Day: August 28, 2009

Ready for the 10th Annual Boston Comedy Festival?

The 10th annual Boston Comedy Festival "officially" begins tonight with "Jim McCue's Festival Pre-Show" at Nick's Comedy Stop. McCue co-founded the fest with Boston City Councilman John Tobin, who recently opened Tommy's Comedy Lounge in the original home of the Connection. McCue's sister, Helen, is the fest's vice president, while his sister-in-law Midge helps as a major organizer. And Lewis Black, a longtime friend of McCue's, once again has timed his Boston appearance to coincide with the fest. He'll be at the Wang (or is it Citi Center?) on Saturday. There are a variety of shows around Boston from tonight through next Saturday, Sept. 5, but the meat of the Boston fest continues to be its annual weeklong stand-up comedy contest. As it did last year, most of the comedy contest rounds will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe, starting on Sunday with the first of eight preliminary rounds. Ninety-six comics from around the country are participating and competing for $10,000 in prize money, although there's a heavy dose of locals and stand-ups who have recently left Boston for New York City or elsewhere. I cannot say that I'll be roped into judging much of the contest this year (you may sigh or applaud, according to whether you were hoping I would/wouldn't be a factor). But I will be doing everything I can to try to make it up north...

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Alter-egos: 10 comedy character acts who have had a life of their own

When I heard that Pee-Wee Herman would be returning to the stage this November in Los Angeles, part of me was excited and intrigued to see how Pee-Wee’s childish naivete would play now that actor Paul Reubens is 57. You can watch any of these 10 videos of Pee-Wee Herman in action to relive some of his great moments since Reubens first developed the character as a member of The Groundlings in the late 1970s. There’s a part of me, though, and perhaps a part of you that has wondered about Reubens over the years since he ran afoul of the law in 1991. That incident put a kibosh on Pee-Wee, but what about the comedian/actor who was Reubens? Although he has had some delightfully quirky character parts recently on shows such as 30 Rock and Pushing Daisies, Reubens never really has gotten us to forget about Pee-Wee. Is it typecasting when you cast the type yourself? It really couldn’t surprise anyone, then, to see Reubens going back to the well once more. He’s not alone, though. Comedians have created and pulled off countless characters over the years (just think of your favorite sketch groups or shows, such as Saturday Night Live, Monty Python or Kids in the Hall, for plenty of examples). But every once in a while, a comedian creates a character so memorable that the alter-ego...

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