Day: January 4, 2010

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon cuts the “fax” line on freelancers, cites WGA?

A generation of aspiring stand-up comedians have worked far, far behind-the-scenes of late-night TV comedy, contributing jokes as freelancers via fax. Fax? FAX! For you kids, a fax machine sent facsimile paper copies of your paper to someone else over the phone lines. Technology. If you were one of the lucky ones, you got your name added to the fax lists, and you, too, could submit jokes on a daily basis to Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and even Saturday Night Live. Well, that's no longer the case in 2010 for freelancers to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, because they all received this new year's mass rejection letter, which cited "WGA restrictions" for cutting them loose. Wondering what those restrictions could be, since I haven't heard anyone from Letterman's or SNL's list reporting getting a similar letter. Time to check in with the Writers Guild, I suppose. UPDATED: Letterman apparently got rid of most of the freelancers in October?!? SNL is still OK with Weekend Update submissions if you're on the list. Leno, well, what do you think? Also, thanks to CCInsider for reminding me that the WGA did say in this Los Angeles Times story last year that they weren't happy about all of the freelancing. Dear Late Night Faxers, First and foremost, thank you for contributing monologue jokes to the show each day. Due to WGA restrictions,...

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RIP: Jean Carroll, pioneer for women in stand-up comedy, dead at 98

Jean Carroll, who along with Moms Mabley blazed the trail for pretty much every woman who decided to get into the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy, died on New Year's Day, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. Carroll became famous in the 1940s, as her New York Times obituary noted, when the other half of her duo act — her husband, Buddy Howe — went off to fight in World War II. If the guys could tell jokes about their wives, she could tell jokes about her husband and her "rotten child." She was spotlighted briefly in last year's PBS mini-series documentary, Make Em Laugh, but the Make Em Laugh site didn't put her video online. Here's an older radio segment on Jean Carroll, and here is a clip from her 1959 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. As you watch the routine, just think about how far we've come, or haven't come, in talking about gender and comedy. There Jean Carroll was, at 48, on the TV, in a nice dress, looking pretty, telling one joke after another, after another. So many punchlines per minute packed in there. Now think about how many women do that today. Not the joke-telling part (because there are many now), but about the looking pretty part. You could argue that male comedians have gotten all-too casual over the...

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Artie Lange hospitalized; Howard Stern addresses the rumors on the radio (with audio statement)

Over the weekend, TMZ.com's network of gossip spies broke the news that comedian Artie Lange checked into a New Jersey hospital for undisclosed reasons, with a representative confirming that news but refusing to comment further, declaring it a personal matter. The Internet being the Internet, rumors circulated unabated, and it didn't help that Lange hadn't been on the radio for about a month, and that Lange's tour dates had been cancelled. This morning was Howard Stern's first day back on Sirius XM with a live show since the holiday break, and Stern addressed the rumors. He opened with an unintentionally amusing misspeak, calling Artie "Jackie" as in Jackie the Joke Man Martling, the guy Lange replaced as Stern's comic relief sidekick. Here is the audio statement from Stern, saying he would honor the family's decision to keep this private, and also addressing haters on the Internet — while also somehow managing to talk about Lange's greatest moments on the show, as if he wasn't coming back, and then shooting down the false speculation that Lange was being replaced. File under: Timing! Comedy Central announced today that it would be airing the premiere of Lange's hourlong stand-up special, Jack and Coke, at 11 p.m. on Jan....

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Interview: What’s the deal with F*cking Book Deal?

The past year, nay, past decade — don't start with me, number nerds, because the 00s were the uh-ohs, and now it's the '10s, so get with the program — seemed like everyone who started a blog did done got them a book deal out of it. Good thing I started a blog writing about comedians, right? Right! But in the last month of the last year, the Internet gave birth to the mother of all blog-to-book deals, a little Tumblr called Look At This Fucking Idea For A Blog-To-Book Deal, or for short, Fucking Book Deal. Turns out it's brought to you by two of the minds who, a decade earlier, gave birth to Television Without Pity, Tara Ariano and her husband, David T. Cole (aka Glark). I talked to Tara about this earth-shattering development. Was there one particular book deal that inspired you and Glark to launch the Tumblr? Not really; this just seemed to be a year where there were so many — plus the ShitMyDadSays TV deal. It does seem like there should have been one where we were like, "Now that is TOO MUCH," but there wasn't. I know as I've watched watched one person after another get book deals for insanely easy and manipulative ideas, I often have wondered two things: 1) Why haven't I thought of that, and 2) How can I...

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