Month: August 2009

Memo to FOX: Family Guy already has aired plenty of abortion material!

I have been spending the weekend in Boston with family, and one of the local comedians here claimed via chat that I was dead wrong about Family Guy (regarding my post from Thursday about the show's derivative Emmy campaign) and that the show is funny and I should watch it more. Coincidentally, I just so happened to be up late Sunday night and saw that Family Guy was on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and zipped on over for a look-see, and what should my wandering eyes find but an episode in which Meg announces she is pregnant, cutting to a scene with Peter waving a coat hanger at her, and later, Lois suggesting that Meg smoke and drink more to get rid of it. The first thing I thought was not how funny that was, but rather…isn't there currently some hullabaloo about FOX not airing a Family Guy episode because it talks about abortion?! Why yes. My short-term memory has been working properly, because the show's mastermind was just talking to everyone who'd listen about that very thing. Here's a video chat with trade mag The Hollywood Reporter from earlier this very month: And after saying how FOX wouldn't allow this to air, they held a public table read with the cast of the "abortion" episode for TV critics and Emmy voters (!), and said if you want...

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Review: Patton Oswalt’s “My Weakness is Strong” (CD/DVD)

There's no doubt that more people know about comedian Patton Oswalt than ever. And I'm not just talking about people in comedy. Oswalt's new CD, "My Weakness is Strong," has bounced around the top 10 among all albums in Apple's iTunes since it became available for purchase there on Aug. 18 — it comes out as a CD/DVD package this coming Tuesday, after part of it gets broadcast tonight as an hourlong Comedy Central special. For all that he has done for independent comedy venues and comedians over the past five years through "The Comedians of Comedy," and for all of the mainstream appeal he garnered playing "Spence" on the CBS sitcom, King of Queens, or even his character roles in Blade: Trinity, Reno 911! and Balls of Fury, none of that has done as much to raise his profile as his voiceover role as Remy the rat in 2007's Ratatouille. The success of that film ($206-million-plus at the U.S. box office, and double that worldwide) got everyone to take another look at Oswalt. He's followed that up with a recurring role on Showtime's United States of Tara, multiple shots taking on pop culture evils on 2008's The Root of All Evil on Comedy Central, and now stars in the upcoming movie, Big Fan, which debuted to raves at Sundance and begins appearing in cinemas next weekend. But Oswalt has...

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Rhys Darby has a stand-up special: “Imagine That”

If you missed Comedy Central's network television debut of Rhys Darby's stand-up special, "Imagine That," well, then, you missed it. Or did you, really? Comedy Central broadcast the special at midnight Friday, with no plans for future broadcasts on the schedule, at least for the time being (with Comedy Central, specials can reappear at any time, and sometimes at the oddest times). Anyhow. You want to know how "Murray" from HBO's Flight of the Conchords is as a stand-up? Turns out he's an odd mix of his self-deprecating character from the HBO show, lightweight stories about his childhood and history in the New Zealand (or is it Kiwi?) army, with a heaping portion of sound-effects as if he were New Zealand's answer to Michael Winslow. Which he may very well be. No, seriously. That's what you get. I was as surprised myself when I first saw him make helicopter and robot noises during a live spot in one of Ellen Degeneres' variety shows at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. So you are forewarned, or at least sitting down now? Good. Here is a clip of Rhys Darby doing his robot: And now, here is he showing us how when he played war as a kid, he really got into it. Cue the guns: Imagine That was filmed in 2008 at the El Rey in Los Angeles, and came out on DVD...

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The week in review from The Laugh Track

It's Sunday. Were you looking for some funny diversions, or merely trying to track down a video somebody told you about that just showed up on the Internets? Well, then, you're probably in luck, because odds are I might have posted what you're looking for over on Comedy.com's comedians channel, The Laugh Track. Let's review: Ben Stiller tried to explain Twitter to Mickey Rooney. Ah, to be old again! They're so wise in the ways of youth. Want to win a brand-new Patton Oswalt DVD? Then watch this collection of Patton Oswalt videos and comment via Facebook Connect. Chicago's Big Dog Eat Child uploaded a public statement from Toby Jones clarifying his stance on dinosaur meet and foot massages, which can mean only one thing: He must be starting up another business soon! Christian Finnegan offered 10 funny things for you to say to a waiter. If you follow him on Twitter @christfinnegan then perhaps you already knew that. Tim Heidecker not only knows how to talk to telemarketers, but he's also been nice enough to record and share one of his conversations for us to listen and learn from. Laurie Kilmartin launched a new Atom.com series, "American English with Jimmy T.," starring comedian Rio Koike as a Japanese man trying to learn American slang. All of the words you wish he wouldn't know. Weird Al Yankovic discovered Tsunami Electronics....

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Looking for comedy shows at the FringeNYC?

Edinboro (or Edinburgh) might get all of the attention in Scotland each August for staging the largest fringe comedy festival in the world, which is just one reason why FringeNYC (the New York International Fringe Festival) tends to get overlooked (as I write this, the fest already is a week old!). But there are plenty of new, visiting and popular shows being staged each August in New York City, in case you want to check one of them out between now and Aug. 30. Times, dates and locations vary. Here are the shows that are listed under the Improv/Sketch/Stand-Up banner: A Fine Line America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5! Be A Man!!! Dominizuelan Presents: People in the City Hot Air Buffoons Jen & Angie The Meaning of Wife That doesn't necessarily cover all of them, however, because some comedians have their shows slated under solo. Such as W. Kamau Bell's "The W. Kamau Bell Curve" and Paul Thomas' "Comedogenic." Bell has come in from the San Francisco Bay Area, while Thomas is based in Chicago. Here is a promo for Bell's Curve show: This clip isn't from "Comedogenic" but is a fine diversion for a Friday, isn't it? Trial by Fire: The Making of a Chicago Stand-up from Paul Thomas on...

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