Month: November 2008

Review: Laffapalooza 2008, with Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx and more

Tracy Morgan hosted Laffapalooza 2008, which airs tonight on TBS, but taped last weekend at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, with Sheryl Underwood, Earthquake, Corey Holcomb, Mark Curry and Lavell Crawford performing. They sat me in the front row, which made it difficult to take notes, though on the bright side, there's a fair chance you'll see me during the telecast. Here's what I can tell you: Jamie Foxx started Laffapalooza in Atlanta a few years back, but he managed to show up in the audience at Caesars Palace for the taping (sadly, he did not perform). Foxx literally stopped the show when he and his entourage entered the ballroom. Audience members as well as Morgan shouted their approval for the Oscar-winning man behind the plans. Later during taping, Foxx's sister arrived from the other side with our own group of friends in tow. Before taping even began, Morgan showed he was ready to go off the script (literally, as he had a teleprompter that beckoned him throughout to get back on message), but all in good fun. He welcomed Eva, third-season winner of America's Next Top Model, who sat up front with her boyfriend, Lance Gross from Tyler Perry's House of Payne. Morgan also had fun with the Vegas audience. "We're in a financial crisis, you're at the casino…trying to win your house back!" Morgan also had...

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Sgt. Benari Poulten, home for the holidays

How many comedians also are military veterans? Rob Riggle served in the Marine Corps before becoming an SNL featured player and Daily Show correspondent. And then there's Benari Poulten, make that Sgt. First Class Benari Poulten of the Army Reserves. When living in New York City, Poulten is part of the Shoot the Messenger production, writing and performing crew, helping to skewer the morning TV news machine, and also spending a few days here and there serving our nation. Until Poulten got called for active duty. After a farewell party in late September, Poulten shipped off for training in Alabama, and is expected to spend 2009 in Baghdad helping serve the Army's communications functions out of Iraq. As Poulten and I joked then, Shoot the Messenger's mocking misinformation probably already would be good training for military disinformation. Don't worry, U.S. Army, those were my joking words, not his. Poulten says his friends and comedians should still be able to follow him through his military service through Facebook. Ah, the modern war. When Veterans Day rolled around, I thought of Poulten and reached out to him online. Turns out he got to spend Thanksgiving weekend home with his family, and you'll also be able to see and hear him live tonight in Boston, at Mottley's Comedy Club, opening for Jon Fisch. Here is what else Poulten had to tell me...

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The Skinny: Fat-Free News, comedy on MySpace

If there ever was a day or a time to get some "fat-free news" and think "skinny," then this would be that day, wouldn't it? You've just gobble-gobbled your way through who knows how many pounds of Thanksgiving feasting (it's who knows how many if you remember not to step on a scale), and the next four weeks of holiday seasoning will not help your waistline any. So time for a laugh. And here are comedians Natasha Leggero and Nadine Rajabi with their relatively new weekly series on MySpace, The Skinny: Fat-Free News. Become their MySpace friends, and watch their videos here. Here is this week's episode (new chats show up on Thursdays) discussing the latest headlines. Enjoy: The Skinny Ep.8 – "Green...

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Amy Poehler and friends present “Smart Girls at the Party”

Amy Poehler and her funny hubby Will Arnett are celebrating their first Thanksgiving and holiday season as parents with newborn son Archie. But Poehler already has proven her maternal instincts and her sense of humor can co-exist admirably, thanks to a new series she filmed with her friends called Smart Girls at the Party. It's also a great way to get your Poehler fix as you wait until 2009 for her to re-emerge on the NBC Office spin-off that's not a spin-off. In Smart Girls at the Party, Poehler joins up with her friends, Meredith Walker (former senior producer for Nickelodeon’s Nick News, and former head of talent at SNL) and Amy Miles (recording artist and performer and host of PBS children’s show LOMAX: Hound of Music) to interview young girls with talent and confidence, giving them a boost at the age in which children may need it most. They'll have a new episode each week, and eight in all, presented by ON Networks and distributed online through several partners, including iTunes, DailyMotion and more. Here's an episode with Cameron, a 10-year-old writer. Poehler takes her Weekend Update anchor persona and puts it to sincerely serious and funny work, channelling her inner Charlie Rose. Enjoy: And here is an interview with the creators, Amy, Meredith and...

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Face to Bush: The exit interviews

Here's another thing to be thankful for this holiday season, tis the end of an unmistakably mistake-ridden era in American politics as President George W. Bush prepares to leave the White House. Bob Odenkirk directs this series of exit interviews with W. called "Face to Bush" on, with James Adomian as the lamest of lame ducks and Stephanie Courtney as your host, Mary McQueegle. You may recognize Courtney, a Groundlings company mainstager, as the cashier Flo in a popular TV ad for Progressive auto insurance (among other ad gigs, as well as a recurring role in the ad shows of ad shows, Mad Men). As for Adomian, he has auditioned in the past year for SNL, and if he doesn't get called up there, some other shrewd producer and creator of a future TV sketch show will find room for him and his many character studies. Here is the interview in which W. weighs whether he was the "Worst President Ever": Face to Bush: Worst President Ever Funny Videos | Atom Originals | Farewell...

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November 2008
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