Day: June 6, 2009

NBC’s Stand-Up For Diversity (2009 edition)

NBC may not be offering Last Comic Standing this summer, but if you are a comedian "of diverse backgrounds" (which, we presume, means not only not white, but also not Jewish — comedy!), then you can take part in the Peacock Network's sixth annual "Stand-Up For Diversity" showcase. How it works: NBC holds open calls in a few select cities. The first 100 comedians get a chance to perform a one-minute set, with a few asked back to perform at later callbacks, and fewer still performing at a showcase the following evening. So far, sounds exactly like LCS, right? Only this is NBC's ongoing effort to prove that it's willing to diversify its casting for sitcoms and other TV projects. The top comics selected from the regional showcases go to Los Angeles at the end of the year, with at least one performer signed to a one-year holding deal with the network (in 2008, that was Rob Stapleton) and a few heading to NACA's national convention and going on a college tour. "With every new year, our efforts underscore NBC Universal's genuine commitment to spotlight fresh diverse talent for the general entertainment community in Hollywood," said Kendra Carter, the net's director of talent diversity initiatives, in a press release. "Our entry-level outreach has proven to be successful in the past and will pitch a larger tent by adding more...

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FUCT + Lady Circus = Cirque du Quoi?!?

I should have known when I got off of the L train and walked down a lonely road of abandoned garages and warehouses sandwiched between duplex and triplex apartments, that Cirque du Quoi?!? would not be just another sketch comedy show. It certainly made me say "quoi?" but where was this cirque, exactly? And are we in East Williamsburg, or Bushwick? Didn't matter. For the record, I think East Williamsburg was and is the home for Lady Circus, a group of female burlesque acrobats who work out of a garage space high-ceilinged "palace" called The House of Yes — and for the past three weekends, ending Saturday, have been collaborating with raunchy sketch comedy group FUCT for this Circus of What. Yes, FUCT. It stands for Fordham Underground Comedy Troupe, but just as well should stand for what you're thinking phonetically, because these guys (and one gal) specialize in bawdy adult humor. They love pushing boundaries, and even making audiences feel skittish. Co-founder Jon Crane told me that when FUCT performed a sketch at a festival in Chicago, an audience member wrote a letter complaining that they should have been warned "about all of the homosexual content" after seeing their sketch on "How to Kiss A Girl." FUCT used this as a source of more humor. It's as if the boys from Jackass decided to form a sketch troupe. Just check...

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