Category: Stand-Up Comedy

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)

Gallagher, #1 Asshat

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Gallagher can't stand that he was only #100 in Comedy Central's "100 Greatest Comedians" list. So he rallied his fans in an ineffectual gesture against his ranking in the who-gives-a-shit list. He had them rank all the comics in the list on "Funny", "Original/Ad Lib" and "Performance" and not only did he top the chart on his own site, he topped every one of those categories as well. Above Carlin and Pryor!

Louis CK (#99 in the CC list), who Gallagher ranted against because he's never heard of him (which could be a sign of why he's at the bottom), is now #100. Louis CK, states on his message board that though he's "not proud to be at the bottom of (Comedy Central's) list", he is "proud to say I came in dead last" on Gallagher's.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Take My Messiah, Please

Filed Under Print, Stand-Up Comedy

A conference is attempting an academic feat that, to some, is akin to trying to prove pi repeats. They’re trying to show that the Bible’s pretty funny, actually.

To me, this actually makes complete sense. When you’re the underdog, the victim of persecution (in this case Romans), one of the best weapons you have is satire and being funny. It’s only once you become establishment do you tend to become humorless. It’s no wonder that the conference, entitled “Laughter and Comedy in Ancient Christianity” focuses on the early days, where, apparently, parodies of Adam and St. Peter were appreciated, and not feared.

Of course, there are some, like Brad Stine, who are trying to connect comedy and modern Christianity (of the evangelical variety yet) as reported by the New Yorker. Interestingly, a comic like Stine has arose at a time when evangelicals claim they feel persecuted by Hollywood, activist judges, etc., etc. Do people only attempt comedy when they think they’re getting kicked in the face?

Posted by Todd Jackson at 05:03 AM | Comments (0)
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