Day: December 17, 2007

Shark Show Holiday Party recapper

For the first time in months, the fellas from the Shark Show all found themselves in New York City at the same time and Gabe, Nick, Dan and Ari decided to celebrate with a special reunion/holiday show back in the Parkside Lounge on Dec. 13. As Ari said up front, "We killed Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction! Shark Show is like a virus. We’ve been around for six years, going from club to club, slaying!" Methinks he meant that in the good, comedic way, right? Actually, both ways. Nick Stevens trotted out several oddball characters, including toy inventor genius Lester Frank, old-school comic Noodles O’Reilly and one-half of gift-wrapping specialists Ribbons and Bow, which involved a lot of audience wrapping and wrestling mayhem. Pete Holmes, the Drink at Work crew, God’s Pottery, Seth Herzog and Shark satellite member Jeffrey James all got in on the act in a show that lasted what seemed like three hours but actually clocked in a minute or two less than that. But since this was the first full Shark Show in ages, and a holiday party to boot, they get a pass on this one. Managed to snap a few photos, displayed in a photo album on the right-hand side of this Web site....

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HBO vs. Showtime vs. Comedy Central

Late into the night, or early this morning, after seeing parts of three different comedy specials on Showtime, I couldn’t help but think about how Showtime’s comedy specials all have a uniquely odd look and feel to them. Especially when compared to the consistent theater sets and production values of one-hour comedy specials that get aired on HBO and Comedy Central. Why is that? For one thing, HBO tends to control its own comedy output, which means its comedians often tape their hourlong sets at the same venue with the same crews. Comedy Central does the same for its half-hour Comedy Central Presents, and for hour specials, they’re most likely edited versions of highly stylized and produced DVDs. But Showtime is another matter. Whether it’s Joe Rogan (at the Tempe Improv), Paul Mooney (at the Laugh Factory) or Mo’Nique at an Ohio prison (or even Doug Stanhope at Gotham Comedy Club), these specials will go anywhere. They’ll feature lots of close-ups. They’ll bounce the camera angles around the room. They’re as OK filming in a small club as they are outdoors. They’re independent. They’re rogue, even. Performance art pieces. I get the sense that many of these specials were made by the artists themselves, then later sold to Showtime. But does that make one network’s comedy specials better than the others? Depends upon what you mean by better, I...

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