Month: July 2006

Meet Brian Kiley

Comedy Central had Brian Kiley guest blogging on its site the week before his half-hour stand-up special aired on the cable network that spring. It wasn’t Kiley’s idea. "They made us do it. There are certain things you fantasize about before you start your career…but there are other things that you’re like, ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.’" The same goes for his animated appearance years ago on Dr. Katz, sort of. "The idea of being a cartoon had never occurred to me. It’s just a weird thing having someone sending you a picture (of yourself)," he said. Did you like your cartoon self? "Nah, I was smaller. I wish in the cartoon, they could’ve made me more formidable. They could’ve at least made me a superhero. It is a cartoon." As for the guest blogging? "Sometimes you get an assignment and can’t think of anything you want to do…that was actually fun to do. I don’t know if I’ll do any more blogs." Kiley hails from Newton, Mass., a place that’s produced more than a few stand-ups. Why is that? "Louis CK is from Newton, and Fran Solomita, and Jon Fisch. Jon Katz has lived in Newton for a while now..I don’t know…I can remember in the fourth grade, standing up on the radiator of our classroom and telling St. Patrick’s Day jokes for my class. But I...

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Gilbert Gottfried in his real voice

Some comics really try heard to stay in character. Dan Whitney does all of his interviews as "Larry the Cable Guy" with the Larry accent and persona. Same goes for Sacha Baron Cohen as "Borat." Bobcat Goldthwait, on the other hand, rose to fame with a unique vocal delivery but in recent years has dropped the squeaky squeal and talked in his regular speaking voice. Gottfried amuses me because he’s got his stage voice that even got employed to make a duck shout "AFLAC!" but is more than eager to tone it down over the telephone. Affleck? That said, he still says plenty of NSFW things. And he doesn’t seem to mind toying with the crowd, or the inteviewer. Actually, we got along quite well. At one point, he suggested that I accompany him on all future interviews. But what about this one? Gottfried showed up in 2006 on Last Comic Standing’s comedy roast, fitting since Gottfried’s routine on the roast of Hugh Hefner just after 9/11 helped prompt The Aristocrats documentary. "I didn’t want to be one of the comics trying out. And uh, yeah, a lot of people seemed to see that, watched that show." Did you give any of the comedians roasting tips? "No, I didn’t give anyone advice. I just figured like most stuff I do, I’d hang around long enough and get my check...

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Gary Gulman on watching Tourgasm vs. LCS

Gary Gulman told me that watching Dane Cook’s Tourgasm has been an interesting contrast to his prolonged exposure on NBC’s Last Comic Standing two years earlier. "Some of it has been relevatory, and some of it has been fun, like watching a home movie. Luckily, I was not the focal point of conflict like Robert (Kelly) and Jay (Davis). They continue to have their flare-ups." "I think that with Last Comic Standing, I was on my best behavior the whole time because I knew everything I said would be on camera. (With this), there was no concrete, ‘Hey, this is going to be on NBC in November.’ This was done on spec." As for this season of LCS? "I watched it until April Macie got knocked off, and I’ve been boycotting it since then," he said. April Macie? Oh, right. His girlfriend at the time. She made it onto the Queen Mary docked cruise ship, but lost out in the first head-to-head-to-head challenge — this year the comics performed in threes, perhaps to speed the eimination process along? "April is featuring at the shows. As an added bonus!" he said. "After Tourgasm ends, I have a one-hour Comedy Central special coming out. They never gave me a half-hour, so I ended up holding out for a whole hour." Gulman grew up in Peabody, Mass., and went to Boston College,...

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Bill Burr, ready for a break

Bill Burr recently had his own HBO half-hour special, and I wanted to know what he meant in a MySpace blog posting about moving 20 minutes from the end of his set to the front. "Early in my career, joke order was really important, because you had no idea what you were doing…I knew you had to get ’em quick. You wanted to start off, Vinny Favorito told me this, you want to start with your second-best joke and end with your best joke…(in between)…I feel there has to be a flow to your ideas where you go from one to the other and it becomes this seemless thing. I know what I’m talking about upfront and I know what I’m ending with. If I do an hour, from 12 minutes in to 40 minutes is up in the air with what I’m going to talk about…if it’s even going to be prepared, if I’m going to be screwing around…that’s what made the HBO special so much fun…I 70 percent knew what I was going to talk about in the middle." "I’ve written a whole new hour since I did the HBO thing last year. That’s something I’m really proud of. always want to stay ahead of people who saw me on TV. They think they want to see what you said on TV, but there’s always something about...

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Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me

Mike Birbiglia spent most of the past week at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge, Mass., workshopping a new one-man show that he’s calling "Sleepwalk With Me." On Saturday, he even took an hour before the club opened to meet with any and all local comedians who had questions for him about comedy and show business. It was a nice gesture on his part. Closing out the lineup on Saturday, Birbiglia brought out 34 minutes of material, noted his time was up, then skipped ahead to a 12-minute section of material dealing with his real-life odysseys in sleepwalking. A lot of this falls under the category of strange but true. Even stranger, yet just as interesting to me, was seeing how Birbiglia took his closing bit from his Comedy Central Presents and made it the opening routine for his one-man show — it’s his childhood Valentine’s Day bear card he drew up for his parents. Consider this as evidence how moving material around in your setlist can open completely different avenues for humorous storytelling. He’d show off his efforts the following month in Montreal at Just For Laughs, and told me he expected to have the full show ready for viewing in a few...

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July 2006
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