Day: November 14, 2008

Video highlights, “Ricky Gervais: Out of England” (HBO)

Ricky Gervais will not be on Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio until January 2009, but Gervais will be performing in his first HBO stand-up comedy special, Out of England, which debuts Saturday, Nov. 15 (9 p.m. Eastern, 10 p.m. Pacific). So what better time to trot out a sneak peek at the interview with Gervais? That’s not all. There’s also a lengthy 15-part online interview with Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews from the mainstream media have started coming in on his HBO special (New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times). My thoughts, already written after watching one of the tapings earlier this year at Madison Square Garden’s theater, remain mixed because I still wonder if presenting a "greatest hits" of bits is the best method of introduction to fans who already have seen these clips online. You can convince me, of course. After the jump, three highlights from his HBO special for you to judge for yourself. ‘Ricky Gervais: Out of England’ Sneak Peek: Humpty Dumpty ‘Ricky Gervais: Out of England’ Sneak Peek: Charity ‘Ricky Gervais: Out of England’ Sneak Peek:...

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The oldest joke book?

When you write a new joke, there is an "a-ha" moment in your brain that says this will make people "ha-ha" when you share it with them later. But what if you’re not the first person to think of the joke? Uh-oh. Some people argue that everything you could joke about already has been given a punchline — that’s why comedians may decide to only talk about what happens in their own lives (and even in doing so, they’re talking about universal truths) or become topical and talk about current events ripped from the headlines (in which case, they join an entire group of comedians and TV personalities and radio DJs doing the same thing). As this Reuters story about a joke book from the Fourth Century A.D. suggests: "Many of its 265 gags will seem strikingly familiar, suggesting that sex, dimwits, nagging wives and flatulence have raised laughs for centuries." The reporter goes on to compare an ancient Greek joke — about a man complaining after he buys a slave who dies — to the popular Monty Python dead parrot sketch. All for what turns out to be not an archaeological find, per se, but a sales pitch for a British company that has hired a comedian to read the jokes in a multimedia production, Philogelos: The Laugh Addict. Do you buy this story? Or, rather, would you...

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Get inside Russell Brand’s Comedy Central taping

Live Nation has just announced that more seats are available to tonight’s Comedy Central taping with British comedian Russell Brand in New York City "due to production releases." Tickets cost $45 (online via Live Nation or Ticketmaster, or by phone at 212-307-7171). But is it worth it? That depends. Let me tell you what happened last night and see if that piques your interest. Doors open at 7 p.m. at Teatro Heckscher of El Museo Del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave., in Spanish Harlem. But last night’s show didn’t start until 8:40 p.m. as the crew worked out a variety of tech issues. Perhaps this explains the decision to release more tickets tonight? Regardless, the show. Well, first, the set. It looks like a Persian palace lounge, with long hanging tapestries of red and orange separated by equally long bands of yellow beads. Three gold painted skulls stare out from the front of the stage between the speakers. Brand has created a "Den of Thieves" for his Comedy Central debut to American audiences. What you won’t hear: Any more apologies from Brand about what the British tabloids have called "Sachsgate," the prank phone call that led to him quitting his BBC Radio gig. That’s most likely not a sin of omission, but rather a decision that American audiences would not care for an explanation of that incident in a comedy...

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