Day: June 11, 2010

Robert Klein gets “Unfair and Unbalanced” for his ninth HBO comedy special

If you think you've been doing comedy for a long time, then what does that make Robert Klein, who filmed HBO's first comedy special 35 years ago and returns to the Home Box Office this Saturday with his ninth, dubbed "Unfair and Unbalanced." Care to guess his politics? Well, you don't have to guess. Though he'd rather see John McCain get the 3 a.m. phone calls, Klein takes on Sarah Palin, Nancy Grace and Greta Van Susteren, reminds us that he was a horrible defense lawyer on Law & Order: SVU, had a love scene with Joan Rivers, gives props to Jonathan Winters, sings about medical marijuana and marriage, and closes, as is his wont, with a tribute to his long-running gag, "I can't stop my leg." Here's the buzz: In our chat earlier this week, Klein talked about how comedy has changed and how it hasn't since his first HBO special in 1975. And he's certainly not on Twitter: "I'm a bit of a geezer when it comes to this shit. I'm not a Twitter. I've known a few twits. I don't know if they Twittered. I've known a few twats. I don't know if they Twattered." Most stand-ups who use music either are musical comedians or save it 'til the end. Not you, sir, putting your politics into song. Who do you think you are, Mark Russell?...

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“You Should Have Told Me”: So Paul F. Tompkins tells me about his comedy, NYC experience + more

According to most cable TV guides, Paul F. Tompkins will be talking about the pros and cons of neighbors tonight when his new special, "You Should Have Told Me," debuts on Comedy Central. In reality, his new hourlong set, recorded last year at the Laughing Skull in Atlanta, is much more about other things, such as why he does not smoke pot anymore, and how he dealt with the death of his mother. But it's funny! Look. Here's a clip of Tompkins talking about getting a house, so he won't have to deal with neighbors who are so close to him. Roll it. The special should be released as a full-length DVD on AST Records, Tompkins told me earlier this week. He'll be performing at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Sunday as the latest stop on his Tompkins 300 tour, and he talked to me about all of that, and some other things. So what can we expect on the DVD? "The set will be around a full hour and then there wll be bits that got cut out because of flow, and then maybe some other stuff. I want to do some commentary with my director, Neil Mahoney, and who knows what else?" And then you'll be in Montreal for Just For Laughs, but that's also billed as a UCB show. So does that mean you'll be...

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Pic of the Day: The late Ken Ober appears in the audience for The Green Room with Paul Provenza

If you watched the debut last night of The Green Room with Paul Provenza on Showtime, then perhaps you saw a few comedians in the audience. And perhaps you wondered, hey, is that guy sitting behind Eddie Izzard in fact Ken Ober, who died in November? Well, yes. Yes it was. The show spotlighted Ober in the closing credits last night, noting: "Thanks for being here."...

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