Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Late-night strikewatch

If you haven’t already forgotten, the WGA strike continues without a resolution. So count this as a reminder that the late-night chat shows are all on the air. David Letterman and Craig Ferguson remain the only WGA-approved shows. Comedians on the lineup for Letterman this week? Bill Cosby on Tuesday, Artie Lange on Friday. On Ferguson’s show? Denis Leary on Monday, Ryan Sickler on Wednesday, Sebastian Maniscalco on Thursday, Al Madrigal on Friday. Conan clearly needed last week off (they replayed his visit to Chicago) as he’s really tried harder than the others to do a show without writers. Leno? Ack. Jon Stewart seems to have all of his correspondents back on the air, sometimes with pre-taped segments that may or may not have been in the can pre-strike, but also in the studio and not always improvising. Er. Um. Stephen Colbert has been doubling up on guests to fill time. The fact that you can watch full episodes of Leno, Conan, "A" Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report online only heighten the tension, because online plays and revenues are part of the heart of the matter in the WGA writers’ negotiations with the producers at the...

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Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Showdown (2008 results!)

Comedy Central’s annual "Stand-Up Showdown" airs today, rebroadcasting the top 20 stand-up specials as voted online by fans over the past month. It’s airing now! The full schedule/countdown…which began at 11:30 a.m. today…(with applicable taping season) 20) Loni Love (season 11) 19) Doug Benson (season 8) 18) Chelsea Handler (season 11) 17) Steve Byrne (season 10) 16) Maria Bamford (season 11)* 15) Rich Vos (season 7)* 14) Dane Cook (season 3) 13) Stephen Lynch (season 12)** 12) Mike Birbiglia (season 10)* 11) Demetri Martin (season 8) 10) Mitch Hedberg (season 1) 9) Jim Gaffigan (season 3) 8) Pablo Francisco (season 4) 7) Kyle Cease (season 10) 6) Mitch Fatel (season 11) 5) Lewis Black (season 6)* 4) Frank Caliendo (season 8) 3) Lisa Landry (season 11) 2) Josh Sneed (season 11) 1) Jeff Dunham (his Spark of Insanity hourlong special) * These comedians have multiple half-hour CCPs. Rich Vos has one upcoming this season. ** Stephen Lynch is the only one from this current crop of CCPs to make the list. Which, of course, is unfair to the many comedians this season who also taped with Lynch but haven’t gotten on the air yet. Then again, this whole "showdown" is essentially just a test to see which comedian wants to mobilize his or her fans to vote early and often for them to get an extra TV airing. Really,...

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Behind the CCP: Leo Allen

Leo Allen taped his Comedy Central Presents special with the same NYC audience as Eugene Mirman (CCP taped in groups of two, two groups each night in August; in this case, Allen went first, followed by Mirman). Some pairings seemed more random than others, so audience members might’ve arrived really wanting to see one stand-up, not so much the other. That wasn’t the case with Allen and Mirman. They often perform on bills together and generally attract the same fans. So this packed crowd was hyped up to see their guys get major TV time. Among the fans I spotted watching along were fellow performers Brian Posehn, Todd Barry, Dave Hill, AD Miles and Sarah Vowell. But back to Leo Allen. Wait, try him on MySpace or Facebook, because he’s there more recently — in fact, I just received a Facebook event invitation to watch his CCP tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST. No worries. I’ve seen it already in person. And I can tell you to be on the lookout to see how Comedy Central bleeps him (he did drop a couple of profanities) or whether they edit around that. He makes use of the dramatic backdrop for his closing bit (hint: It’s about being ready for any conversation). Even from the balcony, it was funny. Here is a brief interview with Comedy Central in which Leo Allen describes...

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Behind the CCP: Hard ‘N Phirm

Comedy Central Presents rolls out two more new half-hour specials tonight, starting with Hard ‘N Phirm, the musical comedy duo of Chris Hardwick and Mike Phirman. Certainly, more than a few of you will see these guys onstage, look at Hardwick and think to yourselves, "Hey, wasn’t that guy on MTV’s Singled Out, that dating show from the 1990s with Jenny McCarthy?" Why, yes. Yes he was. Turns out some people have more than one talent. And Hardwick is one of those some peoples. I met Hard ‘N Phirm a couple of years ago at a national NACA conference and found them both to be charming, friendly and funny. If you haven’t heard them before, you’re likely to come to a similar assessment after watching their CCP tonight. At the taping in August, they had some funny audience interactions during their opening song, and their set list included such chestnuts as "Anything" and "Pi"! There was a birthday song, the sappiest love song ever, def poetry spam, a Schoolhouse Rock-style song, that essential ode to patriotism, "American Dinosaurs," and someone got a memo to the crowd to spread that patriotism wide and proud. Which of these bits will make it into the half-hour once you throw in ads? Tune in tonight. In the meantime, here is a brief interview with the guys to get to know them better. Related:...

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Haircut week in comedy land?

Something I couldn’t help but notice Wednesday night at Rififi…aside from the huge crowds seeming to want to bask in this comedy’s scenes last gasps of glory…were all of the new short hairdos! Aziz Ansari. Kumail Nanjiani. Joselyn Hughes. Brooke Van Poppelen. All newly shorn and clean-cut. That Hughes and Van Poppelen sported nearly identical bobs made for an even more amusing sight earlier Wednesday when they co-hosted Slumber Party at Ochi’s Lounge in Comix. Here is Joselyn Hughes, pre-cut, in the new Dunkin Donuts commercial for Milky Way hot...

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