Day: December 23, 2009

Meet Me In New York: Joe Mande

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. People in the New York comedy scene already know that Joe Mande is an emerging comic — heck, he won an award with that very title two years ago at the ECNY Awards. Today, Mande has emerged into a bright, young stand-up worth watching in the years to come. How bright? Bright enough to know how to make Andy Rooney watchable (this past weekend's edition of The Andy Rooney Game is up), bright enough to sell a book idea based on pictures of idiot hipsters (Look at This F*cking Hipster is available for pre-order, and due out in March 2010), bright enough to be on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, and bright enough for me to know he should get more ink...

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The Jeff Dunham Show, one season and done as a Comedy Central series?!

I first reported on Monday that I was hearing whispers that Comedy Central might not be renewing The Jeff Dunham Show, the ventriloquist's clunky sitcom that had Dunham and his puppets heckling "real people" in the "real world." And now I'm hearing that, despite what Comedy Central told me, Dunham's writing staff found out a week ago that the show wasn't getting picked up after its season finale aired Dec. 10. Clear out your desks (wait, they already had cleared out their desks, having completed the first-season work months ago). Nothing to see here. Please move along. The show got boffo ratings for Comedy Central when it debuted — earning as many or more viewers in its Thursday-night slot as Emmy darling 30 Rock, which Dunham also appeared in an episode of this fall. But ratings slipped off, and there was quite a backlash, that even included bad press within a New York Times profile of the ventriloquist! Not that Dunham will be crying too much about this setback. After all, he grossed $38 million just in ticket sales last year, plus millions more in merchandise sales. And he'll be performing in ARENAS through the South — Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Greenville and Charlotte — to close out his 2009 tour, starting Dec. 26. UPDATED: It could very well turn out that Dunham himself would rather go about his...

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Comedian Dan Ahdoot dubbed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ABC News interview with Diane Sawyer

Millions of Americans tuned in (and millions more around the world saw clips) as Diane Sawyer made her full-time debut behind the anchor desk Monday night for World News with Diane Sawyer and shared an exclusive sit-down interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They heard Sawyer level harsh accusations at Ahmadinejad about Iran's nuclear program, its treatment of its citizens as well as of three American hikers arrested after they crossed the border. They also heard Ahmadinejad refer to Sawyer as "respectable lady." But what most people don't know is that the voice they heard translating — or rather, dubbing — Ahmadinejad belonged to a stand-up comedian, New York City's Dan Ahdoot. Ahdoot has joked for years about his own status as an Iranian Jew. And he told me last night about being part of a landmark broadcast and interview. Tell me how you got the gig? Do you offer Iranian translations for TV stations or other people as a side gig? And why did you decide to give him an accent? I know how you talk for real! I got the gig completely randomly. They never use comedians or voice-over actors, for that matter. They only use translators. However, the translators sounded really menacing, and they weren't into it. So there's a producer at ABC News who used to produce comedy shows at a bar in the East Village 10...

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