Category: Aspen Comedy Festival

That “Other” Festival Blog…

Filed Under Aspen Comedy Festival

I’d be remiss to not talk about the USCAF’s Official Blog. It’s more than a little buried on the site, but it definitely needs to be seen. The show is being chronicled by the entertainment from the “Off the Web” show. So far we had entries from Todd Levin, Baron Vaughn and Charlie Todd, who’s been charged with pulling pranks on the well-heeled residents of this quiet little mountain town, one of which is “Meet a Black Person.” Todd Levin is on “Wuhl-Watch” chronicling his sightings of the “Arliss” lead and Baron Vaughn shares in minute detail his air travel including the observation that “a comic’s sense of geography is contigent on how many dick jokes they have.” And of course, the need to consume bottled water gets a beating several times. Good stuff… definitely worth the read.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

Random Aspen Notes

Filed Under Aspen Comedy Festival

On plane to Denver, meet an independent casting director who works with Comedy Central. She recognizes me because, as it turns out, we live in the same building. Just had to fly to Aspen to actually network.

Flying into Aspen am seated across from a woman from the ACLU who is coming to the festival to learn how they can use comedy more in their messaging. ACLU, fighting for our rights through the funny.

On shuttle to hotel, my friendly driver Keith shares with me that I should really check out “these guys I drove in yesterday - The Whitest Kids U Know.” Buzz officially begins.

Couldn’t sleep on plane due to “unexpected turbulence” both fluid dynamically and screaming child, so blow off two Short programs - sorry filmmakers - for a three hour nap at my very nice hotel, The Aspen Meadows.

Am actively encouraged to drink bottled water at every turn - free bottles in hotel room, press room and I imagine, handed out on the street. The effects of mountain air give convenient excuse for any kind of affliction…

Posted by Todd Jackson at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

Why I Won’t Be Skiing or I Gave My Leg for the Harold

Filed Under Aspen Comedy Festival, Improv

Aspen, besides hosting the annual industry event, is primarily known for it’s slopes. But I won’t be hitting them. And why, if you indulge me, is comedy related.

Late 2001, I took a Level 1 Improv class with the UCB (back when you had to stand in line to sign up for classes). I don’t consider myself a performer, but I thought it would help me a faster writer - more trusting of my first thoughts. Though I was nervous, the group mind encouraged by Armando Diaz was very powerful and you quickly felt safe enough to just play.

To my shock, my play demonstrated to me that my comic persona was Chris Kattan - far from the wit I had imagined myself. In future improv classes, I would settle down. But for the time being I was embracing turning off my ever-chattering brain to let my body initiate and respond to my partners however it felt like.

Leg in brace post ACL surgerySo when I initiated a scene where I ran at my scene partner while pretending to hold a football, I was purely focused on the joy of just flopping around on stage. While attempting to avoid my scene partner’s grasp by hurdling a chair Hertz-style like O.J. Simpson, I landed with a far too straight leg. I went down thinking of nothing but pain - the worst I’d ever felt before or since.

Class was paused. A ice-cold soda can was produced in lieu of actual ice. I think my partner inappropriately felt incredibly guilty, but I don’t know as my screaming knee swallowed up any empathy that was coming my way. The pain dulled after a few minutes, I managed to finish the class and hobbled on it for a couple days.

Late last year I finally had surgery to fix the joint. Turns out I had managed to give myself an Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear - an actual football injury from playing fake football. Though I walk just grand now - no sudden pain or “floating sensations”, Doc says it’s six months ‘til I can do anything like skiing. So in Aspen, I’ll just be focusing on the performances, hoping nobody else has to live a cliché like I did.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 09:27 AM | Comments (1)

Heading to Aspen

Filed Under Aspen Comedy Festival

I'm going to Aspen, Colorado to cover U.S. Comedy Arts Festival for the next few days. HBO Comedy Festival Logo I'll try and post multiple times every day, depending on my wireless access. The line-up of shows this year is pretty amazing including Louis C.K., Jim Norton, Paul F. Thompkins, a Tribute to Larry Sanders, 15 Years of Def Jam Comedy (with Dave Chappelle scheduled to appear) plus screenings of Art School Confidental, Thank You For Smoking and Fired!. And of course, New York has a huge repesentation with sketch group The Whitest Kids U Know, Aziz Ansari, Baron Vaughn, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, and Todd Levin & Bob Powers. Should be an interesting time. Much more to come.
Posted by Todd Jackson at 06:15 AM | Comments (0)