Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy
I live near Webster Hall in NYC... so Kanye West's not-to-be pop-up show was a fascinating spectacle for me in the difference between music and comedy. Earlier that day, my attentions had been on a quieter pop-up event in Minnesota.
Last night at the Riverview Theatre in Minneapolis, Dave Chappelle showed a unreleased comedy special to a crowd of roughly 700 people. Chappelle has not released a special in over 10 years. So to see something he might release is pretty big.
There hasn't much been about the content of the special online - not even a title. But the audience did love it:
Dave chappelle at Riverview was pretty much incredible.. #theswindler— Zack Gizmo (@Zack_Gizmo) June 6, 2016
Got to see an unreleased Dave Chappelle special tonight and heard him tell Prince & Muhammad Ali stories. Great.— Paul R. Novak (@paulrnovak) June 6, 2016
$20 to see an unreleased Dave Chappelle comedy special at the Riverview was the deal of the year: intro by Dave + short B.S. session after— David Kingsbury (@kingsbury) June 6, 2016
Checked out @DaveChappelle at the Riverview Theater last night. He told some jokes and spoke about Prince and Muhammad Ali. It was amazing.— Delane Cleveland (@DelaneCleveland) June 6, 2016
The Chapelle screening at Riverview was awesome, he did a great Q and A after, too.— Dan Hendricks (@Dan_H) June 6, 2016
Sounds great. Will it ever be released? At least a couple folks from the audience seemed to think that was unlikely...
That Chappelle event at the Riverview was a screening of a comedy special he's not sure he will release. He also hosted, shit was dope!— Doug Lef | Cash Only (@douglef) June 6, 2016
I don't think he's gonna release this special either, we may have been the only crowd to get to see it.— Dan Hendricks (@Dan_H) June 6, 2016
I'm sure that's disappointing for sure, but that's Dave Chappelle. He's does what he wants. And he should.
What could help him to decide to release it? Post Comedy Central, money has not been the driving factor for Chappelle. Netflix or HBO would offer a great deal of money for a new Dave Chappele special, but I doubt that would make a difference.
With the Internet, never have stand-ups has more control in how they release their specials, but Dave doesn't have a website or even an active Twitter account. I'm not certain Chappelle looks at the Internet as a place for artistic freedom. Considering the no-cell-phone policy at his shows, I'd imagine that the web seems like more of a nuisance to him that anything else. So I'm not sure even a self-released special is likely.
This special screening was added late in Chappelle's Minneapolis run of shows, which suggests to me that this was pretty spontaneous. So when Chappelle does come to your town, I would not be surprised if he does it again - at a moment's notice. A pop-up special. Try not to stampede anybody on your way there.
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 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>
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 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 nuthin'.
The hardest thing about this year’s Comedy Awards to me is that at least two separate things loom so high over everything else that happened that I have a hard time seeing why others with win.
First, for movies… Bridesmaids. Which was not just funny but also an impressive portrait of a character who is profoundly sad because of the loss of her business and her romantic relationship. It’s got fantastic gross out scenes but is actually wildly funny at the same time that the characters have grounded and real feelings. I didn’t see everything nominated this year, but Bridesmaids was able to balance such hard comedy with a character’s emotional life is enough for me to suggest a sweep of most of the movie categories (save for Performance by Actor, heh).
The second, in TV and Stand-Up… Louis C.K. With “Louie”, C.K. always surprises. I never know what I’m going to see from week to week but I’m always delighted as it unfolds. And as a stand-up, C.K. has very few challengers… particularly with how he changed the game with his own self-released special on the web. Almost everything he was nominated for, save Comedy Actor, he feels like a lock to me. With him calling his win last year “the greatest moment of the shittiest night of my life”, I’m looking forward to seeing the visible discomfort at the adulation (as a comic should be).
I voted in this year’s Comedy Awards and though it might be obvious how I voted after what I said above, I’m not sure if I can tell you all my picks. But I’ll tell you my right/wrong ratio for the official categories at the end of the night.
6:46 OK, we’re starting soon… I did a little tweeting before it. Might do a little more when I got some acidic, non-pertinent snark. Read my tweets here.
6:52 Doug Herzog, Comedy Central President, is bravely doing warm-up… promising it all gets funnier afterwards. Doug is also detailing the The Comedy Fund, which is the foundation that helps comedians who are having major life transitions… (i.e. no health insurance and very sick among other bad things.) Perhaps a Sarah McLachlan-esque poignant montage of the faces of sad and confused comedians will come during the show? Fingers crossed!
7:16 And we’ve started… Andy Richter welcoming us “From the Comedy Award capital of the world!”
7:18 And we start with the award that will have the most obvious winner. Chris Rock on nominees for Stand-Up Specials: Three are funny. One used to be funny. One never was funny. Does he mean it? He does. Anyone care to guess which ones? Nominees: Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater, Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup, Patton Oswalt Finest Hour, Colin Quinn Long Story Short, Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts.
Winner: Louis C.K.... wearing a tie this year! He’s changed! Apologize to all the girls who cheered Daniel Tosh, says he wants to fuck him too. I’m 1 for 1 so far.
7:25 Will Arnett presenting the award for TV Writing. But first, let’s look at the schwag bag… which comes with a live turtle. Aww. Nominees: 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live
Winner: 30 Rock. Yeah, it’s still pretty amazing. But as good as the always surprising Louie? Not to me. 1 for 2.
7:31 Maya Rudolph talks about online shopping addiction, perhaps her online shopping addiction before introducing Best TV Performance by an Actor. Nominees: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Ty Burrell; Modern Family; Louis C.K., Louie; Steve Carell, The Office; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Winner: Ty Burrell. With a very heartfelt speech. Definitely deserves it. And if I had any brains while filling out my form, I’d be 2 for 3. But I’m actually 1 for 3. Yikes…
7:37 Now, Best Film Performances by an Actress. Chris Parnell hasn’t seen any of these nominees, because he watches porn parodies exclusively. Nominees: Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses; Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher; Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids; Emma Stone, Crazy, Stupid, Love; Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
The clips of the actress will need to be bleeped. Them some filthy laddies.
Winner: Melissa McCarthy. I picked Kristen Wiig… I’m afraid I judged this beyond the comedic appeal, basing it on the big arc of the movie rather than the explosive appearance… So I’m 1 for 4. Maybe this comedy thing isn’t for me…
Melissa McCarthy wasn’t there to accept. But Norm McDonald did, or rather didn’t, bringing on a Native American in full headdress who, in a wonderful cringe-worthy way, spoke to the rape of the land and how they can’t join in the laughing. It’s a very dark bit and I was laughing hard… but it’s not for everybody. Plus: super old reference.
7:46 Tracy Morgan is giving up show business and joining the Secret Service. But first, the nominees for best Sketch Alternative series: Childrens Hospital; Louie; Portlandia; Saturday Night Live; Tosh.0
Winner: Louie....who points out he won an award from another black guy. Maybe I should have looked at who would give the awards before I picked. I’m 2 for 5. Also, wonders, like a lot in the press room, why Louie is considered a sketch show.
7:51 Tracy Morgan takes back quitting. Not interested in taking bullets, even for a black president apparently. Now, Club Comic. Nominees: Ted Alexandro; Hannibal Buress; Pete Holmes; Anthony Jeselnik; Moshe Kasher; John Mulaney; Kumail Nanjiani; Chelsea Peretti; Amy Schumer; Rory Scovel
Winner: Hannibal Buress Great choice. The one I should have picked. 2 for 6. Hannibal points out that none of the other nominees showed up, but he still deserves it because he’s the “dopest” out of all of ‘em. Also, the caucasians split the white vote. Then plugs his tour dates. (Which you can see here: Hannibal Buress Tour Dates)
7:57 Adam Scott with the nominees for Best Director of a Comedy Film: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; James Bobin, The Muppets; Paul Feig, Bridesmaids; Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love; Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Winner: Paul Feig... Paul decides to direct someone else to do his acceptance speech. He brings up Will Arnett rather than using Adam Scott, who’s on stage. “Just went a different way.” Arnett reads the speech, including a brilliant advance of Feig’s wife (with suggestive statuette gestures from Feig in the background). Feig’s wife can’t hold it together… a highlight of the show.
Oh, I’m 3 for 7. Woo!
8:06 A tribute to SNL’s Weekend Update… with Colin Quinn, Chevy Chase and Norm MacDonald all at the desk. Chevy Chase kind of rants about how it all begin and pretends(?) that he doesn’t know the current host of the segment. “Oh yes, Seth Myers… with the big smile.” Colin reads his speech he would have read if he won for stand-up special. Norm mentions that he was told not to prepare anything. Little Feather shows up talking about Wounded Knee again. There’s an attempt by Chase to get Jon Stewart on stage to arm wrestle. Norm points out that without Chase, nobody else would have got to do it. And then, mentions how the segment was good at taking down those full of themselves… sort of sounding like a slam on Chase…
It’s a bizarre, surreal segment, almost trainwrecky… They cut to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at one point pretending to sleep. It’ll be interesting to see what of the intro makes it to air. Then clip package… of all the moments you love. No musical guest this year. So this instead…
8:34 After a lull, Key and Peele bring us back with Obama and his anger translator. Anger translator making a big deal about how he needs million cause he running against a millionaire. Plus, where’s all the black people at?
8:38 Between Two Ferns segment with Zach Galifianakis previewing the special that will air before the Comedy Awards. Galifianakis asks Richard Branson about working with “Hot AIr Baboons.”
8:41 Key and Peele in the press room are planning a web series to be responsive during the election with a prepared set for Obama and Luther. They can shoot and get it up hopefully same day. Almost like a war room, but funny.
Also, the cast of Happy Endings giving award for best viral original… which I didn’t vote on.
8:46 Rob Riggle claims he’s totally prepared. And will stop anybody who rushing the stage. Looking at you, Wiig. Nominees for Comedy Series: 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Happy Endings, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation
Winner: Parks & Recreations That makes me 4 for 8. So deserved… “Excited to join the ranks of the one show that has won this award.” Then they thank all the husband and wives and “everyone who is a nice person.”
8:52 Rob Riggle introduces nominees for Animated Comedy Series: Archer; Family Guy; The Life & Times of Tim; The Simpsons; South Park
Winner: Archer 5 for 9! One of the co-creators slipped while getting the award… ouch. (in the Press room he joked that Riggle tazed him, but he apparently to have enjoyed the drink) “Jessica Walter couldn’t be here. H Jon Benjamin simply won’t be here.”
8:58 Patton Oswalt introduces Robin Williams winning the Stand-Up Icon Award. Williams riffs off the awards shape… and mentions that he never worked previous winner Eddie Murphy. Points out he started with only getting three minutes at an open mic and then. Lucky… just like a leprechaun… save he snorted his pot of gold. Praise for current comedy: Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K., Chris Rock and shouts out to: Jonathan Winters (“the Buddha of Santa Barbara”), Mort Sahl and Sid Ceasar.
9:10 Ed Helms introduces nominees for Late Night: The Colbert Report; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; Late Show with David Letterman; Real Time with Bill Maher
Winner: The Daily Show Richter says it all “What a shocker. It’s the god damn Daily Show again.” Why didn’t I pick it? 5 for 10. All the correspondents accept while mentioning their crazy agendas…
9:16 Robin Williams in the press room, mentions that doing the Comedy Cellar is like playing “Lenny Bruce, the home game.”
Ed Helms presents Directing for Comedy Series. Nominees: The Colbert Report; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; Late Show with David Letterman; Real Time with Bill Maher
Winner: Louie. 6 for 11. Louie thanks his kids. Not by name. “because of the Internet.” And his kid’s mom. Which is classy and nice of him.
9:20 Comedy Screenplay. Nominees: 50/50; Bridesmaids; Crazy, Stupid, Love; Horrible Bosses; Midnight in Paris
Winner: Bridesmaids A great speech about friendship from Kristen Wiig and Mumolo which degenerates into a physical fight over who gets to take the award… I’m 7 for 12 now!
9:22 Chevy Chase gives a Best Friend Award to Joel McHale, which is a hug. Nominees for Stand-Up Tour: Dave Attell; Lewis Black; Louis C.K.; Kevin Hart; Jerry Seinfeld
Winner: Louis C.K. “This is stupid now. I hate this. Everything if you keep doing it starts to suck.” Then he walks off the stage. Brilliant. 8 for 13.
9:28 Louis C.K. in the press room on why he went to the web: Cites the small market for ‘em. “Nobody cares if you do a stand-up special. They say, yeah we’ll take it.”
9:30 Nominees for TV Comedy Actress: Zooey Deschanel, New Girl; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Winner: Amy Poehler First thing she’s ever won besides Stoner of the Year. Then very sincere that the job is her award and about her love for the comedy community, especially the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Poehler doesn’t seem to far from Leslie Knope
And oh, 9 for 14… not too bad.
9:36 Jim Carrey says “Hello, room full of people with sick moms.” A little upset that he’s not nominated for Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Not personal. Here’s all the animal-hating nominees for Best Comedy Movie.
Winner: Bridesmaids Feig is accepting. Feig says one thing he wanted to ask the women, “Can I see your boobs?” Ugh. Sort of a false note.
9:45 Robert DeNiro honoring Don Rickles for the Johnny Carson Award… Mentions that after he worked with Don, Scorcese has worked with Leonardo DiCaprio for five films and DeNiro zip. Introduces Jon Stewart… mentions seeing RIckles in 1982 at Carnegie Hall. Stewart went backstage at the show. RIckles said to Jon, “Stewart, smart? Now they won’t know you’re a Jew.”
Jon reveres Rickles for turning the equation around on the audience, essentially asking what’s so special about you that I have to please you. Stewart points out it’s appropriate for Rickles to get Carson award since nobody made Johnny laugh harder.
Rickles is like Louis C.K. at first. “I wanna go home.” Rickles praises Carson, saying he had a magic to make you look good. Praise for all the late night hosts, especially Stewart for his grace… Very heartfelt speech. You’ll see a lot of the “Mr. Warmth” tonight… but ... “I see a lot of people in the audience and I realize I’m the biggest name here.”
As always, that last moment in front of the Johnny Carson’s Curtain make the night for me… validating why there’s a Comedy Awards.