Day: December 5, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: John Mayer talks about learning a tough lesson about stand-up comedy

Every comedian has a story about the first time things went awry for him or her onstage, or when he or she bombed badly and/or unexpectedly. It happens to all of us. And even though it feels horrible at the time, it's a good thing, because you need to learn from it so you can get better as a comedian and as a performer. Now John Mayer has one of those stories. Yes. John Mayer. Which makes it a little bit different. When you had an awkward onstage experience starting out in comedy, you likely were the only person to remember it the next day. When John Mayer does anything in public, everyone tends to notice. Here's one of the pics snapped of Mayer (by Rachel Sklar) when he performed comedy on Tuesday at The Slipper Room. I met Mayer briefly last December right before Christmas, when he brought his girlfriend at the time down to the Olive Tree Cafe and Comedy Cellar to see the comedy side of his life. Paparazzi stalked the snowy sidewalk with bright lights and cameras, just to snap a pic of them and yell at them in hopes of getting a quote. Back then, he was talking about launching his own comedy/variety TV show for CBS. He still is, by the way. "I was all ready, but then I had to do the...

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Kumail Nanjiani reflects on a busy year that made him an obvious choice for Comedy Central’s Hot List

When Comedy Central announced its special "Hot List" showcase of new talented comedians, I could not say the list surprised me. Many of these people got multiple mentions here at The Comic's Comic in the past year, and when I thought about Kumail Nanjiani's achievements in the past year, even I was duly impressed with what he's been able to accomplish since moving to New York City from Chicago. So I talked to him briefly outside of Comix during the club's holiday party this week (holiday parties already!) and asked him to put it into some perspective — Letterman, Kimmel, Live at Gotham, Michael and Michael Have Issues, The Colbert Report, and a development deal with NBC. Where does he go from here? Roll the clip! (Warning: Includes improvised absurdity from Eugene Mirman, who actually fits into Kumail's NYC story, as well as a joke at John Mayer's expense, and a cameo by Nanjiani's newlywed wife, Emily) Roll it! Of course, Nanjiani isn't the only one on Comedy Central's Hot List special, which airs on Sunday, Dec. 6. Here's a clip featuring all nine — Anthony Jeselnik, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Matt Braunger, Jon Lajoie, Whitney Cummings, TJ Miller, Donald Glover and Nanjiani — describing why they made the cut. Roll...

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Comedian J. Chris Newberg got turned down by a woman who was dating Tiger Woods? True story!

When the Tiger Woods car accident became a full-fledged adultery scandal, how many people would have guessed that a stand-up comedian already knew about it? Well, J. Chris Newberg did, because he had been trying to get Jamiee Grubbs to go out with him for a long time, only to have Grubbs turn Newberg down, in part, because she was busy getting busy with the world's best golfer as his mistress. Fore! Here's how Newberg explains it in song: Further reading: Newberg also wrote a longer account of his "love triangle" with Tiger Woods on...

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Tis the season? Good For The Jews preps for tour

Good For The Jews (Rob Tannenbaum and David Fagin) kicks off a four-city tour with their funny Jewish comedian friends on Monday at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. They hit Los Angeles (Largo) on Dec. 9; Chicago's Lakeshore Theater, Dec. 19; and D.C.'s Jammin Java, Dec. 24. I asked Tannenbaum to explain his holiday tradition, and like any good journalist who shares a name with a Christmas tree song, he agreed! "We tour throughout the year, but let‚Äôs face it, December is our biggest month. We‚Äôre like Mannheim Steamroller, or fruitcake ‚Äî when people see us, they know the calendar year is almost over. It really is the worst possible month to be a Jew: The white sales haven‚Äôt started yet, and everywhere you go, you hear ‚ÄúWinter Wonderland.‚Äù Jews need cheering up in December, so we shlep around the country, focusing on safe and affluent cities with large Jewish populations. Idaho? Not really on our itinerary. South Dakota? I can find more Jews waiting to buy ground coffee on a Saturday morning at Zabar‚Äôs on the Upper West Side. We refuse to perform on shabbos, unless it‚Äôs a paying gig. And we refuse to play in any city that has ever had a pogrom, which rules out Detroit. "Whenever possible, we like to have Jewish comedians appear with us. In previous years, we‚Äôve had Dave Attell, Elon Gold, Jessi...

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Sundance’s 2010 film fest slate includes Louis CK stand-up concert, Joan Rivers documentary

Sundance Institute has announced its full slate of programming for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and while it's not quite the bumper crop that comedians earned last year, there are a couple of big highlights. Louis C.K.'s latest stand-up effort, Hilarious, will make its world premiere at the festival — reportedly the first stand-up concert film to make the trek to Sundance. In compeition, the festival will feature Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Directors: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg) — described in the program as "A rare, brutally honest glimpse into the comedic process and private dramas of legendary comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers as she fights tooth and nail to keep her American dream alive." Also of potential interest: The Runaways, the film about Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) in which Tig Notaro plays Jett's mother; Bill Murray co-stars with Robert Duvall in Get Low, about a 1930s Tennessee hermit who plans a rocking funeral party for himself while he's still alive; The Freebie, with Dax Shepard and Katie Aselton (who also wrote and directed) as a married couple who gives each other one free pass. I'm also curious to see Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo, which is the "Entourage" star's look inside the world of celebrity tabloid gossip and the impact celebrity has on our culture (it's one of two such docs on the festival docket, btw). Compare that to...

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