Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Last Comic Standing 6: New York City and Tempe

So we begin the sixth season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and already it’s clear they’re still playing from the American Idol of Comedy playbook, what with host Bill Bellamy delivering the introduction…wait for it…turn on the lights…to a large audience! Get it? This is big, people. Anyhow. We’re going to endure plenty of people plucked from the lines for the sole purpose of mocking them because they’re willing to be mocked to get on TV, plus hundreds more who now will be billed in comedy clubs as "as seen on Last Comic Standing," even though you never saw their names and perhaps never heard them deliver a funny joke on the program. The opening montage, already leaked to the Internets weeks ago, includes Eddie Pepitone, Michelle Buteau, Dwayne Perkins and a bunch of fools. Celebrity judges get billed as NBC talent, even if you’d never link them to NBC. Although Dave Foley delivers a funny line we’ll hear again later this season, after Richard Kind says "Dreams, just crushed," retorting: "You know, then we can make dream juice, and that’s refreshing in the morning." Yes, we will suffer, too, watching the parade of audition rejects before we can get to the actual professional comedians, and yes, just as with Idol, producers will select several acts merely for casting a TV show than for their talents as a comedian....

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HBO gets “Down and Dirty with Jim Norton” this fall

This is an early review! HBO just taped four episodes of a new stand-up showcase, Down and Dirty with Jim Norton. It’ll air this fall (update! debut is midnight Oct. 4, with other episodes premiering Oct. 11, 18, and 25) They taped two episodes last night and two tonight at the BergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey. At last night’s tapings, things got, well, down and dirty. Al Jackson, who I’m watching on Last Comic Standing as I type this, deserves special honors for his work warming up these rowdy crowds. He got some serious laughs and comedy points during the intermission between shows (an intermission that didn’t allow the crowd to move) with material about being a teacher and a story involving his first trip to Starbucks. Fans literally lined up around the block in this suburban Jersey town for the shows, which Norton promoted on his MySpace and via the Opie & Anthony show. Did I mention the crowds were rowdy? Alrighty then. I still haven’t gotten full confirmation from HBO on this, but the first night’s shows sure seemed like a suburban, white, rock version of Def Comedy Jam. Norton hosts all four shows and does about five to six minutes upfront, and there’s a special podium set up for Lemmy from the band Motorhead, who introduces Norton and contributed the theme song. The fans clearly were...

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The “Carolines on GMA Now” series on ABC

In case you haven’t been following the Internets, ABC News recently struck up a partnership with its Times Square neighbor, Carolines, for a weekly interview/performance segment called Carolines on GMA Now. Club owner Caroline Hirsch also takes part in the segments and often has her own questions for the comedians. It appears as part of the magically mysterious third hour of Good Morning America, which doesn’t appear on the regular ABC television network, but rather on some digital cable systems, mobile phone networks and definitely online. ABC doesn’t like to offer embedded video, so instead, we’ve got links to share. The mix includes both headliners working the club that weekend (natural cross-promotion) as well as up-and-coming New York-based stand-ups. Sometimes there’s a performance in the ABC studio with a small audience (that’s a tough room!). Sometimes not. Last week’s segment had a rather revealing interview with Mike DeStefano. Previous segments:Tommy DavidsonSusie EssmanGilbert GottfriedJulian McCulloughKevin PollakColin QuinnRobert SchimmelReese Waters “We’re thrilled to be teaming up with ABC News’ ‘Good Morning America NOW’ on this new program,” Hirsch said in the official press release earlier this spring. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our lively and entertaining programming on ABC News NOW — across all of its platforms — broadband, cable and...

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Zach Galifianakis interviews Michael Showalter

This is as indie rock as indie rock gets. Right? I have so many other things to be writing about right now, and yet, all I want to write about is this new Zach Galifianakis interview with Michael Showalter, er, I mean, Widge. Money quote for me: "It really started with I don’t want to be working at Cartoon Network anymore." Thank you, New York magazine....

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Reality Bites Back: This summer’s other comedian competition

Only one day before the debut of season six of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, but right now, somewhere in this country (most likely Southern California), several comedians are competing in a spoof of all of the other "reality" TV shows. It’s tentatively called Reality Bites Back, coming to Comedy Central on July 17 (same night as the return of The Gong Show with Dave Attell). It’s a real competition modeled after parodies of actual "reality" TV contests. As the show’s initial online home says, it’ll include competitions such as "Are You Smarter Than A Monkey?," "So You Think You Can Dive!," "Almost American Gladiators" and "The Amazing Disgrace." Michael Ian Black is hosting. Competitors include Donnell Rawlings, Kyle Cease and Theo Von. Von, as you may recall, first came to our collective attention on MTV’s The Real World. More importantly, though, there are seven other comedians taking part in this show. Do you know anyone competing? Please tell us! UPDATED: You can see who’s in it from this preview...

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