Month: December 2007

Chris Rock plays MSG tonight

It’s New Year’s Eve, and Chris Rock will perform tonight at Madison Square Garden. As the New York Times goes out of its way to mention, Rock’s routine doesn’t just magically appear. He actually works on his jokes. More than once. No, really! He does. For me, the money quote comes later in the NYT story, in which Rock talks about seeing Eddie Murphy perform. “There were moments you could hear a pin drop, and that’s really what it’s all about,” he said. “Anybody can just say stuff and get people to scream. If you’re really good, you can get them to be quiet. Quiet is true ownership of the room.” Silence? Yes. Silence means they’re not just listening but also paying attention to you in between laughs. It makes me wonder, of course, about a guy like Dane Cook, who also played Madison Square Garden this year. Cook’s audience is full of screamers. Does this mean that Cook, often described as a rock star of comedy, doesn’t really own the room? I had the chance to see Chris Rock’s first theater show in November in Las Vegas, and also saw him a couple of times this summer at the Comedy Cellar in unannounced sets, in case you want to know what’s been on his...

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David Cross defends his “Alvin” gig

David Cross writes today about his decision to take a small role in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, and isn’t about to take any trash talk from anyone, even Patton Oswalt, about it. So there. Actually, what’s really interesting to me about this is how something that normally a few years ago might’ve been a private conversation between two comedians has become something much more public and open thanks to the Internet and how it has modified our social behaviors, and with it, our expectations. But there’s no turning back, is...

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My year in interviews

Before I get to recapping the year in comedy, circa 2007, let’s look back at some of my more illuminating, insightful and interesting comedy interviews from the year. My sit-down with Ricky Gervais has to take the top spot in my mind, because his strongly held opinions on sticking to your creative guns and not sacrificing your beliefs in your own sense of humor (and humour) are words that any creative artists — whether they’re comedians, musicians, writers or actors — can live by. A close second, then, has to have been my September face-to-face with Dane Cook. Arguably the biggest headliner in the country this year and last, in terms of tickets and CDs sold, Cook met me in a Manhattan hotel lounge as part of his promotional tour for Good Luck Chuck. But we barely talked about the movie, instead tackling every question you’ve probably wanted to hear Cook answer, and then some. He even brought up Louis CK! Speaking of whom, Louis CK was just one of the many other bright lights of comedy I got to talk to at length in 2007 — the others included Nick Swardson, Christian Finnegan, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Ian Black, Eddie Brill, Bob Saget, Artie Lange, Doug Benson, Damon Wayans, Charlie Murphy, Frank Caliendo and Tim Minchin. Of course, there were hundreds of other comedians I got to witness and...

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WGA showdown: And so it begins

The Writers Guild strike enters a critical phase now…Next week, the late-night shows re-enter production, and I got this email today about The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. They’re looking for audience members. And here’s their pitch: "These tickets are not available to the general public as these will be our very first tapings since the writer’s strike began and the shows promise to be AMAZING. Tickets are free and only available by using the following private links. Please do not pass them on as tickets are limited and we would like to make this special offer available only to our fans on the waitlist. The tapings are next Wednesday and Thursday, January 2nd and 3rd at CBS Studios in Hollywood. On Wednesday the arrival time is 3:30 PM and on Thursday we are taping two shows with arrival times of 3:30 PM and 5 PM. As always, the minimum age to attend is 17." Worldwide Pants, David Letterman’s production company, runs Ferguson’s show. But I don’t get the sense that Ferugson’s show has the same level of bonding that Letterman’s show has — I saw it firsthand last month when, during the strike, the producers and other staffers stood by the writers. They have a connection. They’re in this together. And when Letterman goes on the air, he’ll find a way to make his show happen the...

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