Day: January 23, 2008

Meet Will Franken

When I first saw Will Franken perform last fall, the best I could come up with on my Daily News blog was this description: "manic brilliance." Speaking to Franken at length this week over coffee amid the Williamsburg types, I realized the words really do fit this untraditional comedian. First, though, watch this portion of his most recent one-man show, "Grandpa, It’s Not Fitting," which I recorded with Franken’s permission during his Jan. 18, 2008, performance at the UCB Theatre in NYC. Will Franken at UCBUploaded by thecomicscomic Franken, 34, grew up in rural Sedalia, Missouri, and began his professional career as a teacher of English at Southwest Missouri State University, but he acknowledges he wasn’t the best teacher. He’d much prefer taking the class out on field trips or showing Harold & Maude or listening to The Who. "I was always going to the A/V department," he said. At 24, he decided to up and move to New York City. He’d done an open mic or two in Springfield, Missouri, and felt he was ready for his big break. "I thought I was going to go to Washington Square Park and do what I do and someone would walk past and say, ‘I want you to do that on TV.’" Instead, he dabbled in horrible theatrical productions, moved to Harlem and taught school there for a year. Discouraged,...

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NY Arab-American Comedy Festival

Thankfully, a friend of the site here at The Comic’s Comic hollered my way today and didn’t let me forget that this week, New York City has been playing host to the fifth annual Arab-American Comedy Festival. Insert anti-terror joke here. Fifty-four comedians of varying heritages have taken the stages since Friday to show that Arab-Americans have a sense of humor, too. It has been an ongoing mission, especially since 9/11/2001, to re-educate audiences about stereotypes against Arabs, and also to laugh about them. The festival closes tonight with a "Best of the Fest" showcase, co-hosted by Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid (pictured, Maria Shehata and Zayid) and featuring stand-up from Joe DeRosa and Ronnie Khalil, comedians from the "New Faces" show, sketches and films. Includes free admission to the closing-night party at the Zipper Factory. Tickets available...

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TJ Miller returns to the scene of Cloverfield

Fresh off a $41 million opening weekend for the mystery monster movie, Cloverfield, comedian/actor TJ Miller is back in New York City for continued promotion, and also comedy. I caught up with him Tuesday night at the Sweet show at the Slipper Room. Here’s a quick video shot afterward outside. Note: Video includes one profanity (in the -ing form, in case you really want particulars). Also, my cinematography skills are less shaky, but less witty, too. My bad. TJ Miller on location CloverfieldUploaded by thecomicscomic If you want to see TJ perform, he’ll make a brief appearance tonight at Invite Them Up at Rififi (still open, for now!). On Thursday, though, you can catch him on The Late Show with David Letterman. If you’ve got any advice for him on things to talk about, he’s open to suggestions. Related: The Apiary also tracked him down for some Q’s and...

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