Category: Stand-Up Comedy

Chappelle Stands Up

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Dave Chappelle is back to stand-up, making two surprise performances in Los Angeles and the Improv and the Comedy Store. College Humor, which sponsors the Improv show, has an account of his set which shows Dave has some good spirits about all the press, telling audiences he better get “my ass back to work” if he wants to get any money from sales of the Season 2 DVD. No mention if he did any racial material like the sketches that were beginning to concern him.

College Humor also goes on to mention that Chappelle was completely surrounded by fans and industry on his way out. Along with Comedy Central promising to talk business “really, really soon”, the pressure ain’t going away, but hopefully, neither will Dave.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

Oh I Get It, Rock and Mock Rhyme!

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Comedy in alternative venues is starting to get mainstream attention with a story in the NY Post today. An interesting point made by Christian Finnegan was how much harder you have to work with an alt audience because “You get a lot of bemused chuckling and wry smiling - like, ‘Oh, I see where you’re going.’” Previously I mentioned that comedy clubs surrender up a stink of desperation that make most smart audiences put up a wall between themselves and a performer, naturally making getting laughs harder. But it seems things aren’t easy all around.

Of course, if an audiences is that aware, they’re already a step ahead of seeing comedy in a venue like the Tee-Hee Teepee. They’re at the alternative venues, using their savvy to make Christian’s job harder. Other audience that might be less discerning faithfully head to the Chucklehut, willing to endure the flopsweat. Still, not every hipster loves this trend and working with in rock clubs isn’t necessarily any easier (as anyone who’s seen David Cross take a half hour to pack his bag on the “Let America Laugh” DVD can attest). Despite this, I think anything that gets comedy in a new context is great.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 11:54 PM | Comments (1)

Whistle is Such a Taboo Word

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Comedian Todd Levin recounted a recent appearance where a single joke of his featuring a rape whistle met with audience disapproval. Particularly vexing is that the audience seemed to focus on one word instead of the context. The joke (not stealing, just quoting):

“My mother has always been a scared and cautious woman. For instance, she was in her high school marching band – she played the rape whistle.”

Todd goes on to state that though he hates comics who defend their material, he actually chastised the audience for not enjoying the joke. I think Todd’s distaste for defending his joke is natural, considering most comics misuse it to justify hack material or disturbing exaggerations that lack any wit. But in this case, the bit is pretty clever and the joke isn’t about rape, it’s about fear. I’m glad Todd did it. Though laying into the crowd only rooted one clap from the back of the room, I think sometimes comics need to remind audience to listen with more than their ears.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 05:36 AM | Comments (1)

Boston Leaves New York

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

No official confirmation yet, but there’s some rumors that New York’s Boston Comedy Club is closing down. Earlier this year, in a letter about the negotiations between his club the Improv and the newly-formed stand-up union New York Comics Coalition, BCC owner Al Martin stated that “the Boston Comedy Club at best breaks even.” I suppose that the “best” was far too rare.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

The Aristocrats Joke Database

Filed Under Jokes, Stand-Up Comedy

The blogging been rather light… ok, ok, nonexistent… lately because I’ve been working on a little project. It’s inspired by the new film The Aristocrats, which features tons of comics like Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, George Carlin telling their version of an infamous dirty joke that has been around since vaudeville. And now, you get to tell it.

Submit your version of the Aristocrats joke to Dead-Frog’s Aristocrats Joke database. It’s very light so far. They ain’t just lying around the Internet on regular joke sites. I’ve started us off with one… and will be adding more this weekend, hopefully some from a few funny friends.

The Aristocrats Joke Database.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

Making “Fun” for Audiences

Filed Under Movies, Stand-Up Comedy

Video excerpts are up from the “Making Fun of Filmmaking” conference at the SxSW Festival. Interesting stuff from Patton Oswalt and Paul Provenza about censorship, sort of a contrast to my last post. Particularly insightful is how audiences, both left and right, are the main censors at comedy clubs.

Audiences have only one expectation from comedians: laughter. But as the now-deified humor writer Michael O’Donoghue argued, a laugh is only one response to a joke and not always the most desirable one. It’s a little confusing, but when you are feeling uncomfortable at a comedy show, that’s a good sign. Patton’s right, anyone who tells you they’re “edgy and dark” isn’t and is simply attempting to fake the atmosphere and tension that real comedy creates.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

Every Joke is a Little Miracle

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy serves up another installment of Birth of a Joke, this time featuring the familiar-to-reality-daters comic Chris Hardwick. The cool thing about this installment of “Birth” is how it demonstrates again how little you need some set-ups. In his first time telling the new joke, Chris naturally details how he discovered the observation he finds funny… hicks prejudiced to robots. This story involves his band researching films for a music video and finding an old short with a robot who’s essentially a slave, then the leap of slavery to racism and then the leap to prejudiced hicks. It’s a lot of ground to cover for the punchline. It’s great to see how it all gets circumvented and create a run that really works, including the strong punch that inspired the joke in the first place. Check it out.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)