Day: December 19, 2010

SNL #36.10 RECAP: Host Jeff Bridges, musical guests Eminem and Lil Wayne

It's beginning to look a lot like a Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, and as SNL closed the books on the 2010 half of its 2010-2011 36th season, some of these sketches looked just like others, a dude was sort of Dude-like, while not being dude enough, and I learned that pre-Tweeting sometimes can be just as effective as Re-Tweeting. Let me explain that last part. ESPN's Bill Simmons has a fairly successful habit of using Twitter to reverse-psych out certain sports teams and athletes (the 21st century version of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx!). So when President Barack Obama held a public bill-signing on Friday for the tax-cut compromise with Republicans, I went to Twitter to predict an SNL cold open about it.   We all were rewarded as the show opened with a political sketch in which none of the political figures uttered a single word! Silence is golden. This was Silent Night, Holy Night of comedy golden. Kenan Thompson had to dress up as Frosty the Snowman, sure, but instead of hot air and dead punchlines, we watched as Obama (Fred Armisen), Hillary Clinton (Vanessa Bayer), Rahm Emanuel (Andy Samberg), Nancy Pelosi (Kristen Wiig) and Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis) dreamed on Christmas Eve of the headlines they'd love to see in their future stockings. Short and sweet. Thank you. A Christmas miracle. In the monologue,...

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In review: Kathleen Madigan in “Gone Madigan” on Showtime (and on DVD on Jan. 11, 2011)

In "Gone Madigan," Kathleen Madigan's first hour-long stand-up set recorded for DVD since 2006, she proves that she remains one of the best women, if not the best, working on the stand-up comedy circuit. She does so simply by using her common-sense philosophy to analyze the madness that surrounds us. Of course, it helps to have the backing of another popular comedian in Lewis Black, who jokingly calls her "my BFF" before introducing her to the stage in New York City for the taping of "Gone Madigan" (it debuted over the weekend on Showtime, and will be available on DVD as of Jan. 11, 2011). After first ingratiating herself with the audience by acknowledging her perennial obsession with using WebMD to self-diagnose her imaginary diseases, Madigan notes that, much like Black, she has gone overseas several times to entertain the troops. In fact, Madigan and Black usually go on the same USO Tours together. Whereas Black talked on his most recent DVD about a gig on which they shared the bill with Vince Gill, Madigan poked fun at sharing bunk beds and troop visits with Kellie Pickler. "Kellie's hilarious, but she doesn't know why," Madigan noted. More impressively, Madigan took a look at the cityscape of Afghanistan, and after receiving a military briefing about how much American efforts have improved it, observed: "That's amazing. When we're done, we should...

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Review: Ricky Gervais in “Out of England 2” on HBO, or as it’s known in the U.K. on DVD: “Science”

Ricky Gervais is a beloved comedian here in America and also in the U.K. for knowing just how to tiptoe across the line into offensive humor without being so offensive as to lose our love for him (see: The Office, Extras, his podcasts, his hosting/presenting riffs on awards shows). In a proper stand-up set, however improper Gervais may set out to be, he still has some work to do if he wants to match the quality and longevity of his good friend Louis CK, let alone any of the other true greats in stand-up comedy. Gervais already certainly has adopted CK's casual fashion sense, taking to the stage in Chicago (taped this September) in a black V-neck T-shirt, loose-fitting black pants and sneakers. The material covers virtually the same territory as "Science," which is what this fourth hour from Gervais is called in Britain and available on sale already there on DVD. And I'd seen much of it a year ago when Gervais played Carnegie Hall. But for HBO, he has called it "Out of England 2" (airing several times through the end of January 2011, and also on HBO On Demand) with big English and American flags onstage, and mascots paired up on a podium that also conceals a large can of Foster's beer for Gervais to sip from between bits. Here's a clip of Gervais explaining himself,...

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Murderfist’s Merry XXX-Mas Card (or Video PSA)

The kids from the animated "Frosty the Snowman" special are all grown up now, and they have very grown-up problems, at least in the world-view of NYC sketch group Murderfist. Nothing about this is safe for work, unless you are in social work. Roll it!   Ready to call your family and tell them you love them now? Merry...

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December 2010
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