Month: July 2007

Notes from the Del Close Marathon

What happens when you look over your handwritten notes a year later? Let’s find out as we jog our memories on the 2007 Del Close Marathon, held over the last weekend in July… Satellites: Oh, this was a fun way to start my Del Close Marathon in 2007, as Ed Helms, Rob Riggle and Jason Sudeikis got themselves all excited about going to another Dave Matthews Band concert. They got nostalgic (Riggle claimed this would be his 217th DMB concert experience), interacted with fans (as in, audience members) and Sudeikis proved his chops playing multiple parts in this half-hour improvised set, including a drug dealer in Detroit and a driver to a show in Miami. Bro’in Out: With Leo Allen and Seth Morris co-hosting, and guests played by Matt Walsh, Ed Helms, and Matt Besser, among others, with Besser playing the role of MySpace’s founder, Tom. "A lot of people don’t want to be friends based on first impressions of their voice," said Besser as Tom, who continued to hold the MySpace Tom pose throughout the show. "I have a deformed spine that doesn’t allow me to face forward." Chuckle Sandwich: This Chicago-based quartet opened with a song, and showed why T.J. Miller would soon go on to bigger things. Micah Sherman also showed a bunch of energy at this midnight show. The Smartest Panel of Experts in the...

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Live from Montreal, it’s Saturday night!

As they say in France, que sera sera, je ne sais quoi — which translates into not one but two cliches. As for French Canada and Montreal, what better way to close out the 25th anniversary of Just For Laughs than with a gala hosted by native son William Shatner. What’s that? You didn’t know the Shatner came from Montreal? Neither did I, my dear readers. Neither did I. The fest’s grand finale (though the festival continues with a couple of shows on Sunday, Saturday night represented the blow-out of blow-out spectacular shows across the board) had the city’s streets teeming with comedy fans, and other people, too. Let me share a few salient points and thoughts from Saturday night… Is there a stage past post-ironic to describe the public persona of William Shatner, especially when he "sings" Canada’s rock hits? Or is that simply called ironic? Where is Alanis when you need her? Zach Galifianakis doesn’t need a piano to be funny, although it certainly adds a little something something (perhaps that je ne sais quoi?) to observations such as: "At what age do you tell a highway it was adopted?" I now have very mixed feelings about Canadian stand-up Gerry Dee. Why? Dee rocked the televised gala audience with his set Saturday night, but I had the strange sense that I had seen and heard it all...

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Live from Montreal: New faces, same old dreams

The New Faces of Comedy showcase is Montreal's version of the Best New Artist Grammy. Most of the 16 stand-ups selected for this week's showcases have several years of experience onstage, but they're new in the eyes of industry scouts, because this is the first step up the festival ladder. A few of the acts don't yet have agents or managers. Is that a good thing? Maria Bamford (one of this year's Masters performers) and I talked briefly about this yesterday. I saw a comedian get an agent and manager — which quickly resulted in a spot on Conan and headlining club dates — out of the Aspen fest this winter. Worked out good for him. But Bamford, who once got two new representation offers out of a festival, said it can almost be like last call at a bar. "Who's the hottest one left here?" she said in one of her trademark voices. "And then the relationship has nowhere left to go." So there's that side of the coin, too. The comics here aren't thinking like that, though. They're looking to be discovered. How are they doing? Last night, I caught half of the New Faces, and several members of the first group devoted most of their time trying to connect to the local Montreal audiences at Kola Note (which should be noted, is the most remote venue...

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Live from Montreal: The Kids in the Hall reunion

The guys from Kids in the Hall reunited onstage for three nights only this week at Just For Laughs in Montreal. Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson hadn’t performed together for a live audience in about five years, and it showed a bit in their personas and in some of the new sketches (especially the opening sketch on the final show Friday, when the guys spent as much time dealing with technical difficulties and laughing at each other as they did on delivering their lines). They also brought back a couple of characters from the Kids in the Hall TV show, including Buddy Cole. But the guys still now how to deliver. McCulloch, particularly, remained a joy to watch as he bounced around and stole scenes through various characters. And the encore — an extended audience-participation take on "I’m crushing your head!" — was more than worth the 90-minute...

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Live from Montreal: Andy Kindler’s 2007 State of the Industry

Here I am, north of the border, where I’ll be reporting to you live, semi-live, and semi-awake for the next couple of days from Montreal, home to the 25th anniversary celebration of Just For Laughs, one of the biggest comedy confabs in the world. Lots going on already as the festival hits the homestretch tonight and Saturday. But first, time for Andy Kindler to deliver his annual "State of the Industry" speech. It’s known throughout the comedy world as a must-see event, not only because Kindler is hilarious, but also because this is the one time each year that the industry allows one of its own to say all of the things that many comedians would like to see about the funny business but fear saying aloud. As Dave Foley said in introducing Kindler to the stage shortly after 2 p.m. today, "It’s great that he comes out here and sabotages his career." Quickly, the bullet-point highlights from Kindler’s speech… On the Laugh Factory owner: "Jamie Masada, younger every year?"On his own career: "I am ready to sell out…If I need to git-r-done, I’ll git-r-done!" His potential catchphrases? "Same-old, same-old!" "Smell ya later!"On the Michael Richards incident from last year: "Where is Carlos Mencia’s apology? Where is Lisa Lampanelli’s letter of resignation? Where is Larry the Cable Guy’s mea culpa? If you believe in the power of threes…" (applause)...

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July 2007
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