Month: November 2006

What happened to Comic Relief?

Almost forgot to weigh in on last weekend’s other talked-about comedy show, the ballyhooed return of Comic Relief. Broadcast live from Las Vegas and New Orleans on HBO (with a slight delay on TBS), the show looked and sounded all of its 20 years. Robin Williams had nothing new to offer. Whoopi Goldberg had even less. Billy Crystal gamely tried to keep a smile on his face. And the rest of the comics…snooze. Emeril "Fall River, Mass." Lagasse was introduced as "Mr. New Orleans." That’s funny not just because it’s literally wrong, but also because Emeril skipped out on the Big Easy in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina. But back to the night of no laughs. Sure, helping New Orleans is serious business, but the name of the show was Comic Relief, and none of the early stand-ups (Ray Romano, Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Maher) got the crowd going. When the actors from Desperate Housewives seem funny, the show needs saving. George Lopez fared OK with timely jokes about immigration. He was followed by Louie Anderson and Susie Essman, a lame bit with the Entourage boys, and eventually, 90 minutes in, D.L. Hughley arrived onstage prepared and raring to go into his stand-up routine. Dane Cook delivered appropriate laughs. Sarah Silverman did her thing, but by this point, it was all I could do to continue watching. If you’re going...

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Judah Friedlander, world champion

Judah Friedlander is absurd. Judah Friedlander also thrives on crowd work. Combine the two and you get a stand-up comedy show that goes beyond any other show. Just ask Judah. He’ll tell you. That’s why he wears the World Champion yellow T-shirt with ballcap printed in Spanish, "just in case English isn’t your first language." Watch a clip, and we’ll get going with the interview after that. Skiing Add to My Profile | More Videos Friedlander plays a writer on NBC’s sitcom, 30 Rock. We talked on Wednesday night at the Comedy Cellar in NYC, just before his show made the switch to Thursday nights, up against CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. Friedlander said he remains hopeful for the show’s long-term success. "At least we’re on an all-comedy night. Yeah, I hope people watch. Everyone who watches it seems to like it, so I hope people watch." Was hearing about the NBC "promotion" anything like finding out you got a movie role, and then finding out it’s for a Project Greenlight movie: Feast? Friedlander said no. "That got released almost two years after we started making it, which sucks. But that happens with a lot of movies…Have you seen it? It’s f—ing good. Everybody says it’s easily the best Project Greenlight movie. I thought it was f—ing great. I f—ing loved it. Yeah, the show twisted some s— around, but...

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Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy, For Your Consideration

Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy’s new movie, For Your Consideration, really goes after the movie publicity process (especially on TV interviewers). Naturally, I led off by pointing out how they’d launched a pre-emptive strike against the media, and in the process, me. Guest laughed. That was a good sign. While Levy tends to do movie press more often, this was Guest’s first time through the media mill in quite some time. Seeing the two of them in a Ritz-Carlton room was daunting. But not that daunting. So onto the regular questioning, then, shall we? First off, the production notes note that this film had more of a script than previous films by Guest and Levy (see Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind). Was that by design? Guest: “What is different is that this is done in a non-documentary format. This is done as a narrative so it goes from scene to scene. And that was a deliberate choice that we made.” Having the same main cast or troupe return again, does that make the improv any easier or more comfortable? Levy: “Well, it’s, I think it’s about, we really look forward to seeing each other every three years and working on a project. Together. In terms of actually doing it, this kind of work is fun, and doing it with these people is fun. The comfort...

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Chelsea Handler

I was impressed Saturday night by how much people love Chelsea Handler. Apparently people really do watch the E! channel. She got loud ovations at the Comedy Connection in Boston during her intro both for her show on E! (which she hopes will return for a second season in 2007) and for her first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands. And they gave her a standing O when she finished her 9 p.m. show (albeit rather abruptly, as several tables still had or were getting drinks), and then stood in line for up to 45 minutes to meet her outside afterward. During the show, Handler proved she could combine bits from her E! show with topical humor and impressively worked the crowd. But still, Chelsea Handler laughs off her fame. "That’s ridiculous. I don’t consider myself a celebrity," she said. Being mentioned as an attendee at Ivanka Trump’s birthday party by People magazine? Even more ridiculous. "First, off, I wasn’t even at that party for her. I was just at Pure," Handler said. "It just goes to show how many celebrities were there. I was in a private booth with a large black man." Did she join in with the Pussycat Dolls, who have a residence at Pure? "I can’t dance or sing. Which I’ve proven time and time again on television. So no, I didn’t...

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Anthony Clark, post-Last Comic Standing

Anthony Clark used to be a regular New Year’s Eve fixture at the Comedy Connection in Boston (NOTE: This year’s NYE slot is going to none other than ANDREW DICE CLAY!!??!?!?!?). Anyhow. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, time to let Clark get some things off his chest. Clark wasn’t in the best of moods when he called. "One of my friends got rolled in San Diego," he said. "His face looks like hamburger. He’s going to be OK, but he shouldn’t be going to 15 bars in three hours in a shadow outfit." Shadow outfit? Oh, right. It was the weekend before Halloween. Was Clark going to play dress up? "No. I hate Halloween. It’s a nightmare. The traffic here in Hollywood is terrible. You can’t go anywhere. People are throwing eggs…I like Thanksgiving. When you eat. Football, alcohol and food. Now that’s a holiday." What about the Boston New Year’s Eve Connection gigs? He said he loved the money, but is OK without it, just being back on the road in his return to his stand-up roots. "I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a career. I’ve done 12 movies. I’ve been on Broadway in a Tony Award-winning play…Grapes of Wrath, with Gary Sinese…sitcoms…also stand-up. It always seems like there’s something out there to do. Each one of those are very different." "I think I love...

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