Day: January 3, 2008

Seven hours of Dane Cook!?

Dane Cook rang in 2008 by performing an alleged record-setting seven — count ’em, 7! — seven hours of stand-up comedy on New Year’s Day at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. As Cook himself wrote on his site: "I never sat down or left the stage. The show started with a small mighty crowd of around 60 and 35 of us were together this morning still laughing and recapping 2007 with laughs galore. It felt fantastic. The longest set I have ever done before that was 3 hours 50 minutes at the LF as well. It’s a historic club with so much positive energy. One of the best locations I have ever had the privilege of performing at. I talked about anything and everything. From tigers mauling people to my parents deaths. Reconstructive surgery to starting my very own race war. Sex, drugs and anything else that my brain served up. I knew everyone in the crowd by the end and now they know me too. I dedicate my record breaking set to all comedians that inspire me past and present." Um, OK. Why, eggsactly is this a record of note? I know it’s certainly possible from Cook — having witnessed him blaze through more than three hours of all-new material at his Vicious Circle taping in Boston two years ago. He’s not a traditional set-up, punchline kind of...

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Chris Rock, still hard at work

My first trip to the Comedy Cellar in 2008 turned out to be a good one, as Chris Rock walked in from the frigid night all bundled up in a parka and hat, ready to get back onstage and work out some material. Rock had just performed at Madison Square Garden for New Year’s Eve (read the New York Times review here) and when I asked him how that went, he retorted: "It went well. I’m still in the business!" Don’t you just love how comics love to bust each other? He later confided that he really enjoyed playing the Garden and admired its acoustics. During the Cellar’s late show Wednesday night, he jumped up for an unannounced set that lasted 37 minutes. Really low-key. He brought two notepads onstage with him, but only referred to them briefly about halfway through, when he said, "I better do a couple of jokes and get the hell out of here." The audience chuckled. Rock knew enough to reply then, "As if that’s not what I was supposed to be doing this whole time." I don’t think that was the issue for Rock this night. After all, he’d just played the Garden. The previous few nights, he’d played theaters in Albany, Indianapolis and Phoenix. In mid-November, he played two nights in Las Vegas. And on Jan. 7, he begins a tour of...

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Live at Gotham still auditioning

Some comedians already may have received word that they’ve gotten spots in the upcoming third season of Comedy Central’s Live At Gotham, but others still have to pass muster of the cable network’s scouts. Take tonight, for instance, in which stand-ups Nick Cobb, Rich Francese, Dena Blizzard, Luke Cunningham, Sean Crespo, Shayna Ferm, Pete Cestaro and Vince August will audition for Live at Gotham by performing, ahem, live at Gotham Comedy Club. Good luck to all. And if you know of comics who already got the gig and will showcase this spring, please, by all means, let me know....

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Early ratings tip toward Leno, Conan

Early major market ratings reports from Nielsen, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter, show more people still turned to Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien — without striking writers — than to David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, who returned with a new contract with the WGA. Story here. As I wrote yesterday, I firmly believe that some viewers wanted to see whether Leno and Conan’s shows would be train wrecks without the writers. I also suspect that many viewers don’t have any stake in the Writers Guild and its negotiations. They don’t know any writers. They don’t think about the power and profits from the studios and producers. It’s like a sports strike. They just want their sport back. And if the ticket prices go up, the parking costs spiral, the ballpark soda and beer costs double-digits, the fans continue to pay up and feed the beast. Sure, a few may boycott. But the protesting few don’t add up to a tangible amount that forces the powers-that-be to end their madness, or their greed. People who watch Leno, for the most part, would continue to watch Leno the minute he’s back on the air. That he returned to TV and wrote a monologue clearly does so much more harm to the writers and to the efforts of the WGA than any amount of savory treats Leno handed out on the...

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The returns of Letterman, Conan, Leno

Hillary Clinton presented the cold open for David Letterman. Mike Huckabee provided plenty of time-killing filler for Jay Leno. Does that mean that the difference between Letterman and Leno really boils down to Democrat vs. Republican? It’s not that simple, although watching last night’s shows, you couldn’t help but think that Letterman’s show, backed by the unionized Writer’s Guild and featuring striking writers throughout, had the Democrats corner, while Leno’s picket-crossing staff — and his incomprehensible decision to write his own monologue and read it off of cue cards in direct violation of the strike — plus Huckabee’s decision to turn his back on his own union endorsements for free airtime (updated: and plus plus! what about Leno’s softball fluffing of Huckabee throughout the interview? as if he was so thankful someone showed up Leno didn’t want to screw it up by making the Baptist minister uncomfortable), certainly gave the traditional Letterman-Leno competition a new perspective, didn’t it? As for the shows themselves… Plenty of sites uploaded YouTube videos from the late-night talkers, which I’m not going to do, primarily because online media and revenues are at the heart of the strike negotiations! Letterman: Hillary joked that after eight weeks off the air, "Oh, well, all good things come to an end." Dave’s strike beard: Color Code Silver! The Eugene V. Debs striking dancers. A monologue almost entirely devoted...

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January 2008
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