Day: July 23, 2009

Taming “Comedy’s New Wild West” at Montreal’s “Comedy Conference”

Are you looking to become rich and famous by posting your very own Internet videos? Well, good luck with that! That's the message I could have given you before attending this afternoon's "The Web: Comedy's New Wild West" panel at Montreal's Just For Laughs Comedy Conference, and it's still the message after sitting through the hourlong chat-em-ups. At least this panel seemed a little more forthcoming than others — listening to TV and film writers talk, you sometimes get the feeling that they have all of the secrets to success but don't want to give them away, and they also don't want to share too much and piss any of their current or potential employers off. All of which doesn't exactly lead to compelling testimony to pass along. But here are some morsels and quotes that I think you'll find interesting. You have Qs. I have As. Ready. Set. Next paragraph. What was the impact of turning CollegeHumor's online "Hardly Working" videos into an MTV series? From the Web guru's editor/co-founder Ricky Van Veen himself: "More 13-year-old girls recognize me on the streets." More importantly, however, is knowing that because "we already had the infrastructure in place" at CollegeHumor's offices, the budgets were lower for MTV — ratings were decent enough that "now we're talking about doing a second season" — but in the end, being on TV or...

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John Cleese misses Montreal’s Britcom Gala with last-minute illness

John Cleese was forced to postpone his scheduled all-British comedy "Gala" last night at Montreal's Just For Laughs festival after being diagnosed with an inflamed prostate gland. Bruce Hills, COO for Just For Laughs, took center stage shortly after the scheduled 7 p.m. Eastern start time for the grand theatrical (and televised) production, telling fans: "John Cleese has fallen ill." Hills told the crowd that a late cancellation was so rare, "this has never happened before" in the more than quarter-century history of the citywide comedy fest. After last night's Gala, which went on with Lewis Black substituting as host, fans who had spent upward of $175 per ticket to see the Monty Python legend were given cards like the one pictured here with instructions on how to exchange their ticket stubs for a pass to a new free Gala that was added to Sunday night's schedule. Hills said that Cleese had prepped his sketches and routines for this Montreal show for more than a week (in fact, Cleese had just hosted a similar gala last weekend in Toronto) and hoped to be fully able to perform them by Sunday. Black, already in the French-Canadian city to host Thursday's Gala, also apologized, suggesting that perhaps, "What I would do is hire a French comic to speak entirely in French and use the entire time to talk about why the French...

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Dane Cook duet with Chris Daughtry, “Growing Pains” theme

When Dane Cook shot into the stratosphere of stand-up comedy a few years ago, he recorded and released his own song. That didn't exactly fire up the Billboard charts the same way his comedy CDs did. But this new duet of his with rocker (and American Idol alum) Chris Daughtry — who does have the top-selling CD on this week's charts with his second album, "Leave This Town" — might just get your attention. It did mine. And not just because they're harmonizing with a picturesque SoCal nightscape behind them, nor because Cook is not afraid to sing louder than Daughtry, but because their choice for the acoustic duet is none other than the theme song to Growing Pains. Show me that smile again? Cook released this song as a TwitVid (TwitVid?) to celebrate reaching more than 1 million followers on his Twitter feed...

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