Day: March 3, 2010

Montreal’s Just For Laughs hosts a comedy conference: Take Three!

Montreal's annual comedy shebang — its Juste Pour Rire or for you non-Francophones, Just For Laughs — takes over the French-Canadian city each July. This year, for the third straight year (and second under JFL proper), the festival plans an ancillary conference for the show business industry. JFL always has had panels and seminars running concurrently to all of the live comedy, but began ramping things up in 2008 with a more formal "Comedy Conference." For July 15-17, 2010, Montreal has lined up Lewis Black to deliver a keynote address to the conference. This is in addition to Andy Kindler's annual must-see "State of the Industry" speech. Other elements to this year's conference include a "Comedy Bootcamp for Film" in conjunction with CFC Film's Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab (if you want to participate, check the eligibility and application requirements starting March 15 at www.cfccreates.com and www.hahaha.com/conference. The annual TV pitch event also returns this year to Montreal, with a panel of industry executives and network people involved in an open-forum session. ‚ÄúThese two programs add a new dimension to our goal of discovering and promoting emerging talent and gives them a shot at getting opinions of decision-makers who can change their lives in an instant‚Äù said Just For Laughs Chief Operating Officer, Bruce Hills, in a press release today. ‚ÄúIn addition to our seminars and panel discussions, these two pitch...

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Obligatory post on Funny or Die’s SNL Presidential Impersonation round-up for a banking PSA

If you were to tell me that Saturday Night Live would gather up all of its grand presidential impersonators for a one-time reunion, then I'd remind you that Phil Hartman is dead, and stop playing me. But you kept at it, and told me, hey, what if we got Jim Carrey to play the ghost of Ronald Reagan with a dash of Ace Ventura, then I'd go, oh, really, well, which SNL is this going to be on? Oh, it's not on SNL. It's on Funny or Die. OK. Ready for the viral video action! Wait. This is a PSA? Or as you kids call it, a public service announcement. For the banking crisis. Directed by Ron "used to be Opie or Richie Cunningham if you're an older person, and just another big movie director if you're a kid" Howard. For real this time. If you think SNL's political "cold open" sketches are weirdly too focused on making points, then full speed ahead into the danger zone. At least Dan Aykroyd looks more like Jimmy Carter a generation later (can you believe Aykroyd pretended to be Carter with a mustache on live TV?), as does Chevy Chase as the late Gerald Ford. As for Dana Carvey as Bush 41, Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton, Will Ferrell as W., Fred Armisen as Barack Obama and Maya Rudolph as Michelle Obama,...

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Tim Hawkins sings a song, or two, for Chick-fil-A

I know from the Internet that there is, in fact, a Chick-fil-A in New York City as part of a New York University dining hall, but I'm more interested in a comedian who got the fast-food chain's recognition. And no, I'm not talking about Aziz Ansari. Tim Hawkins, a musical comedian who prefers performing predominately in non-demoninational chuches, posted a video a year ago about the chain Chick-fil-A. It's like the Beatles, but not, really. Roll it! This apparently got the attention of the powers-that-be, because Hawkins performed an entirely new parody song for the corporation just last week. Considering Hawkins usually plays churches, this is not a foreign concept for him. But I wonder how many other stand-ups had a bit about a company and ended up getting hired by that same company to entertain them with said mockery? Of course, it's the Lee Greenwood song. Roll the...

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Sarah Palin tells jokes on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” but will we ever know why?

Sarah Palin, the woman who almost could have been vice president, and certainly was the governor of Alaska before she quit to be famous full-time, decided she wanted to be a stand-up comedian last night on the TV. And since she was a guest on Jay Leno's second show back as host of The Tonight Show, this dream was entirely attainable. The one thing I still cannot figure out is why Palin wanted to do this. Certainly she had a favorable audience, who clapped unprovoked earlier in the hour when Jay Leno even mentioned the anti-government "Tea Party" movement. But what does any of this or that have to do with Palin getting a second introduction onstage to stand up and tell straightforward political jokes? I have not a clue right now. But if you'd like to watch the end of Leno's interview with Palin, which segues into her "stand-up comedy," then here is that clip! If you have access to Hulu, this same clip of Palin and Leno is available for viewing...

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