Tag Archives: John Oliver

John Oliver’s NY Stand Up is Back!

Britwit John Oliver has tickled our funnybones in featured guest roles on The Daily Show and Community, and last year he was given the reins of a comedy showcase called New York Stand Up. The format was deceptively simple; straight ahead stand-up comedy without the fluff, featuring some of the brightest minds working the NYC scenes today. Although limited to six episodes, we were treated to hilarious spots from Kristin Schaal, Matt McCarthy, Marc Maron, Janeane Garafolo and Nick Kroll among many others.

And wonder of wonders, it got renewed! The new season, again hosted by Oliver, premieres on Thursday, March 24 at midnight, after The Colbert Report.

The obviously titled John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show features Oliver opening each of the six episodes with original material and then introducing four comedians across the hour. Maria Bamford, Greg Behrendt, David Koechner, Kirk Fox, Al Madrigal, and Pete Holmes close each of their episodes with super-sized stand-up sets. The complete line-up boasts new stand-up from Anthony Jeselnik, Brendon Walsh, Deon Cole, Glenn Wool, Jen Kirkman, Kumail Nanjiani, Kyle Kinane, Marina Franklin, Mike Lawrence, Moshe Kasher, Rory Albanese, Rory Scovel, and Tommy Johnagin.

If you know these names, you will certainly agree that it’s an incredible lineup. And if you don’t know those names…man, are you about to have your mind blown. Oliver kicks off the season with a harrowing story of a flight diversion to Hanover, Germany and a thorough defense of the importance of swearing. Joining him on the premiere are Kyle Kinane, Glenn Wool, Rory Scovel and Pete Holmes. Leading up to the on-air premiere and throughout the new season, Jokes.com will feature preview clips and highlights from the series, as well as a special live version of the show staged at SXSW.

After yesterday’s devastating news, I can sure use some cheering up. It will be bittersweet knowing that there are a couple of people missing from that lineup, but I’m looking forward to great stand up comedy once again displacing some of the celebretard programming dominating my cable guide.

 

Such a cheeky little monkey...

 

 

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Comically Bad Advice

Thanks to an event that occurred last night, I sought out some words of wisdom and comfort this morning. Along with the obvious and the occasionally inspirational, I decided to go for the absurdly comedic angle as well.

There’s no Chicken Soup for the Funny Bone, but there is this:

You’re A Horrible Person But I Like You

The pretense is a twisted version of the advice column, where someone (often fabricated) writes in with a question so the columnist can dispense some words of wisdom. Over the years these responders have been straightforward helpful types, wiseass sarcastic vipers or pompous amateur psychologists. and almost without exception, the columns were popular, the printed version of a train wreck that can’t be avoided.

In this book, a group of comedians take a whack at the same Q&A task, asking and answering a few apiece. While the results are uneven, each comic usually has at least one good one, with several (Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Todd Barry and Paul F Tompkins) especially strong.

How’s this for a list of advice givers? Aziz Ansari, Judd Apatow, Fred Armisen, Maria Bamford, Todd Barry, Samantha Bee, Michael Ian Black, Andy Borowitz, Michael Cera, Vernon Chatman, Rob Corddry, David Cross, Larry Doyle, Paul Feig, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Janeane Garofalo, Daniel Handler, Todd Hanson, Tim Heidecker, Ed Helms, Buck Henry, Mindy Kaling, John Lee, Thomas Lennon, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi, Marc Maron, Adam McKay, Eugene Mirman, Morgan Murphy, Bob Odenkirk, John Oliver, Patton Oswalt, Martha Plimpton, Harold Ramis, Amy Sedaris, Michael Showalter, Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Vowell, David Wain, Eric Wareheim, Rainn Wilson and Lizz Winstead.

It’s a perfect book for a quick scan; each chapter (organized by comic) is but a few pages long and can be read in a few minutes. And although the chapters themselves can be read out of order, some of the writers have some clever call-backs that would be easily missed if their chapters weren’t read in their entirety.

It’s not gut-busting funny, but it did put a much-needed smile on my face today. As always, your mileage may vary.

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Happy Birthday, Jon Stewart

The quality of a man is determined by the company he keeps.

A successful man makes those around him better.

Jon Stewart must be a successful, quality guy. The Daily Show has won fourteen Emmy Awards in the category of Comedy, Music or Variety Series- six for Outstanding Writing and eight consecutive awards for Outstanding Program. He and his staff of writers have obviously been doing things right since 1999. I mean, I like Craig Kilbourn, but the only time I associate hm with the program is when consciously recounting the history of the program, even though it was his attitude behind the host’s desk that set the stage for Stewart’s success. So thanks, Craig!

Speaking of springboards to success, thanks again John. Thanks for John Oliver and Samantha Bee and Larry Wilmot and Stephen Colbert. Thanks for Steve Carell, Ron Corddry, Wyatt Cenac, Rob Riggle, John Hodgman, Rachael Harris and Ed Helms.

And – I must bow when I say this – thank you for Lewis Black.

Thanks for your blatant admission of being a comedian and not a newsman, yet presenting a more interesting, informative and well-balanced news show than all of the other networks combined. Thanks for not backing away or backing down, and especially not cracking from the sheer volumes of lunacy that surround us every day. Thanks for using humor and satire like a sword and a beacon, to cut through the fog and a to illuminate our social frailties and political illnesses.

 Thanks for constantly poking holes in the airbags that are Fox News and MSNBC and somehow making Comedy Central a far more credible source for news and information than two of the most highly funded global organizations in the news business.

Thanks for making me laugh…and think.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Stewart. Here’s your moment of Zen.

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Stand Up Wit…Matt McCarthy

You might have seen that expressive Irish puss on commercials for Verizon, Doritos and other companies, or perhaps like me your first prolonged encounter was on John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up program on Comedy Central. Or maybe you know him from his work with Front Page Films along with Pete Holmes (no relation!) and Oren Brimer. Whatever way it happens, Matt McCarthy makes an immediate impression. 

Looking like a leprechaun on steroids, McCarthy is a bit of a madman onstage, prone to explode on occasion in a loud and boisterous manner. Hell, you can tell he’s a little nuts just by the URL for his MySpace page. His debut comedy album Come Clean (recorded at Comix in New York City in April 2009) was just released and is available digitally; hard copy CDs are only sold at his shows. Which now gives you two reasons to go see the man perform, of course. 

Video: The first KISS meeting. 

 Come Clean is pretty hilarious, but I’ll admit when the first track “Greetings” (a string of ethnic impressions) kept going and going I wondered why he had opened by beating something to death. But just as it got uncomfortably awkward he segued into Zortar, a man from the future…and I lost it – I almost drove off the road. 

And that’s McCarthy in a nutshell – unafraid to go off the radar if there’s a great line at the end worth getting to. And who records his own preview track and inserts it into the middle of the album…or segues The Incredible Hulk, American Beauty and not-so-tough guys together into one joke? “Badass Poetry” was hit and miss, but there are so many original ideas like the “Love Lotto” or the Planned Parenthood t-shirt bit that are pure genius. 

Other highlights include “Funerals and First Dates”, “Old Suicide Notes” (a great segue from “Black Ops”) and the brilliant closer  “Get To Know Me”. A bookend to the protracted intro track, he bids the crowd good night while rapidly completing a twenty-five question Internet poll in reverse (“favorite flower” and “favorite vegetable” are among the many killers). It’s like the fireworks display at the end of an event; everything including the kitchen sink gets tossed at the crowd before he spikes the ball and leaves. 

I’ve heard Come Clean three times already and I’m still laughing. But I never want to hear the phrase baboon load again. Ever

Really...don't ask.

Matt’s commercial reel 

Matt McCarthy videos at Comedy Central 

McCarthy’s classic Michael O’Donahue impression 

Come Clean at iTunes

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T.G.I.F. – Ten CCP Episodes

 

To honor the fourteenth season of Comedy Central Presents, which kicks off next week (2/19), this week’s TGIF focuses upon ten standout episodes from the past. Many of these are in rotation at Comedy Central but there are no set days and times – the schedule of reruns changes constantly. So set that recorder to grab “all episodes” and you will not only come across these (eventually) but discover a few new favorite comics by accident. I know I did. 

And don’t forget to tune in for tonight’s episode (2/12) featuring clips from the upcoming season, followed by the season finale of John Oliver’s New York Standup with Mary Lynn Rajskub, Chris Hardwick, Greg Fitzsimmons and a feature set by the great Paul F. Tompkins

Below are links to ten comics who might not be household names in the flyover states, but are top-shelf for true comedy fans. Links will take you to their Comedy Central page where there are several video clips available, some from their CCP episodes. I’ve also included a note showing how CCP describes them…and what the truth is

In alphabetical order by height: 

Having a ball isn't a bad thing.

 

Ian Bagg – Actually, they don’t say much about Ian except that he’s Canadian and from a remote area. Maybe they need better scouting. I say he’s a nutjob with a rapid-fire delivery who will have you rolling. 

Todd Barry – They say he’s cute and adorable. Yeah, like a Doberman puppy! How about sneakily subversive and wily? One of the best minds in the game – dry, droll and lethal. 

Nick DiPaulo – They say he’s a little bit reckless. I call it brutally honest and fearless. In his world there are no sacred cows…there is only hamburger. 

Pat Dixon – They say uniquely off-kilter comedic sensibility. I say incredible wordplay, subtle perversity (and some overt perversity too), great delivery and such an old-school look he should be in black and white. 

Eddie Gossling – I guess they’re running out of adjectives when they call him original, charming, and slightly self-deprecating. How about the guy at work you don’t want to mess with because he might blow his top? (Literally – the teapot impression is a classic!) 

Nick Griffin – They say he’s personal, precise and powerful. Really, CCPalliteration? Why not go with sadness, semen and shame? Griffin nails the middle-age guy who is life’s pinata. 

Lynne Koplitz – They say an accomplished stand up comedian. (Yawn.) I say that she’s proof positive that the phrase “comedy ain’t pretty” is a lie. But be careful – behind that lusty appearance is a killer with a bit of crazy and a filthy streak…you bad girl, you. 

John Mulaney – They say he is nice, kind of tall, whatever. Boy, that nailed it, huh? Mulaney released one of the best comedy albums of 2009; he’s a great writer and should be much better known than he is now. With his skills I suspect that’s only a matter of time. 

Dan Naturman – They say he’s a combination of self-deprecation and downright grouchiness. I say that…yeah, they got that one right. Perfect delivery and funny as hell – Last Comic Standing really blew it when they overlooked him. 

Tom Papa – Ok, CCP, time to hire a bio writer when you describe a guy as a family man. Sure, “observational comic” is an overused phrase, but Tom Papa is animated and smart and cranky and sarcastic. Oh – and hilarious. Opens for Seinfeld and if Jerry doesn’t show up the show still rocks. 

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Comedy Central Presents – New Season!

Thanks to Comedy Central and to the fine folks at AST for sharing this:

Get ready for some spanking new funny! Unveiling a fresh, new look and showcasing its best-ever, all-star line-up of today’s finest comedians, COMEDY CENTRAL Presents premieres Friday, February 19. The season kicks off with COMEDY CENTRAL Presents Tony Rock” at 11:00 p.m., followed by COMEDY CENTRAL Presents Doug Williams” at 11:30 p.m. on COMEDY CENTRAL.

In anticipation of the funniest season yet, COMEDY CENTRAL is whetting viewers’ appetites with a special half-hour sneak peek.  COMEDY CENTRAL Presents Best of 2010 – featuring selected highlights from the upcoming season – is on Friday, February 12 at midnight.

COMEDY CENTRAL Presents is the premiere showcase for top stand-up talent. Filmed at New York City’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater in front of a live audience, the 14th season of COMEDY CENTRAL Presents will air every Friday night beginning February 19 with two all-new episodes each week at 11:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Hot, new episodes of this season will include stand-up performances from Jon Lajoie, Rob Riggle, Matt Braunger, Pete Holmes, Amy Schumer, Andy Kindler, Iliza Shlesinger, Owen Benjamin, Rory Albanese, Jon Dore, Shane Mauss, Donald Glover and The Sklar Brothers.

That’s a serious list of potentially great shows, folks. First John Oliver‘s limited run of stand-up shows – featuring several killer sets from the likes of Mark Maron, Maria Bamford, Nick Kroll, in addition to really funny work from the host. Now this! Friday nights are an oasis for comedy lovers once again.

It also goes without saying that after so many years there are several great older CCPs still in rotation, so maybe setting that TiVo or DVR to record “all episodes” wouldn’t be a bad idea. Who couldn’t use a laugh today?

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T.G.I.F. – Ten (Uh…Things?)

It’s a crazy weekend!

The Super Bowl (an American Holiday), shadowy groundhogs, pre-Olympic craziness and pitchers and catchers almost reporting to Spring Training. So rather than limit to a formula or media, how about going with the spirit of potpourri? So here are this week’s ten things … stuff I’m juggling in my wee man brain

(1) LOST opening creditsif it was a 1967 show.

(2) The first great album of 2010.

(3) Louis C.K.cannot wait for his new show April 1.

(4) Speaking of Louis, Parks and RecreationChris Pratt rules!

(5) The Unusuals! Cancelled, but alive on DVD.

(6) A great band is back together with a new album!

(7) So is the original lineup of this powerpop band.

(8) Kelley Ryan‘s debut album Twist is still only one dollar via her website.

(9) LOST Flight 815 – then and now

(10) It’s Friday, so that means John Oliver’s New York Stand Up show is on tonight! Here’s an old clip of John where he talks about Rob Riggle taking the cranky Brit on a hunting trip (sorry for the clicking sound). Tune in tonight to Comedy Central at 11pm Eastern.

Have a great weekend – don’t bug out! (And Happy Birthday, Eleanor.)

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