Day: March 11, 2008

EXCLUSIVE! Behind the scenes of Live at Gotham 2008

The 2008 season of Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham debuts the Friday after Memorial Day. But why wait that long for some deep dish insider exclusive scuttlebutt? Especially when we got plenty of bits of tid to share just from swinging by the tapings on Saturday and Sunday at Gotham Comedy Club. Let’s get to it! First off, don’t be surprised if many of the guys have a similar look. It’s not a new fashion trend in stand-up comedy for the summer/fall runways — it’s a Comedy Central/Levity edict: No red, no patterns, no logos. Also, we learned that TV’s standards and practices (read: the censors!) sometimes can actually make your jokes funnier. Matt McCarthy had to change one of his lines from "choke her to death" to "murder her to death" (see? funnier, right?) so it wouldn’t sound as though he were endorsing domestic abuse. Baron Vaughn said he couldn’t say "KKK.com" in a joke, but realized he didn’t need to spell out the Web site for the joke to work. Vaughn noted that Patton Oswalt got a new six minutes out of one joke he had to change years ago for Comedy Central. Matt McCarthy: Live at Gotham interviewUploaded by thecomicscomic Vince Averill was more than just happy to be there. He only got the gig on Wednesday after another comedian couldn’t fulfill his or her duties....

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Eddie Izzard, in the moment

Got the chance Saturday night to catch Eddie Izzard’s final workshop performance in New York City before he launches a spring tour, his first in five years. So glad I got to see Izzard again. Thanks, Max! Izzard emerges without an opener or even an intro. Talk about your cold opens. Then for the following 90 minutes, he manages to be the most in the moment comedian I’ve seen. Stand-up comedians try to find moments of true spontaneity and magic. These moments seem to find Izzard. Falling dust inspires a riff. Wondering whether there really is a Greek god named Trivia prompts him to take out his iPhone and check…during the show. A word on Wikipedia launches him into a tangent on torches. I wonder if the bounce of the foamy stage (for the theater’s main attraction, a martial-arts show called Jump) adds to his ease in bouncing from one topic to the next. The structure or theme of Izzard’s set runs through world history with a focus on language, religion and worshipping false gods. It’s worldview made funnier by talking giraffes and a look back at Latin. Izzard even managed to joke at one point that he’d work on one bit tomorrow, "when I’m not gigging." In fact, at the after-afterparty, Izzard was talking out one of his lines. Is there a funnier animal than a squid, perhaps?...

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Matt Kirshen on hecklers

Matt Kirshen was in New York City last week (turns out he was supposed to tape Live At Gotham, but something happened with his paperwork?). Kirshen helped out fellow Last Comic Standing finalist Amy Schumer on a benefit show at Gotham, and also dropped in at Rififi on Friday night. Kirshen has strong joke-writing skills. He also made a point that’s open for debate. Kirshen claimed British hecklers are worse than Americans because they actually planned to heckle from the get-go, with the specific intent to ruin their night. Do you agree? What’s the most powerful ingredient in the making of a heckler: Alcohol? Stupidity? Need for attention? This would’ve been a great time to produce a poll...

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Inside Joke with Zach Galifianakis

Standing room only for last week’s Inside Joke, which featured Zach Galifianakis. After an opening bit from Dave Hill about Osama bin Laden and an elephant of the same name, it was time for the show, and your host Carl Arnheiter. The title, Inside Joke, may clue you in to the interview format, but when you add a live audience and a lively comedian, who knows exactly how much interview and how much showcase you’ll get. Galifianakis said the recently finished Funny or Die tour with Will Ferrell, Demetri Martin and Nick Swardson was good, and joked that "the tour was going to be called two Greeks, a fag and a successful guy." Then we went inside. His first paid gig was in a strip mall in Maysville, Kentucky and he talked about starting in the back of Hamburger Harry’s in Times Square. He talked about his short-lived late-night talk show on VH1 — nine weeks! — and how he turned down an 11-day gig worth $700,000 to be the spokesman for Time Warner Cable. And then he showed his new Absolut ad with Tim and Eric. He has been showing this video for weeks now at various shows, but it finally went online over the weekend. <a href="http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/27ef374df2">Absolut Zach</a> on <a href="http://www.funnyordie.com/">FunnyOrDie.com</a> Galifianakis told me a few weeks ago how he admired Tim and Eric, and he said...

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