Filed Under Animation
L.A. Weekly asks a great question: why doesn’t radio genius Phil Hendrie have a TV show yet? Might just be that his talent for holding conversations with himself that sound like two entirely different people talking is just not a skill that translates the TV. And there are much worse fates, TV isn’t everything. Just ask Dave Chappelle. But damn, an animated show with him and Sarah Silverman? Other Network are you listening? (Not familiar with the genius that is Phil Hendrie? Listen.)
Dave Chappelle walks off stage after “fans” relentlessly yell “I’m Rick James, Bitch!” Not only are these people killing Chappelle’s stand-up, they’re destroying the narrow window of getting a third season of Chappelle’s Show from the man. Please people, if you go to a live comedy show, shut the fuck up!
More complaints of ambushing by a political themed comedy show - this time, The Daily Show. I saw the episode where Jill LaVine and State Senator John Vasconcellos appeared. I didn’t think either one of these officials came off bad on the show. Lowering the voting age to 14 sounds completely preposterous, so Vasconcellos looks pretty silly for making the proposal in the first place. But his logic about people taking up the responsibility given to them came through the piece. The man just looked a little out of touch but with his heart in the right place, that’s it. Which is more than I can say for the anti-Philadelphia-gay-tourism man on Wednesday’s Daily Show, who really hung himself with his own bizarre obsession with men’s buttocks.
Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
TiVo forsook me again with Last Comic Standing. Part two of the Vegas finals aired tonight and TiVo didn’t know it, even know it was on the schedule. Weird. Hopefully, I’ll catch the Comedy Central rerun.
That said, I’m all caught up with the episodes TiVo did record. First, a thought on getting to the Semi-40: Lots of comics had gimmicks (wearing jock straps on their head, pretending to be a Nazi or, in desperate “me! me! me!” fashion, following the auditions to EVERY city) that get you on blooper reels. But the real way to get to the 40 is have a different type of gimmick… the compelling story for the producers to latch onto, like:
♦ being a stripper
♦ being 19 and having nine months of stage experience
♦ being a part of a comedian couple with two children.
Not that these people weren’t funny (two and a half of them were…). They’re good stories to tell on the way of getting to the Final 10. LCS is a “reality” show, not a comedy. Thus the tenets of reality trump funny. The winner is not the funniest person, it’s the comic who’s “story” was the most interesting.
Of the finalists, my fave right now is Bonnie Macfarlane who had the audacity to go for broke with the “c word” in her Las Vegas set. Not only is she funny, but she’s got a great “story” for the reality producers to hang on… finalist and future Gap employee Ant seems to hate her. She doesn’t get along well with other female comics (or they don’t get along with her… not really clear on that so far). I’m sure she won’t win, but it’ll be great watching someone who takes risks.
I think Gary Gulman has got what it takes to win the whole show. I caught him as an opener for Dane Cook and he was amazing. He seems nice enough for America to like/sympathize with (and a genuine nice too, he was talking to people in line pre the show I saw as well… it ain’t just a I-need-a-cheering-section-in-Vegas thang) and he’s really funny. His jokes on food, while not exactly the freshest target, killed.
Non-finalist guys who I hope to see more of: Dan Ahdoot (who’s solid, just needs more material), Chris Voth, Monty Hoffman and, apparently, the robbed Dan Naturman from the synopsis I’ve read about tonight’s show.
Though I hate wishing ill will of 1/4 of NBC’s sitcoms next year, but have you seen the ads for Father of the Pride? The animation is dazzling movie quality stuff, but I’ve yet to see a joke that justifies transplanting the family sitcom in this setting. Not to mention the bad taste of the whole enterprise! Sure you have Siegfried and Roy’s approval. But they’re insane. It’s part of the premise of the show!
Well, soon, onto other things beside LCS. I’m already sick of it and we have hours of housemate-snipping to go apparently.
Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
Way behind in the TiVo viewing. Not only have I watched just one of the eps of Last Comic Standing, I have 43 episodes of Comedy Central Presents on my addictive little box. Again, 43. Good thing I like comedy, huh?
Anyway, seems like we’ll have ten finalists. Don’t know who they are, but I had some thoughts on why Dat Phan won, even in the face of guys like Dave Mordal, Rich Vos and Ralphie May. Thoughts that might help out the “angry/edgy” comics who get through the casting directors. (Judges? Please.)
This is enirely a “theory”, since honestly, I hate reality shows and didn’t put up with watching much of the last one. So, take the following with a whole beach.
When you go to the circus, you see clowns. And there’s always one clown, the victim clown, who’s the innocent clown… who gets picked on by all the other clowns. And though, really, those other clowns are the funny ones, that victim clown is the star of the show… because he’s got the audience’s sympathy. Just like Curly of the Three Stooges. Curly’s not the funny one. Moe is. Curly is the one who gets hit the most and the audience loves him for it. Dat Phan is a victim clown.
So if you get in the mansion, let the other comics hate you. They’re doing YOU a favor. You won’t be funny, but you’ll win.
Filed Under Humor
Channel 7 may NOT be on your side? The special report… here on Channel 7!
You’ve seen their ads on television.
(A quick clip of an attractive but not beautiful woman in a business suit. She radiates sincerity as she states, “It’s about the stories. That effect us all. That effect you.” A logo and legend appear on screen: “7 on your side.”)
The ads for Channel 7 promise a lot – to bring you the news in a way that makes sense, along with traffic, weather and sports. And all of these services are promised to be only performed with the best interests of the viewer in mind. That viewer being you.
And in the course of a 22-minute broadcast, Channel 7 seems to satisfy many of these claims, giving accurate if somewhat cursory looks at the day’s events along with a semi-reliable weather forecast and a presentation of the statistics for the local teams and their games. But it is in the other eight minutes of the broadcast where things take a different turn… a turn to greedy self-interest.
These eight minutes are sold – that’s right, sold – to local and national businesses who wish to reach an audience – a trusting audience that believes that 7 is on their side. These businesses which to take advantage of this trust by persuading them to buy a good or service that they don’t need. Lulled into a false sense of security by 7’s slogan, the viewers have no choice but to trust these “commercials.”
And there are several of these commercials within these eight minutes, some of them only 30 seconds long. That means nearly sixteen unnecessary goods or services could be foisted off on unsuspecting Channel 7 News viewers. Sixteen attempts that may cost you and your family money. And how much does Channel 7 gets for selling time – your time? Several thousands of dollars for each segment.
When we confronted Channel 7 News Director Charles Brendon about the existence of these commercials, he refused to speak on camera. However he did make vague threats about how these commercials pay “our salaries” and that if we didn’t like it we could “quit.”
Though we didn’t find anything out from Mr. Brendon, a quick scan of his office did reveal that 7 was far from its viewer sides in other ways. You see, the number of viewer a newscast can attract helps create the rates Channel 7 can charge for its commercial. The more viewers, the more money. To ensure that ratings stay high, Mr. Brendon actively develops Special Reports - like this one - designed to create fear and concern in viewers rather than help them in their daily lives.
Come back tomorrow, when we’ll continue our five-part investigation. Right now, we’re going to explore “Video Games: Are They Prejudiced to Aliens?” But first, some messages from our sponsors.
Filed Under Sitcom
Got comments coming on Last Comic Standing, but waiting for the Comedy Central re-airing of the second episode because my TiVo only caught the first half due to somebody’s funeral coverage. Ack, the nerve.
Very impressed by Reno 911! second season opener (though I felt the “It was all a dream” resolution to the cliffhanger was rather done and weak). The great thing about Reno 911! is the unlike traditional sitcoms, if a character says something mean or rude to another character, you actually feel some sense of pain. One of the reasons traditional sitcoms have been failing is that too often a character will call another some network-safe version of “fuckface” and the victim will respond in kind.
Reality TV has shown us one thing: people carry grudges. If someone calls someone else “fuckface”, they don’t forget it. The characters on Reno 911! feel each others slights without it become cloying or unfunny. Amazing stuff. The comedy has consequence.
The #1 tenet of comedy: If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re not doing your job.
Corollary: Try to aim for Republicans… they’re pretty easy targets.
Apparently Comedy Central’s upcoming show faux debate show “Crossballs” is the latest example of Viacom’s left wing bias (other shows include apparently “The Daily Show”, which did a recent piece making fun of Kerry VP candidates and regularly features Jon Stewart being deferential to guests from conservative groups and causes.) The fantastic thing about this editorial/call for arms is that it proves exactly why conservative are great targets. She’s complaining about a show that hasn’t even aired yet. Insanity!
The best 20 pages I ever read on comedy were in a psychology book co-authored by John Cleese. In it, he describes how “inflexible behavior” is inevitably funny. Conservative commentators, almost by definition (even with a modifier like “compassionate”), are inflexible. You’re gonna be a target when you take a stand on something and not give any ground. If conservatives would be better sports about a culture that takes satirical jabs at them, the jabs would happen less. But that would be flexible behavior… not gonna happen.
Heartening News Apparently, the very late-airing season finale for Arrested Development did well in that 18-34 year old potential-soap-buying audience. Love the audacity of the Sorpranos, but to me the surprise of the night was how much Arrested’s first season tied up with the “light treason” of building tract housing in Iraq. God bless the spot after Simpsons.