Day: October 29, 2008

Video interview: Backstage with Jim Gaffigan, talking Town Hall, prepping his new hour special

Jim Gaffigan performed an hour unannounced Tuesday night in New York City, as he works out the final bits of what will be his new hourlong Comedy Central special when he tapes it in Austin during the first week of December. Oh, yes, there will be bacon. And other "edgy" topics, too, for Gaffigan to consider and mine for punchlines. I caught up with him afterward backstage in the Comix "green room" to talk about how he’s using the weeknights to try out new jokes while touring theaters across the country on the weekends, about what it’s like to play multiple nights in a city at a theater instead of a club (including six shows at Town Hall here in NYC over Thanksgiving weekend), and much more. Gaffigan told me he hadn’t performed in the past four nights, as he’d just gotten back from a family trip to Disney World. You can watch some of our conversation right here, in intimate but spooky mirror vision, where my little Flip camera suddenly transforms into some odd-like little Big Brother, keeping an eye and red light on us.    More quotes, plus ticket info, after the jump… Earlier this year, I also heard Gaffigan’s interview for XM Unmasked (which airs Nov. 1), and you get to hear a lot about how he felt he was struggling for years to catch a...

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How Russell Brand found himself leaving BBC radio

Perhaps you have heard something or other about British comedian Russell Brand leaving obscene prank voice mail messages for actor Andrew Sachs, who played the Spanish waiter Manuel in the classic Britcom Fawlty Towers? The incident (which also involved British TV host Jonathan Ross as a co-conspirator) has led to Brand having to quit his BBC Radio show. Brand still is set to perform and record an hourlong Comedy Central special in New York City next month. Almost seems like the guy likes to court trouble — remember, Brand showed up to work at MTV in the U.K. dressed as Osama bin Laden on Sept. 12, 2001. If you want to know everything about Brand’s latest kerfuffle, the BBC has compiled an impressively obsessively detailed timeline. Related: Brand arrives in the U.S. this weekend, performing Nov. 2-3 at Largo in Los Angeles, Nov. 5-6 at Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco, and taping Nov. 13-14 at El Museo Del Barrio. Russell resigns from Radio...

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In other news…

A roundup of comedy-related headlines and news in the news: As Hulu.com approaches its first anniversary, the New York Times points out just how many people are watching some SNL bits. 14.3 million watched Tina Fey’s first take on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin online vs. 10.2 million on TV. Wow. (NYT) Sony has taken another stab at putting some new snap and pop into Crackle. Will that be enough to remind folks to watch it? (THR) Caroline Hirsch, the Caroline in Carolines, talks about how the global recession impacts the night-to-night operations of the comedy club business. (Forbes) Hirsch also got honored last week by the National Coalition Against Censorship during its annual celebration of free...

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Results, first semi: 2008 New York’s Funniest Stand-Up

A reliable source informed me that these are your first five comedians advancing to the finals of the 2008 New York’s Funniest Stand-Up contest: Nate Bargatze, Esther Ku, Julian McCullough, Stone & Stone, Reese Waters They’ll join five others who advance from tonight’s semifinal competition at Stand-Up NY. Finals Nov. 5 at Carolines. My notes from last night… I had to bolt midway through last night’s show (also at Stand-Up NY) so I could bring you another interview (which you shall see shortly), but these are curious results. Bargatze and Ku went up early, and the crowd wasn’t exactly giving up a lot of laughs at that point. So, um, hmm, yeah. Tough work for our comics. I wonder not only how the rest of the night went, but also whether the judges didn’t subtract points, so to speak, for audience reactions. McCullough got the crowd rolling, earned an applause break, and then seemed to do a bonus five minutes. I suppose that didn’t work against him in the eyes of our judges, especially since he did well, and is a returning finalist from last year. Lee Camp also was a 2007 finalist in this contest, and certainly delivered some funny politically-minded jokes, although it appeared even from my vantage point that he was reading notes, which is an odd move in a contest set. Not surprised that Waters...

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