Day: September 17, 2008

Preview/review: Comics Without Borders (Showtime)

Sometimes, the main difference between stand-up comedy on HBO and stand-up comedy on Showtime seems to be that HBO lets you know it’s coming. Their promotional efforts are everywhere. Showtime, you blink, you may miss it. Which is my way of saying a new comedy showcase began last week on Showtime called Comics Without Borders, hosted by Russell Peters. With Peters attached, the first instinct is to think this will feature an array of comics from other lands to get their proper introduction to American audiences. But the show takes the other interpretation, that here, the comedy can and will go anywhere. No borders. On last week’s debut (available On Demand), Peters told the audience at El Portal in Hollywood that his show will put a spotlight on comedians who need to be on TV more, regardless of their past experience. Unlike other half-hour comedy showcases, Comics Without Borders actually gives each stand-up enough time for audiences (both live and at home) to get to know them, preceded by a minute or two backstage introduction in which the comic just talks. In other words, two comics per half-hour instead of three, four or sometimes even five. In the debut: Justin Worsham from Modesto, Calif., and Dean Edwards from Brooklyn, NY. For Worsham, this was his TV debut, and he joked about babies, what parents do to their toddlers, and...

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2008 SF Comedy Competition (Week Two)

On the Left Coast, the second week of the 2008 San Francisco Comedy Competition’s preliminaries begins tonight. Follow along here, and here. And here are your comedians for the coming week in and around Northern California: Week Two competitors: Jen Adams, New York; Shannon Gettins, Los Angeles; Andy Haynes, New York; Phil Johnson, San Jose; Moshe Kasher, Oakland; Derick Lengwenus, Wyoming; Grant Lyon, Santa Cruz; Steve Monroe, L.A.; Dez Reed, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Dave Reinitz, L.A.; Rory Scovel, Washington D.C.; Jacob Sirof, L.A. (via SF); Leif Skyving, Idaho; Jon Tomashefsky, L.A.; Steven White, Las Vegas; Alysia Wood,...

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Blogging the 2008 Boston Comedy Festival (prelims 5-6)

Someone asked me if going first in a contest meant certain elimination. That entirely depends upon a few factors, such as: How proficient your host is in warming up the audience and getting them to laugh, what time your show starts (the later, the better, it’d seem), and how quickly you can get an audience to laugh. In the first two nights of prelims during the Boston Comedy Festival contest, the comic who drew the first slot advanced from each of the later shows, but not from the earlier shows. On night three? Foreshadowing. Or not. Prelim 5 winners: Myq Kaplan, Key Lewis, Tyler Hawkins, Tyler Boeh. Kaplan knocked his set out from the start, riffing callbacks on pretty much everyone who went before him, starting by announcing: "I’m also 1/2 white…and the other 1/2 white as well." Then landing a joke that combined "baloney pony" and "rapex" before going into his own, already-strong routine, closing by putting his wordplay to extended play on the word, "boobies." Hooray-bies! No doubt as to whether he’d advance. Lewis, by the way, was one of several biracial comics of the black/white variety to perform this week (and the one Kaplan was calling back to), which, you might think, could be of benefit to Obama’s candidacy if somehow all of these comedians could help him. Anyhow. Got off-topic for a sec. He joked...

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Bobby Moynihan’s SNL debut “pepper” sketch

Following up on my recap of this season’s Saturday Night Live debut, here is when and where new cast member Bobby Moynihan gets to carry his first sketch as a waiter named Mark Payne who cannot stop thinking about the pepper smell in the restaurant, much to the chagrin of his customers (played by host Michael Phelps and Amy Poehler). For previous works of Moynihan from his days and nights with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City and the group, Buffoons, check out this video collection on...

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