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10 modern day memoirs for comedy fans

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 14:00

By writing a memoir, comedians can tell the stories about themselves that don’t fit on a stand-up stage. While autobiographies and anthologies of personal essays from comedians have been around for years, the genre has exploded since the early 2000s. Comedy memoirs have become a staple of bestseller lists and are often among Amazon’s top suggestions. From the funny to the raw, here are the comedian-penned books that any comedy lover or aspiring comedian should add to their coffee table or Kindle reading list:

Bossypants – Tina Fey, 2011

Tina Fey’s Bossypants is an instant classic of the genre. The book topped the New York Times Best Seller List and stayed there for 5 weeks. Having sold millions of copies, Fey’s autobiography is very funny, even when it shouldn’t be. For example, one passage reads, “During the spring semester of kindergarten, I was slashed in the face by a stranger in the alley behind my house. Don’t worry. I’m not going to lay out the grisly details for you like a sweeps episode of Dateline.” She walks the line between comedy and tragedy throughout the book. She goes on in this chapter to talk candidly about beauty and pain in a way Fey fans were not yet used to in 2011.

 

Last Words – George Carlin, 2009

This autobiography was published shortly after George Carlin’s death in 2008. The comedy legend described the book as a “sortabiography,” since it was co-authored by writer and friend, Tony Hendra and based on 15 years of conversations the two had together. The work chronicles the life of the comedian and is notable for how many photos it includes. The photos work with the text to capture the spirit of the man behind the comedy.

Born a Crime – Trevor Noah, 2016

Trevor Noah has one of the most interesting backstories in comedy and also one of the darkest. The Daily Show host was born in South Africa during Apartheid, his biracial birth was punishable by up to five years in prison. The book takes a deep dive into the extreme measures that his Xhosa mother took to hide her child from the government. The book tells the story of a restless boy confined to his home growing into a man who sees the world as a place he was never supposed to be a part of. The book is heartbreaking at times and teaches an American audience more about South African history than the school system ever did.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling, 2011

Mindy Kaling makes it seem easy to become a comedy superstar in this autobiography. The best part of the book is about her start in comedy with an Off-Broadway show where she impersonated Ben Affleck as her best friend appeared as Matt Damon. The book is broken down into segments that are not always linear. It seems almost as if she was asked, “What are 15 things we should know about Mindy?” And then wrote an answer to each of those questions. The result is you have all you want to know about the Mindy Project star and nothing you don’t.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – Issa Rae, 2015

Issa Rae released this book before her hit show Insecure premiered on HBO. It thus is a perfect snapshot of the brink of fame. Most hit comedy memoirs are written by comedy veterans or the biggest names in the zeitgeist. While Rae had a super popular web series, the book reads differently than some of the other books on this list. Though Misadventures revolves around being black and an introvert, it is universal in its humor and wit.

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens – Eddie Izzard 2017

This memoir really shines for its honest account of alternative sexuality and the European comedy scene in the 1980s. The New York Times Bestseller is far more political than many of the other books on this list, which sets it apart for all the right reasons. Makes sense, as the one-man-showman plans to run for office in the United Kingdom in 2020.

The Last Black Unicorn -Tiffany Haddish, 2017

Tiffany Haddish had a remarkably hard life and her book, the Last Black Unicorn, doesn’t shy away from that. The book is full of deeply personal stories of growing up in foster care in South Central Los Angeles but is punctuated by jokes about being an in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman or truly filthy accounts of sex. The Girls Trip star writes much like she talks, which makes even the hardest to swallow moments in this book funny.  

I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays – Shane Dawson, 2015

Most people don’t think of YouTube stars as comedians, but Shane Dawson is more than a YouTube star: He is a YouTube phenomenon. Since joining the site in 2005, he has made nearly 2,000 videos and amassed over 4.5 billion views. Dawson became known because of his larger-than-life personality, but he strips that away for I Hate Myselfie. The work is surprisingly raw and shows a portrait of an overweight, antisocial child who is just trying to love himself for who he is.

Just the Funny Parts: …And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boy’s Club – Nell Scovell, 2018

Nell Scovell might not be a household name, but she has been a writer, producer, and director for over 30 years, working on everything from the Simpsons to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Her book is an intimate look at often being the only women in a writers room and the sexual harassment that often abounds from that. Scovell was one of the first women to write for Letterman and has spent the last ten years trying to make late night writing jobs more accessible to women. Just the Funny Parts is a feminist masterpiece and a must-read for young writers looking to break into TV joke writing.

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life – Steve Martin, 2007

Steve Martin once described his memoir as “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.” The comedy fan favorite shows Martin as a deeply introspective and hardworking man, who is still a king of stand-up even though he quit in 1981 (only to return after 35 years in 2016). His book was named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly and packs as much heart as it does punch.

 

Less modern, but…

Nigger: An Autobiography – Dick Gregory, 1964

Dick Gregory was not only a comedian, but he was also a social activist. This autobiography is a testament to his dedication to both his artform and civil rights. While the book has received criticism, especially for its title, The New York Times called it, “Powerful and ugly and beautiful…a moving story of a man who deeply wants a world without malice and hate and is doing something about it.”

Louis C.K. runs new hour…in Paris?

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 10:00

The unofficial Louis C.K. comeback tour has gone international.

According to Deadline, the self-sullied stand-up performed an hourlong set at Paris’ Theatre De L’Oeuvre on November 6. His participation at the French theater’s New York comedy night is his first major comedic outing since admitting to sexually harassing five of his former female staffers last fall.

The closing performance also comes on the heels of his mini-tour of New York’s hottest comedy clubs—the West Side Comedy Club, Caroline’s and the Comedy Cellar—last week. According to the New York Times, the crowd at the Comedy Cellar “greeted him warmly, with an ovation even before he began” staging his material.

French sports journalist Valerie Amarou, an attendee of the Paris show, had a different reaction to C.K.— despite live-tweeting the positive reception he received at the conclusion of his Comedy Night act.

“Nothing to add except WAOUUUU,” she said, as translated by Google Translate. “The guy in green is #LouisCK, it was in Paris, and it was terrible.”

Rien à ajouter à part WAOUUUU. Le mec en vert c’est #LouisCK, c’était à Paris, et c’était terrible

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast gets Earwolf premiere date

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:00

Conan O’Brien joins the endless list of celebrities with a podcast later this month. The TBS late night host will premiere his new podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, on November 19. Team Coco confirmed the first guest will be Will Ferrell.

The podcast will fun for 36 weeks in a partnership with Earwolf and feature notable guests in entertainment, music, and comedy such as Kristen Bell, Bill Burr, Marc Maron, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Dax Shepard, Wanda Sykes, and others.

Team Coco’s description of the podcast makes you excited and sad for the Conan host at the same time. “Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that.” The podcast will feature playful banter free from TV censors.

The podcast will be the first from the veteran late-night host, though he has appeared on many others like WTF with Marc Maron and You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes. O’Brien joked about the podcast, “After 25 years of extensive market research we have learned that people want to hear my voice without seeing my face. So rejoice, America.”

Earwolf has made a name for itself with a list of popular celebrity- and comedian-hosted podcasts including Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, and How Did This Get Made?

A live-show tour of the podcast has already been confirmed, but the dates and cities have not been announced.

All episodes of the podcast will be free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts. While the show doesn’t come out until November 19, you can search and subscribe to it on any of the mentioned platforms. For now, here’s a five-minute teaser from Earwolf:

Pregnant Amy Schumer announces more tour dates, podcast second season because she can’t be stopped

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 17:25

Comedian Amy Schumer has had a busy year. In addition to getting arrested while protesting Brett Kavanaugh and standing up for Colin Kaepernick, Schumer announced some new tour dates and the second season of her podcast Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith. The $1 million podcast from Spotify features the I Feel Pretty star with Bridget Everett, Rachel Feinstein, and Keith Robinson.

Schumer just added a show in Brooklyn happening November 21 at Kings Theatre as well as shows in Seattle, Baltimore, and Chicago. But if you’re thinking of attending one of the shows, don’t even think about busting our your phone. The Peabody Award winner is adopting similar cell phone policies as comedy stars like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock:

No cellphones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at this show. Upon arrival, all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones throughout the night, and if needed, may access their phones at designated Yondr unlocking stations in the lobby. All guests are encouraged to print their tickets in advance to ensure a smooth entry process. Anyone caught with a cellphone in the venue will be immediately ejected. We appreciate your cooperation in creating a phone-free viewing experience.

If you can’t see Amy live, don’t worry! She’s a woman of many mediums. You can hear the second season of 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Spotify. Upcoming guests include Ashley Graham, Dave Attell, Wanda Sykes, and Amanda Nyugen. Check out the trailer:

All of this is impressive — and proves her career certainly is not simply a “moment” as Perez Hilton recently alleged — considering the 37-year-old comedian is also pregnant. Schumer shared the ultrasound video following an appointment on November 5. “Oh my God, it’s moving all around. See? It has so much energy. That’s why I’m puking every day.” Maybe she’ll join Ali Wong in shooting a Netflix special while super pregnant.

 

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Happy Election Eve! You can look up your polling place + hours by texting LOCATION to 21333 And you can look up a sample ballot to be prepared at vote411.org/ballot Make a plan to #vote and let’s make history tomorrow!

Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot production to start in February in New Orleans

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 14:13

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith will get back in front of the camera as hetero-lifemates at least one more time this February for Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot, according to Mewes. The actor-turned-storyteller told Laughspin, “If all goes as planned, we’re supposed to start pre-production January, start shooting in February in New Orleans.” Production had been previously reported to begin this past August.

Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot is one of several attempts by Smith to get the View Askewniverse characters back on the big screen. “We were supposed to shoot Clerks 3,” Mewes said in the interview. “We literally were where we are now [on Reboot] where we had the money. We were looking for a place.” But essential cast member Jeff Anderson was not on board to revive his iconic clerk Randall Graves.

Then the crew tried to make a long-awaited Mallrats sequel, but Universal didn’t want to make the movie and would not release the rights back to the filmmaker, despite having secured the financing.

But now fans can look forward to a sequel that lampoons Hollywood’s string of subpar reboots. “We’re doing a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” Smith told fans on an episode of his podcast Fat Man on Batman. “If you remember Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back it was a movie in which Jay and Silent Bob found out Hollywood was making a movie about them, so they went cross country to Hollywood to stop that from happening. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is completely fucking different.” The filmmaker, who has created a media empire out of his cult following, says the new movie centers around the titular characters trying to stop Hollywood from making a reboot of the 2001 comedy. “It’s literally the same fucking movie all over again. It’s a movie that makes fun of sequels and remakes and reboots while being all three at the same time.”

Mewes insists the script is “super funny” and includes up-to-date humor about social media. Maybe Silent Bob found a ‘voice’ on Twitter. Hopefully, MoviePoopShoot.com will have gotten a new site layout that’s mobile-friendly.

Fans were just as bummed when they found out Clerks 3 wasn’t happening after it looked like production was a lock. Anderson’s reasons for turning down the film are still unknown, although Mewes doesn’t think it had to do with contract negotiations. “At one point, everyone was so disappointed, everyone started throwing—like Brian O’Halloran, me, Kevin—everyone started being like, ‘Hey, we’ll give you 30% of whatever we’re getting paid.’” Although he declined to speculate on an exact number, the amount was enough that he does not believe money was the reason.

Anderson has previously shared on Smith’s SModcast that he’d moved out of Los Angeles and into a “retirement community in the mountains” where he is “the youngest person there by 20 years.” The actor’s last role in a feature film was Smith’s 2008 Zack and Miri Make a Porno, though he is currently filming Nasa Seals from director Jeffery Scheetz.

Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot will feature a “more mature Jay and Silent Bob,” Mewes shared. He promises the same slapsticky antics that made the characters a favorite amongst marijuana enthusiasts. Smith announced he had to go rewrite the script following his sudden heart attack and subsequent weight loss earlier this year—a lot of the fat jokes weren’t going to play after dropping over 50 pounds. Ultimately, he’s excited to let his long blonde hair down again. “I’m very excited because I definitely would love to do one more Jay and Bob movie before, you know, we get super old and too old to hang out with apes and swing from grappling hooks and all that good stuff.”

Samantha Bee to Donald Trump: We should be ashamed of you! (Video)

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 14:00

Samantha Bee slammed President Donald Trump for his handling of a question from Jim Acosta on Wednesday night’s Full Frontal. The late night host had a busy show covering the results of the 2018 midterm elections, the gubernatorial race in Georgia, and the loss of Beto O’Rourke in Texas’ tight Senate race. The November 7 show was the 100th episode of the popular TBS comedy series.

The former Daily Show correspondent blasted the president for his actions at a recent press conference after the House of Representatives was called for the Democrats. During the press conference, Trump seems on the offense, but the tone moves towards hostility when he refused to take a question about the Russia investigation from CNN’s Acosta. In the segment, called Jim Accosted, footage from Fox News is played showing a female intern trying to take the microphone from Acosta as Trump refused to answer his question.

Mere minutes after the segment started airing on TBS, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a video of the same press conference and confirmed that the White House had revoked Acosta’s press pass.

We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018

Many have called the official White House video doctored, and it appears to be at a different speed than the one used on Full Frontal and Fox News. The video has not been confirmed to have been doctored but has already caused a firestorm of tweets calling the video fake and calling for its removal.

Bee goes on to poke fun at the intern at the heart of Acosta-Gate, acting out a scared person going, “I hate this job… this is horrible and plie,” making fun of how the intern squats after trying to take the mic.

Watch the full clip here:

LOL Comedy Honors postponed…again

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:15

The second annual LOL Comedy Honors have been canceled or at least postponed. The award show was supposed to take place Thursday at Gotham Hall in New York City. On the list to attend the black-tie show were big names like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Nick Cannon, and Tracy Morgan, all comedians being honored for their work in the comedy industry.

The announcement of the show’s cancelation came the day of the show via an Instagram post by the event’s official account. The post says that the event is being postponed but doesn’t include a new date for the show.

 

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Due to circumstances beyond our control, we must regrettably postpone the event. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

A post shared by LOL Comedy Honors (@lolcomedyhonors) on Nov 1, 2018 at 12:37am PDT

Comments on the post strike an angry tone. Commenters complain about already traveling for the event or buying tickets. Some expressed frustration that the event had already been postponed once, back in August. The first date change came with over two weeks’ warning.

A statement was also released on their website, stating, “We are behind the scenes working overtime to ensure success. Dates in April/May are being considered so that the event won’t conflict with any holidays and the weather won’t be terribly cold.”

Page Six also reported that the event’s creator, Marsha Taylor, said, “Unfortunately, after over a year of hard work, all of the pieces, in the final hours, did not come together,” and, “I fought like hell to make it happen.” She went on to say about the possible reasons behind the last minute cancelation,  “It looked like a really big, grand production, but in truth, it’s just me . . . I did not expect it to get so big so quickly.”

The first year of the honors went off seemingly without a hitch featuring comedians like Bill Bellamy, George Wallace, and D.L. Hughley and featured the families of late comedians Bernie Mac and Charlie Murphy.

Even though the event did not happen, the after party reportedly still went on.

Artie Lange heads to rehab; could face jail time

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 11:14

Artie Lange announced this week he’s going back to rehab, but first has to go to court. The comedian revealed that he would go into treatment earlier this week on a New Jersey radio show hosted by Steve Trevelise on 101.5 FM.

The announcement comes after a meeting with the founder of Hamilton Township’s City of Angels Kevin Meara, who runs the nonprofit that fights drug addiction. “I’m about to go into drug treatment and commit to a full rehab — inpatient,” Lange continued, “Kevin’s helping me and, I don’t know, I’m a very humble guy at this point. I think I’m ready to go and do what I’ve got to do. It’s been long enough.”

Staring at the ceiling. Staying sober. I have to do this guys.

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) November 7, 2018

The New Jersey comedian is probably best known for his time on the radio with longtime friend Howard Stern and his stint on MADtv. Recently he’s been a prominent figure on HBO’s Crashing playing a fictionalized version of himself. In one episode of the show called Artie, it shows the character struggling with drug addiction.

The move to rehab follows a long string of arrests for the stand-up. He was originally arrested when, during a traffic stop, New Jersey police allegedly found heroin in his car. He later was arrested for failing to appear in court. He eventually pleaded guilty to possession of 81 baggies of the substance. The judge sentenced him to four years probation and an outpatient drug rehab program last summer.

Unfortunately, the comedian’s run-ins with the law didn’t stop there. Radar Online reports the comedian will have to go to court this week for failing to meet the terms of his parole. The comedian reportedly failed a drug test and could even be looking at jail time. Especially since the judge had issued a warning when the probation was decided, saying “I hope you take this sentence seriously and do what you need to do — not only for you but for your family, who depend upon you. This is your one chance.”

We at Laughspin wish Artie a full recovery. Watch the announcement on 101.5 below.

Orlando Leyba special will debut exclusively on HBO Latino

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 16:00

Orlando Leyba is releasing a new stand-up comedy special exclusively on HBO Latino. The special, named Orlando Leyba: Adorable, will premiere on November 16 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Leyba has already worked with HBO Latino as part of their show Entre Nos: Part 3. The episode, which was released earlier this year, featured comedy from three Latinx comics, including Leyba. The stand-up had a particularly busy 2018, as he also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and was announced as one of the New York Comedy Festival’s Comics to Watch. Leyba was also a finalist on NBC’s Stand-Up Showcase, The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, and Big Sky Comedy Festival.

HBO Latino has been adding more comedy specials to their list of programming. Jackie Gagne, Vice President of Multicultural Marketing at HBO, stated, “In the past year, HBO Latino has given a platform to up-and-coming comedians to showcase their talent with the Entre Nos series and we look forward to continuing to provide opportunities to unique and groundbreaking comedic talent on the network.” The Spanish-speaking branch of HBO was founded in 1991 and has since been committed to programming that is culturally relevant to a U.S. Latinx audience. While the special is in English, the channel has mostly Spanish-language content including original series, films, and Latin music concerts. HBO Latino is included with an HBO subscription and can be accessed through HBO GO, HBO NOW, HBO On Demand.

Entre Nos: Part 1-4 are available on the platform as well as an extended one-hour special, Entre Nos: The Series.

Watch the trailer for Orlando Leyba: Adorable here:

You’e the Worst final season gets trailer, FXX release date (Video)

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 15:00

You’re the Worst has dropped a trailer for its fifth and final season. The trailer also comes with the announcement that the show will return on January 9 on FXX.

You’re the Worst follows a couple, Gretchen and Jimmy, as they struggle with the pitfalls of modern love. The show has always been a critical darling but has faced challenges. After the first season, the show moved from FX to the comedy-focused FXX. The show has never been shy about going dark. Trauma, depression, and addiction have been hallmarks of the comedy series. The principal cast will all be returning for the final season including Aya Cash, Desmin Borges, Kether Donohue, and Chris Geere.

The fourth season ended with a marriage proposal and the trailer shows that the season will feature the lead-up to—and possible calling off of—the wedding between the long-struggling couple.

Writer and executive producer Stephen Falk opened up to the Television Critics Association back in August that the first episode of the season will be an homage to romcoms and—for at least part of the episode—not feature any regular characters.

Watch the full trailer here:

Jason Mewes talks Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot, Clerks 3, and branching out on his own (Interview)

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 13:28

Jason Mewes has had an unexpected career—unexpected in that he certainly didn’t think growing up that he’d be acting and directing movies. Once viewed as just Kevin Smith’s slapstick sidekick, Mewes has grown into a career that is all his own. Since the original View Askewniverse titles, the New Jersey native has starred in roles that don’t involve weed-related hijinx, and he made his feature film directorial debut this year with Madness in the Method. Like his buddy Kevin Smith, he’s begun his own series of live storytelling shows A-Mewes-ing Stories in addition to touring with Smith for Jay & Bob Get Old—a live version of their popular podcast of the same name. Laughspin’s Billy Procida spoke with Mewes ahead of his headlining gig at the New York Comedy Festival on November 6 at Carolines in New York City. We discuss moving to Los Angeles, his original life plan, and some updates about the return of your favorite silly stoners in Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot.

You don’t miss New Jersey?

I don’t. You know why? The only thing I miss about Jersey, honestly, is now that I have a daughter I miss—like tonight is Halloween. Out here we have had to drive her to a different area in town from where we live [to go Trick or Treating]. I love, where I grew up, on Halloween the whole town you go house to house, ring the doorbell, and get candy. We’ve been in our house 4 or 5 years, not one person has rang our door for candy. It’s the little stuff like that I miss. I lived a block away from the beach. Now, if you want to go to the beach [in Los Angeles], you have to drive an hour with traffic and stuff. The water’s not the same either—I think I’ve been swimming twice since I lived here 13 years because the water’s cold even when it’s 100 degrees out because there’s no humidity. First world problem: if it’s 3:00 a.m., and I’m hungry, I can get delivery. When I go visit my family in Jersey, if I’m hungry, the latest you can get is maybe 1:00 a.m. Dominos. Just little things like that I’ve grown accustomed to out here. But the cultural [difference] I don’t care about. Either I gravitate towards or people gravitate towards me. It seems like everybody that I’m friends with here either moved here like Kevin [Smith] or I met them. My buddy D.K. is from New York; my other buddy grew up in Boston; another grew up in Rhode Island. It just seems like everyone I hang out with anyway is from the East Coast.

And even for me now, being sober: AA meetings. I went home to get sober because I had to turn myself in—I had a warrant, whatever. Where I grew up, it’s like the meetings were made up of like maybe two kids your age, 18-25, but the rest were old biker dudes—which isn’t a bad thing. But I’m just saying, here you go to a meeting, it’s people like 15 to fricking 30, 40 so there’s so many people you can relate with and talk to and hang out with and grab a network. At home, it’s a little odd to go up to four 70-year-old biker guys and go, “Hey want to hang out, grab a coffee?” So again, it’s little things like that that I really like about it out here. I really love it here.

How long have you been sober now?

8 years, 3 months, and 28 days.

And now you have the New York Comedy Festival coming up, you’re doing your show A-Mewes-ing Stories. How would you describe what it is you’re doing?

It’s more storytelling—it’s definitely not stand-up. There’s no set of jokes. I feel like it’s storytelling with punchlines at the end. You know, a lot of times I’ll open up with either something that happened to me on the way to the venue, whether it be at the airport and I walked in on someone spanking in the bathroom or someone got mad at me for farting on the airplane. Silly, goofy stuff. And when I tell the stories, I don’t just say, “On the way here, I farted on the plane and some dude got mad. The end.” I really try to paint a picture and make it entertaining. I’m getting better and better at it. I started, in the beginning, doing like 15 minutes of storytelling and then open it up for Q&A, but even my Q&As I don’t just answer. I’ve figured out the stories to attach to certain types of questions.

I remember getting on stage many, many years ago with Kevin for An Evening with Kevin Smith, and people would be like, “Hey Jay, what’s your favorite movie?” And I’d just be like, “My favorite movie is Mallrats.” Where now, I’ll get deeply into a story revolving around why Mallrats is my favorite movie and how I love it and a funny story attached to it. And then someone else will ask me how long I’ve been sober, and I’ll be able to talk about that and we can get a little darker and funnier. Because even though there’s been some rough situations with sobriety, there’s some funny stories now 8 years later I can tell and can laugh about. Like one time, I was at a club and shooting dope in the toilet, and some dude had to use the bathroom. He knew I was doing something funky in there, and he got pissed and he literally kicked the door open and it smacked me in the head. And I didn’t want to go out there to get water because he was banging on the door. So I didn’t have water—you need water to cook up the tar heroin, which is gross, but whatever—but I took toilet water since I couldn’t go out and use the faucet. So again, it’s really gross and disturbing, but at the same time, I can laugh about it now because it’s like, thank goodness I’m not in that space anymore. You know, stuff like that. It’s been a lot of fun, man.

I think I’ve done 20 Mewes-ing shows all over the different cities and stuff. My wife and Kevin are business partners—they run SModCo together. My wife is super smart and talented. And she’s the one who started throwing my name out to different venues we were booking Get Old for. And it was cool because a lot of the venues were open to, “Hey we’ve never seen Jay do his thing, and we love Jay and Bob Get Old. We’ll have him come here.” We started with 200- and 300-seaters, and now I just sold out an 800-seater I’m doing next month. And then, of course, I get to do Carolines, which I know is a big deal. Kevin was super excited for me because he did it last year.

So I’m super excited about it, man. I’m hoping I can entertain and keep people happy.

The Q&A seems to be where you and Kevin really thrive.

Yea. Kevin’s got it down to where he’ll literally do a two-hour show and answer three questions because his stories are so long. It’s good because he has a lot to say and it’s funny and the stories are great, and even when I’m on stage with him for it, I’ll sit there and get so involved in him telling his story that he’ll turn to me and go, “Jay, what do you think?” and I’m like, “What?” because I’m zoning in on listening to his funny story. But I also know that people get bummed, too, because they didn’t get to ask their question. So again, mine, I definitely have been able to stretch my show. I have stories behind everything, but I definitely get more questions in than he does. It’s been a good mix of both. The cool thing, too, is I’ve been lucky that no one has really complained. There was one couple or two couples in the 20 or 25 shows I’ve done that went, “Hey. We were on our anniversary, and we were passing the comedy club. We stepped in to see a comedy show. This isn’t what we expected. This was interesting.” It wasn’t a plus, but it wasn’t a minus. But again, it’s been a positive experience so far. After I usually do meet-and-greets and take photos and sign stuff and it’s great. Also, a lot of the venues will book a 10-minute opener and a 20-minute feature, and then I’ll do an hour/hour-and-a-half. So even if people are like, “I’m excited to see Jay, but we wanted to see stand-up,” they’ll still get to see stand-up.

Now, what’s going on with Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot?

We were supposed to shoot Clerks 3. We literally were where we are now [on Reboot] where we had the money. We were looking at a place. If all goes as planned, we’re supposed to start pre-production January, start shooting in February in New Orleans. We’re actually looking at places to stay right now. My wife is not only business partners with Kevin on SModCo, but she also produced his last two movies Tusk and Yoga Hosiers. She’ll be producing this movie. So again, we get to go out and bring our kid and go to New Orleans together for two months or more.

But she’s gotta do all this hard work and you get to just show up and go, ‘Snootchie bootchies!’

Exactly! We’re actually looking for a place to stay right now. They’ve made the offers to the actors. And we were this far with Clerks 3, and when they made the offer—Kevin and I don’t have to worry about this [on Reboot] because we definitely want to do the movie—but they made the offer to Jeff Anderson, and he didn’t want to do it. We still don’t know the exact reason. I would say it was money, but it wasn’t, because, at one point, everyone was so disappointed everyone started throwing—like Brian O’Halloran, me, Kevin—everyone started being like, “Hey, we’ll give you 30% of whatever we’re getting paid.” By the end, I know with the combination of everyone’s [chipping in their] own pay, he must have been offered at least…I’m just saying, it must not have been that. So, I still don’t know what happened; I don’t know why. But we literally were as far as making offers, looking for a place to stay—all that. Then we got a phone call and all of a sudden like, “Hey, it’s not going to happen.” So it was such a bummer.

Then we were going to do Mallrats 2. Kevin wrote [a sequel to] Mallrats. We started making plans. We got people going, “Hey, we got the money.” But then Universal owns the rights, and Universal’s like, “We’ve never given a title back to anybody. We don’t’ want to make the movie.” That’s what Universal said. So we went, “Okay, you don’t have to make it. Can we make it? We have the money. We have all the resources we need.” And they were like, “No. We’ve never given a title we own back to somebody.” So they wouldn’t let us make it. So we had to pass on that.

So now, hopefully, all is going as planned. We have the money. We have location. We have the offers out to people. Kevin and I went to the doctor cuz, you know, you have to get insured and bonded and stuff. We’re in motion to start pre-production January. February we start shooting. So as long as everything stays on track, yes, Jay and Silent Bob reboot will be made and I’m very excited because I definitely would love to do one more Jay and Bob movie before, you know, we get super old and too old to hang out with apes and swing from grappling hooks and all that good stuff. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. The script’s super funny and it’ll be a lot of fun. And Kevin throws out all new humor with what’s going on today like with social media and this and that. I’m excited.

Do you think your acting has improved when you watch the movies later on?

I don’t like watching myself. I never watch the movies a bunch.

I directed my own movie, and I just had a screening of it, and it was the first time I watched it—besides a little editing here and there that I’ve done and watching it to give notes—but never really sat down and watched it from beginning to end once it was complete until recently. And even though I directed it and I want to sit there, I’m also acting in it. And I’m in it so much. Again, I’m happy with what turned out, but I wish when we decided to make our movie that I wasn’t the main character. I wish I had casted someone else like Kevin did in Clerks—he was supposed to play Randall. I wish I had taken that advice, because—again, I liked it, and I liked the character—I’d get to set and I’d set up the shot; and then I’d have to go get make-up, wardrobe on for the character; and memorize my lines and we’d shoot a couple scenes, and I’d watch playback; and I didn’t really get to focus. Now that it’s done, same thing: I want to sit up there and watch the movie as a director, but I’m also going, “Ah! I hate watching myself. I wish I hadn’t done that. I should have done that better.” But again, I’m happy that someone gave me the opportunity.

I did a movie in London called Devil’s Tower, and it was this other producer-director. And when we were done—I did like three days on it—I was sitting with the producer and the co-writer and they were like, “Hey man, I like your stuff. What else have you wanted to do?” And I was telling him how people in the business only ask me to be the slapstick guy or the funny guy or the drug dealer or something. I really wish I could play a Hannibal Lector-type character, something a little more serious or sinister, or a cop even. Two months later, he sent me a script [for Madness in the Method] and said, “Hey, here’s an idea I have.” I liked it, but then I was like, “What about this instead of that? And it’s me being myself, but it’s about how I want to play these serious characters, but I’m never taken seriously. Then I wind up killing someone by mistake and it starts to snowball and I really like it.” We went back and forth with the ideas and he says, “I think I can get the money.” I told him, “Yeah, right,” because I’ve gotten told that before. Three months later, he says, “Bro, I literally got the money, and they want you to direct it and play in it.” So I’m happy the investors and my buddy Dom got me the opportunity to direct it because it can be hard when you haven’t directed something, for people to trust you to do it. I had one other opportunity a long time ago. Some dude had, like, a $1 million budget. And it was a good script. He said, “I want you to direct it.” He didn’t even want me to act in it. He just wanted me to be the director, but then it fell apart. It didn’t have to do with me—he had this location that a lot of the budget would have taken place in Vegas, where they were gonna have an old hotel that was gonna be torn down. But they were going to use it for the shooting, production, and all this stuff. They had it blocked out at a certain time, and then I guess the hotel was like, “We need it for this, this, and this,” and things sort of just fell apart. But again, I’m happy with the movie.

With Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot, what’s different and what’s the same with the Jay character?

It’s a more mature Jay, I think. Kevin wrote it to be. There’s still the goofy, slapsticky Jay, but just a little more mature. The both of them are more mature. I don’t know how much I can give away, but I’ll leave it at that. Definitely a more mature Jay and Silent Bob.

Back in ’93, was this even a pipe dream? What was your plan back then?

Honestly, I was roofing at the time. Kevin said, “Hey, I wrote a script and I based the character on you,” and I was like, “Yeah, sure. Whatever.” Because again, it’s not like now. My buddy from high school just came over the other day. He happened to be in tow, and he works for Red now. And Red is coming out with a phone. It’s going to have attachments so you can shoot 6K on your phone. So my point is, when people say they’re making movies or web series and that—I mean, there are kids out there like Ryan’s Toy Review, they made $11 million last year for opening toys and such—so my point is when people say, “Hey, I”m going to make a movie,” you’re like, “Oh cool! What is it about? When is it? What’re you doing?” Back then, it wasn’t really the case. People in my town weren’t like, “Hey I’m making movies,” or, “I’m making YouTube videos,” or anything. So when Kevin said, “I’m making a movie,” I’m like, ‘Yeah, cool.” And he literally gave me the script and I said, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can do this,” and he said, “Dude, it’s you. You say that shit all the time.”

So I was roofing at the time. I worked all day; at nighttime, we’d shoot. And even when the movie was done, we got through it, I went back to work and Kevin went to Sundance Film Festival. I didn’t really get the process. We watched the movie when it was edited and complete in the video store on the little Avid Steenbeck. And I thought that was it. Then he said, “Hey, the movie got bought.” And then he got a three-picture deal. So no, I didn’t plan on doing movies. Even after Clerks I didn’t plan on it. It really wasn’t until after Mallrats, because it was after Mallrats I met a guy named Malcolm Ingram on the set who worked for Film Thread who was doing a piece for the magazine on Mallrats and Kevin Smith. He was doing a movie called Drawing Flies and, all of a sudden, now I went straight to Drawing Flies. Now I’ve done three movies and I thought, “Wow, maybe this is something I could do.” Again, after Clerks, I didn’t get paid. Mallrats we got paid, but we got scale. So after taxes and stuff, you get like eight grand. And like, it’s funny, after Mallrats came out people were like, “Dude, how many houses did you buy, bro?” I’m like, “I made eight grand. It’s gone.”

My plan before that, honestly, was I remember roofing. I made pretty decent money roofing—I made $400-$500 a week cash. I remember my foreman was making about $1,000-$1,300 a week cash and that was so much money to me at the time. That’s almost five grand a month cash and I was like, “Holy crap. I want to be a foreman.” Then we’d go to the boss’s house who owned the company once in a while to pick up supplies, and he had a really nice house in New Jersey. He had a couple nice cars. So I was like, “Man, I want to own my own roofing business.” So honestly, at the age of 17 to like 20, my goal was to one day be a foreman and then, possibly, own my own roofing business. That’s what I saw my life being.

And how different life would have been. Check out Jason Mewes’s A-Mewesing Stories today, November 6, at Carolines on Broadway as part of the New York Comedy Festival. Tickets are available on the Carolines website.

Conan launches fresh faces at New York Comedy Festival Comics to Watch showcase

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 16:00

The New York Comedy Festival and Team Coco have announced their list for this year’s Comics to Watch showcase. This is the ninth annual showcase and one of the festival’s most popular events. Each comedian is hand picked by O’Brien’s Team Coco. The fresh faces will perform on November 7 at Carolines on Broadway.

The event boasts that it will feature the “next generation” of stand-up comedians. The performers represent comedy scenes across the United States and Canada to perform for both fans and industry executives as part of the festival. This year’s show will feature sets from Catherine Cohen, Mohanad Elshieky, Robby Hoffman, Orlando Leyba, Gavin Matts, Rebecca O’Neal, Corey Rodrigues, Julia Shiplett, Paige Weldon, and Aaron Woodall.

Past Comics To Watch showcases have helped the industry discover comedians such as Saturday Night Live head writer Michael Che, Ali Wong, Jo Firestone, and Jaboukie Young-White.

After the show, two of the comedians will be asked to appear on TBS’ Conan next year. O’Brien and Team Coco are very involved in the NYCF. The 15-year-old festival is produced by Carolines on Broadway and TBS, Conan’s channel. The historic Sony Hall will become Team Coco House for the remainder of the festival which will feature comedy shows with comedians such as John Oliver, Chris Gethard, Tig Notaro, Jenny Slate, Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and O’Brien himself. The House originally premiered as a comedy pop-up last July at San Diego Comic-Con.

Tickets for Comics to Watch are available on the Carolines website.

Indecision 2000: How Jon Stewart made Fake News become real news

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 13:48

Late night comedians have become the signal within the noise of information in today’s tsunami of 24-hour news coverage. They have the unique ability to follow the punches to the face from 2018’s outrageous midterm election headlines with the first aid of laughter.  Many television historians credit Jon Stewart with being the original comedy newsman. By the end of his tenure at The Daily Show, Rolling Stone had named Stewart  “the most trusted name in news,” and a Pew Research Center poll found that 47 percent of Millennials got the majority of their election news from late night TV.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart helped shape the tone of late night television, but what shaped the show’s voice can be traced back to Indecision 2000. This was a series of Daily Show episodes that satirized the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. “It was the moment in which American culture realized that entertainment journalism can actually play a real, productive role in citizenship and not just frivolous, throwaway humor,” Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards, told the Washington Post.

Stewart had just taken over The Daily Show from former ESPN host Craig Kilborn, who had hosted the ‘fake news program’ since 1996 and was leaving the fledgling program on the scrappy Comedy Central network. CBS had tapped Kilborn as Tom Synder’s successor on The Late Late Show in the coveted timeslot after David Letterman.

In terms of the late night talk show landscape, Kilborn’s Daily Show was more traditional than the show we’ve grown to love today. It opened with a 5-minute monologue called Headlines, followed by a segment called Other News, and then a pre-taped field piece from correspondents. As is done still today, he ended with a guest interview. Its tone was more of a spoof on the late night local news that was on at the same time. “There was more of a pop-culture-and-lifestyle component only because what we were satirizing—particularly local news—was doing a lot of that stuff,” Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead said to Vanity Fair. “We would make fun of the conventions of news. Like when TV reporters talk, how do you create drama in a story that doesn’t exist?”

The show did moderately well, peaking at a nightly average of 357,000 viewers, and was on the rise. Critics loved it, and the show reached the younger male viewers targeted by the also young network. Stewart had been focusing on acting when he got the call from Comedy Central. He’d recently landed a few supporting roles in romantic comedies and was working as Garry Shandling’s wingman on The Larry Sanders Show. He was still licking his wounds from the cancellation of The Jon Stewart Show on MTV, and NBC had just passed him over in favor of Conan O’Brien as Letterman’s Late Night replacement. “The stakes for Jon were fairly high at that point, because he’s not a super-young guy anymore, and he’s had shots, and people easily disappear and go into the woodwork,” said Matt Labov, former publicist for Stewart. “He didn’t get the Conan job on NBC; he didn’t get the 12:30 job after Letterman. If this doesn’t work on fucking cable, then where would Jon have ended up?”

Stewart had to make The Daily Show work, but ran into some initial difficulties. Right off the bat he had to deal with a power struggle from some of the writers who were holdovers from the Kilborn era. They wanted to continue the program’s shock humor approach that was more the norm of the era. Stewart wanted measured nuance and more deserving targets to satire. He chose to surround himself with a team of writers and correspondents that understood and better matched his voice and vision. That included Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Mo Rocca, and Nancy Walls.

There was a lot of ground to cover with Indecision 2000. The nation was fresh off President Bill Clinton’s impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, and the Democratic candidate, Gore, was avoiding campaigning with Clinton. On the Republican side, the former Texas governor, Bush was being criticized for being unintelligent and inexperienced. It was fertile ground for comedy even if politics wasn’t Stewart’s natural inclination. “[Stewart] wasn’t really political – there was no politics in his stand-up routines, to any extent,” said Lisa Rogak, author of The Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart. “Once the convention and presidential primary and campaign season took over, maybe that gave him a bit more permission to cover politics.”

Stewart and his team’s initial approach to the election was to cover it with complete silliness. They went to the New Hampshire primary armed with queries literally ripped from Trivial Pursuit and lobbed Republican presidential candidate John McCain outrageous questions like, “Who became the hottest pop star to come out of Iceland in the mid-1990s?” Their coverage hit a watershed moment when Carell was invited to interview McCain on his Straightalk Express bus. Carell asked McCain a lightning round of seemingly benign questions, like what was his favorite book and movie. But then he hit him with, “Senator, how do you reconcile the fact that you were one of the most vocal critics of pork-barrel politics, and yet, while you were chairman of the Commerce Committee, that committee set a record for unauthorized appropriations?” McCain was dumbfounded for several seconds before Carell followed up with, “I was just kidding! I don’t even know what that means!” That line of questioning ended up getting Carell kicked off the bus, but it planted the seed for a new direction for the show.

“I remember seeing it in the editing room. I remember Jon called me down, and seeing it and thinking, ‘Yeah, this is what we should be doing. This is the goal.’ It was one of Carell’s most incredible moments,” said Ben Karlin, former Daily Show producer told Vanity Fair. “He asks McCain a question in a way that no journalists were talking to the candidates. And it was like, ‘Oh shit, we are able, in this weird, unintentional way, to add a level of insight to the process that doesn’t exist.’ That was really, really exciting. It meets the standard of being funny; it meets the standard of being relevant.”

The epiphany was perfectly timed because the election was about to reach peak crazy. The night of the election, returns showed Bush winning Florida by such a close margin that state law mandated a recount. That recount turned into a month-long court battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. “It’s a stunning struggle for democracy centered on a small group of Florida voters; people who may get to determine the next presidential administration, but probably won’t have to live through it,” Stewart told The Daily Show audience.

Much like our suprising 2016 presidential election, Americans were bombarded with 24-hour coverage of the madness. However, now that Stewart was an option, many viewed him as a much-needed break from the hysteria that they could indulge in while still staying informed. “For many, Jon Stewart’s perspective was probably the only way to look at the surreal landscape of ‘We can’t determine who won this election,’” said Ron Simon, a TV curator for the Paley Center for Media in an interview with The Washington Post. “His emergence at that period was just the perfect antidote to the insanity absorbing American politics.”

The Daily Show’s Indecision 2000 coverage ended up winning the Peabody Award for political satire. “The highly original pieces covered the campaigns, conventions, election night, and recounts with flagging and with exceptional insight,” said a statement from the Peabody Awards. “These inspired, irreverent, satirical pieces follow in the grand tradition of political pundits through the ages,” said CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour in her introductory speech before awarding The Daily Show the Peabody.

So as we watch the 2018 midterm election results roll in this Tuesday, whether it goes your way or not, thanks to The Daily Show’s Indecision 2000, somewhere on television you can find a clown with an impeccable research department that will make you laugh about it.

Pete Davidson tells fans break-up is “nobody’s business” on Weekend Update

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 10:00

Pete Davidson took some time out of mocking politicians on Saturday Night Live to address his recent break-up with Ariana Grande. The stand-up interestingly did not mention his pop star ex by name.

On Saturday’s Weekend Update, Davidson discussed the upcoming midterm elections. “So the midterm elections are obviously a huge deal, and after I had to move back in with my mom, I started paying attention to them. And I realized there are some really gross people running for office this year, so here are my first impressions,” he began.

After joking about the appearances of candidates such as Rick Scott and Peter King (and poking fun at his own looks), Davidson addressed the elephant in the room with an emotional statement. “And the last thing I will say is, I know some of you are curious about the break-up, but the truth is, it’s nobody’s business,” said the Staten Island native. “Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s okay. She’s a wonderful, strong person, and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world. Now, please go vote on Tuesday.”

This statement came after Davidson joked about his split from Grande during promos for SNL earlier this week. In one of the ads, Davidson proposed to Maggie Rogers, who served as the musical guest for Saturday’s episode. When Rogers declined, Davidson replied that he was “0 for 3,” referencing his past break-ups with Grande, Cazzie David, and comedian Carly Aquilino.

Grande, however, seemed upset about the joke. Shortly after the promo was released, she tweeted, “For somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh.” In a separate tweet, she added, “Thank u, next.” Both tweets were subsequently deleted.

Not coincidentally, “Thank U, Next,” is the name of Grande’s latest single, which she released just hours before Davidson made his statement about the break-up on SNL. And while she appeared angry at Davidson in her tweets, she had nothing but love for him in her song. The track, which discusses several of her recent ex-boyfriends, features the lyric, “Even almost got married / And for Pete, I’m so thankful.”

TMZ previously reported that Grande and Davidson agreed not to talk about their breakup publicly, which is why the singer was so upset about the SNL promo. The website also claimed that Davidson planned to joke about the break-up during Saturday’s episode but opted to pull the skit after reading Grande’s tweets. People, on the other hand, maintained that this was “completely untrue.”

Grande and Davidson broke up earlier this month after getting engaged back in June. The split came shortly after Grande’s ex-boyfriend Mac Miller passed away from a drug overdose. Sources have since said that the split was mutual and that the couple agreed the timing wasn’t right for a romantic relationship.

Saturday Night Live recap: Jonah Hill is our fave 6-year-old (Videos)

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 16:48

Saturday Night Live is back this week after a Halloween break and, with any episode, there were some hits and misses. Jonah Hill came back for his fifth time hosting. He was joined by musical guest Maggie Rogers who had a bit of a rough time, but we promise that is the last we will say about the musical guest. Each week, Laughspin will break down what worked and what didn’t in our SNL recap using our Katan-to-Radner star scale. A mark of the Corky Romano star means a safe time to use the bathroom. Seeing the original Not Ready For Prime Time Player means it’s worth missing the birth of your child—well, third child.

Now that we’ve explained our system: How did this season’s fourth episode do?

The Cold Open:

The episode starts with a political cold open that feels very by the book. The sketch centers around Laura Ingraham played by Kate McKinnon. McKinnon is a master of impressions, but this one falls a little flat, possibly because the actress is on the verge of breaking for most of the sketch. The open packs in some strong laughs, but feels entirely too long. Cecily Strong delivers an amazing Judge Jeanine Pirro impression, but the sketch could have ended after she left. The open ends with a joke about “disgraced actor Alec Baldwin” that has a tone problem. The actor—who has been playing Donald Trump on the show—was recently arrested for punching a man in the face. It’s hard to tell the show’s feelings about the incident more than, “Hey look a thing involving a guy we know happened.”

The Monologue:

The host’s monologue doesn’t always need to be a true monologue. Sometimes it is a song. Sometimes the cast joins a host. This usually happens when the host can’t carry the segment himself. We know Hill can deliver a monologue because this is his fifth time hosting the perennial program, so it’s confusing that they did a full-on sketch for it. When a person hosts the show five times, the show puts them in a special club. Every time they do a “five-timers” club monologue, it skews a little too inside baseball, but this one has so many other problems. Hill is taken to a special club with Tina Fey, Drew Barrymore, and Candice Bergen. The women deliver some half-baked #MeToo jokes that walk the line between a Michael Che shit-post and what an open mic comedian thinks women talk like. I’m sad to have to give this sketch one star because it has two great things about it: Bergen is an icon and a gem, and there is a portrait of Scarlett Johansson in the fake club which is a great visual gag.

Benihana:

This sketch isn’t political. It doesn’t connect to current events. It doesn’t parody anything. And it is wonderful. Hill plays a 6-year-old who speaks like an old Jewish Borscht Belt comedian. Leslie Jones plays his nanny and, while she is always on the verge of breaking, you don’t fault her because you are hysterically laughing at home as well. It’s just a little sketch that is well written and silly and fun—and that’s all it needs to be.

Midterm Ad:

Nothing about this digital short feels particularly innovative, but it does feel very timely. The ad features liberals trying to believe in the blue wave. It’s funny and pokes fun at the establishment Democrats, which is almost always deserved. It isn’t a classic but works very well on the show this week.

KRC News:

The premise follows an on-air proposal on a local news channel. There are some great jokes in there, but the structure of the sketch is confusing. The “twist” halfway through doesn’t entirely make sense, and it could have been done better. This one was almost a three star, and it would have been if the rest of the show was worse. There is nothing wrong with this sketch, but also nothing too memorable. The best gag is just that Hill is wearing a green shirt in front of a green screen.

Political Musical:

This sketch perfectly captures the feeling of going to a bad play in New York. It’s funny, it’s just political enough, and it doesn’t drag on. Also, it showcases who on the cast can sing (more on that later).

The Teacher Fell Down:

If this was the last sketch of the night, it would have made more sense. This sketch is funny, really funny at times, but is also very one note. Kate McKinnon makes this sketch. She delivers a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof-style monologue as her class of students watches her lie on the ground. It’s one of those sketches that makes you ask, “Is there more going on here?” And the answer is no.

Weekend Update:

The issue with judging Weekend Update as a unit is there are so many segments contained in the whole. Jost’s opening joke about a caravan of migrants going to work at Mar a Lago is one of those things that would have been called racist if we weren’t all so desensitized by the state of the nation. Michael Che’s joke about voting was less of a joke and more of a rant your uncle would go on after someone asks why he was drinking during lunch on election day. Pete Davidson brings laughs in an easy segment. Who doesn’t laugh at a “this person looks like this” set up? It is stand-up 101. Melissa Villaseñor is the reason I want to give this 4 stars, but can’t. She is great as a teen on Law and Order. Weekend Update should have ended with her, but then we get a tired David Ortiz impression. He retired two years ago—let him be. Yes, Latino people often have accents.

America’s Got Talent:

This joke feels like it’s 10-years-old. Just replace AGT with American Idol (which is ironically true of broadcast TV line-ups as well). There are some funny moments in this, but there is a big issue. The joke is that weird people can sing—but some of the actors can’t sing. The joke thus really doesn’t work, which is too bad, because as we saw in the political musical sketch, they do have people who can sing.

HuckaPM:

The concept for this sketch is good and it is carried out well. The only strange thing about it is SNL seems to want to paint Sarah Huckabee Sanders as someone with a conscious. Every time Aidy Bryant plays the character, she makes her seem like she doesn’t want to be in this administration and that it has been forced upon her. This was almost four Andy Sambergs, but it didn’t feel like it went far enough at times.

Finally…Pug Wigs

Usually the last sketch of the night is the weirdest, but this was actually very tame. I’m actually not sure this sketch really deserves four stars, but who can say no to a dog dressed like a person. It’s easy comedy but has more cute dogs than SNL has had in a long time, so worth a watch.

Disagree with us? Sound off about what we rated wrong in the comments.

Bill Burr presents Paul Virzi tonight on Comedy Central as part of All Things Comedy production pact (Video)

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 14:00

Bill Burr gets to launch a career tonight when Paul Virzi’s one-hour Comedy Central special debuts at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT. Bill Burr Presents Paul Virzi: I’ll Say This is the first of three stand-up specials in the network’s deal with All Things Comedy, the production banner co-founded by Burr and Daily Show alum Al Madrigal.

“Paul’s growth as a comedian over the last five years has been amazing to watch,” Burr said in a press release. “He has found his voice and developed into a monster headlining act. I’ve seen him destroy in every imaginable situation and it’s great to see him get a one-hour special.”

Virzi is a stand-up comedian whose podcast The Virzi Effect is part of the All Things Comedy podcast network. He frequently tours with Burr when not headlining himself. His comedy album Night At The Stand was #1 on iTunes and reached #4 on Billboard’s Top 100. His TV credits include TruTV’s Comedy Knockout, AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, and the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.

Executive producer Pete Davidson insists Virzi is “long overdue for a one-hour special. He’s relatable to all ages and really takes you on a journey.”

Burr and Madrigal announced a deal with Comedy Central back in September under the All Things Comedy production banner. The deal includes three one-hour stand-up specials and an original stand-up series hosted by Burr. All Things Comedy is unique in that it is owned and operated by comedians. Not only do they provide opportunities for comedians to create funny content, but those comics get to take ownership in the company itself. Its podcast network boasts over 50 shows (for full disclosure, the now-defunct Laughspin Podcast was a part of the network).

Be sure to watch Bill Burr Presents Paul Virzi: I’ll Say This tonight on Comedy Central or stream it on CC.com or the Comedy Central App beginning November 3.

American Vandal goes to college with these Season 3 ideas

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 12:30

Our beloved American Vandal was unceremoniously canceled by Netflix last week. Much like a high schooler leaving the nest (for at least 4 years before returning to the nest in a fog of unemployment), American Vandal is hopefully headed towards bigger, better things. At the moment, the Peabody Award-winning mockumentary series awaits its college acceptance letter. Hopefully, Hulu—or one of the 8-dozen streaming services out there asking for $8.99/month—will consider picking it up. If they do, we have some great suggestions. Here, we propose a few possible pranks for our friends Peter and Sam to pull if American Vandal makes its way to college in a highly demanded third season. And if you need an extra staff writer to flesh these out, call us.

Two Seats, One Creepy Professor

A hip-for-60 professor’s bike gets stolen outside a lecture hall. And not just any bike—a two-seater bike he uses to drop his girlfriend off at class with rainbow flags attached to show he’s such an ally. The twist? His girlfriend isn’t a professor—she’s a 31-year-old grad student. All the students present at the lecture plead innocence. They have an alibi, after all. They were watching the lecture while commenting on dog pictures on Facebook. They couldn’t have stolen a bike when timestamps say otherwise! Peter and Sam must find out who has a vendetta against this particular professor. Does it have to do with the uncomfortably large age gap between he and his student girlfriend? Or does it have to do with his even younger undergrad girlfriend who says she’s poly so it’s all good? There must be a reason because no one else would actually want to ride such an obnoxious bike.

Pussy Grabs Toilet Paper Back?

Peter and Sam investigate a mysterious mathematical event: someone is stealing toilet paper out of the men’s bathrooms in the math building. With how few women are in STEM, it’s surprising there’s even a gender distinction in the building. The boys suspect the culprit is feminism—but who? There are only two female math majors, so they have their work cut out for them. The investigative filmmakers immediately track down the two women in the department, both of whom fervently deny stealing any toilet paper. Could a progressive resistance in the cleaning staff be to blame? Or is a Men’s Rights Activist group on campus hoping to frame feminism?

Greek Likes Tragedy

A funny thing is happening during sorority pledge week: Chi Alpha, previously the least popular of the sororities, is suddenly attracting the hottest girls. Their Instagram is particularly suspicious. Once filled with single-digit likes from other women, the comments now frequently include phrases like ‘gorgeous’ and ‘Come to Dubai!’ as their follower count surges. No one is pledging Omega Phi or Zeta Delta anymore, and the presidents of those sororities are furious. They’re also losing followers at an alarming rate no matter how many group photos they post in matching outfits and, without an Instagram presence, they may lose funding from the university. Did they get blow-outs for nothing? The two organizations team up to enlist Peter and Sam to do a full investigation into Chi Alpha’s practices to find out if there’s any foul play involved in their attempts to recruit new members. Were all the votes counted evenly when the girls said which sororities they wish to pledge? Or is this a classic case of voter interference? To find out, Peter and Sam have to talk to every blonde freshman girl, which they hate.

True Blood?

Period stains have appeared up and down the sidewalk connecting the chemistry building to the one all-girls dormitory. Obviously, the residents of the dorm are the first suspects—it’s well-known that women who live together get their periods at the same time and constantly. But then one of the women (you have to call teenage girls who all live together ‘women’ or you get stoned) suggests something: maybe it’s not period blood at all. Maybe it’s something from the chemistry building. Sam and Peter must find out. Will they have to taste the blood to know? And is it even a problem if there are period stains on the sidewalk, or is this just another classic case of men being disgusted by women’s bodies?

V for Vendetta…and Vandal

Someone has egged the houses of the Netflix executives who canceled American Vandal’ Peter and Sam investigate, but could it be…they are the culprits themselves?

Here’s hoping a network swoops in to save the day. Reports suggest it’s being shopped around to various platforms, so we will keep our fingers crossed we see Peter and Sam solve a mystery of collegiate proportions. But seriously, people: Who drew the dicks?

Why is Kanye West tweeting Rick and Morty memes?

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 10:00

Kayne West loves Rick and Morty. The controversial rapper was all over the news this week for distancing himself from politics after multiple endorsements of the Trump administration. But there is a more important Kanye story developing this week: the Yeezus rapper seems to be obsessed with the Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty.

The show’s fans are also no strangers to media scrutiny. Some have infamously targeted female scriptwriters and caused a scene in McDonald’s. The series is the most popular television comedy among millennial viewers in the United States, but even the creators of the show have had to disavow parts of the fandom. These unsavory factions have become synonymous with being obnoxious and tied to right-wing groups, which honestly sounds right up West’s alley.

West first professed his love for the series back in May when he tweeted about the order of 70 more episodes of the show in a long-term deal with Adult Swim.

https://t.co/eUnzwhr72z This is the greatest news This is my favorite show I’ve seen every episode at least 5 times each

— ye (@kanyewest) May 10, 2018

Recently, West has doubled down on his love for the show in the form of a series of drawings in the Rick and Morty animation style. The first image was tweeted out by the College Dropout rapper on October 23, nearly two weeks after his bizarre visit to The White House. The cartoon shows Kanye and wife, Kim Kardashian, stepping out of a portal often used on the show to move through space and different dimensions. An animated Ye brandishes a portal gun, which the character of Rick invented.

pic.twitter.com/9cTZmASBkT

— ye (@kanyewest) October 23, 2018

The very next day Yeezus released another photo. This time with his wife and eldest daughter North West. His other children, Saint and Chicago, are nowhere to be found. Is this an alternate dimension where his young twins don’t exist? Is this a version of Kanye that never met with Trump and that’s why he is wearing a “The World Food Programme” shirt because he’s down with the U.N.? Probably not, because that shirt also says Balenciaga.

pic.twitter.com/XOV5wwOtv4

— ye (@kanyewest) October 24, 2018

All was quiet on the Rick-stern front for two days, until another cartoon surfaced referencing the Rick and Morty episode Get Schwifty. In the episode, Rick has to perform a great pop song or aliens will destroy the earth. In the portrait, Kanye wears a MAGA hat and is joined by Kid Cudi and another character—who might be singer 070 Shake. Kid Cudi wears a shirt that promotes their new album, Kids See Ghosts, and the artwork for the album appears in the background.

pic.twitter.com/7bvPWYJEDv

— ye (@kanyewest) October 26, 2018

Another two days pass before West drops two new drawings. The first features a portal, Ye, and an almost unrecognizable Lavar Ball (father of Los Angeles Lakers point guard). The rapper and Ball appeared on ESPN together with Ball in the same outfit.

pic.twitter.com/bqlhseb4UM

— ye (@kanyewest) October 28, 2018

Then he released a family portrait in the Rick and Morty style with no sci-fi nonsense in the frame. This time with the twins.

pic.twitter.com/RSUroiB678

— ye (@kanyewest) October 28, 2018

Which brings us to Halloween. The Graduation rapper uploaded a photo of him as a pickle. The portrait was in direct reference to the Emmy-winning episode Pickle Rick where Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid going to therapy.

pic.twitter.com/EIYKuEEDjz

— ye (@kanyewest) October 31, 2018

We will all have to wait and see if West blesses us with more confusing visions of him as a cartoon scientist. In the meantime, he has left us with nothing but questions. Questions like who is drawing these? Is he working on a Rick and Morty-themed rap album? Does he believe the show is really deep (like him) and that’s why he feels a kinship to a pickle that won’t go to therapy? And maybe the most important question: Why?

The show’s creator, Dan Harmon, left Twitter after a 4chan-fueled scandal proved too overwhelming for the comedy writer, but the show’s official Twitter retweeted the first of the series of memes. Could this be Kanye throwing his hat in the ring to voice a character? There is no way of telling… yet.

Comedy Central PSA asks #ShouldWeVote (Video)

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:30

There are no celebrities in the new Comedy Central #ShouldWeVote public service announcement. That’s right. No Academy Award-winning actor or Disney pop star is in this video to tell you to vote—no Emma Stone, no Barbra Streisand, no Bruno Mars. The absence of famous people telling you what to do leaves the everyday American lost and confused asking themselves, “Should I vote?”

Comedy Central’s contribution to the Rock The Vote campaign pokes fun at young peoples’ reliance on celebrity voices to tell them what to do, what to eat, and whether or not to moisturize (Jennifer Anniston thinks you should). One rudderless young man pleads, “Tom Holland, Tom Hardy, Thomas the Tank Engine: Should I vote?”

The 2018 midterm elections are being called by both sides of the aisle “the most important election of our lives,” more important than the 2016 presidential election that put reality star Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Voter excitement is hitting record numbers around the country and early voter turnout (yes, you can vote early at your convenience in many states) has become an option many Americans are exercising.

The midterm elections are the ugly little sister to the much sexier presidential elections we get excited for every four years. With the country more divided than ever, electing congresspeople, senators, state reps, and local officials is incredibly important. But many are still asking the question, “Should I vote?” Unlike a celebrity endorsement, Comedy Central doesn’t tell you who to vote for. Rock The Vote is all about voting—no matter which button you press.

The video ends calling for people to tag their favorite celebrities with the hashtag #ShouldWeVote. Those more curious about their options can visit cc.com/vote—which forwards you to RockTheVote.org.

The midterm elections are Tuesday, November 6. We’ll save you a tweet to Lance Bass: vote.

The Louis CK problem: Three things we need to stop doing (Guest post)

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:08
Stop pretending club bookers have an ethical puzzle on their hands.

For the love of comedy, please stop interviewing club owners about their Louis CK “dilemma” as if it’s some kind of Sophie’s Choice. It’s a business decision. To state the obvious, club owners own the club. They can—and do—decide to turn comics away from their stages for any number of reasons; reasons, by the way, they’re not required to provide to the comic, the press or anyone else. Sometimes it’s because the comic isn’t funny or experienced enough. Sometimes it’s because the show is already booked. And sometimes it’s simply because the comic is an asshole and the club just doesn’t want to deal with him or her. That is their prerogative as business owners and they exercise it. Every. Single. Day.

Mostly, the clubs just want to have an audience for their comics so they can sell drinks and pay their bills. That it has become more complicated says everything about the state of the comedy industry (and frankly, every other industry). A few power players want to hold onto their dominance without being slowed down by petty details like sexual assault, and it’s an obvious affront to women in comedy.

 

Stop being afraid to speak out.

Certainly there was a protracted period of time when any dissing of Louis was tantamount to professional suicide. He had rapturous fans and representation, countless successful deals and he was seemingly everywhere. Who wouldn’t want to get on that train?

Here’s the reality: It turns out Louis CK was doing some bad shit. He admitted it and for the time being, he doesn’t wield the power he once did. So what’s everyone afraid of?

Yes, he may someday return to greatness, but he can’t get there without doing the kind of reflection for which some of the best comedians are known. The masters can brilliantly turn personal failings and even tragedies into laughs that help us see ourselves and everyone else with just a little more honesty. Frankly, this is a plum creative challenge and I’d be first in line for tickets if I knew he was bringing his A game to the subject. From reports of his recent sets, we ain’t close.

 

Stop making it a ‘free speech’ issue.

To be clear when Louis shows up at a club looking for a spot, he’s very likely bumping another comic who has worked his or her ass off to get there and maybe hasn’t been sexually harassing colleagues for years. Why is no one talking about their rights?

Because this isn’t about free speech; Louis CK is not being stripped of his rights, nor is any other comic who doesn’t get booked. Louis has a subscriber list of what I’m guessing numbers in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. That’s how he was able to self-release specials and series and get us to pay him lots of money for them. He wanted to reach his fans directly. Guess what? He still can.

Might I suggest he write one of his signature too-long, navel-gazing emails before demanding stage time? If Louis has any remorse, awareness or transformation to share he can surely express it that way— where waitstaff, patrons and other comedians don’t have to face him if they’re not ready. 99.9 percent of talented comics don’t have anywhere near that kind of personal megaphone and they legitimately need the clubs to build a name for themselves. We already know Louis. Does he know himself?

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