Month: April 2009

How young is too young to be a stand-up comedian?

So last week, everyone was talking about Susan Boyle this and Susan Boyle that. But for comedy fans, Simon Cowell had made a bit of news by inviting a 13-year-old aspiring stand-up comedian from Idaho to take part in this summer's edition of America's Got Talent. I don't care how talented Trevor Hattabaugh is (here is the local TV news report on Hattabaugh out of Boise), because I'm not sold on the idea of kids that young performing their own stand-up. Talk to almost any legendary comedian and he or she will regale you with stories of how, in their youth, they entertained family members and schoolmates with jokes — usually copying the acts of older stand-ups they admired. Eddie Murphy famously made his Saturday Night Live debut when he was 19, and a hit stand-up CD when he was 21. But most teenagers are not Eddie Murphy. What do those kids have to joke about onstage? What could they possibly have for material? There's a certain amount of living you have to do — don't you?! — before you have more to offer the world than an amusing one-liner or a juvenile routine. Not that that's stopping kids from getting onstage. In fact, here in New York, an outfit called Kids 'N Comedy puts on a monthly showcase at Gotham Comedy Club. I can see how it would help coax teens out...

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Kevin Hart talks comedy with Carson Daly

I caught this interview a week or so ago and found it interesting for both comedians and fans alike. Yes, it's Carson Daly, and he fibs a bit in the intro and his chat with comedian Kevin Hart. But. Nice to see them go outside of the studio and to a comedy club in Los Angeles that's not the Improv, Comedy Store or Laugh Factory — they're at The Comedy Union "in the hood," as they joke. Hart talks about how he had to adapt from the New York City comedy scene to that of Los Angeles, how people like Dave Chappelle are funny in a different way from other stand-ups, and what that can mean for a comedian. Also, Twitter. You can follow Kevin Hart...

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Patton Oswalt defends his place on MySpace

Comedian Patton Oswalt used his early morning MySpace blog post to deftly recount the story of becoming a new father and how it related to his pop-culture habits, and specifically the new sequel, Crank: High Voltage. There are amusing references to how some comedy sites treated the birth of his daughter, as well as how his friends in comedy and the performing arts all seem to be having babies right about now. But Oswalt also had something to say about why he waited until now, and why he chose MySpace as his forum for sharing all of this: I didn’t want to announce this on my website, or on my Facebook which, truth be told, I shut down ‘cuz of all the psycho messages I was getting. I mean, I appreciate knowing that you were awake at 3am and heard a katydid chirping my name and that’s why you’re warning me that a hobo-harlequin’s going to kill me with a tire iron on Christmas, but…I mean, didn’t you get tired just reading that? But MySpace has become a neglected strip mall, which is slowly going out of business because someone built a shiny new mega-mall just down the street. Every now and then you stop by because abandoned, derelict buildings have a weird beauty to them. Have you been over to Friendster lately? The rats are so tame they’ll let...

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