Day: June 17, 2009

Interview: Joe Rogan on “Talking Monkeys in Space” and much more

Joe Rogan has a new one-hour stand-up comedy special that debuts Saturday, June 20, on SPIKE-TV. Let's talk about it. Better yet, let's talk to Rogan. Actually, here's a great place to start. This is a clip from the special, "Talking Monkeys in Space," in which Rogan talks about how some people are just so set in their beliefs that they came from Jesus that they cannot handle the idea of monkeys and evolution. Tell me I'm not crazy, meanwhile, to think the voice he uses for the Jesus-believer sounds oddly familiar: Rogan likes taking taboos, whether it's religion, evolution, marijuana use and anti-pot ads, enjoying when animals escape from captivity and display their wild nature, not so much enjoying the idea of people climbing Mount Everest, and really not understanding Dr. Phil. "I always find it interesting when people will argue without doing zero research," Rogan told me over the phone earlier this week. That's a lot of people, though! "We're definitely dealing with people who aren't thinking. They're just spouting predetermined decisions or proclamations thieir team has made. It seems people adopt this conglomeration of opinions that other people have found for them. As a a staunch conservative, I think this way. As a lifelong Democrat…I BLANK. But there's people for you. Silly monkeys." I know you talked about this on your blog already. But it's something...

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Ricky Gervais to headline 2009 New York Comedy Festival; Comedy Central Presents tie-in?

Just when I thought we were starting the Just For Laughs comedy fest in Chicago (we are doing this today), the New York Comedy Festival named its headliners and increased partnership with Comedy Central for its sixth annual week of headliners in the Big Apple, this coming Nov. 4-8, 2009. Tickets won't even go on sale until August, but they've announced that Ricky Gervais will play Carnegie Hall. And in his official statement of such, Gervais said: "Headlining one of the most prestigious comedy festivals in the world is an amazing honor for me. The fact that it's at the beautiful and historic Carnegie Hall makes it all the more wonderful. It's just down the road from my apartment. I can walk to work. (I won’t walk obviously. I'll take a limo. But I could walk if I had to)." Also headlining their own shows at the 2009 NYCF: Bill Maher and Tracy Morgan. More talent will be named later this summer. Produced by Carolines on Broadway and United Entertainment Group, the fest will put on shows at 10 venues around Manhattan with more than 150 comedians. Comedy Central had joined as a partner last year (filming a one-hour special in 2008 at the fest for Jo Koy), and this year appears to be aligning its tapings of the 2010 series of half-hour Comedy Central Presents as part of...

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Dane Cook: The “Isolated Incident” interview

Mere hours after his appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Dane Cook called me up last week so we could chat about what it's like to have two stand-up comedy CDs debut in the top five on the Billboard charts, perform for arena-sized crowds as only a few had done before him (notably, Steve Martin and Andrew "Dice" Clay), and overcome not just the cultural backlash that came with it, but also his own early insecurities. But first, a clarification on my earlier review of Isolated Incident: The bonus DVD is not the TV special at all, but rather an hourlong documentary, called "30 Premeditated Acts." This is where you see the Dane Cook that fans rarely see anymore. The guy who pops up unannounced at The Laugh Factory to try out new material, to bomb, to do crowd work, to get rid of temporary demons, to even get bumped by Dave Chappelle. There also is a running infomercial quality to it, with segments in which Cook talks about the evolution of certain routines on the new special, and we see jokes that didn't end up making the final cut. We also get to see glimpses of Cook's longtime friends and former comedy partners, Al Del Bene and Robert Kelly. It's all quite fascinating (well, maybe not all of it), and I dare say (no one dared...

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