Day: January 14, 2008

WGA Strike Watch: Comedians on Letterman

Short notice tonight, but wanted to let you know of comedians appearing this week on Late Show with David Letterman, the only WGA-approved late-night show of choice. Tonight: Frank Caliendo shows his impersonations and explains his TBS show. Tuesday: Don Rickles plugs the DVD release of his documentary. Friday: Jim Gaffigan will likely mention bacon! Conan and Leno aren’t putting their guest appearances online so as to avoid picket-crossing hassles, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled. Saw Elon Gold on Leno the other night. Christopher Titus, too. Conan, meanwhile, has really been upfront about mentioning the plight of the striking writers and about killing time. I saw him devote a full 10 minutes to a hilarious pre-taped segment interview with one of his producers. Then again, past episodes of Conan can be viewed on the NBC site online. Which is at the heart of the WGA negotiations. Also will be keeping you updated on goings-on with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, so don’t you...

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Time capsule: HBO’s 15th Annual Young Comedians

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, HBO produced and broadcast a special devoted to young comedians. Not all of them hold up quite so well. One year introduced Steven Wright, but the rest of the hour makes you wonder what happened to America’s sense of humor. Then there was 1992, and the 15th annual special, taped at the Tempe Improv, hosted by Dana Carvey, introduced Judd Apatow, Bill Bellamy, Nick DiPaolo, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Kindler and Ray Romano. Yeah. Quite a lineup there. I mention it because the special aired over the weekend and shows up on HBO Comedy again tonight, then again on Jan. 24 so you can take a look for yourself. As host, Carvey managed to trot out most of his SNL character voices and impersonations for easy crowd pleasing. Bellamy is wearing a red suit, as if to make viewers think of Eddie Murphy. Apatow, whom you know now as a big-shot comedy producer and writer, wore a buttoned-up shirt without a tie. Romano noted up front that he was 34 at the time and asked if that still counted as young. Watching them all, you can see that Romano, Kindler and Garofalo had found their comedic voices that still make you laugh today. And if you think DiPaolo sounds bitter onstage today, just watch and hear his mood on the night of his...

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Waiting on the F Train (2 a.m.)

Ah, life in the city that never sleeps, which for comedians, means a midnight show at the UCB, followed by a wait for the F train back to Brooklyn. Even then, though, the show doesn’t stop. At least according to Joselyn Hughes, who thinks like I do, that hanging out with comedians always provides insight and amusement. So why not capture some of that on camera? Here we’re waiting with Kumail and Emily at West 4th Street for a transfer. Joselyn explains… Waiting on the F trainUploaded by...

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Last night’s TV: Katt Williams, Patrice Oneal

On Sunday, Comedy Central gave Katt Williams the broadcast debut for his 2007 stand-up film, American Hustle, an interesting choice for Williams and his crew considering it meant adding all the blurs and beeps of Comedy Central’s censors. It’s essentially a stand-up concert, taped the previous New Year’s Eve in Chicago, folded into a road trip with his opening acts, Red Grant, Melanie Comarcho and Luenell — the latter of whom you may recall vamping it up onscreen previously as Borat’s prostitute. An opening sketch includes a dream sequence with Jeremy Piven and a pitch meeting that allows Williams to parody recent movies such as 300 and March of the Penguins and even get in a dig on the fact that Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry all have worn fat suits for the sake of major movie success. Williams gives all of his openers a chance to showcase their stand-up, and when he arrives onscreen, he shows how charm and energy can go a long way in the entertainment business. He told the crowd that if they were expecting jokes from Pimp Chronicles, they weren’t getting them because he didn’t them to have to pay to hear the same bits twice. He may not be tall. But his stand-up walks the walk and talks the talk, even if that means not giving up on a word just...

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