Day: September 23, 2010

This day in history: The Ice House celebrates 50 years in the comedy club business in Pasadena, Calif.

How many comedy clubs can you count that were open for business on Sept. 23, 1960, and remain in business putting stand-up comedians onstage today? Not many. But in Pasadena, Calif., in the shadow of the Rose Bowl, the Ice House celebrates its 50th anniversary tonight.  Actually, the anniversary bash itself will not be held until Oct. 10, 2010, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, with an all-star cast of comedians.   I had the chance to sit down today at the Ice House with club owner Bob Fisher, who has been running the show there since 1978. In the beginning, comedy and folk music acts shared nightly billings, and Pat Paulsen was the first stand-up to take the Ice House stage. Comedians who recorded live albums there in the early days included Lily Tomlin, The Smothers Brothers and Bob Newhart. One wall leading toward the main showroom features very early headshots of the likes of George Carlin and Steve Martin. On another wall, Fisher showed off some of the other old photos and memorabilia, which includes weekly contracts for David Letterman and Garry Shandling. Roll the clip: Fisher told me that taking over the reins in 1978, when the Hollywood comedy clubs were embroiled in the turmoil of strikes and unionization, was not necessarily an opportune nor auspicious time to get in the game. "We thought it was an OK...

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Rob Huebel hosts his second Yowie chat tonight; brush up on previous Q&As before asking yours

The Internet is making all sorts of new ways to connect with our favorite celebrities and comedians, and Yowie is helping make that possible tonight with Rob Huebel. All you have to do is be near your appropriate electronic computer gizmo at 9 p.m. Eastern (change time to your time zone as needed), click onto the appropriate Yowie.com chat room, and there he be! And if you RSVP for the event, then there you be to ask him questions. But if you're going to ask Huebel questions, it'd behoove you to look first at this archived Yowie chat Huebel conducted from Comic-Con 2010 in August, as well as this video he also provided in July answering medical questions for My Damn Channel, seeing as how he is the star of Childrens' Hospital on Adult Swim, which I presume you all are watching and collecting on your DVRs as keepsakes until the DVD comes...

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Laughing Skull Comedy Festival expands in year two with nationwide prelims before finals in Atlanta

The registration process is now open for comedians to take part in the second annual Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, which is billed as 2010-2011 this time around, because organizers have expanded it nationwide with a series of preliminary audition competitions this fall before the finals take place next spring in Atlanta. As co-organizer Steve Hofstetter just explained it to me: "We've got 29 first round shows in 25 markets. Our selection committee will pick about 240 of the entrants, and the clubs will fill the rest of the spots. Every show has huge judges – club bookers, college agents, casting executives, etc, etc. So even if you don't get out of the first round, you're still showcasing for the best of the best. The best two from each show go on to the week in Atlanta like last year – but the prizes are more, and there's even more industry." Registration deadline for comedians is Oct. 15. Take a look at the schedule to see the list of venues participating in prelim audition competitions on Nov. 16-17,...

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The secret to Vulture’s recent TV comedy exclusives (hint: it’s not that secret)

If you've been to New York Magazine's Vulture section recently, you've noticed they redesigned it to look like its very own section that lessens the direct connection to NYC and plays up the coverage of culture (they've even acquired the vulture.com domain name, which redirects to the magazine's site). More importantly, perhaps for comedy fans, you may have noticed also that Vulture has gotten the jump on other mainstream press outlets with exclusives from the comedy kids so cool at NBC that they've been bumped off to the side or off the network entirely. Vulture got the initial official leak on Conan O'Brien's announcement that his new TBS show would be called Conan (or is it CONAN)? Now, today, they've got a special weekly deal with the folks at Parks and Recreation, which still for reasons unknown isn't coming back to NBC until midseason. I say they have a deal, but really, if you look at the byline, you can see they is a he, and he is Josef Adalian, whom Vulture recently lured away from The Wrap, which itself had only last summer lured away from his post at TV Week. The guy's got some good connections. Anyhow. Here is the introduction to the new weekly NBC/P&R/Vulture feature. Although judging from the teaser pic on the front of NYMag.com, some people might think that's "Becoming Zach Galifianakis' older...

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Now sober, “Jackass” Steve-O does stand-up at the Hollywood Improv, realizes decline in American culture

You may have seen Steve-O do stunts you wouldn't expect any human being to do willingly, but before Wednesday night, you most likely had never seen the "Jackass" daredevil perform stand-up comedy clean and sober. Or at least sober, as Steve-O's 10-minute set Wednesday night at the Hollywood Improv's ComedyJuice show was anything but TV-clean, dishing about his sexual dysfunction, celebrity culture and the devolution of our culture. Steve-O (aka Stephen Glover) told The Comic's Comic after the show that, although he has gone onstage to perform stand-up before, this was "only my second time in sobriety." You can see a clip showing Steve-O joking at The Laugh Factory a few years ago about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Toward the end of the show, he took the stage at the Improv on Melrose and acknowledged to the crowd: "I'm sure you're all wondering what I'm doing here. If I f*ck it up, it's all Dane Cook's fault." Audience members laughed. But Cook was standing by the door, watching his set. And just little more than a week ago, Steve-O and Cook took part together in a live YouTube show for Young Hollywood. Steve-O noted that it felt odd to be so scared of doing stand-up, considering all of the dangerous and downright painful things he has done for the Jackass TV series on MTV, as well as...

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