Month: April 2010

Patton Oswalt calls out comedian/actor who was stealing his jokes this week

Even in this YouTube age we live in now, apparently some comedians still feel like they can get away with going onstage and telling someone else's jokes as their own. Nick Madson performed Tuesday night at the Harrison Hilltop Theatre in Davenport, Iowa, and by Thursday, video of his performance hit YouTube, and by this morning, Patton Oswalt had more than a little something to say about it. Particularly because Madson had quoted several of Oswalt's bits verbatim. Even Oswalt's very well-known opinion about the KFC Famous Bowls. Here is Nick: And here is Patton, in case you need a reminder: Upon discovering Madson's video, Oswalt put fingers to keyboard and wrote about his very personal reaction. After discussing the facts of the matter and his views on joke theives, Oswalt wrote: I’m really hurt. It feels unpleasant. I worked very hard on those jokes – honed them night after night, kept challenging myself to make them funnier. Plus, I have a constant gallery of friends and colleagues in my head – Louie CK and Dave Attell among them – against whose work I compare my writing, and ask myself, sometimes harshly, if I’ve truly gotten my stuff to their level. And I was also under the delusion that I’d developed enough of a voice – enough of a unique, personal voice – that my stuff would be hard...

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Why We Laugh (DVD): A sobering reminder of the past, present and future of black comedy

Based on the book "Black Comedians on Black Comedy" by Darryl Littleton, Robert Townsend's documentary Why We Laugh debuted at Sundance in 2009 and just came out on DVD this week. Before you get to the documentary, however, you see six separate trailers for stand-up comedy specials, each one touting it was the event of the year. Sure, Codeblack Entertainment is responsible for them as well as this documentary, but the sales pitch leads to a misdirect when the main feature plays, and you hear the voiceover narration from Angela Bassett, footage of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and commentary from former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume and former Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy — you know this isn't going to be a joyride.  Instead, the documentary uses cultural critics and comedians alike to tell the story of black Americans, and how they have used humor throughout the past century as a way to rise above their pain and oppression. Here's the extended trailer: The path is traced from minstrels and blackface, to early stars such as Bert Williams and Lincoln Perry (better known as Stepin Fetchit), who made far different career choices with implications for generations to follow. You see how Nipsey Russell was a star at the Apollo long before he held a regular seat on Match Game in the 1970s, and how Amos 'n' Andy both...

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Tea time with Mike Tyson: Leave the cannoli

How was this a thing that happened and we don't already all know about it? Comedian Reese Waters sat down for tea with Mike Tyson for — well, I don't know what for, exactly, although I do know that this aired earlier this month on the new nightly Versus cable show, The Daily Line. Watch iron Mike Tyson share his opinions on tea (not a fan of the Earl Grey blend), his love of honey, his fear of cannolis, and his curiosity about his interviewer. Roll the...

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Tim Minchin gets animated in song about the Pope

Tim Minchin may be a cheeky bastard at times, but he's also a very loving man and father who has neither molested children nor covered up and protected child molesters, which is more than we can say about the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI. Actually, Minchin came up with just about all he could say, in very explicit (read: Not Safe For Work) language, in this song he directed to the Pope. Animated by Fraser Davidson. Roll...

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Todd Glass performs stand-up on Bonnie Hunt Show nine days after his heart attack, talks about it

One of the people I hoped to see at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland but could not see last weekend was Todd Glass, who suffered a heart attack after performing onstage at Largo last week in Los Angeles. He's OK, thanks to Jeffrey Ross and others who looked out for him when he collapsed. And even more to his credit, Glass talked about his experience with Bonnie Hunt, in an appearance which will appear on TVs around the globe today (check your listings: 2 p.m. on NBC in NYC; 3 p.m. in L.A., but earlier perhaps where you live). I cannot tell you how happy I am that he appears to be OK now. Glass also performed stand-up on Hunt's show, which looks like it aired before the panel session. He didn't hold back much on the energy, despite what he went through last week. Roll that clip...

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