Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Chris Rock, at the TCF

I had the chance to watch Chris Rock try out new material twice in recent months in the intimate environment of the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village, so imagine my delight and surprise (not to mention the 4,000-plus people at Caesars Palace) to hear him deliver even newer riffs Friday night as part of his first theater show in four years during The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. After the show, he said "it felt good…still need to shake off a little rust, but it felt good," adding: "It’s a good room. I haven’t done this in so long. I had to get used to the sound…sometimes the laughs go up high to the balcony." Highlights from the show after the jump. Oh, right. The show. Rock opened by acknowledging Britney Spears and her child-rearing skills, then deftly turning to Michael Vick and dog fighting, comparing him favorably to Don King and pointing out how Americans treat dogs differently than other animals. "If Michael Vick had killed 100 deer, he’d be free. And Atlanta would be 6-2 right now." That got a big laugh. Rock, of course, likes to keep pushing, so he then wondered about the comparison between 100 abortions and seven dog deaths. Rock’s views on the election prove he ain’t voting for Clinton. "I think America is ready, but does it have to be that woman?!"...

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Jerry Seinfeld, at the TCF

If people were tired of seeing Jerry Seinfeld seemingly everywhere this month, it didn’t show Friday night for either him or the 4,000 cheering fans at Caesars Palace for The Comedy Festival, where he was introduced to the stage as "the star of the number one movie in America." After opening with a couple of Vegas jokes, Seinfeld got to work with a workmanlike precision and also a physicality I hadn’t remembered seeing from him, crumbling to the floor during a comparison of how your life battery syncs up with your cell-phone battery, as well as acting out several other bits. When comedians get too rich and famous, they sometimes cannot get away with the same types of observational humor that helped them get laughs on their way up. Seinfeld knows this and built his set list accordingly, by taking a bit about the narrowing gap between "great" and "sucks" to his own life. "Now I’m sure (my life) doesn’t suck as much as yours…but it does!" He went to great lengths to demonstrate his humanity — that I’m just like you quality — throughout his 55-minute set. Despite the constant shout-outs from the audience who think they’re expressing their love but only disrupting the show. Seinfeld must be more than used to this by now, and used one shouter to talk about his own "random thoughts" that include...

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Unprotected Sketch! at the TCF

Could relatively unknown sketch comedy groups compete with national headlining comics for eyeballs, attention and laughs at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas? That was the challenge for "Unprotected Sketch!" a series of sketches hosted by NYC’s Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal. Kurt and Kristen, who host Hot Tub at Pianos in New York, already got industry approval in Montreal earlier this year (and Kristen is a past Andy Kaufman Award winner and Aspen winner, too), so they took the lead on this one, too. "We’re excited to be here in the city of broken dreams…and secrets!" Kurt said. The duo introduced a new recurring sketch for Vegas called "Double Down Hearts" to show off their "dramatic" side, as well as their "dancing" side — not only then but also in their proven glowstick body dance to promote polio awareness and the rousing crowd-pleaser, "Kristen Schaal is a horse!" Gareth and Evan, or is it Evan and Gareth? Either way, this duo’s entrance looked odd not because they were both wearing all white turtleneck-and-pants outfits, but because Kurt and Kristen also exited the stage in similar getups. Anyhow. On this night, Evan Mann and Gareth Reynolds weren’t worried about Axe but about letting us in on their "final" performance together…all really to set up their series of flashbacks…to letter-writing to Jon Bon Jovi, to the first time they met...

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Beginning at the beginning

Lots of great exclusive information to share with you from The Comedy Festival over the weekend in Las Vegas, but before I get to that, I thought it might be helpful to bring you back up to speed on some of the many encounters I’ve had with comedians over the years. In other words, I’m going through my files and notes and building up the archives for you...

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Tim and Eric take on Vegas

Tim and Eric Nite Live hit the road last night with a special show in Las Vegas as part of The Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace. I ran into Eric and friends (including Neil Hamburger) later at the festival lounge and they remained very playful. Enjoy. Actually, wait. Enjoy is the wrong word. As Tim himself accurately predicted, I can review their show in one word:...

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