Day: July 28, 2010

Can there be a Comedy MVP in a world of American Comedy Awards? Rewriting humor history

The recent Bill Simmons mailbag came to my attention last night, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for a couple of reasons. Simmons fielded a reader question about who he'd pick as the "funniest man alive" and says that he "spent way too much time thinking about this," and yet, that could not possibly be right, because what follows — his so-called Comedy MVP list — doesn't fit our actual timeline or even his own rules for the theoretical trophy. Plus, Simmons fails to remember that for several years (and coming back this year, reportedly), show business actually did single out comedians with the American Comedy Awards. They didn't hand out a Comedy MVP trophy back then. But what if they did? Can we help Simmons rewrite history in a more accurate way? 1975: He picks Richard Pryor. Not a bad choice. You also could say the entire rookie cast of Saturday Night Live. I'd also accept Norman Lear, who at the end of the 1974-1975 TV season, was responsible for five of the top 10 shows in the country, including the top two — All in the Family and Sanford and Son, plus The Jeffersons, Good Times and Maude. And all five sitcoms dealt with topics in a humorous way that TV network executives would be scared to do 35 years later! 1976: This truly was Richard...

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Jimmy Kimmel Live recreates cliche comedy club stage to welcome Shane Mauss to the program

If you wonder, what good is it to try out for Last Comic Standing if you're not going to make it to the finals, well, I've noticed that a few of the semifinalists already have cashed in with new late-night TV credits — Kurt Metzger did Fallon a couple of weeks ago, Mike Vecchione is on Leno this week, and last night, Shane Mauss had a set on Jimmy Kimmel Live. But what's with the 1980s-era cliche brick wall comedy boom makeshift club stage that Kimmel's staff has set up here? I know at heart it's more about the corporate beer sponsorship, but still, a little distracting to see Mauss (or anyone) perform in front of cardboard walls faked to look like cliche brick. The spotlight also makes the lighting weird. While I continue to mutter to myself like the old man I am becoming, you sit back and watch the clip. Mauss manages to get in another joke on TV at the expense of his real-life girlfriend. The streak is alive! Roll...

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