Day: May 11, 2009

Does a comedian need to have an out-of-left-field hook to get profiled by the New York Times?

You'd seem to think so, as this story in Sunday's New York Times literally goes to the left-field seats at new Yankee Stadium to interview a beer vendor there, 51-year-old Steve Lazarus, who has been telling jokes on the job (and also in suburban comedy rooms in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). Of course, the NYT does sometimes follow comedians around the Big Apple for a night out on the town feature. But it'd also be nice to see a stand-up get profiled for the right reason: That he/she is funny and needs worldwide exposure. Fun facts? Hiring employees to serve and entertain at the same time is not a novel concept, either. Plenty of theme restaurants, and theme parks, expect their workers to be able to entertain their guests. When I worked at the Space Needle in Seattle for several months in 1998, the folks at Seattle Center specifically were looking for comedians to enhance the experience for Space Needle visitors who would wait in long lines to ride up and down the elevators. They hired me and several members from TheatreSports. My job interview/audition even aired on...

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TBS lines up talent for two TV specials from Just For Laughs Chicago

TBS has announced the lineups for two stand-up comedy specials it'll tape and broadcast from the inaugural Just For Laughs Chicago festival in June. So who's added to the bills? Martin Short will host Let Freedom Hum (tapes June 18 at The Vic, and airs June 26), with performances by John Pinette, Kathleen Madigan, Greg Giraldo, Tom Papa and Jeremy Hotz. The following night, David Alan Grier will host Comedy You Can Believe In (tapes June 19 at The Vic, and airs June 28), with performances by Bruce Bruce, Jo Koy, Mark Curry, Aries Spears and Marina Franklin. TBS previously announced its intentions to produce and broadcast a third variety special for Ellen DeGeneres at the Chicago fest, and that will air June 27. Tickets for the Martin Short special will go on sale this Friday. Tickets also are available for a fourth show with George Lopez during the fest, as the previously three Lopez shows already have sold...

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More “Soup” for you; Chris Hardwick to host Web version for G4

Believe it or not, the "Soup" franchise of TV snark soon will surpass both Law & Order and CSI in the number of separate-but-equal editions of a single-concept television program, as the trades announced overnight that the G4 network will launch Web Soup on June 7, with host Chris Hardwick (Hard 'N Phirm, MTV's Singled Out, and currently recurring on G4's Attack of the Show) examining the highs and lows of Internet videos. Airing Sundays at 9 p.m., Web Soup will feature segments such The Daily Upload, This Week in FAIL and Things You Can’t Un-See. G4 President Neal Tiles said: “Not only can Chris Hardwick dole out hilarious off-the-cuff commentary, he also possesses a deep knowledge of digital culture, which makes him the ideal host for Web Soup. We are excited to put G4’s spin on this popular franchise.” This will make four projects from the same executive producers ostensibly serving up weekly one-liners about high-profile foibles caught on camera. Danielle Fishel dishes about celebrity fashion mishaps each week on The Dish for The Style Network, which debuted last summer. Matt Iseman tackles sports bloopers both on and off the field in Sports Soup for the Versus (VS.) network, which arrived last fall. And then there is the original, formerly Talk Soup, and now just The Soup, which has provided a career stepping-stone for Greg Kinnear, Aisha Tyler and now Joel McHale. We...

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