Day: January 14, 2009

Make ‘Em Laugh, the PBS treatment

Any great documentary leaves you feeling a greater knowledge and fulfillment about the subject matter, and wanting to further share your newfound knowledge with even more people. Any good documentary gives you insight into a subject and leaves you wanting more. Judging from the first two hours of the six-hour PBS treatment from WNET, Make 'Em Laugh, which debuts tonight (and I just finished watching via screener), you'll get a good, almost-great examination of the past century of comedy performances. Billy Crystal opens the series with a NSFW Civil War joke, letting audiences know that this is not going to be that kind of PBS documentary project. Crystal nominally hosts each hour with a comedy segment introducing that hour's topic, while Amy Sedaris provides voiceover narration. Another common thematic device for the narrative — arrange comedians by an archetype, open with the most contemporary and popular example, then flashback a century and work your way chronologically back to the future, so to speak. "Hopefully, it's not hamfisted," Michael Kantor said at a preview panel at the 92Y last month. Kantor, the series producer, director and writer, said there's some rare footage of Woody Allen, and some early Paul Lynde that we'll get to see. "By and large, we tried to air footage that you couldn't find at the rental store," Kantor said. Rental store? Who goes to those anymore?...

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Are you the funniest person in South Texas?

If you think you are the funniest person in South Texas, you best be entering this competition before George W. Bush moves back into town and tries to take your title away from you! You hear me? The River Center Comedy Club is running this shindig. They say if you want to win ($750 cash prize, a week's bookings for the runner-up, and $100 for third place), then you'll need to submit your resume to the River Center Comedy Club at 849 E. Commerce St., Room #89, San Antonio, TX, 78205, attn: Ben Heurta, and send in your stuff by 5 p.m. Feb. 25. That's all I know. That, and you can get some outstanding BBQ in South...

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“The Line” goes live tonight, plus a new SNL side project

If you enjoyed watching "The Live" online comedy series this summer as much as I did, then you'll be pleased as punchline to know that director Seth Meyers and writers Bill Hader and Simon Rich will talk about the SNL side project with a live screening and Q&A tonight at the New York City branch of the UCB. Beware: Advance reservations already sold out. But you can see Hader and Kristen Wiig in a new digital short that could be an SNL Digital Short, only it's not. It's a short by Brian Petsos, who stars as a depressed guy in a bunny suit who visits Hader and Wiig, hoping they'll cheer him up. There will be piano playing. HADER, PETSOS, and WIIG in The Key Fits by Kristen...

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