Day: October 14, 2008

Interview/review: Jeffrey Ross, and his new DVD, “No Offense: Live From New Jersey”

At 43, Jeffrey Ross has spent two decades in comedy, and as he told me over the phone just minutes ago, he has "waited a long time" for today, the release of his first stand-up comedy DVD, No Offense: Live From New Jersey. My review appears after the jump. First, let’s talk about the extras on your DVD. The commentary track is a brilliant idea, not only because most comics analyze their sets in this kind of depth already, making it fun for fellow comedians to see your own process, but also because casual fans of yours get to know more about your jokes and you as a person. "I guess it was the director’s idea. To me it seemed like he made a movie, so it made sense to do the commentary. Plus I got to tell a bunch of boring uninteresting comedy stories," he said. "Plus I wanted to give my director Jay Karas some much deserved credit." "We looked at old stand-up concert films like Richard Pryor and other comedians used to do. Like Live on the Sunset Strip. Most comedy movies these days look the same way they host the Emmys, with the camera swooping in over the audience and the chandeliers…We wanted it to look more rock-and-roll…Plus, it also looks cooler. Anything to distract from my jokes." One of the other DVD extras is...

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New Yorker Festival video, recaps and a new comedy blog

Not to be undone by New York mag’s fete, and actually even before that and bigger, the New Yorker did it up earlier this month with a series of big-time panel discussions, and we can now start seeing some full video from this year’s New Yorker Festival. Here is a link to the 84-minute talk on political comedy (what, no embed?) with Andy Borowitz, Samantha Bee, James Downey, Todd Hanson and Allison Silverman, introduced by Sara Benincasa as Gov. Sarah Palin with sidekick Diana Saez. You can also get their recap of the talk with Stephen Colbert. Or you can read all about it from a new comedy blog, from the Back of the Room, launched by Toronto-based journalist Sharilyn Johnson. File her blog title under: Great Minds Think Alike. Welcome to the...

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Stella reunites for New York mag’s 40th bash

My Damn Channel, home to Wainy Days, not so coincidentally gets some exclusive access to the reunion of Stella, the comedy trio featuring David Wain, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, as they hosted the 40th anniversary bash for New York magazine last weekend. It is only slightly not safe for work viewing purposes: Related: NYmag’s Vulture blog interviewed Wain about his upcoming film, Role Models. Many party pics from BrooklynVegan. Furthermore: Stella will perform on Nov. 30, 2008, in Philadelphia at The Keswick...

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Interview: Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford calls me en route to a gig last weekend at the Punchline in San Francisco. Don’t worry. She’s not driving during the course of this interview. That would be dangerous and illegal. Bamford couldn’t talk earlier because she was on a film set. Film set? Do tell. It’s a film made by some friends of hers. "They asked if I could be in it, and said they’d pay me Screen Actors Guild money," she told me. "I play a crazy old lady. And I’m 38, so to play 72 seems pushing my, what is that called, my range! My range. But it was fun to be with a bunch of people and get free bananas, and trail mix. And then they gave us Chinese food." Ah. A big budget, I see. "It’s just a short film," she said. "I could say it’s for archival footage. But I don’t know. It could be anything. It could be for IMAX theaters and it just hasn’t been sold and distributed yet. Anything could possibly be on YouTube." Do you think you’d be a big star, so to speak, on IMAX? "I think it’d be great if while I was a crazy old lady there’d be a tiny camera going through my intestines and then there’d be sound effects while you go through my esophagus and gullet," Bamford says, before launching...

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Overview of The Hysterical Festival (Oct. 15-18, 2008)

An English teacher once learned us that you cannot call anything a "first annual" because until year two, it hasn’t actually been an annual event. But that won’t stop me from sharing with you the news of this week’s first-ever edition of The Hysterical Festival: A Celebration of Women in Comedy, which runs from Wednesday through Saturday at multiple venues in New York City. The fest’s founder, Desiree Burch, got fed up with stupid old men and the other men (and sometimes even, no, say it ain’t so, ladies) who argue that women aren’t funny and feed this misinformation to the media. "The image people have of a comedian is the ‘lone man at the mic’ — stool, silhouette and all," Burch said. "It’s time we pay homage to the women who have been making us laugh for years, and recognize the next generation of comedic innovators." If you pick up a copy of today’s Metro paper in the New York City area, you’ll read parts of my interview with headliner Maria Bamford. You also can see some of the many shows listed on my site’s Google calendar. The full schedule is after the jump! Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 6:30 p.m., Tribeca Film Center: NYWIFT Panel, Fierce, Funny & Gainfully Employed, with Linda Kaplan Thaler, Tracy Grandstaff (voice of Daria), and Dana Offenbach. Moderated by Catie Lazarus. $10-$20 7:30...

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