Author: Sean L. McCarthy

DJ Hazard records a new CD

Don’t expect jokes about the Emmys, hurricanes, politics or anything current when DJ Hazard records his new stand-up comedy CD this weekend at The Comedy Studio in Cambridge."I tend not to have anything topical, anyway,” Hazard said. "It takes me a long time to figure out what to say about something or somebody, and then when I do figure out what to say, they’re dead.”Or out of the public eye."Even the current administration, you’d think you have eight years to write something. Not me. I’d shy away from writing jokes about George W. Bush because he’s a lame-duck president, and three years from now, these jokes won’t work. Why bother?”Truth be told . . ."I’m lazy,” Hazard confessed. "I write a bit, and it’s like, OK, this is good for 10 years.”Hazard has been making New Englanders laugh for longer than that, as a founding member of the Ding Ho Club. Louis CK cited Hazard as an influential mentor."Somebody said to me, ‘Wow, you’re like a raw naked nerve on stage. You perform like it’s your last show ever.’ I do. I always hope that it is my last show, that I’ll get offstage, some wall will open up and aliens will say, ‘You’ve done well. You’ve passed the test.’ There’ll be gobs of money, showgirls, a big throne, turkey. There’s got to be turkey.”Turkey?"The nice thing about turkey...

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Jill Soloway has a reading and a show

Arrived late to the reading/performance by author Jill Soloway and her sister, Faith, at the Cambridge YMCA theater space Thursday night, but not too late to see the Soloway sisters sing and banter, not too late to hear Jill Soloway read from her collection of essays, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants. Afterward, I introduced myself to the Soloways. Faith’s exact words methinks were these: "Oh my, an actual man showed up!" Yet another reminder that for much of my life, I’ve either felt like (or sometimes even sought out an identity as) the other. Conservative guy at the liberal college paper. Liberal guy at the conservative daily paper. Poor guy at the rich man’s party. Rich guy in the poor man’s town. White guy in the majority-minorty party. Actual man at the all-female party, surrounded by feminists, lesbians, feminist lesbians, feminists and their whipped men. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if I actually enjoy being "the other" more than being around people like me. Hmmmm. OK. That’s enough self-reflection for one post. Here was my interview with Jill beforehand… You wouldn’t peg me as the kind of guy who’d read a collection of 21st-century-feminist essays, but then again, why are you trying to peg me? You don’t know me. And you probably don’t know Jill Soloway. Tonight is your chance to correct at least...

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Lewis Black in the wake of Katrina

Lewis Black, flustered? What else is new? But when Black phoned me from Atlanta, merely two days after Hurricane Katrina had flooded and ravaged New Orleans and southern Mississippi, he had plenty of new rants to direct toward the president. "My favorite is this: He flew over it and said there’s a long recovery. What a, what a — brilliant!" Black told me. "He cut his vacation short. I’m surprised he even got up to look! But he had to — it was right next door. It’s chaos down there. There’s bodies floating. What do you expect people to do? That’s not normal. This is the kind of happy snappy stuff I’ll be doing onstage." Fans of Black know that happy and snappy aren’t quite his forte. The 57-year-old has risen to national prominence through his Comedy Central appearances, foremost among them his "Back in Black" segments for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Black rants. A tragedy such as Katrina only fuels the fire that makes up his mad-as-hell, ain’t-gonna-take-it-anymore persona onstage. Cities such as New York, where he lives, and Boston tend to take to his attitude with a more welcoming attitude of their own. "There’s a bottom line of bitter in Boston comedy. I consider Boston the spiritual home of my comedy career," he...

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Harland Williams recording a CD, making a movie

If you saw Harland Williams the other night on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, you might not have recognized him. Williams, an affable, lovable goof from Canada, usually has slick black hair and big sideburns framing his animated mug. That’s gone for now, thanks to another memorable supporting movie role in the upcoming Surf School, in which he’ll play a washed-up former surf champ. "They dyed my hair completely blond, my whole head," he said over the phone this week from Los Angeles. "Now two months later, and my roots are coming back. A lot of the girls are saying it’s hot. The guys are saying I’m the new Backstreet Boy. You forget because you can’t see it, but then all the people are talking about it. So now I’m going to get collagen lips and fake breasts." That might’ve worked for Sorority Boys, one of Williams’ few misfires. More often than not, though, he has stolen the show in scenes from There’s Something About Mary (as a hitchhiking serial killer with a plan for the ultimate ab workout tape), Dumb and Dumber (as a demented motorcycle cop who pulls the boys over), and Half Baked (as the jailed friend Kenny). But he’s also a bit of a Renaissance Man, having published children’s books, sold his own paintings, homemade T-shirts and recorded music. "I think the key...

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Back from the dead

No, really. Sorry for being gone from blogland for so long, but I’ve been dealing with more death than necessary. And that’s not even counting the turmoil in my personal and professional lives that don’t involve deaths in the family. Yes, it has been a string of those kind of days. My Nana died on March 25. Being a newspaperman, I pulled the requisite strings (included calling on a friend for a favor) to ensure Nana had a proper obituary in my newspaper. After my dad, my uncles and my aunt read that, they tapped me to prepare Nana’s eulogy. She had so many people who loved her. So many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who felt her devotion first-hand. How could I capture all of that? Well, I tried my best. A few days after that, Mitch Hedberg died. I performed with Mitch and his wife several times between 1999 and 2003. I also interviewed Mitch a couple of times in my day-job capacity over the years. A good guy. A sweet guy. A vulnerable guy. A brilliantly funny yet tortured guy. I heard the news first from my dear friend in Arizona who runs the Tempe Improv, and at that point, he was hoping I could verify the crazy story he had heard. It took me several hours to find out what he already knew. Mitch had died....

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