Day: January 4, 2008

Scenes from the Cellar

I mentioned seeing Chris Rock at the Comedy Cellar the other night, and while yes, that twas a highlight, twas not the only light sparkling on Jan. 2 in the basement of a beloved Greenwich Village restaurant. Mike DeStefano, whom I met a year ago in Aspen and immediately noticed his gruff exterior in his response to the comedy industry, and have come to enjoy much more upon repeated listenings, slipped in for a five-minute set at the Cellar so Frank Smiley from Late Night could see him and make sure he’d be ready for Friday’s show on Conan. Wil Sylvince dropped by much later in the night, also purporting to get ready for an upcoming Conan. And Dave Attell, who I remembered had told me last month that he had a pre-approved date with Conan, was in the house for a regular late-night set. All of which led me to wonder that perhaps that show is banking on comedians to help fill the time while the writers continue to strike. Which ultimately is good for stand-up. Writers may have an issue with Jay Leno, but they’re not going to besmirch a stand-up for wanting nationwide TV exposure for work they’ve already been doing for years. Right? Also saw Tom Papa, who unleashed a rant about his in-laws and trying to spend New Year’s with them, which seemed as...

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Late Night 2008, second night

So let me get this straight. Jay Leno writes his own jokes the first night, claiming it’s OK, when he probably knew that it wasn’t, gets a talking-to from the striking Writers Guild to remind him that he’s a Writers Guild member, too, and cannot perform writing functions such as, oh, pre-writing a monologue and putting it on cue cards, so what does Mr. Leno do on Thursday night? To me, it looked like he thumbed his nose at the union and the writers and everyone else, and concerned only for himself, and perhaps the fact that he figures NBC wants to retire him NEXT YEAR (2009 is that close, people) and he’ll need a new job soon enough, that he might as well continue to write a monologue in advance and perform it on a nightly basis, strike or no strike. As a writer (though not a striking one, because I’m not in the WGA), I watched Leno in horror last night. He really doesn’t seem to care about the strike. When he could be bothered to even mention it, it was literally under his breath in nanosecond asides. Conan O’Brien, by comparison, continued to make the most of his predicament in night two of Strike-Break 2008. He used the early monologue time to make more jokes about his beard, explore the studio’s catwalk — which killed quite...

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Maria Bamford: Acting Out

Some comedians don’t translate so well to online sketches, while others, such as Maria Bamford, seem made for the medium. Bamford’s Super Deluxe show allows her to bring her many voices to vivid life. It might take a couple of viewings to get used to her style. Or, if you’re like me, you just sit back and watch and laugh. Either way, we win. This is her most recent episode… You can catch all of her episodes...

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