Day: September 9, 2009

Jeffrey Ross has written the book on roasting (VIDEOS)

Some comedians have a difficult time knowing what their niche is. Others find it and run with it. It's hard to argue that any one comedian is more associated with our generation's newfound love of celebrity roasts than Jeffrey Ross, who joined the Friar's Club at an early age and brought the club's grand tradition of roasting into the 21st century, with Comedy Central now banking on Ross and the roasts for an annual event to generate watercooler talk. Well, Ross now has written a book about his relationship with roasting, I Only Roast the Ones I Love, and is doing a promotional tour to support it. Here's his official video for the book (warning: contains profanities): Next week, Ross will sit down for a chat with Eddy Friedfeld at the 92Y in Manhattan's Upper East Side, in which they'll talk not just about the book, but also show clips from some vintage roasts. That'll be on Sept. 15 (Tickets: $27). Ross also was a guest last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and here's a clip of Ross explaining the art of roasting to Kimmel. Of course, they've shared the dais more than once for celebrity ribbing. In it, Ross claims that his jokes about Courtney Love helped convince her to go into rehab. Roasts save...

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Kyle Cease’s stand-up bootcamp, take two (coming in October)

Normally I wouldn't write about a stand-up comedy class, because there are many of them out there in comedy clubs and community colleges, and well, are they really all worth writing about? But Kyle Cease's stand-up comedy bootcamp, and the promotional videos his brother produced for it, caught my eye earlier this year and have generated quite a bit of discussion within the comedy community. So here is your official update on all of that. If you follow Cease's Twitter feed, you'll know that he is working on a new call-in radio program with John Heffron, and also something else involving giving paid work to aspiring stand-ups. Do you like paid work? Of course you do. His stand-up comedy bootcamp is another thing entirely (I've heard spirited discussion both for and against it), and if you want to rehash all of that, just go back into my archives on it or view the trailer on the Standup Bootcamp site. Fact is, Kyle Cease is putting on a fall edition of his Standup Bootcamp, to be held Oct. 17-21 at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal City, Calif. Over the course of 60 hours, participants will hear from Cease and Lovitz, as well as Tom Wilson, Wendy Liebman, Steve Byrne, Alonzo Bodden, Bryan Callen, ANT, Chris Porter and John Heffron, and get to ask questions of and showcase in front...

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Second City preps SCTV Reunion Show for 50th anniversary

The Second City has been around for 50 years. Fifty! They're going to be celebrating this December with three days and nights of alumni panels, performances and screenings. The main attraction will be a one-time-only SCTV Reunion Show on Dec. 11, with performances by Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short and Dave Thomas. Proceeds from ticket sales ($175-$750) will benefit The Second City Alumni Fund, a resource fund for performers, technicians, support staff and other members of the creative and production teams at The Second City and SCTV. Tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 14 in Chicago and online at Other shows will be announced in coming weeks, and you can look at photos and get information at Second City's 50th Anniversary site. Because today is 09/09/09, and everything is all Beatles anyhow, here's a fun little shot from Second City's 1994 Chicago show, "Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been Mellow?" Perhaps you recognize a couple of these fellas? (back) Steve Carell, Scott Allman; (front) Stephen Colbert, David Razowsky If you look at Second City's Chicago alumni list, you will be amazed at just how many talented comedians either got started there or had their careers forever changed by the theater. Just...

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Info for the 2009 New York’s Funniest Stand-Up contest

This just in: As we get closer to the 2009 New York Comedy Festival, we've got information for all of you aspiring funny people about this year's edition of the "New York's Funniest Stand-Up" contest, which is open to anyone in the city who thinks he or she is worthy of the title, cash prize, week of gigs at Carolines and a guest spot on one of the major festival shows. Here's the schedule: OPEN CALL AUDITIONS: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 20-21 SEMIFINAL LIVE SHOWS: Oct. 27-28 FINALS: Nov. 3 So, yes, once again, there will be an open call at Carolines on Broadway for comedians who want to perform a two-minute audition for judges. They'll be looking at your material, originality and stage presence. But I should warn you, too (and not just because I have taken part in this contest in the past). In addition to the line of wannabes who have waited on the sidewalk for upward of hours at a time, the club also has offered scheduled audition times in past years to working professional comedians. This was the practice for Last Comic Standing, too. Plus, the winners in 2007 (Wil Sylvince) and 2008 (Julian McCullough) were regulars at Carolines who already had hosting spots in one of the major festival shows. I'm not suggesting anything downright nefarious here; merely letting you know what...

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