Category: Stand-Up Comedy

But I Ask, Who’s Gonna Follow in Carrottop’s Footprints?

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Salon published an interesting pair of articles on comedy trailblazers. The first, uses the recent Lenny Bruce box set Let The Buyer Beware as an impetus to find ten comics today who not so much carry Bruce’s torch but use it to set fire to everything wrong on this planet. Just like Bruce would. Number one turns out to be Howard Stern, which by admission of the author seems a little off. His main rationale for selecting the “King of All Media” isn’t so much funny as Stern’s current fight with the FCC and Clear Channel. With Rick Shapiro, who’s perhaps more infamous for his flameouts than his act, being second, it’s a very Passion-of-the-Christ-kind of way of looking at Bruce’s work. If you’re a comedy nerd, don’t celebrate how Lenny died, celebrate how Lenny slayed audiences.

The second article talks about a young devout Muslim female comic named Shazia Mirza. Though she can be incredibly fearless (her 9/11 bit: “My name is Shazia Mirza—at least that’s what it says on my pilot’s license”), from what I’ve heard the rest of her act is pretty tame. Though a 28-year virgin, she’ll make the same kind of jokes common to female (and male) comics about how her assets don’t seem to attract the opposite sex. Yawn. It’s cross-connects my humor wires a little. In another article of Lenny Bruce, Bill Maher says “One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade.” Shazia is definitely a tree planter, but I suspect I’m going to enjoy the shade a lot more. But I’ll reserve judgment at least until I catch a full live set. Until then, I’m TiVoing the November 12 edition of Comedy Central’s World Stands Up, which will feature her. You can preview that set here. And you can find a pre-concerns-about-integrity 60 Minutes story on her here.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

How to Talk Dirty and Influ…

Filed Under Records, Stand-Up Comedy

Shout Factory just put out a huge six disc set of Lenny Bruce’s comedy entitled Let The Buyer Beware. Great for any comedy completists who need to know who created the path stand-ups tread today, whether they know it or not. I admire Shout Factory for making such a (along with my blessed Freaks and Geeks DVDs. Rock!), but I wish they put longer previews of Lenny’s tracks on its web page. You see, back in the day, people were actually willing to wait through a long setup. But today, we only get a minute or so to see if we like anything. It would be nice to hear enough so unfamiliar buyers could get a real taste of the man. Still, you get a taste of Lenny’s rhythms with this excerpt of “To Is A Preposition; Come Is A Verb.” (quicktime audio file)

Posted by Todd Jackson at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

Sitcom, Schmitcom. Louis CK Got a HBO Special!

Filed Under Sitcom, Stand-Up Comedy

Louis CK’s getting a chance to helm his own sitcom on HBO. Louis’ focus is a little different, at least for now. As he describes it, along with the development deal, he’s definitely getting a new half-hour comedy special for the network. Which is what he’s really looking forward to, as it’s “concrete” and his last appearance in an 90’s era HBO Young Comedians special “left a lot to be desired.” Hard core training coming up for Louie, so expect to see him a club near you.

Hopefully the sitcom will suffer a better fate than “Saint Louie”, a pilot for CBS that never made it to air. Though it revolved around a couple and their new baby, it sounded like an antidote for audiences who hate cloying stuff about children. In this Onion interview, Louis CK described his first line in the show as “Honey, this baby sucks.” Ah well, another show for the Other Network. (For more of Louis CK’s baby stuff, check out this clip from Conan.)

Posted by Todd Jackson at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

LCS Slam Just For Laughs Insists Houston

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Comic Sharon Houston popped up on The Special Thing Comedy Boards to explain her intentions behind the Fahrenheit: LCS2 video she made. She seems genuinely shocked that it’s gotten the attention it has. From her description, the screed wasn’t so much a rant against reality TV editing as much as an opportunity to tell a few jokes at LCS’s expense. Though this is comedian defense #1 when a joke of yours ends up having more backlash than you expected, she doesn’t seem to have any axes to grind. (The host of the video, does. It revels in exposing flaws in LCS and particularly Dat Phan.) In fact, she’s quite willing again to admit her own faults.

She openly embraces producing another video where two version of her act appear, one the NBC-edited version and the other a full version (as I suggested here). She’s also refreshingly honest about why her bit did fail, citing “rookie” mistakes like: doing a long difficult-to-edit bit, using material even she was tired of and the perennial nerves. I agree with another point in her posts, if she hadn’t said anything negative herself, NBC probably wouldn’t have edited her bit to reflect that. It would have just glossed past without being a highlight (or lowlight) at all.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

If You’re Comparing 9/11 and LCS2 Haven’t You Lost Perspective?

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Last Comic Standing 2 is all over. But some comics still have axes to grind about it. Over at you can watch Fahrenheit LCS2 (third item down), where comic Sharon Houston overlays comments that slam reality TV editing onto show footage. Also included are some unnecessary barbs at two other female comics. What does someone else’s age or accent have to do with your act. Particularly when, by your own admission during the show, your set bombed. All of the protesting functions on the conceit that people actually believe LCS is the absolute authority on who’s funny or not, when everyone really knows it just a gussied-up game show.

With all the griping about featuring midgets and strippers instead of her, Sharon Houston still does have one good point. She claims the producers’ editing took out all the punchlines from her act, which if true, might make her look less funny than she was and, I suppose, affect her career. A far better video would have been to show her act as shown on LCS2 and then show the same set intact from another performance so audiences can judge for themselves about reality TV editing. All the rest of the sniping makes this legitimate complaint sound like sour grapes.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

Last Comic Standing Breaks Glass’ Ceiling

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Todd Glass has begun to sell out comedy clubs as a result of the appearances on Last Comic Standing. The Los Angeles Times article refers to how Todd tweaks the stand-up profession too. His act was my favorite in the LCS Wild Card shows with his magician-secret-revealing set-ups. “You know what guys do that’s a little cartoonish? Or maybe guys don’t do this. I think I might have made it up for my act…” It’s a strange kind of meta-comedy that works for me.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

I hate how “Gen W” tries to label us.

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

Great piece on NPR about Demetri Martin, despite the reference to him as “the voice of generation Y.” Though the comparison isn’t made in the piece, I’ve always seen Demetri Martin as kind of a successor to Steven Wright. They both have similar rhythms to their jokes - one-liners that have “a-ha” moments where the sudden perspective shifts are combustible. Of course this was before, I caught his new one-person show “Spiral Bound” in June.

Spiral Bound features a journey of Demetri into his notebook. (You can take kind of a similar journey at Demetri’s website.) The show describes the decisions and situations that led Demetri to performing stand-up instead of being a lawyer, and the effects it has on his highly-driven medical student fiancee. It’s surprisingly confessional and quite a bit removed from one-liners.

The NPR interview confirms Demetri is kinda undergoing a focus shift in his comedy. He mentions how he feels audiences don’t really know much about you if you’re just throwing out jokes. And he’s right. How much does anyone know about someone like Steven Wright, who seems to cultivate a sense of removal from human behavior (something Demetri never had with his one-liners.) Someone who can write the joke, “I got some pajamas with pockets in them. Which is great because before that I used to have to hold stuff when I slept” has definitely got a very interesting internal life that audiences would love to be brought into.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)
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