Filed Under Sitcom
Transforming trouble and pain into laughs is the alchemy of Comedy. Maria Bamford is one of the best at this in stand-up and now, in the forthcoming "Lady Dynamite" from Netflix, we'll see her do it in a more narrative form. The trailer above just dropped yesterday.
It's "Semi-Autobiographical" (her Target spokesperson campaign looks to be suggested around :39) but also takes to flights of fancy (getting slapped by a hampster!). She's partnered in this with Mitch Hurwitz of Arrested Development which is exciting because he already played with the streaming form with that sitcom's last season. The trailer also gives us glimpses at a deep bench of guest stars and cameos like Sarah Silverman, Bridget Everett, Ana Gasteyer, The Lucas Brothers and Jason Mantzoukas.
"Lady Dynamite" begins streaming on Netflix May 20th.
I added this feature last week to the Stand-Up Comedy Database that I'm planning on iterating over and improving over time. Here's a link to it:
<a href="http://www.dead-frog.com/comedians/timeline">Timeline: Stand-Up Comedy Year by Year</a>
I'm calling this section the "Timeline", although I don't think that goal is entirely achieved yet that's really where the ball is going. For right now, it's a rundown of births and deaths and notable releases of specials, albums and books in the Stand-Up Comedy world for each year. We go from now to 1955, so over 60 years is represented here for you to check out. Along with adding an actual timeline of the big events in stand-up, I've got plans for adding a section for the major awards given for each year (even though I don't entirely believe in awards for comedy). I'll try and make this the best reference I can. Feel free to write me with suggestions on how to improve it.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist at times, so I hope you like it, but I think an important thing to note here is that I'm fighting my addiction to brain crack and y'all should be supportive of me.
Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
The hard thing about being a fan of a comedian is after a while, you learn their rhythms enough that they don't surprise you as much. And then you become one of those "I liked his early stuff better" guys.
I don't think I'll feel that way about Patton Oswalt any time soon. There's some familiarity in this trailer for Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping... but it's more like hearing an old friend telling his new stories to you.
But I do know I'm disappointed in the marketing guys at Netflix. That rotation between three UN words - Unflinching, Unfiltered, Unleashed. Yikes. Do we have to sell all stand-up with "You never, ever hear this talk in day to day life!"
Enjoy the trailer. Just ignore the titles. Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping becomes available for streaming on Netflix April 22.
Filed Under Movies
Here we go - red band trailer for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. I'm a little wary of a sequel of the Neighbors. The first was incredibly funny but what made it great was how the jokes and action drew upon characters' resistance to the changes in their lives like parenthood and graduation. We're past those problems now in Neighbors 2 right? So what's the characters' problem other than making sure the house sale closes? You can't get that arc that from a trailer obviously. (Well, you could make a trailer that way, but then why see the movie?)
As you can see above, here's bigger and better versions of the gags we liked last time. I'm looking forward to seeing the new subtext the jokes are all hanging off of. Something about the sorority's influence on their young daughter seems like fertile territory.
Neighbors 2 opens May 20th.
One of my first tasks when I realized my Comedy Nerdom was hunting down as many issues I could of the National Lampoon on eBay. But I was more than a little sketical about the appeal of a movie about the founding of the National Lampoon. And I have a comedy blog.
But every bit of casting I've heard about the upcoming Netflix film "A Futile & Stupid Gesture" — based on the Josh Karp book of the same name — gives me hope. Let's run through them:
Most of these people are professional funny people... so they don't have to be looped in on what it is to be a funny person for a biopic. But more important is that the film will be directed by David Wain from a script by Michael Coltion and John Aboud.
That's a big deal because Wain, as a founding member of the State, knows what it's like to create a humor instituion right out of college. And as Harvard Lampoon alums, Colton and About know more a little of how rare and hard it is to create a humor institution with their attempt at creating Modern Humorist in their post graduate years. Everyone is close enough to the material to get who Doug Kenney was because they've lived a bit of it themselves, albeit at a smaller scale.
So at the very least we won't be getting someone treating comedy like Aaron Sorkin did in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Perhaps they might be too close to the experiences of the material to do it justice, but my National Lampoon-collecting cynical Comedy Nerd heart is starting to believe.
A Futile & Stupid Gesture starts production later this month.
Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
Norton's early stint in rehab was the turning point when he first got sober and learned the power of self-discipline. Which, frankly, sounds like the a boring Faustian bargain, but is one all the same: He will have a career pushing the envelope in standup and calling out society on every little hypocrisy he notices, and in exchange he will give up any possible fun. No boozing or drugs, of course. But also no cake or rich food, and yes to gallons of green juice. No to smoking, yes to seeing a personal trainer daily.
The amount of self-knowledge and self-awareness that Norton has for handling addictive qualities is incredible considering so much of his early material is based in self loathing. A comedic persona sure, but it can't be far from the man himself. Self loathing can lead people to indulge. It can also drive success. Somehow Norton has manage to keep the disgust without it swallowing him up.
<a href="/comedians/tour_dates/jim_norton">See all of Jim Norton's upcoming dates for Mouthful of Shame here.</a>
My only complaint about Julie Seabaugh's Oral's History of Comedy Central is that, by nature, you have to have cursory looks over some of the defining shows. The Daily Show or South Park are particularly ripe for Oral Histories themselves. But this is a quibble on a good read. And it's only part one. Still more to come.
Amazingly, there's still parts of Comedy Central's back library that still resonate and that they're willing to potentially resurrect... an intriguing tidbit from the article:
Katz: Dr. Katz has such a loyal fan base, even now. At one point not so long ago Comedy Central approached Tom Snyder and myself to make webisodes of the series. The idea was they would introduce all the [young] comedians in Comedy Central’s stable. They backed out at the last minute. But I expect it will be back somewhere in some form.
I love this, not only for the possibility of more Dr. Katz, but just the optimism of that last sentence. Streaming + Content Demands + Nostalgia has turned the "goobyes" for a lot of belowed shows into "see you laters."