Day: September 16, 2009

Grandma Lee could win $1 million on tonight’s America’s Got Talent? Really?!

Here's a cute story. An elderly woman from Jacksonville, Fla., becomes a widow (not the cute part) and decides to pursue her dream of telling jokes as a stand-up comedian. Fast-forward 10 years, and now, 75-year-old Grandma Lee is one of ten finalists in the running to win $1 million and a headlining gig in Las Vegas on tonight's finale of NBC's America's Got Talent. You can read a recent interview she did with her hometown paper here. Based on that backstory, and this video: Time to take the honesty pills. Was this worth a million bucks and a headlining show nightly in Vegas, much less a spot on national primetime TV? Sorry, Grandma. The judges tried to be kind. Sharon Osbourne acknowledged she didn't really listen to anything after Grandma's first joke about "sweating like Ryan Seacrest watching Brokeback Mountain." The Hoff said it's "very hard to vote against you." And in the semis, Piers Morgan had said to her: "Why can't you win this?" Yes, while you were going to comedy festivals, trying to figure out how to amass followers on Twitter and Facebook friends, and awkwardly talking to network executives, agents and managers, Grandma Lee trumped you all by being old and cute and telling jokes that a grandma would tell. I don't mean to dismiss her. Although that may appear to be what I'm doing. Rather,...

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Do you have your tickets to the Bentzen Ball? Tig Notaro curates a D.C. comedy fest in October

Comedian Tig Notaro and Brightest Young Things announced a brand-new comedy festival coming to Washington, D.C., in October, and their Bentzen Ball sold more than 800 tickets since going on sale at noon today. We can see why. Just check out this list of performers that Notaro has assembled to perform with her in our nation's capital… Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Todd Barry, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jimmy Dore, Morgan Murphy, Dave Hill, Reggie Watts, Matt Braunger, Chelsea Peretti, Natasha Leggerro, Nick Thune, Paul Rust, Aubrey Plaza, Laura Silverman, Ian Edwards, Steve Agee, A.D. Miles, Nick Offerman, Kyle Dunnigan, Jen Kirkman, Nick Kroll, Jessi Klein, Jackie Kashian, Kyle Kinane, Jesse Thorn, Ben Kronberg, Brendan Walsh, Chris Fairbanks, Cynthia Levin, David Huntsberger, Lizz Winstead, Martha Kelly, Stephanie Escajeda, Adam Cayton-Holland, Alex Koll, Duncan Trussell, Hugh Moore, Peter Spruyt, Ruby Wendell, Seth Herzog, Andy Wood, and even some surprise guests not yet mentioned. I just noticed Rory Scovel and Erin Jackson on a new new list since I first posted this. So, yes, more. The festival will take place at D.C. venues up and down U Street and 14th Street (including Lincoln Theatre, Bohemian Caverns, The Black Cat, 930 Club and the Studio Theatre), from Oct. 22-25. Tickets range from $15 to a single show ($30 each for Oswalt and Silverman's shows), $40 for a three-show package, $110 for a weekend pass,...

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Jim Norton’s “Uninvited Guest” for Jay Leno

Incremental progress, they say, is always a good thing. And so it was on Tuesday night that the second episode of The Jay Leno Show offered some actual comedy for the live studio audience (and those watching on their TVs), courtesy of one of Leno's many comedy correspondents. Sort of. Leno gave stand-up Jim Norton a nice introduction (presumably, we're guessing Leno is going to do this once a night for all of the correspondents, although we're hoping that once the show settles in, he'll be willing to double up on correspondent pieces during the show to double the chances of creative comedic choices). And Norton delivered in his first installment of his segment, "Uninvited Guest." It feels like his version of what Lewis Black was doing a decade ago on The Daily Show, offering up scripted rants on society. We had heard parts of this before as Norton tried out material about airline travel on an unsuspecting UCB crowd a few weeks ago, and he told us then that Leno wanted him to perform live on the set to interact with the audience. And now we see why. Somehow, Leno's show decided to add some unneccessary production imagery to Norton's stand-up (at least one of which, Norton was able to mock on the spot because of its poor timing, although most of the images did amuse the studio...

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