pale

Jim Gaffigan is one of the truly nicer and funnier guys I know. And I’m saying that even before typing in the part of the interview where he brings me down a peg or two. We talked recently while Gaffigan had a break from recording the upcoming TBS comedy, My Boys, which debuts around Thanksgiving. "It’s a million miles away when I think about it. Thanksgiving!" Last night on Conan, Gaffigan celebrated the unveiling of an all-new Pale Force cartoon and a new page on Conan’s NBC online home for the series. "We’ve done three episodes of Pale Force and it’ll be interesting to see how popular Pale Force could get, or if people will go…not interested! People will love something that makes fun of someone of Conan’s status." "I remember meeting you. You might identify with some of the pale thing. Because you’re a pale guy. It’s funny, because when I performed in Boston, and since the Pale Forces have started, there’s been a lot of pale people coming to the show. It’s the opposite of white pride. When you’re really pale, you think, geez, I’m the only one who spent an hour putting on sunscreen." Did you have any idea that people would take to "Beyond the Pale" the way they have to specific bits like Hot Pockets? "On my Website, it’s weird, you never know, you...

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Craig Ferguson, winging it late-night, soberly

When Craig Ferguson called me up Tuesday afternoon, it was still morning in L.A., where he wasn’t quite sure what his monologue topic would be for that night’s Late Late Show. "I think today, what I’m going to talk about is Man of the Year, the movie about a talk show host becoming president." Would he ever consider a run himself? "Not for me, because I wasn’t born in the United States, so it’d be Constitutionally impossible." Ah, but they’ve talked about amending that for Ah-nold, so why not you, too? "When you think about it, you have to feign interest when you talk to unpleasant people. It’s perfectly plausible for politics…(show business, too)…so yes, it’d probably be fairly good training. I think if I start wearing a tie, that might be a sign." As a Scottish immigrant, do you think it’s odd that us Americans still celebrate Columbus Day? "I’m an immigrant, and I had to work. There’s a certain irony to that." He started to offer more, then reconsidered. "I don’t have my citizenship yet. If I don’t watch what I say, I’d be back in the old country faster than I could say. I’d be back mud farming!" Do you think there is a certain charm to taking over a TV show from Craig Kilborn? "Jon (Stewart) and I talked about it. It certainly doesn’t hurt....

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