Tag Archives: Dana Gould

The Green Room and The Portable Lounge

Love, love, love comics talking about comedy.

Finally got the opportunity to start watching Paul Provenza’s show The Green Room. The basic concept is simple – bring a handful of comics together for a roundtable discussion and let it rip in front of a live audience. Provenza knows pretty much everyone in the comedy universe, and he excels at bringing the right mix of people and personalities together.

Check out the trailer.

The first season is in the books (six episodes) and the guest list is amazing. Green Room guests range from iconic veterans like Robert Klein, Jonathan Winters and Tommy Smothers to cutting-edge guys like Dana Gould, Jim Jefferies and Andy Kindler. It’s fast, funny and uncensored for your protection.

Provenza, who helped bring the documentaries The Aristocrats and I Am Comic to the screen, also has a new book called Satiristas which is loaded with great interviews. I was always ambivalent about him as a comedian, but his passion for the art and history of comedy is undeniable and I hope he has several more projects up his sleeve. (More on this and other comedy books soon...)

Visit The Green Room

No Showtime? No spare time? Spend a few minutes at Comedy Central’s Portable Lounge, where two comics hang out, discuss absurd topics, plug a new project or two, review what Internet scabs are writing about them and just generally have fun with absurd games like Tweet Of The Moment. The plethora of commercials at the website are a little annoying, but that’s why browsers allow you to open multiple windows. Multi-task, people!

Four episodes so far – the pairings are Chris Gethard and Bobby Moynihan, Amy Schumer and Julian McCullough, Joe DeRosa and Rachel Feinstein, and Kurt Braunohler with Kristen Schaal. It’s possible you won’t recognize the all the names; if not it’s a great opportunity to discover a few new funny people in a different environment than they are usually presented. It’s a very casual atmosphere; long enough to be worthwhile and short enough to fit in any schedule.

Visit The Portable Lounge

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Wishes for 2010 Comebacks

 

Happy New Year! Many of us look upon January 1st as a fresh start, a chance to wipe the slate clean and start a new plan. For others, it’s an opportunity and a challenge to make a mark in life, to have a sense of purpose and accomplish a goal. And for pop culture freaks, it’s a chance to wonder what the year ahead has in store, as every year brings us some wonderful surprises, whether a great album or a new TV show. Who will occupy our thoughts in 2010? Certainly there will be some new breakout artists, but as always, some blasts from the past will knock us for a loop as well. 

All too often we take our cultural heroes for granted, expecting them to continually churn out yet another book or album or screenplay at the same pinnacle of quality. If they hibernate or quit, we pine that they walked away too early. Yet if they start to slip, we pounce upon them for overstaying their welcome and selling out. But our culture seems preoccupied with success and redemption, so we seem to be especially cognizant of those who recapture some past glory, especially if the road since then was paved with difficulty. 

I used to be among the camp that wanted to leave well enough alone – don’t tarnish a reputation with a comeback, but walk off on top and disappear into legend. With very few exceptions, no one does that voluntarily; it’s usually an untimely death that cements a legend. James Dean might have made as many horrible film choices as Robert DeNiro had he lived into his sixties. Had Elvis died while in the service, he’d still be larger than life, only not literally. But instead we usually witness a fall from grace – Willie Mays playing center for the Mets, Dick Clark still counting down New Year’s Eve. 

But after seeing Mott The Hoople reform in 2009, after watching Jim McCarty and Johnny Badanjek rocking like they were teenagers again, after having Dana Gould and Steven Wright release hilarious new albums years after I thought they were done with it all, I’ve jumped ship. Life is short – give me all I can handle. Not everyone will succeed, but I can swallow the moments of ineptitude for a calculated risk that there will be moments of pure magic that otherwise never would have happened. 

So with that caveat in mind, here are ten reunions, revivals and/or comebacks I’d like to see this year…a few of which might actually happen! 

Risk and Reward

The Faces – A test run happened late this year where Ian McLagan, Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones finally gave up on Rod Stewart‘s false promises and played a gig without him. If only they would have done this while Ronnie Lane was still alive, but throw in Glen Matlock on bass and someone like Sulo of The Diamond Dogs on vocals and this could be magic. 

Arrested Development – Maybe line-for-line the funniest television comedy ever, and it’s a crime that something that great couldn’t find a strong audience let alone a network exec with a spine who would have kept it on the air for the sake of art. (Yeah, right) Rumors about a movie continue to swirl – please get it done before it’s too late! 

RockpileBilly Bremner is playing music in Europe, Nick Lowe is still great but sedate, and…well, where the hell is Dave Edmunds, anyway? Technically they only made one album although all those Lowe and Edmunds records were really Rockpile albums in disguise. Seconds of Pleasure turns thirty this year – how about a sequel? 

Eric RobertsMickey Rourke was right – if someone would just give Eric Roberts a chance, I think he’d knock the ball out of the park. After all these years tolerating his sister’s horrible movies, I think Hollywood owes me a film where Roberts has a great role to sink his teeth into. Tarantino, you listening? 

The Kinks – Come on, guys, even The Zombies have managed to get back together. Dave is recovering but back out on the stage, and Ray’s work over the past couple of years has been among his best. There’s an entire generation who hasn’t seen the band live on stage. Please guys…one for the road

Mel Brooks – I know he’s having great success reviving old hits on Broadway, and I know he’s in his eighties. But he’s still one of the quickest, sharpest wits around and perhaps five years after losing the great Anne Bancroft he will dig deep for one more devastating comedy film. 

The J. Geils Band – Peter Wolf still has the chops, and lord knows we need a band that doesn’t take itself so seriously. A kickass band with a guy who knew what being a front man was all about, their party atmosphere the antithesis to indie shoegazing. 

David Simon – The man gave us two of the finest television shows in history – Homicide and The Wire. Both scripted dramas were far more real than any of that reality TV crap that we drown in today. Save us, David. 

Tonio K. – I think I wish this every year. Not sure if he’s flying well under my radar or just involved in other projects (like assembling a blues compilation) but it’s been over a decade since Gadfly Records released his reissues and almost twenty since an album of new material. America needs all the cynics it can get.

Robert KleinGeorge Carlin might have been the one to make the most of the opportunity, but it was Robert Klein who helped put HBO on the map with his comedy specials. Whip-smart and multi-talented, I can’t believe that the events of the past several years haven’t inspired him to create a new hour of material. We need you, sir. 

"You start something this time, we all get a half-life, go figure it out on your own..."

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Stand Up Wit…Dana Gould

Not crossing, but jumping the line.

Not crossing, but jumping the line.

I’ve enjoyed Dana Gould’s quirky and bold humor for a long time. A fixture on the alternative comedy scene (think Patton Oswalt or Mr. Show), Gould blends subversive observational humor with deeply personal confessional rants, resulting in a performance that is hilariously funny but occasionally disturbing and uncomfortable. I treasure his first CD Funhouse, and had long held out hope that he would take time away from a seven year career as a Simpsons writer to bless us with a follow-up album. Lo and behold, it took over a decade, but Let Me Put My Thoughts In You is finally here, and yes, it was worth the wait.

Dana on Kimmel performing some of the new bits.

Gould has always maintained a pulse as a stand-up despite the other career and family obligations, although more to keep his chops sharp than to circle the country in a conventional tour. As a seasoned writer/performer, his segues are sharp and logical but not blatant. It’s as if an initial barstool conversation gradually gets more perverse and then goes off the rails (with you hanging on by a chin strap, of course).

There’s a brief interview/conversation between Gould and director Bob Odenkirk that is more revealing than you would expect it to be, and provides insight into his thought process.  Dana Gould’s humor is not for everyone, but then again…what is?

Read my full review at Blurt Online.

Dana Gould

“I thought it took time to become a bum?”

Dana’s website

Dana on MySpace

Dana wiki

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T.G.I.F. – Ten More Clips

This week’s group of command performances spotlights the Rooftop Comedy site. The main page offers an ever-changing list of hot video clips, but you can also use the exhaustive directory to find clips from hundreds of comics. They people at Rooftop have assembled a pretty amazing collection of videos from well-known favorites as well as great up-and-comers.

Take a chance on some random names…you won’t like everything but you may discover some who will become favorites. Here are some short and sweet smiles for this week…

comedy mask

Eddie Ifft – “Swine Flu vs. AIDS

Jay Davis – “Naming Hurricanes

Mike Vecchione – “Freudian Fantasy

Kivi Rodgers – “Man was designed to masturbate

Gary Gulman – “Tarmac Survivors

Robert Hawkins – “Redheads Unite

Dana Gould – “Racist Dad

Vic Henley – “Elvis is Dead, Right?”

Larry Reeb – “Moron Tax

Jasper Redd – “Road Rage

And Featuring Three Not Secret Not Hidden Bonus Tracks!

Tight 5ive interviews with…

Eugene Mirman

Robert Schimmel

Marc Maron

Life is short – laugh every day!

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