Day: July 18, 2008

Montreal 2008: Flying Solo reviews

After running around the city on Wednesday night, I decided to make my Thursday much easier to digest by camping out at Theatre Ste-Catherine for three of the Flying Solo one-man shows, which just so happened to feature revered comedians Mike Birbiglia, Brendon Burns and Patrice Oneal. It’s a narrow, intimate black box of a room with a small balcony, which makes it kind of a perfect space for Mike Birbiglia to test his upcoming Off-Broadway show, Sleepwalk with Me. Having seen Birbiglia dozens of times already this year in New York City, and heard pretty much all of these stories before, it makes it more difficult to process what he’s done here — although I can tell you the structure he settled upon for Montreal is a different non-linear approach from anything I’d seen before from him. Certainly, the sleepwalking stories resonate with me (I have sleptwalked my way out of my apartment twice and locked myself out, but had a more dangerous incident as a child falling down the stairs in my sleep) and Birbiglia manages to hit just the right dramatic and poignant notes. He goes off on tangents earlier in the hour-plus to include jokes about his ADD and his first time performing (seen previously on Comedy Central’s My First Time), wondering about bears, and a couple of times, he says "What I Should Have...

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Montreal 2008: Putting the business in show business

This year’s festival added that two-day Just Comedy confab to attract industry, and they also enticed comedians to come in a pay-for-play tease…you pay us for a pass ($500 for industry) and we can guaranteee you face time with the players who can greenlight your pitches. Quite a difference from 10 years ago, eh? It’s one thing for me to describe it. Let comedian Don Barnhart tell you himself what it’s like, because he paid for a pass. Barnhart, based in Vegas, got his start working at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Anyhow, I shared a shuttle with him and Julie Seabaugh from Las Vegas Weekly, and we got him to talk about his experience yesterday (my apologies for any wind in the audio silliness): Don Barnhart on pitching Just For LaughsUploaded by...

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Montreal 2008: Strippers!

Many comedians come to Montreal and joke about the preponderance of strip clubs in the city. But it’s infinitely more amusing to watch off-duty strippers (call them exotic dancers if you like) ordering cheeseburgers at McDonald’s at 4 a.m., in both French and English (insert your own joke here about that’s what she said, oh now they’re bi, so they go both ways, that’s how they like their meat, etc., etc.,...

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Montreal 2008: Just Comedy notes on Finding the Comedy Audience

Thoughts and quotes from the first day of the Just Comedy confab at Montreal’s Just For Laughs fest… On "Finding the Comedy Audience," Comedy Central’s Lou Wallach set the tone early by cracking, "If anyone can find the comedy audience, please let us know." So we’re going to learn a lot here in Montreal, eh? Perhaps. Megan O’Neill from, formerly known as Atom Films, said MTV Networks (and Comedy Central) bought the site to replace Motherload as its online broadband partner because Atom could prove it had both the Web traffic and the viewing demographic (young men aged 18-34) that Comedy Central wanted. O’Neill said she’d been with the company since 1999. "We’re survivors," she said. Of 31-32 other online competitors, 29 went belly up and crashed when the stock market bubble burst in 2000. "Because we survived, advertisers kept coming," O’Neill said. Atom Films had its biggest hit last year in "This Land" from the folks at JibJab — which you may recall got a big boost from having the guys appear on The Tonight Show. But how did JibJab end up on Atom? Good old-fashioned networking and relationship building. O’Neill knew the guys, would buy them pizza in Williamsburg (Brooklyn edition, not Colonial Virginia edition) and waited for them to produce a video that could appeal to the biggest audience. And when they did, the guys...

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