Month: May 2018

Carol Burnett tells Conan about defying sexism to launch The Carol Burnett Show

In 1967, Carol Burnett launched The Carol Burnett Show because she had an option in her CBS contract that allowed her to do 30 episodes of a comedy-variety series. Problem was, CBS executives never expected Burnett to use her option. And they couldn’t imagine her fronting a variety series. As the comedy legend recalled on Monday’s Conan, “They said, ‘Oh, Carol, you know comedy-variety is a man’s game. It’s Jackie Gleason, it’s Sid Caesar, now it’s Dean Martin.’ The vice-president that I was talking to said, ‘You know, Carol, it’s not for you gals. But we have this great...

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Episode #207: Mark Viera

Mark Viera has entertained audiences around the world with stories of growing up, getting married and raising kids in the Bronx. Viera has released a Showtime special, Tales of a Nuyorican, opened on tours with singer Marc Anthony and comedian Gabriel Iglesias, and performed everywhere from cruise ships to the Leathernecks of the U.S. Marine Corps. Viera sat down with me to talk about his career, about the ups and downs of selling and reselling a network sitcom based on his own life, and about Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks on truTV, where you can see his comedy stories brought...

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SNL spoofs NBC Chicago slate of TV shows with Chicago Improv, a loving tribute to iO

Improv gets a bad rap from stand-up comedians, but when Saturday Night Live roasts its own, it does so like this short video from the 43rd season finale, Chicago Improv. The sketch imagines NBC stretching for ideas after already green-lighting three dramas from Dick Wolf with Chicago in the title and setting, so why not a drama based on the lives of aspiring improvisers in “the country’s third largest comedy market”?! After all, Tina Fey is a product of Chicago’s improvOlympic (aka iO), as are current SNL cast members Chris Redd, Alex Moffat and Luke Null, who also appear...

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Erik Bergstrom on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

I’ve been a fan of Erik Bergstrom’s dark humor for years. Even got to enjoy sitting next to him one Thanksgiving at The Creek and The Cave’s annual orphan comedian dinner, back when Bergstrom was in the midst of cancer treatment. He may not have a funky hairdo now, but I’ve got to say, seeing him on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, I get an even bigger kick out of hearing his deep voice deliver his jokes while all cleaned up in a suit. Juxtaposition! Roll the...

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