Category: Live Events

Reggie Watts wins the Andy Kaufman Award

Filed Under Awards, Live Events

2006 Andy Kaufman Winner Reggie WattsMeasuring an entertainer from today that lives up to the talents and spirit of Andy Kaufman seems to me to be an almost impossible task. Andy Kaufman was a master of misdirection and the core of the comedic arts: surprise. How can you possibly say that one performer is the most unpredictable?

But the event judges showed themselves equal to the task, following up last year’s selection of Kristen Schaal with Reggie Watts, a comedian/musician who uses sound as a comic canvas. He began his set by speaking completely unintelligibly but hilariously for several sentences until he said clearly, “and that’s why I got into comedy.” Then ‘starting off by starting”, he went into one of his two songs which featured some incredible beatboxing into equally impressive verbal tap dancing. A later number was introduced as a “gentle” song about an elf, with the first lyric being a raucous “Hell yeah.” One of his most dazzling feats to me was watching him turn his confession that he had gone “gay” and was meeting with “gay integration counselors” that seem right out of a right-winger imagination into the blandest of corporate speak. (Check this clip called “Scrotor” to get a better idea of what Reggie is capable of.)

One of my favorites from the show were the especially fascinating Charlyne Yi, who collected some valuables from the audiences including some change, gold earrings and a camera and offer that along with the $125 in her pocket for someone to come up and punch her in the face. It was an incredibly beautiful awkward moment that despite the promises of it being “a very good trick” the diminutive Yi had a hard time finding a taker. (You can find some videos of hers on You Tube here.) Another interesting performer was Red Bastard, who resembles a devil with several disturbing bulbous implants on his belly and ass. His honesty at the hopes of being “plucked out of these dumps to be some place reputable like the American Airlines Theatre” was biting at both ends. Also enjoyable was Ken Barnard, who gave us a reading, in character, from his favorite novel - Rocky 3 (“The third is a series of five. Well, the author is working on a sixth). Ambrose Martos got the audience laughing for several uncomfortable seconds while he sat silent waiting for someone to ring a bell that launched him into a spontaneous birthday party for the bell ringer - complete with favor, present, party hat and cake.

One note: performers were asked to keep it clean, because Andy always did. And I have to say, that this show had the most kids I’ve ever seen at a comedy club and, even in environment where more conceptual and bizarre comedy reigned, they didn’t seem out of place at all.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 02:28 PM | Comments (4)

The Comedy Festival Ticket Contest

Filed Under Live Events

From November 15 to the 18th, I’m going to Las Vegas to cover The Comedy Festival in its second year. Unlike Montreal or Aspen, this festival doesn’t focus on new talent as much on putting on big shows from some very big names. And best of all, one of my readers and a friend can win tickets to see three of the bigger shows - shows I’ll be at myself. (Don’t worry - you don’t gotta sit next to me or nothin’)

The first is Triumph’s Poopapalooza II which besides the Insult Comic Dog features Jim Gaffigan and Frank Caliendo on Wednesday Nov. 15th. The second is a Thursday stand-up show with Dave Attell, Louis CK and Daniel Tosh. And the third is Saturday’s Sarah Silverman and Her Magical Friends show (Weirdo and Beardo, better known as Brian Posehn and Zach Galifinakis). You get tickets to all three of these shows.

Now, two caveats… I ain’t got hotel rooms or plane tickets for you. This is just a humble blog so all I can provide you with a three pairs of tickets to some amazing comedy shows. How you get there and where you sleep will be up to you. But it’s Vegas - hotel rooms are there on the cheap for anyone who might drop their paycheck in a slot machine. Plane tickets ain’t so bad either, last I checked.

To enter:

Write me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) before Midnight PST November 8, 2006.

I’ll randomly pick a winner and inform them on November 9 so that you can make your travel arrangements (if you weren’t already planning on being in Vegas). If you don’t want to wait to see if you win tickets, you can buy them now by checking out Ticketmaster or The Comedy Festival’s own site. They have their own contest too if you want to double your chances.

Good luck!

Posted by Todd Jackson at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

NYUCF: Letterman Auditions

Filed Under Live Events, Stand-Up Comedy

Yesterday’s Letterman Auditions were a bit fun, although watching TV ready sets in a comedy club sort of loses the reasons why people go see live comedy anyway… to see what you can’t on TV. Plus, with a two hour length, it’s a bit of a march after an hour and a half. Even I find it hard to judge how funny someone is at that point. (No wonder most comedy films clock in at 90 minutes.) Do the talent bookers have that much endurance or do they just want to get ‘em all done at once?

I still had a few favorites at this show, one of these being Roy Wood Jr. - who had a great bit about all other races gaining equality in this country but only after they go through their turn picking fruit. His Septupalet bit (which you can see here) is pretty good too. My favorite joke from the night came from Liam McEneaney about being raised Nerd rather than Catholic or Jewish - instead of a conformation or a bar mitzvah, he’s taken to a murder mystery as part of a Star Trek convention. I also liked Myq Kaplan, who had a great bit about women breastfeeding in movie theater (they said no outside food!). (You can see this and another good bit of his about pyramid schemes here).

It was also fun to see Todd Barry open to warm up the room for what was to come - but judging from the laughter coming from where the comics were congregating, it was even better for them.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

NYUCF: Comedy is For Humans

Filed Under Live Events, Stand-Up Comedy

I caught a couple of shows this weekend as part of the fest. One of which was Friday’s Comedy is for Humans, hosted by Baron Vaughn and Joshua Grosvent at the PIT. The conceit of the show is that most stand-up events run through performers fast, bringing up as many performers as possible, each with a five minute chunk of time to perform.

Comedy is for Humans is a little different in that it allows performers to go at length - a sometime rare opportunity until you’ve reach a certain point. All of these people have got the goods to got that long, but it’s not a muscle they get to flex as much. So part of the fun is watching the performers feel that out - to see how they manage those moments of awkwardness where the segue isn’t quite there. Comedy is for Humans is a great title for the show because you can fake a persona for five but for twenty, but you can’t hide all those little things that make you human (well, at least not without a lot of practice).

Comedy is for Humans takes place every Friday at 8PM at The PIT

Posted by Todd Jackson at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

The New York Underground Comedy Festival

Filed Under Live Events

The next ten days, from now until Sunday the 17th, will see a variety of shows under the banner of The New York Underground Comedy Festival. The festival is a blend of events with a dual focus. There’s definitely a lot to appeal to people who know comedy from TV with established talent and shows, including Jim Norton, Bonnie McFarlance as part of a benefit performance as well as a special show of “Laughing Liberally”, which has a certain allure to 49-51% of the population (probably larger considering it’s NYC).

But there’s also, like Aspen and Montreal, a focus on looking for what’s next. On the NYUCF schedule you’ll see quite a few shows marked in red such as the 2006 Emerging Comic Contest and audition for the Late Show with David Letterman. These shows are where the industry will be looking. As NYUCF founder George Sarris emphasizes since so much of the industry is here, these shows could be a boon to some of the performers. If you want to see people before they make it to TV (or Aspen or Montreal for that matter), these shows are it.

I’ll be trying to check out a lot of events the next few days, particularly since this year’s festival contains shows on September 11th, which seems like a very interesting day to try and mine for funny. Check out NYUCF main website and see if there’s something that fits your fancy.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Call to Entries: San Francisco Sketchfest

Filed Under Live Events

San Francisco SketchfestDead-Frog will be a proud sponsor of the 2007 San Francisco Sketchfest which will take place from January 11th to the 28th. Right now, they’re accepting entries to take part in the festivies from almost every conceivable combination of comedians: sketch comedy groups, solo sketch/character performers, one-person shows, improv groups, short sketchy plays, alternative comedy acts, musical comedy acts and stand-up comedians. Last year’s event saw performances and appearances from Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk & David Cross. Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, Doug Stanhope, Hard ‘n Phirm, Kristopher Tinkle and Paul F. Tompkins. And that was just a single night. It’s great company to be a part of.

The early deadline is tomorrow, but the full deadline is October 15. If you’d like to perform in the city by the bay, you can download an application form at San Francisco Sketchfest’s Official Website.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

Montreal Just For Laughs News

Filed Under Live Events

Just For Laughs FestivalI couldn’t make it this year due to some scheduling conflicts. I was thisclose to going but just couldn’t see my way there. But here’s what I’ve heard from the festival organizers:

Flying Solo Series: Our new Flying Solo series soared above and beyond the hopes of our programming team. Though it was not a complete sell-out, it reflects a new direction for Just For Laughs, young, hip, edgy programming. We are all about variety so its great that this new series has been so well received by fans and media.

Stand-out performances this year:

  • Jay Oakerson - New Faces and Nasty Show
  • Christian Finnegan - Gala
  • Tim Nutt - Gala
  • Reggie Watts - New Faces (one to watch)
  • Patrice Oneal - Nasty
  • Patty Rosborough - Relationship show and Nasty
  • Katt Williams

Demetri Martin created a HUGE buzz this summer at the Fest. He was THE in-demand interview request. His performance was a knock-out.

Our new club shows: Asian Invasion and Comedy Showdown did very well. Steve Byrne was the stand-out performance at Asian and Andy Parsons was the winner of the Comedy Showdown.

Mark Forward won the Canadian Homegrown Comic Competition.

We added a very special event featuring John Cleese. An in-depth look at his career with a Q&A segment hosted by Ian Hanomansing.

La Clique - our wet, wild burlesque style show was absolutely wonderful and created a lot of buzz with the media.

For more personal experiences of the fest, check out Christian Finnegan’s better half the lovely Kambri Crews and her posts on the CC Insider and Shecky Magazine’s rundown of what they saw Wednesday and Thursday ( Part Un and Deux ). Also good is Chortle’s coverage. For more on the Festival visit

Posted by Todd Jackson at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)