Filed Under Late Night
The question of what Stephen Colbert is without the pundit character of "Stephen Colbert" was asked a lot in the run up to the new Late Show. One essential element of The Colbert Report was play. Viewers were invited to play along, to "Yes And" the character of "Stephen Colbert." Become one of the "heroes", to join the Colbert Nation and celebrate Truthiness. To watch the show was to play a character too. The Colbert Report audience was a part of the character.
The audience for Late Show will be different. The Colbert Nation throws open its doors to a broader group of entertainment-seeking immigrants. The invitation to play with Stephen is extended to more folks. Folks who might be very different from those who played with "Stephen Colbert."
There was no clear thesis statement like "Truthiness" in the first episode of this new show to unite the new audience. But there was lot of individual elements that I felt added up to more than themselves to reflect a new viewpoint that celebrates differences.
The show was book ended by two songs. The first being pure patriotism - Colbert singing the Star Spangled location with other Americans in locations across the country. The second, "Everyday People" with a variety of musicians, underlining the lyrics of "different Strokes for different folks" and "we've got to live together." Beyond these two songs however, are Jon Batiste and Stay Human as the house band. The group regularly created what they called "Love Riots" - spontaneous musical parties on street corners and other unlikely locations. Musically the thesis is clear. A Late Show should bring people together.
Loving one another despite out differences is something that came through in one key moment last night. During Colbert's interview with Republican candidate for President Jeb Bush. Colbert refererences his own brother Jay, who was attending in the audience. Colbert mentions he and Jay do not see eye-to-eye politically. Jay shakes his head in agreement. Colbert follows that with "But we love each other", causing Jay reach out his arms in expression of that love.
Lest anyone thinks this neuters Colbert, the host used this moment to ask Bush to detail how he different from his own brother George politically. It's probably the critical question that Jeb needs to answer to reach that moderate middle of the country that isn't reflexively one party or another. It was a brilliant bit of verbal judo.
Even with his competition, Colbert's Late Show is going to be about love. While checking out the new TVs on set, Colbert set his own DVR to record Jimmy Fallon's show for the night. In a short coda for the first episode, Colbert and Fallon get dressed post show in the same locker room. Just two guys who happen to work the same shift.
Filed Under Animation
I'm constantly behind on my comedy viewing. My TiVo, even with a external hard drive expander, groans at 90+% continuously. I watch very few things at the moment unless it's extremely timely.
Rick and Morty is one of those rare shows. Endlessly inventive with ideas casually tossed out that could be the entire basis of other shows. But the events, no matter how crazy, have weight and consequences... we're technically in our second Rick and Morty-verse (the first is a post apocolyptic mutant hellscape after a pheromone experiment gone awry).
So I'm very much looking forward to seeing how many "Verses" we'll go through for Season 2... we got at least one episode that looks to be a split screen showing the events in two verses simultaneously. Who knows? Maybe they'll both go up in horrible, hilarious fashion.
Rick and Morty returns to Adult Swim July 26th at 11:30pm
Filed Under Live Events
If you've seen Adult Swim's The Eric Andre Show, you might - just might - be prepared for what will happen on Eric Andre's live tour.
Even if you're not prepared, you can still win something for each of the 11 dates. Each of the prize packs include a Poncho, T-Shirt and Mask. And the final grand prize is an iPad preloaded with a special message from Eric Andre. Enter using the handy widget below. For more on the tour check out the dates below or visit ericandretour.com.
The Eric Andre Show Live Tour Dates
A new album from Maria Bamford is always something to look forward to, even if much of the material is from her self-released "the special special special!" last year. The difference here: you get to hear the material performed for a bigger crowd than her parents and you get Maria's two half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials on disk two. Where is your "God" now? Amazon and iTunes, presumably.
Filed Under Awards
Carol Burnett will be this year's recipient for the Mark Twain prize for humor from the prestigious Kennedy Center. As the highest prize in comedy, the luminaries that Burnett will join are names like Carlin, Pryor, Winters, Cosby... although this year's prize breaks the recent trend of younger nominees like Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Ellen Degeneres. But it still points to a trend of diversity with three of the past four winners being female. All in all, well-deserved.
It is a little bit of a mystery of who decides the Mark Twain Prize. And how do they decide?This story in Washington Post has an interesting look. First off, none of the folks on the selection committee are apparently in the comedy industry, which, if you're going to give out the prize, I actually don't have a problem with. This isn't a prize for comedians by comedians. It's a prize for comedians from the culture, which is mostly non-comedians (although judging from Twitter and Vine, this is less and less true.) And while the only absolute criteria seems to be breathing (which George Carlin promptly violated after winning the prize), the need to sell tickets and draw a rating are important. It's a rating on PBS, but still...
I should mention I am quoted at the end of the article questioning the need for comedy awards in the first place, filling the role of turd in the punch bowl.
The ceremony will take place on October 20th at the Kennedy Center and will be broadcast on PBS October 30.
Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
Comedy Central didn't pick up the pilot Kyle Kinane made this summer, so he threw up on the web for you to see. It's Kyle Kinane's Going Nowhere - a comedic travelogue that's reminiscent of Dave Attell's Insomniac, not just because of its attaction to life's oddballs but because Kinane also likes to leave in the mistakes, reveling in pointing out the artifice of television. In the pilot, Kyle goes to San Francisco and meets up with a dominatrix, a big foot hunter and a wizard with a familiar with little respect for recently dry-cleaned robes.
As for why it didn't get picked up. Part of me thinks that Kyle's regular gig as Comedy Central's voice worked against him here. He provides his own narration here and it's pitch perfect. Though Comedy Central can be pretty lose, I have to imagine that they'd want to keep that voice as neutral as possible. Maybe it was a little hard to see how they could promote a new Jeff Dunham special with a voice heard discussing the subtleties of handkerchief code?
It's definitely fun stuff and worth twenty minutes of your time, even if you don't learn nuthing.