Day: March 7, 2011

The Moth presents Mike DeStefano’s story, “Franny’s Last Ride,” live from HBO’s Aspen festival in 2007

Mike DeStefano wasn't only a great stand-up comedian, but a richly compelling storyteller who had a helluva life worth talking about. Four years ago this month, DeStefano told a story about his late wife, Franny, as part of The Moth's storytelling showcase at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.   Mike DeStefano always kept it real. He will be...

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RIP Mike DeStefano

Too soon. This is just too soon. Comedian Mike DeStefano died last night from a heart attack. DeStefano's quick bio on his website revealed his wit and his hardships: I am a stand up comic.Before that, I was a drug counselor.Before that, I was a drug addict.Before that, I was 12! But he was such a good guy and a great comedian. Many people only got to know the Bronx native a year ago when he competed in and almost won the seventh season of NBC's Last Comic Standing, and learned a lot more about him over the past several months as he went on a nationwide tour with the other finalists. DeStefano was working on a new one-man show, A Cherry Tree In The Bronx, and was set to unveil it Wednesday at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York City. DeStefano had kicked heroin and lived for many years with HIV. He also had put together an all-star comedy special last year, Comics Anonymous, and was planning a tour for comics in recovery. At the end of that special, which aired on Comedy Central, the final end credit paid tribute to Greg Giraldo. The last time I saw DeStefano was at the recent tribute fund-raiser for Giraldo at the Beacon Theatre. DeStefano busted my balls, but always with a smile. And he wanted me to see his new show. I'm devastated that...

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SNL #36.16 RECAP: Host Miley Cyrus, musical guest The Strokes

With the week that Charlie Sheen had in all of the media, you'd have to be an idiot not to know that Saturday Night Live would capitalize on it from the get-go. And despite the efforts of some to push Jimmy Fallon back into SNL as Sheen's doppleganger, the show looked within its own cast to find Bill Hader as a Sheen impersonator for the cold opening, which imagined Sheen hosting his own show, Duh! Winning!, even though Sheen himself had just hosted his own show an hour earlier in real time online via Ustream. Which sucked, by the way.   Let's examine the evidence. At least the SNL version offered an opportunity to burn through everyone else who was having a bad PR week in the world. As far as Hader vs. Fallon as Sheens, I'm not sure I liked one that much better than the other. Mostly because I'm sick of seeing anyone (even Charlie Sheen) being on Charlie Sheen. Enough already. So an entire sketch devoted to similar train wrecks? Egad. Abby Elliott played the sidekick role as Christina Aguilera, while Sheen's guests included Nazi sympathizer John Galliano (Taran Killam), Libyan dictator Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi (Fred Armisen) and Lindsay Lohan (Miley Cyrus). Look. I know some people were wondering how a young woman would do hosting SNL, when all she has to her credit is several years...

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SNL #36.15 RECAP: Host Russell Brand, musical guest Chris Brown

Any episode of Saturday Night Live that opens with Jason Sudeikis supposedly playing Bill O'Reilly (when Suds was so good at Glenn Beck, who is completely different), well, that's going to be problematic.   Fred Armisen also still is pretending to be President Barack Obama, and there's that. Nasim Pedrad is super hot as O'Reilly's assistant, though, so there's that, too, right?   Oh, so Russell Brand is the host of this week's episode, and far be it for me to be the only person to think that his outsized personality and size might be problematic for fitting in with the cast (and also, he's British, so he speaks that way). Brand played off of his stand-up act here, in which he acknowledges that he's still more famous in the United Kingdom than he is in the United States.   This Spider-Man lawsuit ad spoof is something that is both believable and funny, as if it were a thing that could play on my TV today and me think, oh yeah, sure.   The show brought back Cheryl Bryant (Wiig) for reasons that cannot be explained, because none of us are sure why her excitable character is a recurring character.   If that didn't seem flimsy enough, there was an entire movie trailer based on the premise that British people have accents so strong that you cannot hear consonants....

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SNL #36.14 RECAP: Host Dana Carvey, musical guest Linkin Park (plus Mike Myers, Justin Bieber)

Since NBC has gotten so much better at putting buzzworthy clips from SNL online, it's made me less eager to recap the full episodes. Or perhaps it's just ennui from this season in transition. Either way, it's given me a chance to catch up with the past few episodes later, and see if I have a fresh perspective on them. With Dana Carvey hosting, you knew he'd bring back some of his classic characters, because he had done so before. What you didn't expect was that he'd do so right off the bat in the cold open with Mike Myers returning for a "Wayne's World" reunion. Wayne's World! Excellent! Party time! They even wrote the script to include a callback to their other reunion, which happened not on SNL or even NBC, but at the MTV Movie Awards in 2008. You can see the clip and my first impressions of the Wayne's World reunion on SNL.   The monologue was a little different, because Carvey gave a shoutout to his two teen-aged sons in the audience, who he said had never seen him when he actually was on SNL as a cast member. A mini moment of poignancy. And then he got funny sincere by talking with pride about his cast (1986-1993) being the best SNL cast, because as everyone knows, when it comes to SNL, people have their...

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