Month: August 2009

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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Robin Williams and Bobcat Goldthwait talk about each other on Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel had both Robin Williams and Bobcat Goldthwait as guests on his TV show late Wednesday night, which made sense since they're both promoting the same project, World's Greatest Dad, in which Goldthwait directed Williams. But Goldthwait also directed the first years of Kimmel's show, which added a little something something to the chat dynamic. Kimmel's show has embraced YouTube, so you can see four segments from the episode. Williams came out first and discussed his open heart surgery. Then he talked about his surgery's impact on his current stand-up tour, which resumes in September, and how long he has been friends with Goldthwait. Then Goldthwait came out, and talked about his relationship with Kimmel, as well as his friendship with Williams, going back to their first meeting in a Boston comedy club, and their Chinese tattoos. And here's them talking about the movie a bit, and while Williams is quick to remind everyone that Goldthwait had made "the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies" in Shakes the Clown, Goldthwait returns the favor by complimenting Williams on the length of his full frontal nudity. Also, Goldthwait said he is not on Facebook or Twitter, so if you're following or friends with him, that's a fake...

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Shortlist for 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Awards short on Yanks

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is in its final week, which means it's time to find out who the critical mass thinks is worthy for the fest's major awards. And in 2009, it appears none of the American acts to cross the Atlantic have made the shortlist (Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler got nominated last year, while Demetri Martin won the best show prize in 2003). But one Canadian did: Pete Johansson. I didn't make it to Scotland this August, so I cannot vouch for the nominees, although I did get to enjoy Idiots of Ants when they performed short sketch revues at Just For Laughs in Montreal last month. Anyhow. Here are your 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Awards nominees… Edinburgh Comedy Award (Best Comedy Show) shortlist Idiots of Ants: This Is War John Bishop: Elvis Has Left the Building Jon Richardson: This Guy at Night Russell Kane: Human Dressage Tim Key: The Slutcracker Tom Wrigglesworth: Open Return Letter to Richard Branson Best Newcomer shortlist Carl Donnelly: Relax Everyone, It's Carl Donnelly! Jack Whitehall: Nearly Rebellious Jonny Sweet: Mostly About Arthur Kevin Bridges: An Hour to Sing for Your Soul Pete Johansson: Naked Pictures of My Life Winners will be announced on Saturday, Aug. 29. The Best Comedy Show winner will receive a cash prize of ¬£8,000 and an invitation to perform at the Montreal, Toronto and Chicago Just for Laughs...

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Pittsburgh comics organize their own festival

When you think of great comedians to come out of Pittsburgh, whom do you think of? There's not a long list, but the Steel City of Three Rivers has given us the likes of Dennis Miller, Charles Grodin, Michael Keaton and Frank Gorshin (the Riddler!). Among current stand-ups, you've got Billy Gardell, Jesse Joyce, Anthony Jeselnik and Melanie Malloy. But the locals who live in and around Pittsburgh are hoping to prove to their neighbors that there are more just like them, living in their midst. Which brings us to this week's Pittsburgh comedy festival. It's organized by the local comedians as an underground event — I say underground because it doesn't include any shows at the city's Improv or Funny Bone. FYI: Sebastian Maniscalco headlines the former this weekend; Dobie Maxwell is at the latter. And they just missed out on a chance to tie into their own Sen. Arlen Specter's brand of humor, which he displayed again last week at the Pittsburgh Improv: Now that you've seen that, here's what the locals have been up to this week… Mon Aug 24th: Paparazzi‚Äôs/South Side/9pm/$5: Chris Levkulich-Jeff Konkle-Josh Copen-and from the WDVE Morning Show Mike Wysocki. Tues Aug 25th: The Smiling Moose/South Side/9pm/Free: See some of Pittsburghs best up and coming comics along with some scene regulars in the most unpredictable show of the week. Wed Aug 26th: Bar 11/South Side/10pm/Free: Guest...

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Mary Lynn Rajskub takes over The Laugh Factory with all-star “24” comedy show

Mary Lynn Rajskub hinted on her Twitter last week that she'd be organizing an all-star comedy show involving her cast members from the past two seasons and upcoming edition of 24, and sure enough, it's going to happen this Thursday, Aug. 27, at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show Thursday are $20-$30 via Ticketweb. Rajskub has both the most experience on 24, as Jack Bauer's best helper Chloe O'Brien, and also as an accomplished stand-up comedian and comedy actress. The rest of the lineup is still being assembled, but as of this afternoon, Rajskub announced on Twitter that the following actors would be participating: From Day 8, newcomers Katee Sackhoff (expect some cylon jokes?!) and John Boyd; plus former faves such as Glenn Morshower (Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce!), Roger Cross (Curtis Manning!); Jean Smart (former First Lady Martha Logan), Marisol Nichols (CTU's Nadia) and more. The Laugh Factory, meanwhile, hinted to me that Rajskub might be taking over Thursdays on a more permanent basis at the Hollywood club. We'll just have to stay tuned to find out. Beep. BEEP. Beep. BEEP. Beep....

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