Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Matt Besser’s Magical Sack of Dump

Watching Matt Besser’s Magical Sack of Dump at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York City, you might have thought that it lacked some planning…but that’s all part of the plan. After all, Matt Besser has made his name as an improviser and sketch comedian who helped create the Upright Citizens Brigade in the first place. Who needs planning? We’ve got some videos and some characters and let’s let the audience dictate the rest. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. Besser had an hour an 45 minutes in store for last night’s audience, beginning even before the beginning, working out his intro with Pat the master UCB tech. This lasted several minutes, with Besser critiquing each and every possible intro Pat offered as the audience filed into the venue. After several minutes of this, Besser said to Pat: "Also, you sound kind of put upon, if you could add a little excitement." Pat attempted such, which only prompted Besser to say: "Now you sound like a DJ." They played upon the notion that Besser had created and produced Comedy Central’s short-lived Crossballs, that Besser was a founding member of the UCB, and his roles and the significance of such in Walk Hard and Drillbit Taylor. Things I learned during the show: 1) Besser has a very NSFW video for his alias as Mark Dunn, King of...

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Flashback: HBO’s Sixth Annual Young Comedians Show

Set your DVR/TiVos for tonight. It’s HBO’s Sixth Annual Young Comedians Show (9:30 p.m. EDT on HBO-Comedy, also repeats twice on Saturday, March 22, and the early morning of March 28). The Smothers Brothers host and provide a lengthy 15-minute warmup session, then announce that the young comedians this year have written their own intros. Which makes it funnier when, in the first intro, they say, "Please welcome, Jerry Steinfeld!" How’s that for your big intro, future billionaire? Yes, the 1981 collection of young stand-ups includes not just Jerry Seinfeld, but also Harry Anderson, Howie Mandel, Richard Lewis, Rick Overton and Maureen Murphy. How does it hold up 27 years later? Seinfeld’s early observational topics include the TV weather reports, pajamas, slippers, socks, the piano store at the mall, greeting cards, the post office and the fattest man in the world. It’s all very familiar now, isn’t it. Which lends yet another perspective on a scene from his documentary, Comedian, in which other stand-ups talk to Seinfeld about the prospects of writing new jokes. Next up: Australian Maureen Murphy. She had made six appearances on The Tonight Show before this. Since then, not a lot according to the IMDB, though she currently is writing and directing a movie about Caravaggio. So there. Harry Anderson was best known for his street magic, and that attitude and skill carried him into...

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Colbert taking show to Philly

Stephen Colbert and the entire staff of The Colbert Report will make the trip from New York City through New Jersey to Philadelphia for a week’s worth of shows (April 14-17) right before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary. It’s the first road trip for the show. "The Colbert Report: Dorito’s Spicy Sweet Pennsylvania Primary Coverage From Chili-Delphia – The City Of Brotherly Crunch!" will be taped at the 900-seat The Annenberg Center for the Performing Art’s Zellerbach Theatre on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. And the money quote from the Comedy Central press release: "The road to the Democratic nomination goes through Pennsylvania and I intend to make my show the decisive pothole on that road!" Colbert said. "Plus, it’s just across the river from Camden, New...

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Hot tubs: Always funny?

Does a hot tub automatically make any interview funnier? Apparently so. And I’m not the only one to think so. Super Deluxe is the latest to co-opt the concept with the debut today of Bathing with Bierko, with Craig Bierko in the tub talking up John Malkovich. This may not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen Tub Talk with Sara B., which can be, well, NSFW. It’s been on, after all. It did come as a surprise to Sara Benincasa, however, who sent me this missive: "Here is my official statement on this heinous act: "’Tub Talk with Sara B.’ fan Ryan Grim’s eagle eyes have alerted me to perhaps the greatest act of creative skullduggery since Esau wore Jacob’s robes to eff with Isaac’s sense of smell and steal the sacred birthright: an Internet bathtub talk show on SuperDeluxe entitled "Bathing with Bierko," hosted by one Craig Bierko. This rape of my web video vision shall not go unpunished! Bierko must prepare to feel my wrath! Cursory Wikipedia research indicates that Bierko has romanced such actresses as Meg Ryan and Charlize Theron. I have romanced a variety of drunken unknown bitter actormedians. Also, I don’t have a Wikipedia entry. The point? Bierko’s playing with fire here, and his Oscar-bait girlfriends had best get out the way, lest they get burned. This isn’t over, Craig...

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The Onion lets Todd Barry edit his own interview

Todd Barry conducted a phone interview with The Onion, then got to read the results and add his own comments. Example, please? This one’s for you, Todd. AVC: You consider anything fair game for comedy, but what wouldn’t you put in your act? TB: There are certain things that are probably too mean. I don’t particularly like fat jokes. Those kind of bother me. But I guess what I was trying to say is, if I said I would never laugh at this, you could probably dig around and find a situation where I did laugh. I try not to be a hypocrite with that one. I find when there’s a controversy about someone saying something offensive, I usually take the angle of, "Well, I don’t know if that was offensive; it just wasn’t funny." I generally don’t gasp, "Oh my God!" I think people have been getting raked over the coals lately. [An incredibly controversial answer. The kind of answer that will get picked up by various wire services and take both of us to the next level....

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