Day: January 23, 2010

Preview: Clips from Arj Barker’s “LYAO”

Arj Barker is one of my favorite absurdist stand-up comedians, and the debut of his latest stand-up special, LYAO, gets its premiere tonight on Comedy Central (air times: 11 p.m. Eastern, and also 4 a.m. Eastern Sunday) before coming out on CD and DVD next week. I'll have more to share with you then. Comedy Central is only airing 41 minutes of the 65 minutes you'll get on Arj Barker's CD, so know there's more fun out of this guy. Here are two clips from the first seven minutes, in which Barker takes his Minnesota audience to task for how they define themselves — both by lakes and as a Twin City — followed by his trip to Ireland and a debate with the Irish about how to handle a lady. Roll the...

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Review: Artie Lange’s “Jack and Coke” (on CD/DVD, Comedy Central)

"I'm glad Heath Ledger died, and I'll tell you why." Artie Lange, who came way too close to dying himself earlier this year, opens his Jack and Coke stand-up comedy special that way. Programming Note: You'll see half of his hour-and-half DVD recording tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on Comedy Central — followed by most of it later in the night (1 a.m. Eastern) uncensored as part of its "Secret Stash." It's said that most of Lange's material had not been recorded on CD or DVD before now. So for that, I'll excuse his reliance on jokes about Brokeback Mountain in 2010. Lange's performance, recorded last year at Gotham Comedy Club, is decidedly no-frills. But when the frills of an Artie Lange live show typically include the crude and immature antics of his "Howard Stern" fans who have tended to ruin most of the live shows I've seen of Lange — and by ruin, I mean constantly yelling out catchphrases and lines from the Stern show to rile up Lange and make it less a stand-up performance than a monkey show (do the tricks, monkey!) — this stands out as a delight. It's a very measured, calm, confident Lange here. I hope Lange watches it on TV or DVD himself to remind himself that he is a talented stand-up. Here's a clip. Roll it! He makes repeated funny asides...

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Tom Hanks and Conan O’Brien: Their early SNL monologue sketches together from 1988 and 1990

If you're wondering why Tom Hanks was on the final edition of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, well, perhaps you thought, maybe it's because Hanks nicknamed Conan "Coco" on his second Tonight Show. Close. But not quite. As Hanks explained in last night's show, he and Conan go way, way back to Hanks' nights as a host on Saturday Night Live, when he remembered seeing Conan back in the deepest recesses of SNL's studios as part of the "Boiler Room Boys" with fellow SNL writers Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel. Wonder what happened to those guys? Anyhow. Eventually, NBC.com and Hulu will figure out they need to put more of their Conan clips online to earn some revenue — they need the money. Until then, I did find these two clips from SNL way back in the night, in rare appearances by Conan O'Brien when he was an SNL writer but had speaking lines. Both instances involve Tom Hanks as the host. So now it comes three-quarters-circle. This first clip is from 1988, in which Hanks tries to disprove the Hollywood myth that he's a nice guy. Hard to believe now, right? This second appearance of Hanks and Conan comes from 1990, when Hanks hosted SNL for his fifth time and gained entry to the ultra-exclusive SNL Five-Timers Club. Look who the doorman is! It's Conan! (That he...

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