Day: November 5, 2009

The 30th annual Seattle International Comedy Competition is now underway (spoiler alert!)

Ah, memories. In Seattle and all points Northwest, comics are battling it out for the 30th year to see who'll win the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Look here for nightly results and the full list of comedians. When comedians ask me about comedy contests, I always remind them that there'll usually be some weird event or politics that'll drive you crazy, so try not to get too wrapped up in that, and just be funny and enjoy the experience (win or lose). And in Seattle's 30th anniversary year, they've linked back to my very own blog posts about competing in the 1998 prelims (Spoiler alert! I didn't win.). That was the first time I put my daily journals onto the Internets for immediate worldwide consumption. Now look at us, Internets! Now look at us. How far we've all come. Wish I could be back in Seattle to enjoy the madness this November — good luck to all of you who are...

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Room service! It’s check-in time for Front Page Film’s “Hotel” series on

I know it seems as though I point out every new venture that Front Page Films does, but the truth is, I don't write about all of their videos, and their "Hotel" series of shorts isn't exactly new — they screened these for a live audience months ago at the UCB Theatre in NYC. It was part of an live show, as I recall, and it's just now gone live on The 11 "Hotel" episodes feature Matt McCarthy as a hotel guest and Pete Holmes as the bellboy who won't go away. Start with "Room Service" (note: contains NSFW language and subject matter) and head anywhere from there. Coincidentally, Holmes is taping his first half-hour stand-up special for Comedy Central Presents tonight in NYC; McCarthy, meanwhile, was a finalist for New York's Funniest Stand-Up contest and appears regularly on your TV in the Verizon ad campaign (his ads may even pop up while you're watching his series — magic!). OK. Enough with the exposition. Roll the clips! Front Page Films presents "Hotel," on...

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Meet Me In New York: Brooke Van Poppelen

What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they're comedians? No, that's not it. It is a fact, though, that America's biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a new recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York's vibrant comedy scene. It's called Meet Me In New York. Today it's time to look at one of the many comedians who have moved here from Chicago in the past few years. She's in the middle of her debut run of her first one-woman show, and she just happened to have a birthday yesterday. No more hints: It's BVP, aka Brooke Van Poppelen! Name: Brooke Van Poppelen Arrival Date: March 16, 2006 Arrived From: Chicago When and where did you start performing comedy: April 2003, Chicago What was your best credit before moving here: Opening for Michael Winslow. That‚Äôs right, Sgt. Larvelle Jones from Police Academy. Why did you pick NYC over LA or anywhere else? NYC picked me. I had been visiting regularly from Chicago for about six months doing indie shows,...

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Interview: Doug Stanhope talks comedy clubs, Twitter and gauging success in this crazy business

The last time I saw Doug Stanhope, he was running up to me to give me a sloppy drunken hug and kiss at Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival in July. No, Stanhope wasn't in the fest. He was booking his own "Just For Spite" shows down the street. So imagine my surprise (and also lack thereof) when I saw Stanhope listed on the bill this weekend at Comix comedy club here in New York City. I called him at his Arizona home near the Mexican border to talk about that, his use of Twitter, and whether he's as satisfied with his career as Jeff Dunham is right now. Are you imagining the fun times yet? Read on, my friends! It's my new interview with Doug Stanhope… This seems like a rare treat, seeing you in a mainstream comedy club, since you've been booking yourself in dive bars and rock clubs mostly the past few years. What's the scoop? "I'm trying do some more comedy clubs, just because it stops my audience people from inbreeding. People who would never walk into the Highline Ballroom would never step into Comix," he said. "And doing that many shows in a row keeps me fresh." Speaking of which, how about that YouTube promo you shot for Comix?! Roll the clip! (Of course there will be plenty of profanity contained therein, so it's NSFW...

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Watch legendary comedians honor comedy legend Bill Cosby with the Mark Twain Prize (via PBS)

Last night might have been tough for Philadelphians, what with the Phillies falling to the New York Yankees and ceding the World Series to the "evil empire." But all was not lost for the City of Brotherly Love, for native son Bill Cosby was the toast of TV — receiving the 12th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in a broadcast on PBS that included praise from Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Dick Gregory, Carl Reiner, Steven Wright, Sinbad and more. Cosby also appeared again last night on Late Show with David Letterman, and managed to work in a bit about the World Series and a quirk of live performances that many can relate to. How do you perform to a live audience when something big such as the World Series (or other big sporting event, or an election perhaps) has some audience members distracted. Roll the relevant clip with the Cos and Letterman! As for last night's PBS broadcast, it was a fittingly jazzy tribute, opening with music and including multiple musical numbers between toasts from comedians. Among the highlights: Seinfeld and Rock opening by talking about going to see Cosby at the Apollo and walking out with "sad faces" because of how much funnier he is than they are; Sinbad saying comedians can only hope to get close enough by riding his coattails; Wright saying his Noah...

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