Month: February 2018

Episode #194: Benji Aflalo

Benji Aflalo is a stand-up comedian, who alone together with comedy pal Esther Povitsky, created, executive produces and stars in the sitcom Alone Together — which already has been picked up for second season by Freeform. They play versions of themselves, friends from different backgrounds trying to find love and success in Hollywood. Alone Together is also executive produced by The Lonely Island guys. Benji met Esther at The Comedy Store, where he’s part of a grand tradition of comedians who were former doormen at the club. He’s also written for The Burn with Jeff Ross, Not Safe with...

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Review: Chris Rock, “Tamborine” on Netflix

Is Chris Rock’s Tamborine his best stand-up comedy special? Well, no. Is it his most interesting, most revealing and perhaps most important hour for these times? Perhaps yes. And that’s all you really need to know about the first of two Netflix specials Rock has up his sleeves. That, and the fact that he chose deliberately to misspell “tambourine” based on the Prince song from Around The World In A Day, which plays over the closing credits of Tamborine. It’s more interesting to watch than Rock’s previous solo efforts thanks to the direction of Bo Burnham, and the location...

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Review: Eddie Griffin, “Undeniable,” on Showtime

One of my friends says Eddie Griffin is his favorite comedian. He doesn’t put Griffin in his all-time top five, but still, cites Griffin as his fave and his own inspiration for getting into stand-up comedy. I don’t see the same things in Griffin as my friends do, but after watching Undeniable, Griffin’s newest comedy special that premiered this month on Showtime, I cannot deny my friend’s perspective. I see a few different Eddie Griffins. There’s the impressionist — here he puts them all together in a medley tribute, wondering how Charlie Murphy, Bernie Mac, Richard Pryor, Sammy Davis...

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Announcing the Brooklyn Comedy Collective, a new venue and improv school in Williamsburg

Two comedians who helped launch and run the former Brooklyn branch of the Annoyance Theater have announced a new venture together: The Brooklyn Comedy Collective, a theater and improv comedy school that’ll begin hosting shows and teaching classes in March in The Brick Theater in Williamsburg (579 Metropolitan Ave.). Philip Markle (artistic director) and Annie Donley (programming director) are behind the Brooklyn Comedy Collective (BCC), and will teach the Level 2 improv classes. Jared Jeffries, an improviser who previously taught at iO in Chicago, will lead the Level 1 classes, which will cost $275 for six weeks of training. As...

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iO West in Hollywood to close Feb. 24, 2018

In the mid-1990s, as a handful of Del Close’s disciples moved to New York City to pursue their own show-business dreams as the Upright Citizens Brigade, another Close loyalist and student had gone Hollywood. Paul Vaillancourt saw he wasn’t the only improvOlympic alum in Los Angeles, and he asked Close and Charna Halpern for approval to open a second branch of iO out West in 1997. After a long, colorful run that included many present and future comedy stars, iOWest is closing later this month. Halpern announced the closure officially on Tuesday. Vaillancourt’s troupe, Beer Shark Mice — whose...

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