Day: December 4, 2008

Comedians in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival has announced its slate of films for the 2009 celebration of cinema in Park City, Utah, and more than a few feature and/or star stand-up comedians during the Jan. 15-25 run in the ski hills. There's one bonafide film about comedy screening next month: Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy / USA (Director: Robert Townsend)—Using rare archival clips along with provocative interviews with many of today's leading comedians and social critics, Why We Laugh celebrates the incredible cultural influence and social impact black comedy has wielded over the past 400 years. Cast: Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Steve Harvey, Dick Gregory. World Premiere And I'm pleased as punch to pass along the news that NYC comedy troupe Derrick got their film into the festival: Mystery Team / USA (Director: Dan Eckman; Screenwriters: Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson)—A group of kid detectives called The Mystery Team struggle to solve a double murder to prove they can be real detectives before they graduate from high school. Cast: Dominic Dierkes, D.C. Pierson, Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Glenn Kalison. World Premiere Among the 16 films selected for the Documentary Competition: Good Hair (Director: Jeff Stilson) – Comedian Jeff Stilson directs Chris Rock while he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. World Premiere Among the 16 films selected for...

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More love for Freestyle Love Supreme

Viewers of the Tony Awards this summer probably wondered why Lin-Manuel Miranda decided to ad-lib his acceptance speeches for "In the Heights." But that's where Lin-Man feels at home. Freestyling his lyrical rhymes. And he gets to go home again with his friends and colleagues in Freestyle Love Supreme, who host a sold-out celebration of hip-hop harmonies and humor every month at Comix – this coming Monday's shows (7 and 9:30 p.m., Dec. 8) will raise funds for the New Orleans VideoVoices Project, inspiring otherwise marginalized communities by gathering and celebrating their collective voices (tickets $50-60, but deep discounts for students). The cast of characters includes Lin-Man and fellow MC's Chris "C-Jack" Jackson, "UTK" Utkarsh Ambudkar, Bill "King Sherman" providing keyboard accompaniment, Chris "Shockwave" Sullivan throwing down the beats and sound effects, direction by "TK" Thomas Kail, and leading the proceedings, Anthony "Two Touch" Veneziale. Here is a promo video showing a taste of what you'll hear in an FLS show: Four of the guys met at Wesleyan University, where Lin-Man wrote the first draft of "In the Heights" — Two Touch helped make the show a reality, with TK directing, and Sherman winning a Tony for best orchestrations. C-Jack also plays Benny in the Broadway musical. Universal recently bought the movie rights. And last night, Lin-Man and Sherman saw their names added to the list of Grammy nominees....

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51st Annual Grammy Award nominations (comedy)

For the 51st annual Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy went with a live, primetime announcement/mini-concert. But you want to know who got nominated, don't you? While putting American Idol's star judge Simon Cowell up for Record of the Year (he produced "Bleeding Love" for Leona Lewis along with Clive Davis and Ryan "Alias" Tedder) certainly contains some comedic value because you wonder if he'll show up in a tight black V-neck or a tight black tuxedo, we do have some other actual comedy honors to share with you as well. Although there are some truly outrageous and ridiculous nominations among the dozens of categories, too (but that's for me to analyze in another forum). Best Comedy Album nominees from 2007-2008Lewis Black, "Anticipation"Flight of the Conchords, "Flight of the Conchords"Kathy Griffin, "For Your Consideration"George Carlin, "It's Bad For Ya"Harry Shearer, "Songs of the Bushmen" Didn't Flight of the Conchords win last year for their EP, which is just a shorter version of this album? If you want to get all technical about it, then, yes. So cross them off the list. And do not be surprised for a posthumous honor to go to Carlin. In Best Spoken Word Album, Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up" goes up against Stephen Colbert's "I Am America (And So Are You)" and David Sedaris ("When You Are Engulfed in Flames")! Also in this category: Sidney...

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