Day: April 19, 2010

1989 NYU film captures Chris Rock (and his mom!) as a young stand-up just before he got SNL

An old NYU student film by Michael Dennis, Who's Chris Rock?, surfaced on YouTube over the weekend and is making the rounds (WFMU, Comedy.com). Shot in the spring of 1989, with videographer Judah Friedlander no less, the short documentary jumps back and forth between footage of Chris Rock, then 23, onstage at the Comic Strip Live, then at home with his mom deconstructing some of the jokes. After the credits, we're treated to a few more minutes, including Rock telling the story of how meeting Eddie Murphy at the club earned him his biggest break, and then hearing the Rock family matriarch talk about how an even younger Chris held court on the stoop. When he corrects her about which club he performed at first, she says it doesn't matter. That's the mom's view. As a comedian, we know it matters which club first let us onstage. Oh, and also, at the very very end, Chris Rock predicts his future. How close do you think he came? Place your bets. You just want to clear 12 minutes from your schedule and watch...

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George Lopez on how his relationship with golf has helped his comedy career

You may have formed an impression of George Lopez and his comedy based on his late-night TBS talker, Lopez Tonight, his ABC sitcom before that, or maybe you just know Lopez from his stand-up over the years. Then again, maybe you don't. I don't know you. I do know that it was amusing to see NBC promoting Lopez in its TV advertising for last weekend's Champions Tour (Senior PGA) pro-am tournament, considering he was just in the news for welcoming Conan O'Brien into the TBS fold. It's true, though, that Lopez is one of several comedians who love to play golf, and not just for the televised pro-ams (where you'll often see Bill Murray, Ray Romano and Kevin James, among others). Yesterday, as rain cancelled the final round of action in Florida, Lopez talked to PGATour.com about his relationship with golf. I'm a golfer, so I enjoyed the whole interview. But for comedy fans, I'll excerpt a couple of points here for you now. For one thing, Lopez said that golfing has introduced him to some of his better friends. Golfing always has had a reputation for business socializing, but it's just as good for performers as it is for suits. More to the point is the kicker: PGATOUR.COM: You started playing golf before you hit it big. Do you think if you had not started playing golf your career...

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Tell Your Friends! Lorne Michaels eyed Nick Thune before casting him in NBC sitcom pilot Beach Lane

You may have wondered over the weekend what exactly happened with the NBC sitcom pilot Beach Lane. You knew it starred Matthew Broderick as a celebrity author who gets hired by an eccentric and irresponsible millionaire to run his newspaper in the Hamptons, and last week, you thought that millionaire would be played by Patton Oswalt. But what to make of rumors that Oswalt got pushed aside after the table read? And then within hours, three other actors who, ahem, all of whom looked alike, yet stood several inches taller and much skinner than Oswalt, were reading for the role? That sounded weird to you, right? Well, it made perfect sense to me. Because just a month or two ago, Lorne Michaels spent part of his Monday night at Tell Your Friends, the weekly stand-up showcase produced by Liam McEneaney and Jessica Flores in the basement of Lolita bar in the Lower East Side. Why was Michaels there? To scout Nick Thune. The guy who is now co-starring with Broderick and Kristen Johnston in Beach Lane. When I heard Michaels was looking at Thune, I first thought, that's weird, because while I agree that Thune is funny and multi-talented, I didn't exactly see him as an SNL type. Seeing that Michaels was executive-producing Beach Lane, well…that's another matter entirely. Now it all comes together. The sold-out taping has been pushed...

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