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Trevor Noah announces Loud and Clear arena tour

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 13:16

Comedian Trevor Noah announced a 6-month, 28-city tour on Monday. The Loud and Clear tour will start in Toronto on January 11, 2019. Other major stops include, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The first part of the tour comes to a close in Houston on June 22. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah host then has a three-month break and officially concludes his shows in Medford, MA on November 15.

Presale begins at 10:00 a.m. local time on October 17 for Citi cardholders, the official presale credit card for the tour, with the rest of the tickets going on sale to the general public through the Live Nation website on October 19 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Presale tickets are purchased through Citi’s Private Pass system.

Noah, who took over as host of The Daily Show in 2015, has released nine comedy specials and written a New York Times bestselling book called Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Child. His most recent special Afraid of the Dark aired on Comedy Central last year.

The late night host’s stand-up often offers his take on politics and current events. The 34-year-old comedian, who was born to an interracial couple towards the end of apartheid in South Africa, quickly became the biggest comic on the continent before coming to the United States and joining the Daily Show as a correspondent. Since taking over for Jon Stewart, Noah has been nominated for three Emmy awards for his work on the show, winning one.

Check out the full set of tour dates and some classic Trevor Noah comedy below.

January 11 – Toronto, Canada

January 12 – Toronto, Canada

January 18 – Norfolk, VA

January 19 – Raleigh, NC

January 20 – Tampa, FL

January 25 – Ottawa, Canada

January 26 – Bethlehem, PA

Feburary 1 – Cincinnati, OH

Feburary 2 – Indianapolis, IN

February 8 – Madison, WI

Feburary  9 – St. Paul, MN

Feburary 15 – Atlanta, GA

February 17 – Asheville, NC

March 15 – Hollywood, FL

March 16 – St. Augustine, FL

March 22 – Greenville, SC

March 23 – Charleston, SC

April 12 – Amherst, MA

April 13 – Baltimore, MD

April 19 – Irving, TX

April 26 – Detroit, MI

April 27 – Chicago, IL

May 3 – Philadelphia, PA

May 31 – Pittsburgh, PA

June 1 – Hershey, PA

June 14 – Vancouver, Canada

June 21 – Fayetteville, AR

June 22 – Houston, TX

November 15 – Medford, MA

Ted Alexandro stresses the importance of owning your own comedy special in 2018 (Interview)

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:30

Ted Alexandro is a beloved comic’s comic who continues to add to his prolific career. During his 25+ years in the industry, he has had two half-hour specials on Comedy Central, appeared on a variety of late night shows, and performed at iconic venues like Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. If you’re a fan of stand-up, you should be a fan of the New York-native currently touring with Jim Gaffigan. Earlier this month he released his third comedy special Senior Class of Earth.

Alexandro spoke to Laughspin’s Rosa Escandon about his new special, his viral Louis C.K. set., world tours, and the changing face of comedy.

Your new special Senior Class of Earth just came out on the All Things Comedy network. Why did you choose to partner with them to release this special?

I had shot this special independently. I self-produced it. So that kind of ruled out Netflix because they weren’t doing specials that had been pre-produced. So I was looking for a home for my special and I had a conversation with Al Madrigal, who is a comedian, but also one of the co-founders of All Things Comedy along with Bill Burr and it was just kind of serendipity. He said that they were looking to start distributing specials. It was really just perfect timing. My special was the first one that they’re distributing on their network. Everything kind of fell in place and it resonated with me because it’s comedian-owned and it’s more direct from the artist, which I jived with.

Why would you say it’s important for comedians to be able to own or produce their own work?

To me, it just makes sense that you own what you create instead of signing it away to some corporate behemoths that write you a check and then it’s no longer yours and they can do with it what they please. You know, sometimes when they write you that check if it’s big enough, it feels good and it’s worth the money, but sometimes I think on a base level it never feels good to give over ownership of something you’ve worked to create. That’s the bargain that I think anyone who’s in the arts struggles with. But this is my third special and I self-produced all three of them. I put my own money into it. It’s also important to me for the aesthetic of how it’s shot. I wanted something that captured the look of what it’s like to see a set in a club. We shot at the Village Underground, which is the Comedy Cellar’s second [room] on West Fourth [Street]. I wanted something that captured the unique aesthetic of that club rather than a lot of the cookie cutter specials where it could just be any theater with a crowd giving a standing ovation. Specials, to me, are often like comedy on steroids. I wanted something that felt a little more organic to what I do every night.

Your newest special is about 50% personal and 50% political. You are also very politically active with social justice movements. Was it important for you to be able to talk about politics?

I tend to just gravitate towards what moves me and it’s not really calculated. I don’t give it a whole lot of forethought so when those movements came to the forefront, I was just intrigued by them and believed in them. So I participated, and in ways that made it into my act. I always kind of start from the place of what’s funny. I have no interest in trying to convert anyone or trying to preach because I don’t find it funny or interesting. If it is funny, I keep it in the act it, but if it’s not funny, it doesn’t stay in the act.

You recently made some news for another performance, also at the Cellar where you called out Louis C.K. for his sexual misconduct and recent return to comedy. Was that something that you felt like you had to do as a comedian or as a male comedian specifically?

It was interesting because it was stuff that I had been thinking about and, obviously being a comedian who works at the Cellar, it was even more at the forefront of my mind. So I was doing material about it and, although it was kind of framed as being like, ‘comedian slams Louis C.K.,’ it was really more of a macro discussion on #MeToo against the backdrop of Kavanaugh and the Trump presidency. Bill Cosby was, I think, sentenced around that same time. So it was really more of a macro discussion and, unfortunately, Louis is part of that. To me, it was more nuanced than me slamming a colleague. It was more of the macro discussion of the ways that the patriarchy disbelieves women.

Do you think that you have a responsibility as a man to speak up about #MeToo era politics?

For any comedian, you really just have a responsibility to do onstage what you feel equipped to do. For me, these are the types of things that I explore on stage. So that’s why I chose to put that clip out. I deliberated whether or not I should, but ultimately I felt as though, again, it was part of that macro discussion of all of the things that are at the forefront right now. I felt as though there was some value in it. It was also something I was proud of just comedically. I thought it was funny, first and foremost, because that’s why I’m up there. But also thought-provoking. I don’t think you have any responsibility on stage to do anything other than what you are equipped to do and that’s different for everyone.

Are you worried about speaking out like this negatively effecting your career?

No. I mean, that doesn’t enter into it for me. Like I said, if I have something to say, I’m going to explore it. The clip that I put out, that’s something that I had been doing all week. That was one set, but it was material that I had been working through. The fact that it was at the Cellar, I guess it lent a little more gravity to it. As long as I’m putting proper thought into this stuff and I feel as though I’m doing it for the right reasons, I don’t worry about anything beyond that.

You’ve been touring with Jim Gaffigan. How has that been?

It’s great. Jim’s crowds are amazing. First of all, you’re playing these enormous venues. We just played our second or third show at the Milwaukee Bucks NBA arena. It’s like 15,000 people. This opportunity to play for enormous crowds of really good comedy fans—I certainly would not be selling out 15,000-seat arenas [by myself]. I’m playing comedy clubs for my gigs. I feel lucky. It’s a really good opportunity to get in front of more and more people.

I assume you are still on the US leg of the tour?

Yeah. Yeah. We’re playing Nashville this weekend. We have dates lined up into 2019. I think we’re going to be in Turkey and Greece some time near Thanksgiving.

Do you worry about performing in places like Europe where you might have audiences that don’t speak English as a first language?

Not anymore. You know, I’ve been a comedian for 25 years and I’ve performed now everywhere. I’ve done the Amman Comedy Festival in Jordan. I did comedy in Egypt, in Kuwait. I’ve done it in Paris. So at this point, I’ve kind of come to an understanding that if people are coming to an English-speaking comedy show, they have some fluency, you know, with English. And I found that, honestly, with some of these crowds you really wouldn’t know where you are if you didn’t know that you were outside of the states. You would just think that it was a great crowd. They are really appreciative that you’re there. Now with the internet and this shared cultural experience and how aware the world is of American politics and American pop culture, there aren’t too many things that you can’t talk about other than maybe the nuance of language or a turn of phrase that you might have to explain a little further. They’re very well versed in our culture and our politics and the reverse isn’t always true.

Back to your new special: you allow customers to pay-what-you-want. Do you think that is at all risky?

That was kind of more of an ideological decision. I had seen other artists do that. Radiohead famously put out an album where it was pay-what-you-want. That just resonated with me ideologically. You’re kind of trusting the person to, if they like what you do, to reflect that in what they pay for it. If they don’t know who you are and they’re taking a chance, well then you’re just grateful if they pay a couple of bucks for it or whatever. The average wound up being like $5 or $6 anyway because some people who really like you and also appreciate that you put it out that way will give you $20, and then you have some people who have never heard of you that maybe give you $1. But the average ends up being like $5.

You can tell me if this is a bit of a hacky question, but what got you excited to do comedy at first and is that something that you still feel after 25 years?

No, that’s a good question. I think what got me excited was the thing that got me excited when I was a kid to do like a school play or to speak in front of the class or to share like a story that I had written or whatever. I’ve always enjoyed performing and when I got into stand-up in my early twenties, it was still that primal connection of just the vulnerability of sharing something that you’ve written or thought of, and then also the kind of unpredictable element of live performance and seeing what happens in the moment. There is a unique dynamic of a group of people listening to someone speak. That hasn’t changed. Cable television impacted comedy and the internet impacted comedy and our phones and laptops and everything else. But really what remains unchanged is just people walking into a room and listening to someone talk. I still find that exciting both as a comedian and as someone in the back of the room watching my colleagues.

How has the internet or other tech advancements changed the comedy experience?

I think the biggest change is that people have consumed so much more comedy by the time they reach adulthood. I was dependent upon my parents’ record collection, which luckily included George Carlin, Flip Wilson, Bob Newhart. So luckily I was exposed to some good comedy, but now kids with the internet, everything is on YouTube. So even by mistake, they can find five new people that they hadn’t heard of. By the time people reach adulthood, they’re way more savvy. They’ve consumed a lot more comedy and a lot more points of view. It has opened up comedy in ways that are good. A lot more people think, “I can do that,” or, “I want to try that.” There’s been a comedy boom. I got into comedy after the boom of the ’80s, so it was kind of almost like a downturn when I got into it. You would hear these stories of like the crazy times of the ’80s comedy boom. But now I think with technology and with the internet, we’re back on this boom because people are seeing not only a lot of comedy but a lot of good comedy.

You can stream Ted Alexandro’s special Senior Class of Earth at www.atcspecials.com and see him on Jim Gaffigan’s Fixer Upper Tour.

Pete Davidson, Ariana Grande break up following Mac Miller overdose

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 11:58

Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande split up over the weekend. TMZ broke the news Sunday and it was confirmed by People Monday morning. The two got engaged in June after a brief whirlwind romance. The engagement between the Saturday Night Live star and the pop recording artist had been heavily commented on amongst diehard Stans.

Grande broke up with her serious boyfriend, the recently deceased rapper-producer, Mac Miller on May 10, 2018. Later that week on May 16, Davidson broke up with longtime girlfriend and daughter of comedian Larry David, Cazzie David. Some sources report that Miller’s apparent drug overdose on September 7 contributed to the couple’s split, but neither member of the couple has commented about the break up at this time. Sources close to the couple have commented that it was simply not the right time for their relationship to take off.

Davidson, up until this point, has been very open to talking about the relationship and has drawn criticism for talking graphically about their sex life (more specifically her small stature and his penis size). Just 2 weeks ago, he joked about replacing her birth control with Tic-Tacs on the SNL season premiere. In his defense, his then-girlfriend dropped the endowment bomb on Twitter first.

Davidson deleted his Instagram before the news of the split broke. Davidson has deleted social media before. Earlier this year, he left Instagram stating the “internet is an evil place,” before quietly returning to the app. He also deleted his Twitter account not long after starting at SNL. Grande, who is the third most followed person on Instagram, has not deleted her account or the photos of Davidson on it.

The last time the couple was seen together was last week. The couple had been engaged for 5 months.

Issa Rae crowned American Princess in Paul Feig rom-com

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:30

Issa Rae, co-creator and star of HBO’s Insecure is slated to play the lead role in Paul Feig‘s upcoming romantic comedy American Princess. The 20th Century Fox production will star Rae as an American transplant in London who gets “drawn into a world of wealth and high society and falls in love in a very unexpected way.”

Feig adds American Princess to his ever-growing list of female-fronted comedy productions, such as the Kristin Wiig blockbuster Bridesmaids and the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy buddy cop comedy hit The Heat. The filmmaker will produce American Princess with his production partner Jessie Henderson via their Feigco Entertainment banner. Screenwriter Brendan O’Brien also joins the production team, and Jonathan Wu will oversee for Fox. The rom-com script is currently going through a rewrite by Amy Niobi, who has collaborated with Rae on Insecure as a writer and co-executive producer.

American Princess will be directed by Canadian writer-director Stella Meghie, the only black woman with a wide-release movie in 2017, after she directed the film adaption of the Nicola Yoon Young Adult novel, Everything, Everything. Meghie has taken Hollywood by storm since her feature directorial debut, Jean of the Joneses, which earned her a first screenplay nomination at the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards.

Rae’s work on Insecure has earned her Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, and her latest film, the 20th Century Fox drama-thriller, The Hate U Give, is now playing in theaters. She recently wrapped on Little, a Universal comedy co-starring Black-ish star Marsai Martin.

Adam McKay admits to Funny Or Die exit earlier this year

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 08:00

Funny or Die co-founder Adam McKay confirmed that he parted ways with the comedy video powerhouse earlier this year. The acclaimed writer, producer, and director will still remain an executive producer on series like Sarah Silverman’s Hulu show, I Love You, America and No Activity on CBS All Access.

McKay founded the site in 2007 with his friends, comedian Will Ferrell and screenwriter and producer Chris Henchy. His recent involvement with the company has mostly been as founder and owner, rather than day-to-day operations.

“Lately, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to stories and projects that mean a lot to me — big money, corporate entanglements, and global warming. Given Funny Or Die is driven by ad revenues, I felt the time had come for me to step down,” McKay said in a statement to Vulture. “I have to say, I love what we created at Funny or Die and all the really fun collaborators, and I wish them the very best for the future.”

McKay’s resignation comes after a public dispute with the company this past January. The Big Short director said he was “shocked” and “horrified” when Funny or Die partnered with Shell oil and gas company on a sponsored three-episode web series called Glowing Up Fast. “Let me be really clear: this is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” McKay tweeted. “I’m trying to figure out what the hell happened.”

Funny or Die has experienced a whirlwind of change in 2018. Almost a year after closing its New York office, the company announced in January that it was laying off 37 employees and signing a multiyear partnership with Vox Media, moving the site to Vox’s platform in August.

Ferrell and Henchy are reportedly still involved as owners. Funny or Die released a statement on McKay’s departure: “We remain indebted to everything Adam has done and contributed to Funny Or Die. His passion for the creative process and nurturing talent has been beyond inspiring and appreciated by everyone.”

Dave Chappelle on CNN calls for more ‘cultural sensitivity’ and says comedians should ‘listen more’ (Video)

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 16:28

Dave Chappelle is in the news again for talking about Donald Trump. CNN released a clip of Van Jones’s Saturday night interview with the iconic stand-up comedian.

Sitting down with Jones, Chappelle revisits comments he made about giving Donald Trump “a chance” shortly after the 2016 election when hosting SNL. Many at the time were outraged and dismissive of the comments and Chappelle now regrets them as well. In the interview, he concedes, “I don’t like talking bad about the president. I said we should give him a chance because he’s the president of the United States now. What choice do I have?”

The interview features a side of Chappelle that is seldom seen. He seems more restrained than the larger-than-life demeanor he brings to the stage. Maryland Gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous, who also appears in the clip, tries to chime in saying that Chappelle had already apologized for those comments. At that moment, the Half Baked star reverts to the Chappelle we’re used to as he replies, “Well, I don’t ever apologize. I said ‘I shouldn’t have said that shit.’”

Chappelle also told the CNN host that even if he gave Trump a chance in the past, the chances may be all used up. The “rhetoric of his presidency is repugnant,” he says. “I just don’t like the way he talks. We’re living in a time where there’s got to be more cultural sensitivity.” Chappelle seems restrained. Even his disapproval of Trump is carefully worded.

The Grammy-winning comedian also examines his own comedy’s political incorrectness. “Even a guy like me that’s just writing jokes, I have to listen more than I’ve ever had to listen ’cause the gripes is coming so fast and furious, and I’m not dismissive of people’s gripes. Might sound like it on stage, but I listen.” Chappelle has previously been criticized for jokes by the LGBTQ community and especially the trans community. Still, he believes that Trump needs to listen to his detractors instead of talking to a “small choir.”

The full interview will air Saturday, October 13 at 7:00pm ET on CNN. See the preview here:

Why Lena Dunham thinks Daniel Tosh is a misogynist

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 12:34

On a recent appearance on Andy Cohen’s gossipy blabfest Watch What Happens Live, wherein the Bravo king instructed her to “name one celebrity in Hollywood who you think is the biggest misogynist,” Dunham selected the Tosh.0 comedian.

After performing what could be described as a moist inhalation of thoughtful contempt and measured dread, Dunham answered. “This is a roughie because there’s so many.” After a brief laugh, the celebrated actress, scribe and producer presents her offering. “Let’s hand this award to…honestly I’m trying to think of someone who said something hideous about my body so I can direct it super clearly,” Dunham begins. “Ok, this isn’t a person who has a ton of power but the small amount he has I feel he has used for ill—and that’s Daniel Tosh.”

Accepting of her answer, Cohen shakes his head and exclaims, “Ok!” But Dunham wasn’t done validating her choice. “He said a really unkind thing about my breasts. But he said it in a context in which I felt he was shutting down a lot of women for having bodies he didn’t consider normative. It’s sort of like he’s a dumb one to mention because he can’t really do anything because he’s just some Herb.”

This is around the time Cohen’s other guest, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal adds the Mariah Carey classic “I don’t know him” dig.

“He’s got a show on Comedy Central. It’s better this way,” Dunham advises Gyllenhaal

The moment in which Tosh disses Dunham’s breasts came in 2012, only weeks after Girls made its series premiere on HBO.

“The only thing that’ll burn your eyes worse is watching that chick get naked on Girls,” Tosh says on an installment of his recurring Web Redemption feature. He added “I know she’s there. I don’t want to look at her” referencing a screenshot of Dunham topless on an episode of the HBO series.

Oddly, a few months later The Atlantic, of all publications, attempted to wax artistic about Tosh’s show, which, in reality, is little more than a a now-43-year-old man – devoid of nuance and armed with sophomoric, lowest-common-denominater scripts – standing around for 22 minutes wearing your little brother’s clothes pissing on everything. Turns out there’s a huge market for that. Tosh.0 is currently in its tenth season on Comedy Central.

Kevin Hart, Nickelodeon team up for kids’ content

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 12:00

Comedy mogul Kevin Hart and his company HartBeat Productions have agreed to a first-look deal to produce shows with Nickelodeon, the company announced yesterday. The deal will give Hart’s production company the ability to produce live-action scripted kids’ content for the network.

“I’m excited to inherit this terrific content deal with Kevin Hart just as I step into my new role at Nickelodeon,” said Brian Robbins, the new Nickelodeon president. “Kevin is an incredible talent whose appeal cuts across practically every age group and every member of the family. He knows how to create unforgettable characters, and I can’t wait for him and HartBeat Productions to focus their creativity on making great new content with us,”

Hart, who has won a number of Nickelodeon “Kids’ Choice Awards” in the past, took to Instagram to express his excitement.

“Let’s gooooooooo HartBeat Productions,” he said. “Im [sic] so excited about this opportunity. We are about to bring some amazing content to Nickelodeon.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Let’s gooooooooo HartBeat Productions…..Im so excited about this opportunity. We are about to bring some amazing content to Nickelodeon. There is no I in team people….Good work John Cheng, Carli Haney, Dave Becky, Leland Wiggington, Tiffany Brown, Maiesha Shakes, Wayne Brown, Camille muth, Richard kang!!!!! We are just getting started #HartBeatProductions

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:29am PDT

HartBeat Productions has already had a busy year. It produced the box office hit Night School, starring Hart and Tiffany Haddish, and is finishing up work on Black Stallions, a movie about three rival jockeys who also happen to be brothers. The company has previously produced stand-up, including Hart’s last three specials, a special from Keith Robinson, and one from Lil Rel. It also created a spoof of Bravo’s The Real Housewives called The Real Husbands of Hollywood, which starred Hart.

This deal with Nickelodeon is yet another big step for the comic as he continues to stretch his brand beyond the world of stand-up.

Laugh Exchange app moves comedy game show to the afternoon (Exclusive)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 16:39

In the same week Bo Burnham said that comedy clubs should be “torn down,” the innovative mobile comedy app Laugh Exchange is altering its format to make the app more accessible. Laugh Exchange is moving the times of its show format from 8:00 p.m. EST to 12:30 p.m. EST on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in order to accommodate the schedules of its users, who previously had to wait until after 1:00 a.m. to see the winners.

“We’re seeing really high time spent on the app through the first few weeks — people are watching the show all the way through and getting really invested in their votes,” Dave Bernath, CEO of Laugh Exchange told Laughspin in an email. “So, it hit us that — duh — we need to give these hyper-engaged viewers a full circle experience and payoff for voting that doesn’t require them to pull an all-nighter.”

The game show, hosted by comedian Abbi Crutchfield, pits comedians against each other to see who can make the funniest clip about a previously chosen subject. Viewers are then asked to vote for their favorite video using the “Smile Swipe.” The new format allows fans to vote throughout the day so they can announce the winners at 9:30 p.m. It is the first of what Laugh Exchange hopes are many changes to allow for better interaction between fans and comics.

“Our talent are our best evangelists, and we want to give them every opportunity to rally the troops and engage their fans on social during the voting window,” said Bernath.

Competitions are open to anyone who cares to submit to laughexchange.app. Winners are paid a cash prize, and those whose votes match the order the finalists are entitled to a share of a “voters pot.” The changes went into effect today.

Louis CK: I’ve been ‘to hell and back’ and lost $35 million (Exclusive)

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 13:57

The Louis C.K. comeback controversy continues to unfold. The still-adored stand-up comedian—who last year admitted to frequent workplace sexual harassment by masturbating in front of or asking to masturbate in front of multiple women—has dropped in at multiple New York City comedy clubs this week, Laughspin has confirmed. Unlike his previous controversial appearances, the fallen star is finally talking about the sexual misconduct and what he’s been up to the last 11 months.

The former FX darling made headlines in August after a surprise performance at the Comedy Cellar. The widely reported event caused ownership to create a new Swim At Your Own Risk policy, offering patrons the option to walk out if upset by an unannounced performer—your drinks on the house. Just over one month later, he returned to test out more material—none of which addressed his #MeToo moment or what he’s learned during his brief hiatus. Two patrons walked out taking advantage of the new club policy.

Louis C.K. performed this week at the West Side Comedy Club, Caroline’s, and again at the Comedy Cellar. One comedian present at Caroline’s said he mostly talked about getting old and wondered if gay guys miss when it was bad to be gay. He continued to avoid talking much about the misconduct or any personal growth. Though he did open with, “Good to be here even though some of you might not like me,” the comedian shared. “All he said was he ‘took time off because…it’s good to take time off.’”

Things took a turn Wednesday night at West Side Comedy Club: he finally mentioned the massive masturbating elephant in the room. According to the show’s producers, they received word from the club that the legendary stand-up would be dropping in to close their 8:00pm show. “He said he’s been to hell and back,” a comedian on the line-up shared. AMarie Castillo, who hosted, said, “It’s like he didn’t even skip a beat with the year he had. He was so genuine and reflected on how weird his year was, tried out some new dark and dirty material…Sounds to me he is owning up, acknowledging, and trying to figure it out.”

Louis C.K. has not made a public statement since his apology in November. Laughspin reached out to him on Oct. 7 but never got a response. He doesn’t have active social media and has not sent any of those super longread emails for which he was once known. The decision not to address what is on everyone’s mind was curious and, if you ask most comics, ill-advised. Just like if you’re in a wheelchair or spill a glass of water, you need to address the obvious distraction.

Audiences might be in agreement. A source present at the Sunday night Caroline’s showcase and the Wednesday night show at West Side claims there was a stark difference between the two sets. The Caroline’s set was like his previously reported drop-ins, acting like it’s business as usual. On Sunday night “he looked frightened before he went on,” according to the source. He didn’t get huge applause, but he did just okay. “I couldn’t listen to the words because I’m like, ‘Come on bro, really? You’re not going to talk about it?’ It was insane.”

Something shifted Wednesday night. “He was much more confident,” says the source. Castillo says he opened with, “It’s been a weird year” (understatement). He continued talking about how he’s been to “Hell and back”—joking that while he was in Hell he met Hitler. Multiple comedians hanging out that night say he seemed more authentic and real. From the source, his Wednesday set addressed getting booed in the streets and how everyone hates him. “I lost $35 million in an hour.” This audience apparently loved it way more than the unrealistically guarded set just a few days prior—though the comics hanging out were laughing harder than the audience, says the source.

Despite not just public accusations of sexual misconduct, but an all-out admittance of guilt, audiences have been welcoming of his return to the stage. Stand-up comedians have also been thrilled to see the red-haired sexual abuser pop in. Castillo posted to social media, “Tonight I got to bring Louis C.K. on stage as a host. Life is crazy.” The Caroline’s comedian said you could tell people were “in awe” of such a “great comedian” even if he didn’t crush.

Many are outraged that the Comedy Cellar and other clubs are allowing him on stage and others claim the Louie creator has “done his time.” The comedy community has been in a debate lately over what actions should get you banned and which guys simply need an extended time out. One comedy club booker, Candi Clare of Stand Up NY, says if she had it her way she’d politely tell Louis C.K. ‘no.’ In a public Facebook post she shared, “As a comedy booker I feel consistent pressure to not only put together the best line-up specific to our room for our audiences, but I also feel a loyalty to comics to create a safe and creative space.” She offers the very plausible scenario of the comedy giant walking in and asking to do a guest spot. “I would say ‘no.’ I wouldn’t make a scene, I wouldn’t call attention to it. I would simply say, ‘I’m afraid it’s not possible.’” However, she shares, “Ownership has to look at a picture much much larger than I do.”

No New York City comedy club has made the bold choice to ban Louis C.K. from their clubs (even temporarily). But Clare tells Laughspin that Stand Up NY has been “really supportive of me on this” without officially announcing using the b-word. It’s an unprecedented situation. Some say, “He only jerked off in front of some women at work. Come on!” And others shout, “He jerked off in front of women at work! Come on!” The conversation of, “How bad was it really?” is sadly at the center of the storm instead of conversations about consent, power dynamics, and appropriate accountability. Generally speaking, the world does not want to #CancelLouisCK forever. But eight months out of the spotlight doesn’t seem very long. What many are still figuring out is: how long is enough?

Maybe if we focused less on when we can greedily enjoy a fresh Louis C.K. stand-up special and more on how to change the male-dominant comedy culture, we wouldn’t need to send men like Louis away because they wouldn’t be exposing themselves to unknowing young women.

Read Stand Up NY’s booker Candi Clare’s full post below.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article claimed Louis C.K. masturbated in front of women without their consent. He, more accurately, would repeatedly ask women at work if he could masturbate in front of them. Although abusing a power dynamic in a hotel room at a work convention, he did ask and receive consent from the two young female comedians.

Seth Meyers midterm election coverage will be live on Late Night

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 11:38

NBC’s twilight talk show Late Night With Seth Meyers will go live on Election Night to offer the nation some “real-time commentary and analysis on the day’s consequential midterm elections,” according to the network’s official press release.

Meyers, the former Saturday Night Live writer and host of Weekend Update, will air his show on Tuesday, November 6 at 12:35 a.m. ET, just hours after polls close and the majority of the night’s election results will be tallied. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is also scheduled to appear, along with Late Night’s Amber Ruffin, who will do a live version of her popular segment Amber Says What. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will be preempted that night due to election news coverage in the Eastern and Central time zones.

Meyers is not the only late night host set to air a live broadcast that night. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will begin its live coverage of the midterms live from the Ed Sullivan Theater an hour earlier on CBS, while The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will also delve into election analysis on Comedy Central starting at 11:00 p.m. EST.

What can viewers expect from Meyers as he tackles the ups and downs of that evening’s results? Check out some of his coverage from the 2016 Presidential campaign below:

6 Times Seth Meyers Won Saturday Night Live

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:00

Seth Meyers is coming back to host Saturday Night Live this week after leaving the cast in 2014. We think that’s pretty awesome! In 13 years on the show, Meyers was a cast member, a Weekend Update host, and served as head writer for almost nine years. While he left the show to replace Jimmy Fallon at Late Night, his time on SNL gave birth to iconic sketches, timeless characters, and unforgettable moments. Here are six times Meyers crushed on SNL.

6. Michael Caine

Meyers was better at impressions on the show than most people remember. He often played the straight man in classic sketches like Appalachian Emergency Room or Pranksters, but when he did impressions he was always spot on. The Late Night host played iconic roles such as Anderson Cooper, Ryan Seacrest, and Carrot Top. His Michael Caine impression, however, is one of the funniest impressions of the era.

5. He and Amy Poehler were the funniest dysfunctional couple on TV

Meyers often played opposite Poehler, but before their Weekend Update days, they often played a couple. Many will remember an early digital short where they spoofed a pregnancy test commercial playing two college students who had a one night stand. The two also played recurring characters of a couple who should obviously get divorced. Originally the couple was called the Harrisons and were later renamed the Needlers, but no matter their name their trademark was always the same: make everyone else in the scene incredibly uncomfortable through their intense passive aggression.

4. Anytime he was doing an Irish accent

Gone are the SNL days where a whole sketch is set around a drunk Irishman stereotype, but Meyers used to bring this simple premise to multiple sketches. While it might seem too easy now, Meyers played these perfectly. From You Call This a House Do Ya?—an Irish home makeover show hosted by Buildin’ Finn McQuinn—to the Irish-themed morning show Top O’ the Morning, Meyers makes us wish we had more Irish accents on TV.

3. He wrote some of Tina Fey’s most iconic lines

Meyers was a great sketch writer above everything else. He probably had a hand in one of your favorite modern classics. The NBC host wrote the often-quoted Girls parody featuring Tina Fey as an Albanian newcomer to Greenpoint. Maybe most iconically, Meyers wrote the line “I can see Russia from my house,” that Tina would make famous with her Emmy-winning Sarah Palin impression.

2. That one time he upstaged Stefon

Stefon was a character popularized on Weekend Update by Bill Hader and largely written by John Mulaney. Stefan, a gay party promoter, would always steal the scene and Meyers was always the perfect—pardon the pun—straight man. But when Hader left the show in 2013, he plays the Stefon character one final time telling Meyers he is getting married and leaves. Meyers runs out of Rockefeller Center to the streets of New York and into a church to break up Stefon’s wedding to Anderson Cooper. The two joyously run through a sea of Stefon’s previously-thought-to-be imaginary characters and back to set where Meyers introduces them as Seth and Stefon Meyers. Aww!

1. Really? With Seth and Amy

In 2006, Meyers became the co-anchor of Weekend Update after his co-head writer, Tina Fey, left the show. While the nature of Weekend Update makes it so many jokes do not stand the test of time, “Really?” has been burned into our collective consciousness. The bit is almost too simple. Amy Poehler and Meyers would just say the word “really” in more and more sarcastic tones as they read the news. Meyers seems to have even taken a version of this bit to his late night career with a recurring segment featuring one of his writers, Amber Ruffin, saying the word “what” called simply, Amber Says What.

Watch Seth Meyers return to Saturday Night Live October 13. For now, enjoy this overproduced voice over.

Jaboukie Young-White calls Trevor Noah ‘vintage millennial’ in Daily Show debut

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 08:00

Newcomer Jaboukie Young-White established his role as Senior Youth Correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. On his first night, Young-White explained to Trevor Noah why young people don’t vote. The Chicago native made the case that the system is old and outdated, like his new boss who he referred to as vintage millennial. “Why are we still using paper to vote?! …Can’t you just Postmates the election to me?”

Young-White impressed in his Comedy Central debut. His delivery meshes with The Daily Show cadence while still maintaining his own distinct style. It’s likely he will be used as the young even-more-progressive voice who calls out the old guard for microaggressions. You’ll look forward to watching this fly human embodiment of the smirking emoji every weeknight. The 24-year-old college drop-out was hand selected by Trevor Noah after checking off some major comedy accomplishments: Variety’s 20 Comedians You Should and Will Know, a strong late night TV set, Netflix comedy staff writer. After nailing his first of many Daily Show segments, it’s no wonder Rolling Stone tagged him as one of their 25 Under 25.

Ready.@jaboukie tonight at 11/10c. pic.twitter.com/JqhtCoSyYx

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 12, 2018

On Thursday night’s show, Young-White proposes a national voting holiday and looser voter ID laws—because millennials don’t have adequate identification. “I don’t need a driver’s license,” the youngest fake news correspondent explained. “My Uber driver needs a driver’s license.”

Watch Jaboukie Young-White’s standout segment below. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs on Comedy Central weeknights at 11:00 p.m. EST. Replays available at cc.com and the Comedy Central app.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misprinted Jaboukie Young-White as Jaboukie Young-Smith in the headline. We regret this error.

Daily Show, Trevor Noah add Jaboukie Young-White to fake news team

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 15:47

Jaboukie Young-White is the newest (and youngest) correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Comedy Central announced Thursday. Young-White joins The World’s Fakest News Team alongside Noah, Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulcé Sloan, and Roy Wood Jr. Audiences will enjoy the latest addition to the crew immediately.

Everyone has been talking about the 24-year-old Chicago native. Variety put him on this year’s 20 Comedians You Should and Will Know list; Rolling Stone included him in last year’s 25 Under 25; and he performed on the Comics to Watch showcase at the 2018 Just For Laughs Montreal festival. Since then he’s written on American Vandal and appeared in movies Rough Night and Set It Up.

Young-White dropped out of DePaul University his senior year to pursue comedy full-time. He instantly impressed the Chicago comedy scene, getting paid spots as early as 21-years-old. And we can see why! In 2017, the newest Comedy Central acquisition came out as queer on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

i just came out to my parents on national tv lmao

— jaboukie young-white (@jaboukie) December 14, 2017

Young-White makes his debut on Thursday night’s show at 11:00 pm EST on Comedy Central. For now, watch his latest appearance on The Tonight Show.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misprinted Jaboukie Young-White as Jaboukie Young-Smith in the headline. We regret this error.

Tituss Burgess LGBTQ flight will have drag crew, DJ (Video)

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 14:35

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt star Tituss Burgess has partnered with Virgin Airlines for the first-ever “Pride Flight.” The one-off Trans-Atlantic flight will depart from London and land in New York City for the 2019 World Pride.

Virgin Airlines has set the flight up as the ultimate pre-party for the event. The flight will come with a new kind of in-seat entertainment including performances by drag queens, speed-dating, a Judy Garland sing-along, and even a DJ. The in-flight entertainment will all be hosted by Burgess. The flight will also be piloted and staffed by all-LGBTQ employees.

Burgess is a natural choice to host the flight. Burgess became famous for playing larger than life gay characters in comedies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt and 30 Rock. He is also a Broadway veteran who appeared in musicals like Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, and the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls. The comedic actor has also performed with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and performed at the New York vigil for the victims of the Pulse Massacure in 2016 outside the Stonewall Inn.

2019’s World Pride will fall on the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which is commonly seen as the first major demonstration for LGBTQ rights. This will be New York City’s first World Pride, previous host cities have included Rome, London, and Toronto. The internationally organized event seeks to celebrate queer communities around the world even in countries where homosexuality is illegal. Virgin Airlines has been a long time sponsor of Pride celebrations and will be allocating a portion of the ticket sales from the flight to be used to fund pride events in the UK. There will also be raffles and other fundraising activities onboard the flight.

The flight will be aboard the VS 69 and will be departing from Heathrow Airport. Seats in the economy started at £380 (~$502), but have now skyrocketed to over £700 (~$925).

Watch Burgess and his drag crew get ready:

Watch: Ron White Netflix special teaser

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 11:00

Comedian Ron White announced his new special premiering on Netflix October 16 via his Twitter today. The special, titled If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up, will be the first special White has released since 2012’s A Little Unprofessional, his first with the streaming giant.

A veteran comedian with over 30 years of on-stage experience, White might be remembered best for his infamous alias “Tater Salad.” White toured as part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour along with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy. The tour was so popular it sold out in 90 cities and grossed over $15 million. Since the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, White has released five solo specials and has appeared in TV and movies such as Reno 911! and Horrible Bosses. White was also nominated for a Grammy Award for his album, A Little Unprofessional.

White is known for drinking and smoking cigars on stage as part of his act. Fans will be excited to see a bottle of tequila on the stool next to him in the teaser video, keeping up his signature style. If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up will tackle everything from bedwetting to building a net to keeping out Canadian geese.

The @NetflixIsAJoke Twitter account (yes, that’s an official Netflix account) retweeted White’s tweet announcing the special and a teaser. There is also a slightly longer trailer that can be viewed on Netflix as well.

You’ve been asking for it, kids….my new Special, “If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up” is launching October 16th on @netflix! #NetflixIsAJoke pic.twitter.com/5hudZWkKr0

— Ron White (@Ron_White) October 10, 2018

Rare Robin Williams performance to air on SiriusXM

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:00

SiriusXM announced Wednesday that they will be honoring the late Robin Williams with a week of special programming starting October 15. The special programming will air on the Comedy Greats channel which can be found on channel 94.

Robin Williams had a historic 42-year career as a stand-up comedian and actor. Remembered by many for his iconic roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Williams is also credited for ushering in a stand-up comedy renaissance in 1970s San Francisco. Sadly, after a legendary career, Williams shocked the nation when he committed suicide in 2014.

SiriusXM will kick things off with the premiere of an original audio documentary titled Robin Williams: A Life in Comedy. Hosted by Ron Bennington, the documentary will also feature stories and commentary from Bobcat Goldthwait, Louie Anderson, Jay Mohr, Gilbert Gottfried, Andrew Dice Clay, Tom Papa, Chris Gethard, and a posthumous appearance by Barry Crimmins. They will also air various television specials spanning from 1978 to 2009, Grammy-winning comedy albums, and rare interviews. Fans will be especially excited for two rarely heard recordings of the Dead Poets Society star: a 2007 Live MGM Grand Las Vegas show and a 2012 interview with him and David Steinberg at the Durham Performance Arts Center in North Carolina.

“Robin Williams was a beloved, larger-than-life personality who entertained audiences of all ages and backgrounds,” said Jack Vaughn, SiriusXM’s Senior Vice President of Comedy Programming. “We’re thrilled to honor this comedy icon with a dedicated week of programming.”

“The Genius of Robin Williams” week will begin at 10:00 a.m. ET on Comedy Greats channel 94 and continue for seven days. The specials will re-air on Comedy Greats each night at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Impractical Jokers comedy team land TBS game show

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:00

The dudes who brought you Impractical Jokers have a new game show on TBS. Based off the popular card game Sh*t Happens, Misery Index will feature two teams competing against each other to “rank hilarious and miserable real-life events—from getting fired to accidentally sexting your grandfather on a scale of 1-100.”

The cable network is ordering 10 half-hour episodes of the series from the truTV comedy troupe, The Tenderloins, made up of Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano — creators and stars of Impractical Jokers, an unscripted, hidden camera prank show. Now in its seventh season, the show is the #1 original cable comedy series in primetime among both adults 18-49 and 18-34. The Tenderloins met in high school and formed their comedy troupe in 1999. The group found success with Impractical Jokers after years of performing live improv and sketch comedy shows and filming viral internet sketches.

Misery Index was developed by Andy Breckman, creator of USA’s Monk, and Ben & Dan Newmark of Grandma’s House Entertainment. The trio also serve as executive producers, along with Adam Bold, also of Grandma’s House Entertainment, Howard Klein of 3 Arts Entertainment, and Rob Anderson who also serves as showrunner.

“Andy Breckman and the Newmarks have hilariously gamified embarrassment, humiliation, and total misery” said Michael Bloom, senior vice president of unscripted and specials for TBS and TNT. “Adding The Tenderloins brings unpredictable fun to this game.”

TBS adds Misery Index to its current lineup of unscripted programs including Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild and Drop the Mic, the top two new unscripted cable comedies of 2017.

For now, rewatch the Tenderloins play a tasty prank at a pastrami shop.

Tom Arnold Dean Cain Twitter feud follows backstage battle (Video)

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 14:54

Tom Arnold speaks up! The Hollywood Reporter has obtained new video of a verbal altercation between comedy actor Tom Arnold and actor Dean Cain. From the video, it is slightly confusing about what the fight is over, but THR reports it was over Arnold’s claims that Cain holds, or at least excuses, anti-LGBTQ sentiments.

Dean Cain is probably best remembered for his role as Superman in the 1990s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Cain and Arnold were both booked on the show Larry King Now and bumped into each other backstage. Cain was on set to promote his new film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, which is an anti-abortion propaganda film masquerading as a biopic. Arnold was also on set promoting his new Viceland show, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes with Tom Arnold.

The fight is based heavily in the two’s differing political opinions. A third party tried to tape the exchange, but Arnold’s team asked that they put the cell phone away. The person then taped the rest in secret, but some of the altercation is missing. This is hardly Arnold’s first foray into political commentary. He has been staunchly anti-Trump, even claiming there exist tapes of Donald Trump using the N-word during the president’s Celebrity Apprentice days.

The bad blood started back in September when Arnold tweeted, “@RealDeanCain is another @realDonaldTrump loving fake Christian coward which makes Dean Cain anti-LGBTQ & racist. #complicit.” In the video, Arnold tries to convince Cain that associating with anti-queer organizations is just as bad as being anti-queer. Cain asserts in the video, “I’ve always supported gay rights… Let me finish for a second. You’re giving me guilt by association.”

“Don’t be with them!” Arnold implores before likening Cain’s speech at the Value Voters Summit to attending a Nazi rally. “They’re that bad.”

While the video ends with Cain and Arnold quickly hugging and thanking each other, Cain later tweeted, “He called me #racist and said I was anti-LGBTQ. Totally untrue. After I confronted him, he backed down. That’s how it always seems to work.”

Since the tape become public, their public feud has continued on Twitter. Maybe go back to looking for those tapes.

good lord you are a pussy & a phony & the worst kind of anti-LGBTQ racist Trump suck up christian fraud. Kids are getting hurt. I will continue to call out you & your sick side’s support of Trump’s cruel policies & you can play the big white man victim like the quisling you are.

— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) October 9, 2018

Billy Connolly volunteers for Parkinson’s stem cell research

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 12:24

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Billy Connolly, the iconic Scottish stand-up comedian and actor, has volunteered to become a “guinea pig” for Parkinson’s research. The news comes from his book, which is being serialized by The Daily Mail. “I’ve spoken to guys working on [stem cell research] at Harvard and told them I’ll be a guinea pig for them,” he writes. “I think they are going to take me up on it.”

The Boondock Saints star successfully recovered from prostate cancer in 2013 only to discover he has Parkinson’s disease. He exhibited early signs when he was forgetting lines during his stand-up performances like the cruelest practical joke the Devil could conjure. Connolly, 75, says the disease is the first thing he thinks about every day. “The thing that I find hardest is coming to grips with the fact that it’s never going to go away,” he told the Mail.

Despite the disease, Connolly managed to release a new stand-up film Billy Connolly: High Horse Tour Live filmed during a UK tour. He’s been fairly quiet otherwise. Even his acting has stalled. His last role was in Wild Oats, also in 2016. A diagnosis such as Parkinson’s reminds us that there is more to life than stand-up (although some diehards may say otherwise) and that disease, in particular, is extra cruel because it can rob a performer of their craft like a much sadder version of when Grandpa can’t remember how the joke ends. The stage will still be here when he’s ready. For now, we at Laughspin wish The Big Yin all the luck in the world.

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