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EXCLUSIVE preview: Jim Gaffigan takes over Pandora Comedy in honor of Cinco

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 13:14

With the release of his latest album Cinco, Jim Gaffigan continues to spread his everyman comedy to the world. So, it’s no surprise he’s set to to begin a national tour — dubbed the Noble Ape Tour — that begins July 14 in Hershey, PA and continues through December. Before he hits the road, however, he’s got a job to do. In honor of Cinco and Father’s Day — you probably know Gaffigan is a father to five children — he’s taking over Pandora’s Today’s Comedy Station today!

During today’s takeover, Gaffigan will curate a selection of tracks from his favorite comedians and will, obviously, be playing some of his favorite bits from his past albums as well as tracks from Cinco. But the pressure is on for the comedian-turned-radio host since Pandora‘s Today’s Comedy channel is its most popular; listeners logged 1.7 million hours listening to comedy on Pandora in the past month. And Gaffigan, himself, is the most popular comedian on Pandora with 770 million total spins. With the release of Cinco, those numbers will only shoot up.

In an exclusive preview of Gaffigan’s Pandora takeover, Laughspin got a sneak peek into some of the things the comedian will talk about today. “I’ve done a fair amount of comedy albums and specials over the years. And you’re never really sure when it’s done because I think every comedian knows that they tape a special or they record and album and then a week later they think of a great line,” Gaffigan says about co-writing material with his wife Jeannie. “The addition of a line can change the whole makeup of a joke or a chunk. But I do think that determining when a chunk is done, it does feel like material reaches a point where it’s ripe.”

On being labeled a “self-deprecating comedian,” Gaffigan says,  “it’s definitely something that I am aware of. Look, I’m a straight white male, so there’s no punching above me. And I don’t really want to punch down. And so the self-punching — my comedy — I really kind of steer away from ‘us and them.’ And so making fun of myself, it’s not easy, but it’s a safe place to go because I don’t want my comedy to end up messing up someone’s day. That being said, I’m sure I say things that offend people.”

Check out the full Gaffigan takeover today!

Kevin Hart audiobook from Audible — I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons out now! (Exclusive Video)

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 18:38

If you’re even a casual follower of Kevin Hart‘s comedy and, especially, his social media feeds, you already know the mega-comic is a bit of an inspiration junky. That is, he loves being inspired and inspiring others. Sometimes he inspires us by being shirtless— because he’s built like a goddamn NFL running back. Sometimes he inspires us by posting a photo of him standing next to a private plane or working out or sitting on a super fancy red car; or he posts a photo of himself standing next to a private plane holding the book I’m about to tell you about or hanging out with his wife, who is-not-in-the-least unattractive.

He’s got so much inspiration to give, it turns out, that mere mortal Instagram accounts and comedy stages just can’t contain the breadth of Hart’s sage-like summations of living and life. Enter: a book. Not just any book, mind you. It’s a book titled I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, penned by — you guessed it — Kevin Hart.

Now, you book traditionalists are welcome to “read” the 400-page tome, which came out today.

Personally, I would much rather listen to Kevin Hart read me 400 pages.

To prove to you how much better — and more inspirational — listening (instead of reading) can be, we have lovingly procured an exclusive video from the folks at Audible, the proper swell organization responsible for the more listen-y version of I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, in which we watch Hart gives advice to his 20-year-old self. I won’t give it away but you should know it has to do with his balls. So if ball talk offends you, maybe you should skip it and go right to the audio track below the video. Either way,  you are most welcome for these gifts we have bestowed upon you.


Here’s that audio-only clip we promised you. Enjoy!


Howie Mandel, Lena Dunham, Emma Stone and more share videos for #MyYoungerSelf campaign supporting mental health awareness

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 15:34

For more than a decade now, Howie Mandel has been an open book about struggling with mental health issues, namely Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which, in his case, shows itself through an irrational fear of germs. But the comedian wasn’t always so forthcoming about his conditions. “There was always a stigma attached to mental health issues,” Mandel, who wasn’t diagnosed until he was an adult, once said. “I’ve always felt a little bit different and I always knew I wasn’t as comfortable with life as everybody else seemed to be. But I didn’t know what I could do about it. When I was a kid I didn’t know anybody who went to a psychiatrist.”

And that’s why, in the midst of Mental Health Awareness Month, Mandel is making sure young people know it’s ok to speak out if they think they might be suffering with any number of mental health conditions. The America’s Got Talent judge and Deal Or No Deal host has teamed up with the Child Mind Institute’s campaign, #MyYoungerSelf. The concept is simple yet powerful: Mandel, along with other celebrities like Jay Leno, Lena Dunham, Emma Stone and more, share a homemade video wherein they explain how they grew up dealing with mental illness or a learning disorder (another cause the Child Mind Institute addresses throughout their work). They then explain what they would tell their younger selves.

In the video below, Mandel admits, “I have a lot of mental health issues.” More importantly, though, he urges young people not to hide their conditions. “Don’t be quiet. Tell people. Tell people, like ‘How can you help me?’ Talk to anybody. Anybody! A friend, a doctor, a parent,” Mandel says. “Not everybody’s going to understand, not everybody has an answer, but since I spoke out about it, I’ve gotten a lot of coping skills and I’m doing pretty well. A lot better than I was doing when I was younger.”

Throughout the entire month of May the Child Mind Institute will post a new video each day from a celebrity. You can already check out videos from Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Rachel Bloom, Lena Dunham, Wayne Brady and more.

“We are grateful to have so many notable figures participating in #MyYoungerSelf and speaking up about such an important topic,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Founding President of the Child Mind Institute. “I know that their inspiring stories will help millions of families open up about their own mental health and learning disorders and seek out the help their children deserve.”


EXCLUSIVE FULL ALBUM PREMIERE: Scout Durwood – ‘Take One Thing Off’

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 14:37

“I came up as a performer in queer nightlife, so a lot of what other pop songs were about didn’t resonate with me,” comedian, actress and singer Scout Durwood says about “Go Go,” one of the 19 tracks that make up her debut musical comedy album Take One Thing Off. After one listen of the entire album, however, one can argue the dearth of popular music easily embraced by the LGBTQ community is why Take One Thing Off exists. So much more than a set of goofy songs, Take One Thing Off is a collection of expertly crafted pop tunes – with help from acclaimed producer Dave Darling – that will bounce around your brains for days on end. It helps that Durwood’s pipes are on par or better than most of the disposable pop stars of 2017.

And that’s why Laughspin is proud to exclusively stream Scout Durwood’s entire album before it’s officially available May 19 through Blue Elan Records. So, sit back, check out our little Q&A with Scout, watch her amazing video for the title track and get to listening to her album!

Oh, and one more thing. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you’re going to want to make it out to Take One Thing Off Live at The Hotel Café on Saturday, May 20 at 9 pm. Get your tickets now!


How would you explain the relationship between music and comedy in your life?
Comedy is my head and music is my heart. There is so much about the human condition I want to figure out and explain, and for that, I use comedy. Why are we here? What are we doing? Is any of this at all relevant? And whatever I can’t explain, I sing.

Is there some sort of comfort in putting out a comedy/music album as opposed to, say, a straight-up music album– in that, if people say “it stinks!” you can always, say, well, it’s JUST a comedy album so, what did you expect?
Ha! No way. The comedy tracks on this album give me way more anxiety than the music. There’s a bullet-proof-ness to singing where you can close your eyes and tune out the audience and really just be in it with the song. It’s harder to do that with comedy. Impossible, really. I’ve never imagined people would want to listen to what I have to say unless I was being funny, however, so it’s been my main focus in life for always. In a way, all of my years as a comedian were just a means to get me to a place where people would listen to me sing.

The video for “Take One Thing Off” is pretty amazing. Can you of explain the inspiration behind it?
Hell yeah. We had a bunch of ideas floating around, but Sammi Cohen and Sarah King who directed and produced the video, respectively, came up with the laundromat. They also decided to get a motorcycle into said laundromat, and it was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed I almost always perform with two male back up dancers, so I brought in Graham and Cory, and the rest was a big party that all fell into place. It’s super hipster and super queer and we had In ‘N Out for lunch. All the things that I love best!

The video shows a lot of hijinks…. did the party continue off camera as well?
Once that paint powder came out, it was game on. Graham, the dancer in white with the big ol moustache, got blasted in the ear with blue paint in basically our first shot, and from that point on, everyone was all in. We tested a bunch of the paint on our producer, so by the end of the day, no one in the crew was safe. My skin kept turning bight green from all of the paint in the air, so I was constantly wiping myself down with baby wipes. I was also incredibly sick at the time, and had been for over a week, so my face was super chapped from blowing my nose. I spent a huge chunk of the day peeling bright green skin flakes off of my face. Super sexy. And then after the shoot, we went out to dinner and totally forgot that we were still covered in paint. Jason, one of our dancers, had a friend from high school in town who came and Jason totally forgot until he was topless that his friend hadn’t seen him since he transitioned from female to male. It was a fantastic moment and everyone cheered. There was also a moment towards the end of the shoot where Sarah, our producer, very gently put it out there that we’d love to get some shots of people making out, and immediately a bunch of us were like, ‘Uh, yes please!’

How and where would you suggest people listen to this album?
Great question! I’ll start with my perfect world first. The album is a narrative, so pour yourself a large glass of wine, turn the lights down low, and have a one person listening/dance party to the album from start to finish. From there, pick your favorites and feel free to shuffle.




WATCH: Orange is the New Black trailer season 5 is here!

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:24

Orange is the New Black returns to Netflix for season five on June 9! When we last left the ladies of Litchfield Prison, a riot sparked by Poussey’s death quickly escalates when the inmates gain control of the prison. Once they get a taste of power, chaos ensues through the halls of Litchfield. In real time and over the course of just three days, season five of Orange Is The New Black will leave the inmates’ lives forever changed as they are emboldened to fight for redemption, resolution and the respect they deserve.

About Orange is the New Black, in case you already didn’t know: Piper Chapman is a public relations executive with a career and a fiance when her past suddenly catches up to her. In her mid-30s she is sentenced to spend time in a minimum-security women’s prison in Connecticut for her association with a drug runner 10 years earlier. This Netflix original series is based on the book of the same title. Forced to trade power suits for prison orange, Chapman makes her way through the corrections system and adjusts to life behind bars, making friends with the many eccentric, unusual and unexpected people she meets.

Lewis Black: ‘The Rant is Due’ on Audible capitalizes on crankiness

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 10:16

Lewis Black got America’s 70-year-old, 5’1”, perennial TV journalist Connie Chung to say “fuck”—a lot. Actually, one of the comedian’s fans repeatedly put the angry, four-letter word—amongst others—in her mouth. “I was never allowed to say that…my apologies to Edward R. Murrow,” she says after the first cheered utterance. This was the big closer at a New York recording of his new audio show Lewis Black: The Rant is Due where the Grammy Award-winning comedian performs diatribes submitted by his fans. Other guest readers on a recent night at Five Angels Theater, part of the 52nd Street Project, were Nurse Jackie’s Edie Falco and True Detective’s Michael Potts.

America is angry. Whichever side of the aisle they are on—or if they’re against the concept of aisles entirely and are shouting from outside the building—everyone in this country seems eager to vent their major gripes in obnoxiously long Facebook rants. Professional griper Lewis Black has volunteered to be America’s mouthpiece on his audio show, available exclusively on Audible Channels (curiously not called a “podcast” by the company). Black’s stand-up act has always ranted about incompetent politicians, Starbucks locations, and the moronic game of golf. In The Rant is Due, he takes America’s anger and adds in that quintessential Lewis Black rage.

In an unabashedly liberal city like New York, boos erupt when Black reads one rant about how Medicaid is for “lazy assholes.” He puts down the iPad to give more than his 2¢—a rant is due. He shakes mid-rhapsody as if he has idiot-induced Parkinson’s. Fans enjoy the classic hand gesture, head gyrations, and comical insight. This happens several times throughout the show, taking time to interrupt a person who is not even there with his hilarious take on the matter. He sprinkles in his retort not directed at the fans who wrote in but at the world.

Black is one of those comedy acts that, despite his transparent distaste for the Trump administration, attracts fans from all points of the political spectrum. Complaining is a bi-partisan pleasure. It’s a rare thing to pull off in 2017. Being apolitical draws in a similar political diversity, but even the recent #FireColbert trend proved that a silly and unoriginal editing gag can alienate 50 percent of the country. The Rant is Due brings all sides together to blow off some steam and save our friends and family members an unnecessarily long comment thread.

Lewis Black has always been angry. America is just catching up.

Lewis Black: The Rant is Due is available exclusively on Audible Channels, a premium audio show subscription service that comes with an Audible or Amazon Prime membership. Fans of Black can subscribe to the service, which offers a variety of audio shows, as a standalone offering for $4.95 a month.

Lahna Turner: How I Lost 500 Pounds (guest post)

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:03

The following is a guest post by comedian and songstress Lahna Turner, who has just released the first ever comedy music and visual album. Titled LIMEADE, it’s available now on Amazon, YouTube and iTunes. For more info check out, lahnaturner.com.


When I was just 23 and straight out of college, I had the opportunity to travel through India with my Israeli boyfriend Gil who I had met that summer working on a kibbutz. We saw a lot of sad people during our travels in India but there was one woman we came across, a beggar, who didn’t have a nose. Every day for a week we would walk past her and I would whisper, “Gil, she doesn’t have a nose. There’s just two holes.” And Gil would go, “No, no, no, she has a nose. There’s a place that’s the nose.” Admittedly, there was a bit of a language barrier between Gil and I but he was really cute so it worked out.

I’ve thought of the woman without a nose a lot recently as I contend with the implosion and demise of my 10-year marriage. On the days when I don’t want to get out of bed, and there are plenty, I think, ‘Everything that I thought my life was going to be like is gone and I have no idea what I’m going to do.’ And then I remind myself, ‘But I have a nose and I will never not have a nose.’ So in spite of the multi-act shitshow that I’ve found myself starring in, I feel really lucky. I’ve even discovered some silver linings.

Before we go further, if you’re reading this looking for life-changing diet tips, I can’t help you. The 500 pounds I refer to in the title of this article is my ex-husband, standup comic Ralphie May, who you may know from Last Comic Standing or his many comedy specials like Unruly and Too Big To Ignore.

At first when I met Ralphie we started out as friends and eventually it turned into something more. I never thought I would date a comic, let alone a man that big, but I always thought Ralphie was very handsome and I loved him with all my heart.

Over the 4th of July weekend in 2006, we got married in Las Vegas by three Elvis impersonators. Why three? I have no idea. Maybe because it’s a magic number. Ralphie wore the biggest tux we could find and I wore a simple, chic wedding dress that a friend of a friend made for me at the last minute. It was a really fun wedding.

Two years after we got married, Ralphie and I had a daughter and two years after that, a son.

Then six years ago, Ralphie was hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms, which are blockages in the blood vessels of the lungs. The doctors saved his life by seconds. I really believe that I had actually watched him die but he pulled through. He came back to us and even managed to get back to doing shows. But he was never quite the same.
By this point you’re probably thinking, ‘Aren’t you a supposed to be a comedian? This is a fucking bummer! How’d you lose the..you know..500 lbs?’ Hang on, here we go…

On the Friday before Memorial Day 2015, I got served with divorce papers. I had no idea it was coming. I had just been on the phone with Ralphie about an hour before and I thought it was a productive call. I hung up and it was like ding-dong divorce papers.

And then I lost it. I really did. I was barely able to function.

I’m really not a spiritual or religious person. Ever since that trip to India where I saw so much suffering, I’ve believed that it would be really narcissistic to assume there’s something out there that’s keeping me okay. But something’s keeping me okay. I’ve had so many blessings come my way, like with my new music comedy album and visual album Limeade. My friend Joey G hooked us up with Full Sail University in Florida where we were able to shoot the videos with incredible production values. And I got to completely destroy that wedding dress while shooting Limeade. Even the sex shop where we bought dildos for the “Masturbate,” video gave us a free giant black dildo. The clerk said it was too damaged to sell but I didn’t see any flaws. As the old saying goes, “When life gives you limes get a dildo…”

For years, I was trying to force a man who didn’t want to get well to get well and juggling all these plates that were constantly crashing down. Now I feel like if I just work really hard and do the right things, work on myself and take care of my children, it’s going to be okay.

So that’s how I lost 500 pounds. As health regimens go, I don’t recommend it. For a long time, I thought my life was over. But as the days went by, the clouds slowly lifted and I’ve realized that maybe the bad things that happen to us are actually really good things. I’ve got my kids. I’ve got my health. I’ve got my songs and my audiences and friends who went above and beyond to help me bring Limeade to sick and twisted life. That’s a lot.

And I’ve got a nose.


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