Day: January 24, 2011

The dream of the ’90s is still alive and funny on IFC’s new show, “Portlandia” (review, clip)

It isn't as easy as it looks to make mockery of liberal hippies, but that's usually because the jokes are coming from conservatives who are unfunny pricks about it. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein certainly aren't that. They know their targets. They know their target audience. And in their collaboration together for IFC's new show, Portlandia, they are all of them and more in a spot-on series of sketches and studies of the eccentric characters who inhabit Portland, Ore. Count Brownstein among them. She's better known as part of Portland band Sleater-Kinney. But she proves she can hang comedically with Armisen — who used his summer break from SNL to film the first season in Portland — as they deftly move from organic diners to lesbian feminist bookstore owners to an alternate version of themselves. They're aided and abetted in this by contributions from Jason Sudeikis (who played a charismatic polygamist farmer in the premiere episode), Kyle MacLachlan (who plays the mayor), Heather Graham (who plays hot) and others. Although their city is played for laughs, I hope the people of Portland (Ore. branch) can recognize that this satire is also a bit of a love letter to them. The series plays like a string of silly SNL digital shorts, all anchored by Armisen and Brownstein. Exhibit A: Here's the music video that serves as an opening anthem for...

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In other news…

Before these items lose the "new" part of the news, here's a look at the good, the bad and the weird making news in comedy today: The 2010 winners of the British Comedy Awards were honored over the weekend. See the full list of winners and nominees! On the other hand, the Razzies announced their nominees today for worst in American movies for 2010. Whoopsies all around. Somewhere in between is Harvard's annual Hasty Pudding man and woman of the year. This year's honorees: Jay Leno and Julianne Moore. Alan Sepinwall sat down with Louis CK following his TCA press tour panel, and so you'll want to read this interview. The Guinness Book of World Records still recognizes The Comic Strip Live in NYC for longest continuous stand-up comedy show, but don't tell that to the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, and definitely don't tell that to the comedians who spent 81 hours telling jokes over the weekend at Magooby's Joke House outside of Baltimore. You can see clips of Magooby's Really Really Really Long Comedy Show on Ustream. Please don't try this at home. And by home, I mean your home club. Or at...

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Comedy Central Presents: Michael Kosta

Michael Kosta is a tennis player and the youngest child in his family. I don't need to tell you those things, however, because Kosta gets into both of those topics in his first half-hour Comedy Central Presents, which debuted on Friday night. What he didn't say then, because he didn't know it then, was that Kosta also is filming a game-show pilot for NBC with retired NFL legend Jerry Rice. That show is called, well, Catch. In the meantime, catch up with some of Kosta's comedy. He opens with some advice about drinking and wearing contact lenses. Not a good idea. Crowd work off the top? Go for it. Pound. Explode. Roll it!   More clips after the jump! Here's the part where Kosta describes his past as a high-school, college and professional tennis player. Wanna see his trophy?   Youngest child is funniest child? It helps if you get stuck with a dumb nickname. Starts them young with the torment.   Speaking of family torment, Kosta's parents want to be friends with him on Spacebook? Not going to happen. Here's his argument about how mothers are ruining their children's lives by being on Facebook.   More crowd work? You betcha. This time, in between handing out his cards to the ladies, he's doling out advice on dealing with parking tickets, shark attacks and crocodile tickets. "It's not just...

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Mike Birbiglia to spend a week in the Macy’s display window. No room for sleepwalking?

On Wednesday morning, Mike Birbiglia will step into the display window of Macy's department store — the flagship Macy's in New York City's Herald Square — and spend the next week sleeping (and not sleeping) there in the window. I know. He knows. Here's a short video for Downy (the stunt is promotion for their "Clean Sheet Week") in which Birbiglia talks about prepping for the little big gig. Roll the clip!...

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AOL repackaging podcast clips from Kevin Smith, Adam Carolla and Kevin Pollak for nightly series

Amber J. Lawson is bringing her comedy sensibilities to roost at her new gig heading up programming at AOL, launching a new nightly clip show tonight that culls together highlights from the popular podcasts of Kevin Smith, Adam Carolla and Kevin Pollak. Lawson told The Hollywood Reporter: "The idea is to take these very popular podcasts with their very rabid audiences and find a platform-appropriate way to create a programming block. We want to tap into their audiences and create video content that is consumable in one- to five-minute chunks." Smith will provide one segment per week, Carolla will provide nightly segments, while Pollak's weekly chat show will be cut up into four individual segments each week. The clip shows will appear on AOL's home page at 10 p.m. Eastern each weeknight. The highlights packages all will be safe for...

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