Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Human Giant’s season 2 preview

The UCB Theatre in NYC hadn’t seen all three members of Human Giant (Aziz, Paul and Rob) together onstage for Monday night’s Crash Test in quite some time. In fact, they’d been out and about so long that the joint changed the late-night Monday show name from Crash Test to Cavalcade. But last night, there they were once again, in front of a packed crowd — helped in part because half of the seats were reserved for friends and TV show crew for a special preview of season two of their MTV show (which debuts in March 2008). Look, here’s a video! Human Giant gets a Sponsor for Season 2 from PaulScheer on Vimeo. No. Wait. Here’s a photo of all three together on the UCB stage last night, which means we need a microphone tech to clear things up (as well as an education in cameraphone technology). They opened with some jokes about Hannah Montana and The Hills. "I’m not contributing to this because I’m too old to watch that channel," joked Rob Huebel. "Paul and I have no problem watching shows geared to other demographics," countered Aziz Ansari. On to the preview! They showed three videos. The first offered a darkly humorous look at a police sketch artist who turns out to be more of a caricaturist (the above video spins off of that sketch). The second...

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Shark Show Holiday Party recapper

For the first time in months, the fellas from the Shark Show all found themselves in New York City at the same time and Gabe, Nick, Dan and Ari decided to celebrate with a special reunion/holiday show back in the Parkside Lounge on Dec. 13. As Ari said up front, "We killed Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction! Shark Show is like a virus. We’ve been around for six years, going from club to club, slaying!" Methinks he meant that in the good, comedic way, right? Actually, both ways. Nick Stevens trotted out several oddball characters, including toy inventor genius Lester Frank, old-school comic Noodles O’Reilly and one-half of gift-wrapping specialists Ribbons and Bow, which involved a lot of audience wrapping and wrestling mayhem. Pete Holmes, the Drink at Work crew, God’s Pottery, Seth Herzog and Shark satellite member Jeffrey James all got in on the act in a show that lasted what seemed like three hours but actually clocked in a minute or two less than that. But since this was the first full Shark Show in ages, and a holiday party to boot, they get a pass on this one. Managed to snap a few photos, displayed in a photo album on the right-hand side of this Web site....

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HBO vs. Showtime vs. Comedy Central

Late into the night, or early this morning, after seeing parts of three different comedy specials on Showtime, I couldn’t help but think about how Showtime’s comedy specials all have a uniquely odd look and feel to them. Especially when compared to the consistent theater sets and production values of one-hour comedy specials that get aired on HBO and Comedy Central. Why is that? For one thing, HBO tends to control its own comedy output, which means its comedians often tape their hourlong sets at the same venue with the same crews. Comedy Central does the same for its half-hour Comedy Central Presents, and for hour specials, they’re most likely edited versions of highly stylized and produced DVDs. But Showtime is another matter. Whether it’s Joe Rogan (at the Tempe Improv), Paul Mooney (at the Laugh Factory) or Mo’Nique at an Ohio prison (or even Doug Stanhope at Gotham Comedy Club), these specials will go anywhere. They’ll feature lots of close-ups. They’ll bounce the camera angles around the room. They’re as OK filming in a small club as they are outdoors. They’re independent. They’re rogue, even. Performance art pieces. I get the sense that many of these specials were made by the artists themselves, then later sold to Showtime. But does that make one network’s comedy specials better than the others? Depends upon what you mean by better, I...

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My Extras special interview with Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais welcomes me into a nondescript conference room at HBO’s Midtown Manhattan offices, looking cool and casual. Wait. I’m not writing some sort of clichéd magazine piece, am I? How could I? Sometime in the middle of our half-hour chat, what started as an interview became, unbeknownst to Gervais, a pep talk – not just for me, but for anyone in the creative arts to stand up for what we believe in and tell the naysayers off. He just got Golden Globe nominations for best actor and show this morning. This following his Emmy win this fall. And his Extras finale debuts Sunday on HBO. Gervais told me the finale really can exist as a stand-alone. "People who have never seen us can enjoy this, kind of like a TV movie. I think we hit the ground running. It’s pretty clear what’s going on. This is a guy who’s struggling with his fame and his press perception, and it’s not what he expected. And he sort of sold out to get this awful comedy on the air and now he wants more. And then soon he forgets what he wants altogether and it’s just fame is the master…I think whether you’ve watched this series or not, by the end of the finale, I think you realize that Extras was about friendship. It wasn’t about media. That was just...

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ECNY Award nominees announced

This just in…The ECNY Awards are back this year, and they’ve announced their list of 2007 nominees. Winners to be announced Jan. 28, 2008, at a ceremony at Comix in NYC. It’s no longer just about recognizing emerging comedians, the EC in the ECNY. From the press release: "The ECNY Awards reflect the best comedy in New York, and therefore the world," said ECNY producer Alex Goldberg. " We couldn’t be more proud of this list of nominees, and consider them all winners. Except for those who are going to lose." Nominees were selected after three rounds of selection: a public nomination process; voting by a committee composed of industry professionals; and advisement from the ECNY panel. Nominees must have lived and performed in New York for the majority of the year ending Oct. 31. For further rules and regulations, please go to The ECNY Awards are produced by Alex Goldberg (Fearsome), Jon Friedman (The Rejection Show), Carol Hartsell (Drink at Work), Nate (The Apiary), and Alexander Zalben (SketchFest NYC). And here are the nominees! Best Host: Jackie Clarke and Julie Klausner (Obsessed @ The UCBT), Jon Friedman (The Rejection Show @ The UCBT), Seth Herzog (Sweet @ The Slipper Room), Margot Leitman and Giulia Rozzi (Stripped Stories @ Comix), Eugene Mirman and Michael Showalter (Tearing the Veil of Maya @ Union Hall) Best Improv Group: Big Black...

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