Day: September 29, 2006

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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Todd Phillips on comedy, “scoundrels”

Filmmaker Todd Phillips talked with me the other day (actually, last Friday) about comedy and his latest film, School For Scoundrels, which opens today. What made you laugh as a kid?"For me it was all about Eddie Murphy’s Raw. and it was all about Stripes and Blues Brothers. Those are the kinds of things I grew up on. You’d like to pretend you grew up on Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder but that stuff came later in life. The truth is it was Animal House and Meatballs and Stripes and Eddie Murphy. That is definitely what my younger influences were." But you didn’t start making comedies until you hooked up with Ivan Reitman (on Road Trip), right?"I was also only 26 years old…I started doing documentaries, but if you had seen the documentaries that I had done…they all have a real comedic slant to them. They’re not done like, I never approached documentary like journalism, it was always as a director and a filmmaker. So it wasn’t a big leap to go from a documentary into narrative features, because well, if you do a documentary correctly, and if you actually direct a documentary, it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has little things about each character that get let out slowly in the story just like in a narrative feature. So it’s all storytelling. It’s all...

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