Month: August 2007

Will Durst, off-Broadway

After six years, comedians don’t even have to write jokes about President George W. Bush.To them, Bush seems to write his own punchlines into the daily headlines.Which makes being a satirist tougher than ever.“You can’t parody a parody,” Will Durst tells me.“I actually had a Republican come up to me and say I’m really disappointed in you. Bush is low-hanging fruit right now.”Durst has brought his one-man show Off-Broadway to the New World Stages complex. It’s called “The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” but it’s really a summation of this San Franciscan satirist’s career. After all, a clips package precedes his entrance onstage, highlighting Durst’s TV appearances dating back to the 1988 campaigns. Then Durst appears, wearing a light summer suit and seated among stacks of newspapers; a pair of boxing gloves to one side, a large Starbucks cup on the other.“This is about me and my abandonment issues,” he says.He claims his show is about questioning how and why politicians have gone to polarizing extremes, abandoning the political center. “We’re all purple people,” he says.Most of his barbs come at the expense of the current Republican administration, and after a preview show, he tells me that his act is a culmination of “the last six and a half years bubbling up — that’s what it is, because it’s fermented, and the cork is going to pop pretty soon.”He...

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Rob Riggle goes to Iraq, for laughs this time

At this summer’s Del Close Marathon, Rob Riggle and the Daily Show/Colbert Report improv jam received the suggestion: Iraq. Someone joked that Riggle would be heading there soon. Riggle groaned. Little did we know Riggle was heading to Iraq. He got back late Saturday from a USO tour with fellow Del Close Marathoners, UCB players (and among other TV and film credits) Horatio Sanz, Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel. Riggle’s reports for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart begin airing tonight. No green screens here. This is Rob Riggle in Iraq last week. Rob Riggle was in combat in Afghanistan after 9/11 as a Marine Corps major during Operation Enduring Freedom. He returned to another battlefield last week, but to make laughs, not war. Their USO tour was called Operation Feel the Heat. Riggle said: "Forward Operating Base McHenry it was 140 degrees. They might have just said that, though. They pushed the show back to 8 o’clock for it, I think it got back to 125 for that." As a Marine Corps Major, did you give the other guys advice about how to perform for troops in combat?"We as a group talked about some of the sketches, some of the bits you wanted to do, but as always, you play for your audience. They’re all professionals and they’re all savvy and they’re all established improvisers. So I had...

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Louis CK, on the rebound

For all the talk about Lucky Louie and how unlucky it was with HBO last year, you need to move on. Louis CK certainly has. He has a DVD out of "Shamless," his one-hour HBO special from January, but he’s developed an even funnier brand-new hour of material since then, slaying the crowd at Jones Beach in June during the Opie & Anthony tour and creating a heck of a lot of buzz in Montreal in July for the Just for Laughs festival. We recently talked about that, and about his upcoming appearance back in New York City this fall for the New York Comedy Festival. What’s driven you to write an all-new hour so quickly?“As soon as I’m sure that I’m the best comedian that has ever been…that’s when I’m going to stop writing jokes. Also a lot more people have seen me now. so I have to throw my stuff away." CK said fans will tolerate listening to his "old jokes," but if they’ve seen it on HBO, they don’t necessarily want to hear it again. But that’s more than OK by him, at least these days. "It’s really fun after 22 years of doing stand-up. It’s very renewing," he said. "And it’s a good way of taking stock, if I think the new special I did is better than the old one. On performing for Opie...

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Catching up with Freestyle Love Supreme’s reunion

Normally, the concept of rapping comedians turns my hack sensors on stun with an urge to bolt. So when a friend asked me to join her for a show with Freestyle Love Supreme, I accepted her offer with caution. I mean, they’re from Wesleyan — Gawker’s choice for most annoying liberal arts school. But this isn’t a post about annoying young white stand-up comedians pretending they’re funny because they rap. This is about Freestyle Love Supreme, musically gifted people who put on an improvised hip-hop celebration. Shockwave (aka Chris Sullivan) makes you laugh at Blake Lewis, while Lin-Man (Lin-Manuel Miranda) has a way with freestyle that’s just jaw-droppingly smooth and awesome (as in, full of awe, not as in, 1980s slang). The show I saw last week at Ars Nova was a rarity, as co-creator Thomas Kail explained afterward that this was the first time all of the old and new cast members were onstage together. Lin-Man and some of the FLS crew had just wrapped their off-Broadway musical, In the Heights. So I saw even more MCs than the usual show. But their high-energy performance, albeit rawer than Kail would’ve preferred, managed to quickly riff off audience suggestions and make deliciously funny work of the day in the life of an audience member. And the audience loved it. FLS has some loyal fans — Marina, the gal I...

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Tracy Morgan, at Carolines

Anyone who went to see Tracy Morgan this past weekend at Carolines had to notice the sign by the ticket podium that warned of extremely adult and potentially offensive material. The sign for the 30 Rock star should’ve read: Warning! Crazy funny comedy ahead. No, really. He’s crazy. Not sure how much his sobriety plays into this (more on that soon enough), but it seems as though Morgan has tapped into a completely uninhibited part of himself that, while getting him into trouble offstage, has given his TV career new life. After about 50 minutes of graphic sex talk that had audience members blushing and laughing, he took a drink from his Evian bottle and the tone shifted. "I can’t drink alcohol no more, but I can still guzzle!" he said. Morgan then showed off his ankle bracelet to roaring crowd approval. "Yeah, they got me on the Lindsay Lohan program!" He then apologized to the audience, saying he knew his second DUI would land him in serious trouble. "Thanks for coming out…because I’ve been f—ing up this year." After some jokes about his arrest — the cop "gave me the line test and I kept stepping on his shoe" — he confessed that his arrest came just two nights before he was supposed to light the tree at Rockefeller Center. But his "drinking and speedballing" did him in....

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