Month: December 2007

Comedy Central’s Last Laugh ’07

The ongoing Writers Guild strike has lessened our options for topical humor on the TV, but it hasn’t stopped Comedy Central and VH1 from mounting their year-end specials. Comedy Central emerged first with last night’s debut of Last Laugh ’07. It reairs several times this week. Lewis Black, Dave Attell and D.L. Hughley took on the task, opening with a cartoon bit in which the "Last Laugh Squad" launched an expedition up inside President George W. Bush’s ass, wherein they found not only his brain but also secrets. Then Black took the stage, calling 2007 a drug. "We don’t even have the time to cover what George Bush did this year," Black said. As for the actual stand-up? Attell brought up dogfighting, Al Gore. When someone booed the mention of Gore, Attell replied: "What, do you have some polar bear jacket business you’re trying to protect?" A bit about the hot and hairy Kardashians allowed him to weave in his own thoughts on sex and then porn — you can see and hear all of this uncensored on Attell’s HBO special, Captain Miserable, which debuts on Saturday. Hughley looked casual while ripping into Michael Vick, OJ Simpson, the Chinese toy scandal, the debate over comedians using the word "nigger," Isiah Thomas, the thought of a black president, teachers having sex with students, and kids. Here are highlights… Then Black...

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Karith Foster, Tony Powell join Don Imus on the air

Don Imus decided his reintroduction to morning radio would go a whole lot smoother if he had two black comedians as sidekicks, and so it was this morning that Karith Foster and Tony Powell joined Imus to chat it up in front of a full house this morning at Town Hall in Midtown Manhattan. If I’d known about Foster — whom I’ve seen in NYC and Boston and who takes part in a series of comedy shows called "ColorStruck" — I may have bothered to wake up early and have a listen. Maybe I’ll do that Tuesday. But do I have to? I didn’t enjoy listening to Imus or ever seek out his program before. Here’s an early review from David Hinckley at the New York Daily...

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Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project

Just finished watching my advance copy of Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project, which debuts tonight at 8 p.m. on HBO (re-airing several Tuesday, Friday and several other times this month), and I’ve got to say, it’s great that director John Landis took the time to get this documentary done while we can still enjoy Rickles live on the road or in Vegas. If only every comedian who has lasted as long as Rickles — he’s 81 and still touring — got their proper due. They should. Thank goodness we get this look back at Rickles and his career. Landis notes up front that he first encountered Rickles when Landis was a gofer on the set of Kelly’s Heroes in the former Yugoslavia in 1969. Many people weigh in with thoughts and comments in the doc, including Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Richard Lewis, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, longtime friend Bob Newhart (and you see footage of the Newharts and Rickles vacationing together over decades), Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Lawrence, Roseanne Barr, Dave Attell, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Regis Philbin, Sidney Poitier, Penn Jillette, Bobby Slayton, Mario Cantone, Kathy Griffin, Ed McMahon, Jeffrey Ross, Geroge Wallace, Martin Scorsese, George Lopez, Jay Leno, Larry King, Ernest Borgnine, Carl Reiner, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Carter, Roger Corman, his wife Barbara Rickles, Joan Rivers, James Caan, Jimmy Kimmel, Keely Smith, Harry Shearer, the Smothers...

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Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell

Some comedians get accused of not having punchlines. So what to make of Kathy Griffin? In one word: Snark. Jerry Seinfeld got and understood Griffin almost a decade ago when he included her in two episodes of his sitcom Seinfeld. She likes to mock celebrities. If you engage her, that only makes her mockery that much stronger. If you think you’re getting her into trouble, you’re only adding fuel to her comedic fire. Example A: Her Emmy acceptance speech this year, which gets put front and center in her new Bravo special, Straight to Hell. You have to hand it to her for her ability to carve out a career as a comedian who revels in her "D-list" status and uses it to maintain enough snarky commentary about celebrity encounters to film a new Bravo special every year. This is her sixth Bravo special (it reairs Monday, Dec. 3, at 9 a.m., Tuesday at 1 a.m. and 5 p.m., Dec. 8 and Dec. 13). In it, Griffin dishes about Paris Hilton, Paula Abdul, The View, Martha Stewart. It’s very Bravo-oriented. Or in another word:...

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Tim Russert anti-interviews Steve Martin

I got excited seeing this listing on MSNBC that Tim Russert would interview Steve Martin. So I’m halfway through watching it (the show re-airs at 6 p.m. today, 2 a.m. and noon Sunday on MSNBC) and feel stymied because Russert isn’t even really trying to interview Martin. It’s more like, "So, tell me about this chapter." "Now tell me about this chapter." Yes, Martin’s book is great. Buy it off my link. Read it. But if you tell me we’re going to see an interview, I want some more insight. Well, excuuuuuse...

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December 2007
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