Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Showtime adds more British comedy for 2009

Showtime announced it’s renewing Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union for a seven-episode second season, due to hit our TV screens in 2009. When Ullman returns, she’ll be joined by another British TV comedy, The Marc Wootton Project. Marc Wootton also has made a name for himself on the other side of the pond for his character-based comedy that he often performs on unsuspecting audiences, most notably so far for the "psychic" he portrays BBC’s High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman. Showtime is giving Wootten six episodes to develop whatever he wants, as the network hopes he becomes the next Sacha Baron Cohen. (official Showtime press release) Coincidentally, Los Angeles feted British comedies last night in its inaugural stateside version of the British Comedy...

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Lewis Black, Unmasked

The new season of Unmasked, XM satellite radio’s comedy interview program, debuts Saturday with an entertaining and enlightening retrospective on Lewis Black’s career. Host Ron Bennington recorded the interview with Black and a live studio audience last month at Comix in NYC, and if you miss it Saturday, XM will replay it several times in the coming week. A few things I learned from the 90-minute interview that might perk your ears: On achieving success in middle-age, Black says, "I wish it had happened a little earlier, at least when I didn’t need a nap to enjoy it." He says his big break came at age 40 at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival. But he really knew his career had turned the corner one weekend playing Stanford’s comedy club in Kansas City, when, during a blizzard, he worried that they’d cancel the shows, only to find a line of fans waiting outside in the snowstorm to see him. Did you know Lewis Black was in attendance on the Mall in Washington D.C. to see and hear the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech? Producing plays at the West Bank Cafe in Hell’s Village helped Black get comfortable onstage. He’s still unhappy for getting passed over years ago to do "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live, after Kevin Nealon left the anchor desk. "That to this...

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Chris Coxen: Underwarrior

I cannot begin to explain what thoughts transpire inside the head of Chris Coxen, but I can tell you that the character-based comedian is committed to his lunacy. One of Coxen’s creations, combat dancer Danny Morsel, opened last season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and returned in the grand finale, via flashback, as one of the "best of the worst" highlights. The guy makes a lasting impression. No doubt about that. Also, much like a classic Timex, he takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’, and this spring, he has taken Morsel to an even more ridiculous level that could catapult Coxen from embarrassing to embarrassment of riches. He’s in the finals of the Jockey Underwars contest and your vote today (the deadline is 1 a.m. Saturday) could reward him with $25,000. His video, shot outside Fenway Park on a Sox game day, certainly should earn him more votes than his competitor (named, ahem, Cheato). If that’s not enough incentive, know that Coxen vows to spend $1,000 of his potential winnings on you in the form of a celebratory bash. Here’s where you watch and vote for the Jockey Underwars champ. You can also see Coxen dance in his Jockeys here:And this is his clip from Last Comic Standing: Regardless of the contest’s outcome, Coxen has a live revue of his characters planned for Saturday at the Cambridge (Mass.)...

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Flashback: Dave Chappelle’s prophetic view on fame revealed in 1998 HBO special

The other day, I caught the final few minutes of Dave Chappelle’s HBO Comedy Half-Hour from 1998 (taped in San Francisco in 1997). After a routine on racism, Chappelle closes his set wondering what would happen if and when he ever became rich and famous. It rings with so much more truth years later, after seeing Chappelle react to the aftermath of his mega-million Comedy Central deal, and seeing him now. "I’m nervous. Not about this special. I hope this shit don’t make me famous. You dig? I don’t want to be famous famous. I want people to like me for who I am. Like, famous dude don’t ever know why people like him. That’s why if I ever make it, I’m going to have to like, have to test people…" Conveniently, HBO Comedy will be playing this half-hour of Chappelle’s several times in May. And here is a video clip of those final eight minutes I mentioned...

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