Day: September 11, 2009

On “The Night Shift” with Brent Weinbach’s new CD

Just who is Brent Weinbach? He's a stand-up comedian from the Bay Area of Northern California. That's true enough. But if your first experience with Weinbach is through his new CD, The Night Shift, then you might find yourself asking what it is exactly that this has to do with stand-up comedy. It's weird. It's not for everybody. And that's how Weinbach likes it. He did win the 2007 Andy Kaufman Award, after all, so putting out a conceptual comedy album that's a mix of phone calls, sketches, songs he plays on the piano, and portions of his stand-up makes perfectly absurdist sense. Even the stand-up, recorded earlier this year at The Purple Onion in San Francisco, keeps the audience on its guard. There's a sketch playing off of his former life as a substitute teacher in East Oakland. He recounts his early experiences with women, and in front of a live audience, serenades a woman for her birthday. There's a song or two that sounds like he's auditioning for the Muppets. At one point, he turns his love for language into an extended satire on dick jokes. And there's an even longer piece that I've heard him do live before on the intricacies of the Russian alphabet. Instead of me trying to explain it further, why don't I just play for you a couple of short videos? Yes,...

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Open call in NYC for Andy Kaufman Award

The fine folks at the Andy Kaufman Award have alerted me that they'll be hosting an open call for all interested comedians and performance artists in New York City. So if you're in NYC or will be on Sept. 23, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and think that your comedic talent is uniquely creative enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as "Andy Kaufman" and "award," then head on over to Carolines on Broadway. Performers will get three minutes to audition. If you're not available for the open call, you can also submit a DVD by Oct. 2 per the instructions here. Semifinalists will perform before a live audience and industry judges on Nov. 2, with "the six most promising contestants" moving on to the finals at Carolines on Nov. 3, as part of the New York Comedy Festival. The winner receives an artistic memento, $2,500, industry exposure and more stage time at Carolines. Previous Andy Kaufman Award winners: Brent Weinbach, Kristen Schaal, Reggie Watts and Suzanne...

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Sneak peek: HBO’s “Bored To Death”

I had the opportunity last night to watch the first two episodes of HBO's new series, Bored to Death, which debuts on Sept. 20, and had a red-carpet premiere screening Thursday night in Manhattan. I didn't try to lobby all sorts of questions at the celebs who attended, although I did take a brief moment to pull out my Flip cam for a snapshot of the stars — Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson — when they posed with author/screenwriter Jonathan Ames and HBO execs. You can see a full assortment of official red-carpet and party photos via Wire Image. Schwartzman plays a fictional version of Ames as a Brooklyn novelist and sometime-magazine writer who, reeling from getting dumped by his girlfriend (Olivia Thirlby), decides to post an ad on Craigslist posing as a private investigator. He's read tons of detective stories, so how hard could it be, right?  When he's not haphazardly tracking down missing persons or stalking a guy to find out if he's cheating on his ex (played by Kristen Wiig in episode two), the fictional Ames is hanging out with his cartoonist friend, Ray (Galifianakis) or bringing pot and providing moral support (?) to his magazine editor, George (Danson). Is it a noir comedy? Do dead men still wear plaid? Not in Brooklyn! Is it a dramedy, then? The real-life Ames, who wrote the...

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