Author: Sean L. McCarthy

Gaffigan goes beyond the pale

Jim Gaffigan is one of the truly nicer and funnier guys I know. And I’m saying that even before typing in the part of the interview where he brings me down a peg or two. We talked recently while Gaffigan had a break from recording the upcoming TBS comedy, My Boys, which debuts around Thanksgiving. "It’s a million miles away when I think about it. Thanksgiving!" Last night on Conan, Gaffigan celebrated the unveiling of an all-new Pale Force cartoon and a new page on Conan’s NBC online home for the series. "We’ve done three episodes of Pale Force and it’ll be interesting to see how popular Pale Force could get, or if people will go…not interested! People will love something that makes fun of someone of Conan’s status." "I remember meeting you. You might identify with some of the pale thing. Because you’re a pale guy. It’s funny, because when I performed in Boston, and since the Pale Forces have started, there’s been a lot of pale people coming to the show. It’s the opposite of white pride. When you’re really pale, you think, geez, I’m the only one who spent an hour putting on sunscreen." Did you have any idea that people would take to "Beyond the Pale" the way they have to specific bits like Hot Pockets? "On my Website, it’s weird, you never know, you...

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Craig Ferguson, winging it late-night, soberly

When Craig Ferguson called me up Tuesday afternoon, it was still morning in L.A., where he wasn’t quite sure what his monologue topic would be for that night’s Late Late Show. "I think today, what I’m going to talk about is Man of the Year, the movie about a talk show host becoming president." Would he ever consider a run himself? "Not for me, because I wasn’t born in the United States, so it’d be Constitutionally impossible." Ah, but they’ve talked about amending that for Ah-nold, so why not you, too? "When you think about it, you have to feign interest when you talk to unpleasant people. It’s perfectly plausible for politics…(show business, too)…so yes, it’d probably be fairly good training. I think if I start wearing a tie, that might be a sign." As a Scottish immigrant, do you think it’s odd that us Americans still celebrate Columbus Day? "I’m an immigrant, and I had to work. There’s a certain irony to that." He started to offer more, then reconsidered. "I don’t have my citizenship yet. If I don’t watch what I say, I’d be back in the old country faster than I could say. I’d be back mud farming!" Do you think there is a certain charm to taking over a TV show from Craig Kilborn? "Jon (Stewart) and I talked about it. It certainly doesn’t hurt....

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Quotes from Jon Stewart, live in concert

More words and wisdom from Jon Stewart, dispensed onstage Friday night at the Wang Theatre in Boston. On the Wang Center…"This is, by far, the nicest Wang I’ve ever seen.""It sounds like a holistic healing center for your d—…we’ll wrap it in kelp." On gays wanting to be in the St. Patrick’s Day parade: "You don’t want anything to take away from the dignity of that parade." On gays wanting to be in the Boy Scouts: "Already the gayest organization ever." On gays being an abomination in the Bible: "You what else is an abomination? Shellfish. Where’s that sign?!" Acknowledging his sex talk onstage: "Wha? You’re not the nice man from the television show. This s— gets weird when it’s live." On science? "They’re working on cloning? We have six billion people…f—ing is working!" "Billions of dollars to make a sheep that looks exactly like another sheep." That’s the whole point of sheep, he said. That’s why you count them to fall asleep. On man ruining the planet: "As far as the Earth is concerned, we’re a mild case of eczema." On how Bush gets away with so much: "He doesn’t care. Clinton cared, but he cared too much. In a creepy way." On Vice President Cheney: "The guy hasn’t done one thing right yet." But Bush still trusts him. Why? The only thing Stewart would trust Cheney with?...

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SNL 32.1: Dane Cook/The Killers

Saving the best for last is not the phrase you want associated with Saturday Night Live. Alas, such was the case on the Sept. 30 32nd season-opener, hosted by Dane Cook. The final sketch of the night was a parody of the current Geico TV ads, with Andy Samberg playing the real-life customer and Maya Rudolph as Whitney Houston, his celebrity helper. It’s not on YouTube yet (despite what Cook said in his monologue) but NBC has featured it online. But back to the recap…Season 32 begins with a "cold open" of an unwanted President Bush at a campaign for comptroller in South Carolina. I couldn’t help but immediately think to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the Aaron Sorkin un-SNL show, and the scene in which Matthew Perry’s character challenges the writers to come up with something fresher than a Bush-mocking "cold open" skit. But there you have it. I’m smelling a theme. That theme smells like stale (fill in the blank with anything you want, including the word stale).Roll opening credits. They look nice and big and pretty.What about your host Dane Cook? Does he look nice and big and pretty?Well, he does jump into a crouching position. Then he grabs a mike to remind himself that he’s a stand-up comic, not a TV host, and begins his monologue by defending himself against negative people. "Don’t you...

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The skinny on Dan Boulger

The online record tells you very little about Dan Boulger. We’re about to correct that, although not by much. Boulger remains an elusive comedy creature. This much is known. He is 20 (turns 21 in December) and still lives in Norwood. And on Sept. 16, he emerged victorious in the annual Boston Comedy Festival stand-up contest, and many of his colleagues and competitors alike rejoiced. Why? Just look at the kid. Forget for a minute that my cameraphone usually offers dark, fuzzy snapshots and focus on the fact that for the biggest gig in his young career, Dan Boulger wore a red hooded sweatshirt. He looked just like he does at any open mike around Boston, or even how he did when he was the Comedy Studio’s comic-in-residence earlier this year. He was unfazed by it all. He just went out there and told his jokes. That’s what made so many other Boston comics happy about his win — that and the fact that he’s a young guy, so awarding him against some veteran stand-ups might signal a changing of the comedy guard, if you enjoy reading too much into things. It did signal a victory for locals over experienced out-of-towners. But let’s get back to Boulger, shall we?When I spoke with him that night, he said he wasn’t sure what he’d do now that he had $7,000 for...

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