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Daniel Sloss: People that get offended by jokes don’t have any friends

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 13:18

Daniel Sloss looks like the water boy at a tiki torch rally. You’d never pit the Scottish comedian for a male ally in the war against toxic masculinity just by looking at him, but he’s made it the focus of his new show, Daniel Sloss: X. Sloss, who has made waves in the States with his two-part debut Netflix special Live Shows, frequently admits that his opinions are works in progress and that he combats his ignorance through the novel act of ‘reading.’ One of these researched opinions is that people who were bullied a lot growing up were improperly trained to negatively react to jokes. Through friendship, the Roast Battle champ learned how to take a joke from people who love him.

Laughspin’s Billy Procida sat down with Sloss for an episode of The Manwhore Podcast shortly before running his new show—now touring worldwide—at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City. The two discussed today’s popular roast battle culture and why scientists were tickling lab rats. In the full episode—available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major podcast apps—the two comedians went on to discuss toxic masculinity, liberalism, and how he still believes in true love.

If you get the opportunity to see Daniel Sloss: X live, I cannot recommend it enough. X will unfairly be called ‘the male Nanette.’ But X is much more than that. It’s a man celebrating manhood while also demanding that men do better. It is absolutely brilliant and hysterical and could be the comedy special everyone is talking about when it inevitably hits streaming platforms.

The following has been edited for content and clarity. To hear the rest of the conversation, listen to Ep. 255 of The Manwhore Podcast at the 28:55 mark.

I forgot if it was Dark or Jigsaw where you talked about having supportive parents and I thought, “How dare he?”

Yea, my parents are disgustingly fucking supportive.

You started crazy young, no?

Me and my dad will argue whether it’s 16 or 17. I’ll say 17; he’ll say 16. I did do a gig when I was 16, but I don’t count it as a gig because it was 11 or 12 people and it was part of a comedy course thing. I don’t agree that that was a comedy show. Whereas the first one I did when I was 17 was at The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh, which is a real comedy club, so that’s where my heart lies. And at this point, I think regardless of if I started at 16 or 17, that my career has been fairly fucking impressive. It no longer matters which age I started at.

Yeah. I saw your show Daniel Sloss: X with a comedy buddy. We heard ’17’ and thought, “This motherfucker.” Do you get a little bit of that from fellow comedians when they find out?

I did a lot when I was younger. It was that kind of jealousy I find you get amongst comedians a lot of the time. It’s my favorite type of jealousy—I do it all the time. If somebody ever comes up with a joke that I think is genius, I’ll go, “Oh, fuck you for coming up with that!” There was a lot of that friendly sort of banter from older comics. “Fuck you for starting so young. I wish I had.”

It’s a way of saying, “You’re incredible for how young you are.”

It was always complimentary. And look: I enjoy ribbing, man. I love fucking making fun of people and being made fun of. I love that sort of shit. So I never took any of the insults fucking personally.

So you must dig the roast battle culture that’s been growing over the years?

I am the only undefeated roaster from the UK TV series. There’s only been three seasons now. In the first season, I beat Desirée Burch. In this last season, I beat Phil Wang. Undefeated. It’s the one fucking thing where I went to my agent and said, “Get me on that fucking show.”

I’m not good at panel shows because I enjoy watching panel shows so I just laugh when I’m there. I’m not political. I’m not a voice on politics, so I don’t respect my own opinion on politics. So I wouldn’t offer it out there for people to hear. I think it’s unnecessary information for people to have if they knew my political affiliations seeing as they’re grounded in almost nothing. So, panel shows I’m just not that good on. And these other shows that you get in the UK where they want you to come on and be a personality. I’m not good at those. I’m a comedian. I don’t want to be known for, “Let’s hear his thoughts on anything.” No. I’m a fucking comedian.

Whereas with Roast Battle, that is me to a fucking T. I’m a big fan of horrific insults, really trying your hardest to upset your friends with jokes is absolutely what I was put on this planet to do.

Here is one of my many, many shit opinions that aren’t grounded in any evidence, but it’s an opinion-in-progress sort of thing. People that get offended by jokes don’t have any friends. I believe that if you get offended by comedy, it’s because you didn’t have friends growing up. Which is sad, and I understand that, but part of comraderie—especially male comraderie—is just insults all the fucking time. And that does come from toxic masculinity, but for me, I don’t think it’s a dangerous form of toxic masculinity. If everyone knows it’s a joke, if everyone knows it’s done as banter—and we do. Men aren’t as fucking dumb as we claim they are. You can see when somebody takes a joke badly as a man. “Oh, you took that a little bit personally.” Me and my friends, we know we have some friends more sensitive than other friends. So we’ll take the fucking pedal off because they can’t give as good as they get it sort of thing.

I love verbally abusing in text all my fucking friends. It keeps you grounded and it’s a great practice for joke writing as well. I just think, if you didn’t have any friends growing up, you didn’t get insulted. You never understood that insults didn’t have to be personal and cruel. They could be personal and cruel, but the intent to hurt wasn’t behind it. People who have no friends, whenever they hear an insult, they’ve only heard it from bullies. So they always associate insults as bullying as opposed to, where I was raised with my family, insults are compliments. Insults are funny little things to sort of, not necessarily keep you in line, but everyone’s fair game.

Like in my family, I would never shout at my mom or I would never shout at my dad because they’re my parents. But the one bit that was allowed to transcend age was jokes and making fun of each other. As I said: it’s an opinion in progress.

And bullying does exist. And that’s the fucking problem with it. The thing I’ve always said—not something I’ve always said, it’s a scientific study I first heard on Shane Mauss’s podcast (which is great if you ever get a chance to listen to it)—and it’s where laughter comes from. The lowest form of animal that can laugh is the English. But after that, it’s rats.

Basically, scientists worked out that if you scratch a rat on its belly, it lets out this sort of shrieking noise. It’s the rat laughing. The reason it’s laughing is because, normally, if a rat was on its back and something were to attack its belly, that’s the most dangerous position a rat can be in. Right? That’s a fucking eagle; that’s a dog; that’s a cat that’s about to fucking kill it. Whereas tickling a rat on the belly is a safe violation of the thing. Normally this thing is a horrific death thing, but this is such a minor version of that thing that it’s funny. And that, to me, is what most comedy is. It’s a safe version of the horrible thing.

People always say to you, “Do you find the Holocaust funny?” You go, “No. I absolutely don’t find it funny. But I find jokes about the Holocaust funny.” Those are jokes about the Holocaust. There’s such a difference between me laughing at the thing and me laughing at jokes about the thing.

My favorite quote from Jim Jefferies is, “There’s a difference between things that I think and things that I think are funny to say.”

Exactly that. I say things that I absolutely do not mean. And the reason I say them is because wouldn’t it be funny if I held this opinion? That’s it! It’s a safe violation. People who deny the Holocaust happening are the worst people in the world. I find it an abhorrent, horrific opinion to have. Anyone who holds that opinion truly needs to be punished—well, let’s not get into how I think they should be dealt with. That’s not necessary. But I think it’s a horrific opinion to have. That being said, if somebody’s playing a fucking character—they’re playing an idiot, that’s a horrible opinion to hold, so I’m going to pretend to hold it for the sake of this joke. That’s a safe violation of the horrible thing.

So with bullying, as I understand, when I say ‘no friends,’ I didn’t mean for that to be, “Oh, you’ve got no friends!” I just mean in the sense if you don’t have friends who fucking pick on you, if you don’t have friends to teach you that—the way I found out all my flaws was from my friends making fun of them. And it wasn’t cruel. My friends would go big nose, big lips, stupid voice—whatever. Then when people started to actually insult me for them, I was like, “Oh, I don’t give a shit.” I’ve heard them from friends. Nothing you can say can actually hurt me.

It’s like that Tyrion line on Game of Thrones: If you know what your weaknesses are, no one can hurt you. I think your friends teach you to do that. That’s why I think sometimes I’ve had this argument with my girlfriend on several occasions: the reason [she’s] more sensitive is because [she] was raised around girls and girls are nicer to each other. They can be bitchy, but girls are nicer. Again, all opinions in sort of progress, but I just think camaraderie and stuff sort of teach you to not take jokes as seriously. My friends have said horrible things to me, truly horrible disgusting things about my sister. And I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I thought they meant that. Because there’s no part of me that thinks, “Oh, you meant those words that came out of your mouth.” That’s what blows my mind about people who go to comedy shows. They just sit there and think, “He means every single word he’s saying. I’ve come to see a comedian tell jokes. He must mean every word.”

There’s a point in my show where I say I’m talking to a female friend of mine and I say, “Why don’t you speak when spoken to? How about that?” Because that’s a horrific opinion to have and I don’t hold it. So isn’t it funny if, for a brief moment, I pretend to be the asshole that has that opinion? That’s the joke to me.

That’s when we get into the problem of when does my responsibility end to explain that to my audience. I love Jim Jefferies. I think Jim Jefferies is one of the best comedians. I think Jim Jefferies is a highly fucking intelligent comedian. His gun control routine is second to none. Over the years, the way Jim Jefferies is able to dissect an argument and defeat it at every single step of the way while still keeping you laughing is something I think a lot of comics should aspire to—I think he’s a genius. Having said that, I do think some of his fans are idiots. And they’ll hear him occasionally make a joke where he’s making fun of women and they just take it at face value. “Jim Jefferies hates women.” He doesn’t. I know Jim. He absolutely does not. But that’s what they take it as. It’s always a difficult thing of how much do I have to fucking explain to my audience which bits are jokes and which aren’t.

Are there any comedians that broke your heart when you found out that that benefit of the doubt may not be deserved?

[Louis] C.K. broke my heart, man. I enjoyed his stand-up for years. I really, really did. What he did—I’m also not a big fan of the way he dealt with things. That broke my heart. But, then again, how much is on—oh, no. It is on him. I was about to say, “How much of that is on him?” It is on him. Using C.K. for my next point is a bad example, is all I mean.

I like how your opinion is in progress even just in this moment.

Yeah, man. That’s the thing. That’s why I don’t like commenting on a lot—people always ask me for these opinions. I’m like, “I don’t know yet.” It takes me a while to arrive at a fucking conclusive opinion. I really do like to consider all sides and hear it from different fucking people before I fully cement where I am.

Very unAmerican of you.

People don’t want that anymore. They want a bite-size clip of your opinion. Nothing’s black and white. Everything is fucking grey, man. Everything is so complex and you have to, like, really think things through. If I’m going to firmly stick my flag in the ground somewhere, I’ve got to know who my fucking teammates are. I’ve got to be able to defend my point at all times—because I don’t like losing arguments, man. I don’t. I want to make sure I’m always right. Up until now, I’ve always been right.

The post Daniel Sloss: People that get offended by jokes don’t have any friends appeared first on LaughSpin.

10 “Weird Al” Yankovic songs that are secretly dark af

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 12:07
”Weird Al” Yankovic is the best-selling comedy recording artist of all time. His 2014 album Mandatory Fun was the first comedy album to debut #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. His music is loved across the globe and spans across generations young and old. While Weird Al’s music is family-friendly (there’s no swearing, foul language or graphic sexuality), the songs can get a little…weird. If you dig deep enough into the Weird Al archives, some of the songs are super dark. Laughspin brings you the darkest Weird Al songs ever made. For the purpose of this list, I’ve only considered songs off of Yankovic’s 14 studio albums. To weigh the darkness, I’ve considered both subject matter and how many people died. An interesting side-note: All of these songs happen to be originals by Yankovic, not parodies. I guess that’s what happens when this accordion-wielding comedian is left to his own devices! 10. Weasel Stomping Day – Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)

This lovely, cheerful song is about the ritual murder of an entire species. The song takes us to a town with a beloved holiday tradition of crushing weasels to death. As the song goes, “It’s tradition; that makes it okay.”

If thoughts of weasel skull-crushing, spine-snapping, and gut-squirting leave you queasy, lyrics like, “All the little girls and boys love that wonderful crunching noise,” will certainly leave you concerned for the well-being of this town’s youth!

Lyrics aside, the truly darkest parts of the song are the sound effects. The middle of the song features a 20-second lyricless interlude of crushing and squealing noises. The DVD that accompanied the initial album release revealed that these noises were, in part, recorded by Weird Al’s young daughter. For additional delightful darkness, watch the music video animated by Robot Chicken.

9. You Don’t Love Me Anymore – Off the Deep End (1992)

This anti-love song recounts a series of events proving our narrator’s partner is no longer in love with him. The song starts relatively tame. The lover “made it with the whole hockey team,” and told “all [her] friends that I’m the Antichrist.” That’s not so bad compared to having your brakes disconnected, your bathtub filled with piranhas, your coffee poisoned, or your house burned down.

The most graphic line comes at, “You slammed my face down on a barbecue grill.” While that’s quite a horrific picture, the crescendo of the song’s darkness comes from the lyric, “You drilled a hole in my head. Then you dumped me in a drainage ditch and left me for dead.” It appears as the relationship declined, so did the scorned lover’s creativity in her many murderous plots.

By the end, our lovesick hero is still—somehow—alive. Disfigured and thoroughly abused, but alive. That’s why this song lands at #9.

8. Christmas at Ground Zero – Polka Party! (1986)

Christmas at Ground Zero is one of the most unapologetically dark Weird Al titles in his catalog. It’s hard to miss when the title quite accurately sums up the premise of the song. A holiday staple in many depraved homes, this song observes typical Christmas traditions maintained amid a nuclear attack. Despite mentioning atom bombs, the end of humanity, and the expected mutations from nuclear fallout, there are no explicit deaths in Christmas at Ground Zero. If there were, this song would rank a lot higher.

Released in 1986, the song’s juxtaposition is written for the sake of humor. Hearing it in 2019, it comes off as a creepy reflection of complacency in the face of terror. Weird Al fans began sharing this song again in December 2016 when then President-elect Donald Trump discussed nuclear weapons on Twitter.

The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016

7. The Night Santa Went Crazy – Bad Hair Day (1996)

By now, it’s safe to assume that a ‘traditional’ Weird Al Christmas song is anything but wholesome. The Night Santa Went Crazy recounts, “the night Saint Nick went insane” after he “realized he’d been gettin’ a raw deal.” Santa goes on to bomb the toy workshop, take elves hostage, and grind up “poor Rudolph into reindeer sausage.”

While there are no confirmed human deaths in the song, there is immense emotional trauma. As dark as the album version gets, it gets, well… even worse. The super dark Christmas song first appeared on Weird Al’s 1996 album Bad Hair Day. However, an “extra gory” version of the song first shows up on his Amish Paradise single. Instead of Santa going to prison for 700 years, he gets shot in the head. As if it could get any darker, it even includes the line, “Yes little friend, now that’s his brains on the floor.” Since the extra gory version wasn’t the official release, The Night Santa Went Crazy only lands at #7 on this list.

6. Good Old Days – Even Worse (1988)

In classic Weird Al fashion, Good Old Days takes a happy melody and expertly adds deeply chilling lyrics. While reminiscing about the ‘good old days,’ the song’s protagonist describes “torturing rats” and “pulling the wings off of flies” in his sad, lonely basement. Okay, weird. But boys will be boys, right? The next verse describes burning down the neighborhood grocery store and the look on the kindly shop owner’s face when he “bashed in his head.”

Already, Goold Old Days belongs on this list. However, the song gets more twisted the longer you listen. The last story he recounts is of his high school sweetheart and what transpired after the homecoming dance. “I tied her to a chair and I shaved off all her hair.” Then he abandoned her in the middle of the desert—how romantic. He concludes by saying, “Sometimes in my dreams, I can still hear the screams. Oh, I wonder if she ever made it home?” While there is no confirmation of murder, it’s certainly implied.

5. I Remember Larry – Bad Hair Day (1996)

I Remember Larry is deeply, deeply dark. What makes it so great is the murkiness isn’t revealed until nearly halfway through the song. It starts as a recollection of pranks that “Larry” has pulled on the song’s narrator. The pranks start off tame like phony phone calls and wedgies. Eventually, the deceits escalate to a level that includes actual toxic waste. While odd and certainly criminal in nature, nothing Larry pulled was quite dark enough to land on this list.

The song proves how twisted it is when the narrator “pranked” Larry back. He recounts breaking into Larry’s house, dragging him into the woods, and stuffing him in a plastic bag. Don’t worry: Larry would have loved the prank. At least that’s what we’re told.

4. Melanie – Even Worse (1988)

Melanie is the first song that comes to mind when considering a true PG-13 Weird Al song, but still pretty messed up—especially in a #MeToo world. Melanie is the singer’s dream girl, a woman he’s been lusting after ever since he used his telescope to watch her shower. While this may be Weird Al’s first song about a guy stalking and creeping on a woman, it wasn’t his last.

In 2006’s Straight Outta Lynwood, Weird Al parodied Taylor Hicks’s Do I Make You Proud with Do I Creep You Out. In it, he describes saving a woman’s gum, feeling the “warm spot on (her) chair,” wanting to put her fingers in his mouth, and feeling the need to carve her name into his leg. While definitely odd, it’s not as depraved as Melanie.

The main character, rejected by Melanie after tattooing her name on his forehead, jumps out of the window a story above her apartment, committing suicide right in front of her. He says, “Now I may be dead, but I still love you,” which is a haunting end to a low key delightful song.

3. Albuquerque – Running with Scissors (1999)

Clocking in at over 11 minutes, Albuquerque is Weird Al’s longest song. It’s also one of his darkest.

Albuquerque starts off with a clear case of child abuse. The narrator’s mother ties him to a wall and force-feeds him nothing but sauerkraut until he’s 26-years-old. All because he asked his mother, “What’s up with all the sauerkraut?” The lowest point comes after a terrible plane ride to Albuquerque ends with a crash that kills everyone on board—except for the narrator. Oh, and the plane ran out of peanuts before the crash. Tragedy.

Time for some math! Because there is mention of an in-flight movie, and the fact that there is a middle seat, we have to assume this was a large aircraft. The largest passenger aircraft that regularly lands at Albuquerque International Sunport is the Boeing 737-900 which has a seating capacity of 189 and would be staffed by at least two pilots. We can only truly confirm the deaths of the people who are mentioned as being on the plane (as well as the implied two pilots): two large Albanian women, the flight attendant, and the kid behind the narrator. With all of this in mind, the total death toll in Albuquerque is somewhere between six and 188.

2. Why Does This Always Happen to Me? – Poodle Hat (2003)

Easily one of the catchiest Weird Al songs, Why Does This Always Happen to Me? is undoubtedly one of the Grammy winner’s darkest tunes.

The song starts with a horrific earthquake that crushes 30,000 people. This leaves our narrator understandably upset because, of course, the news of this incident interrupted an episode of The Simpsons.

He also tells us about how he stabbed his boss in the face after being politely asked to replace the printer toner. We also learn about a road trip where he witnessed a deadly 12-car pile-up. Amid the “brains and guts and vital organs splattered everywhere,” he notices his “friend Robert’s disembodied head.” At first, he’s sad at his friend’s passing but later resolves that the friend was a jerk because he hadn’t yet returned a borrowed five bucks. Dark.

1. One of Those Days – Polka Party! (1986)

I hadn’t initially considered One of Those Days as being the gloomiest song in Weird Al’s repertoire. Upon closer review, I realized it is the darkest thing the @midnight regular has ever released.

The song revolves around Weird Al’s genius juxtaposition of the inane and the insane while describing “cliché” bad days. Everything that could go wrong seems to go wrong for this guy. He’s late to work. He leaves his Beatles records out in the sun. Yankovic’s heightening leaves him tied up by Nazis and his mother run over by a steamroller. Things turn apocalyptic when “the bomb” gets dropped, resulting in the world blowing up “and now everybody’s dead.” The song literally states that everyone on earth dies.

In 1986, when this song was released, the world population was just under 5 billion people (4,953,376,710 to be exact, according to geohive.com). 4,953,376,710 die in a Weird Al song. What a miserable way to die. And that’s why One of Those Days is number one on our list!

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Amy Schumer hates people with happy pregnancies in Netflix trailer

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 15:29

The trailer for Amy Schumer’s second Netflix special, Growing, is out and it’s clear Schumer continues to keep it real during her pregnancy. Amy Schumer: Growing debuts on March 19 and will show Schumer talking about the trials of pregnancy, being a bridesmaid in your late thirties, and marital bliss.

In the trailer, Schumer shares that even though someone is pregnant you don’t start to change who you are, unlike women who start to act really precious. “You don’t stop being you. You don’t stop working or drinking.”

She also addresses pregnancy complications in the trailer. “If you had a good pregnancy like if you are someone who enjoyed being pregnant, I just hope your car flips over. That’s what I wish for you.”

Amy Schumer pranks announcements on social media

Schumer suffered from pregnancy complications—hyperemesis—that prompted her to cancel the rest of her comedy tour earlier this week. She’s been vocal on social media about morning sickness and other challenges of being pregnant.

The I Feel Pretty star frequently uses social media to make major announcements, from her pregnancy to show cancellations. She disguised her Netflix special announcement as a video that would reveal the gender of her baby. “What I wanted to announce was the baby’s gender.” She continues, “We are so excited to say what the gender is. However the baby identities is fine, whatever the baby’s sexuality is… any way the baby identifies is cool with us. As long as it doesn’t identify as a DJ.”

She then goes on the clarify that she has a Netflix special coming out, calling it the best special she has ever done. We’ll see if it’s any better than The Leather Special.

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Calise Hawkins, Pat Brown kick off inaugural Black Women in Comedy Festival

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 12:12

The Black Women in Comedy Festival is coming to Brooklyn for the first time ever this weekend.

The new festival will feature 30 phenomenal comedians, solo artists, and improv groups performing nightly shows from February 28 to March 3, effectively bridging the gap between Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

You can catch any of the shows across four venues in the New York City neighborhood of Bed-Stuy: Brooklyn House of Comedy, Joloff Restuarant, The Corners BK, and Tilly’s.

Among the headliners are Calise Hawkins (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), Pat Brown (Late Show with Stephen Colbert), and Meshelle “The Indie-Mom of Comedy” (Nickelodeon’s Search for the Funniest Mom in America 3). Jenelle Jackson, Ashima Franklin, Stephanie McCrae, Franqi French, and MeMe Simpson will also perform.

Black Women will shine at inaugural comedy festival

“Creating a platform for women of color, specifically Black Women, empowers the next generation of young people who aspire to become stand-up comedians,” said event founder Joanna M. Briley. The festival strives to showcase the “best, brightest and funniest black women, those who identify as women, and those from the LGBTQ community,” according to a press release.

Tickets for each individual show are $15, but an inclusive festival pass or daily passes can be purchased through Eventbrite . More information and a full schedule can be found on the event Facebook Page and official website.

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Album Review: Mike Bocchetti takes on the Rodney Dangerfield mantle in Thank You!

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:00

After hearing the comedy of Mike Bocchetti for the first time, you might wonder “What’s the catch?” After all, he is not your typical stand-up despite being a veteran of the industry (he started performing in 1992).

In fact, when the “Shakespeare of Staten Island” reached national recognition as a frequent guest of Opie and Anthony throughout the past decade, the hosts and their listeners often laughed at him and his unorthodox comedic style, not with him. They made him the punchline of their jokes and it made for an uneasy listen at times.

With the upcoming February 22 release of his new album Thank You!, an interesting turn of events has occurred. Instead of audiences looking at Bocchetti as the butt of the joke, the album affords an opportunity for the public to see him as a real funny man. As he develops his set, Bocchetti becomes a modern day arbiter of the Dangerfield-esque style of self-deprecating one-liners. His patrons repay his efforts with the chuckles, chortles, and belly-laughs befitting of a tried and true professional stand-up.

Mind you, Bocchetti’s technique hasn’t changed one iota since he began his career nearly three decades ago. He still uses a Tommy gun-like delivery of quick and almost expected one-liners that either hit their mark or miss the target altogether. Yet with Thank You!, the New York native is on point with his humor full of relatable situations, personal jabs, and simple yet effective punchlines that strike fast and hard each time.

An album like Thank You! can do either one of two things: catch you off-guard with its simplicity and bring a sense of amusement or grate you after 5 minutes of hearing the same formulaic and quickly agitating approach. While it could have easily gone down the latter road, Bocchetti’s penchant for re-affirmation (coming in the form of his “thanking” the audience after every one of their laughs) is actually quite charming and inspiring in its presentation.

Also, while Bocchetti’s humor may come off as crass and common to some, there is a sincerity and honesty found within his brand of locker room talk. He’s an everyman with everyday views and problems. If you listen carefully, he presents the best way to deal with and cope with these everyday conflicts: a touch of honest humor.

When you hit play on Thank You!, you’ll get what you would expect from a comic like Bocchetti. He will take you on a 40-minute trip through the mind of a blue-collar comedian trying to understand his crazy, befuddled and often defeatist lifestyle. As you take this journey with him, you ultimately relate with him and create a bond that helps one discover the overarching absurdity found in your shared experiences. As a result, you do the only thing you can do when faced with such nonsense—you laugh.

This time, however, the act of laughter comes without feelings of guilt or remorse for doing so. When the laughs do come, they don’t come at Bocchetti’s expense. They come because of his successful stand-up performance.

Mike Bocchetti’s Thank You! is available now on iTunes and Stand Up! Records.

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Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph really want you to think they hosted the Oscars

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:51

Sunday night’s Oscars got some comedic help from Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler. The Saturday Night Live alumni kicked off the hostless Academy Awards with an upbeat tone and quick pace on a night that featured lots of music and minimal bits.

After the original host, Kevin Hart, stepped down from the gig amid controversy over old tweets, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that the show would not have a host this year—which sent many into a panic. The last year the Oscars ceremony went without a host was 1989.

Fey, Rudolph, and Poehler open Oscars strong

The trio opened the “one millionth” awards ceremony last night after a musical performance by Queen with Adam Lambert. Fey, Poehler, and Rudolph started their three-minute killer performance with an update on a few items, including the fact that the show would not have a host. They then struck a pose for the cameras, hoping that USA Today would cover their performance and readers would think that they did indeed host the prestigious event.

The Wine Country stars eased viewers into the evening with their thoughts on how they would host if they had been given that opportunity. They took turns cracking jokes about nominated films, similar to how previous Oscar hosts would roast nominees.

Poehler revealed to Bradley Cooper that she also peed herself at the Grammys, but for a different reason. Fey pondered when her microwave would start making movies, now that Netflix won its first Best Picture Oscar for Roma. Rudolph made obligatory jokes about Sam Elliott’s mustache and Wakanda.

They wrapped up their bits with Rudolph showing off her vocal chops. She belted out a Lady Gaga riff from A Star is Born’s award-winning song Shallow and Poehler joined in the song…until Fey (wisely) covered her mouth. Then, the group made their final hypothetical announcement to the attendees of the annual gala. Fey encouraged the audience to look under their seats, because, “you’re all getting one of those cheese sandwiches from the Fyre Festival!”

Comedians lend a hand at hostless Oscars

Finally, the group explained that while they were not there to host, they were there to present the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, which went to Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk.

Other comedians appeared throughout the show including John Mulaney, Awkwafina, Trevor Noah, and Melissa McCarthy—who made waves for both her red carpet and on-stage outfits. Keegan Michael-Key made the grandest entrance to introduce Bette Midler. Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, and Eighth Grade star snub Elsie Fisher also got some screentime.

Keegan-Michael Key’s #Oscars entrance was practically perfect in every way.

Amy Schumer tour dates canceled amid pregnancy complications

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 15:33

Amy Schumer canceled her remaining tour dates due to pregnancy complications over the weekend. While Schumer is uncomfortably ill, she assured her fans that, “the baby and I are healthy and everything looks good.”

On Saturday, Schumer posted on Instagram that she needed to cancel the remainder of her tour for both her and her baby’s health. Schumer began her current national tour in November in New York. She was scheduled to have four more performances, including a final show on March 3 in Austin, TX.

Amy Schumer’s hyperemesis sidelines tour

Schumer, who is in her third trimester, suffers from a condition called hyperemesis which causes her to be constantly nauseous. The condition is more severe than typical morning sickness. In her trademark style of oversharing, she explained in her Instagram post that, “I vomit mostly every time i ride in a car even for 5 minutes.” Doctors do not wish for the I Feel Pretty star to fly for the remainder of the pregnancy. Schumer, who announced her pregnancy in October on Instagram, is pregnant with her first child with chef Chris Fischer.

The Inside Amy Schumer creator was hospitalized for her the same condition in November. At that time, she posted a photograph of herself in a hospital bed and announced that she would have to reschedule her Texas tour dates. She said, “I have hyperemesis and it blows. Very lucky to be pregnant but this is some bullshit!” It also blows to be an Amy Schumer fan in Texas.

 

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Texas I am so deeply sorry. I have been really looking forward to these shows. I have to reschedule. I am in the hospital. I’m fine. Baby’s fine but everyone who says the 2nd trimester is better is not telling the full story. I’ve been even more ill this trimester. I have hyperemesis and it blows. Very lucky to be pregnant but this is some bullshit! Sending so much love to the doctors and nurses taking great care of me and Tati! They are cool as hell! And Texas I am really really sorry and I’ll be out there as soon as I’m better.

A post shared by @ amyschumer on Nov 15, 2018 at 10:55am PST

Netflix ‘pregnant’ with mothers-to-be stand-up specials

Schumer’s upcoming one-hour special, Amy Schumer: Growing, premieres on Netflix on March 19. Like her Netflix debut, The Leather Special, Schumer will still discuss sex, but she will also delve into her marriage and pregnancy. Ali Wong discussed similar topics in her Netflix debut, Baby Cobra, recorded when she was seven-months pregnant. She taped her second special, Hard Knock Wife, also while she was seven-months pregnant. Similarly, Natasha Leggero recorded her Honeymoon Special with husband Moshe Kasher while very pregnant.

Refunds for Schumer’s remaining tour dates are available at point of purchase.

 

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7 things to know before making your late night stand-up debut

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 12:45

No ring is shinier in a stand-up comedy career than doing a tight five-minute set on late night TV. Whether showcasing your jokes on Conan, The Tonight Show, or any other late night talk show still not hosted by a woman, the chance to show the world what you’ve got is a special moment in a comedian’s life. So special, in fact, that many top comics hold the experience as one of the greatest events of their lives. Here are seven things you should know about your future late night stand-up debut!

You can bring guests backstage

You’re allowed to bring some of your nearest and dearest into the green room, which can make for some of the best memories. Erin Jackson, who taped her Conan set the day after her birthday, brought her best friend. Pictures can also be taken backstage, which led to one of Samantha Ruddy’s favorite moments with her guest. “They had a Polaroid camera and a wall with a bunch of celebrities’ pictures,” Ruddy shared with Laughspin. “So my girlfriend and I used it to take a selfie and put ours next to Henry Winkler.”

Your set is pre-taped

Knowing this can relieve some of the pressure. Kenny DeForest appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers earlier this year. “I wish it had clicked beforehand that I wasn’t doing live TV. It wasn’t until I was waiting in the wings, about to go out, that it suddenly clicked,” DeForest told Laughspin. “Just do five minutes of stand-up for the people in this room, which is literally what you’ve been doing for the past decade.”

Your set will go through rounds of changes—even the day of

Even before you get to the studio, your set can go through changes. Caitlin Peluffo, who made her TV debut on The Late Show in October, observed, “I had no idea how precise the wording of each joke needed to be.” The process can take months and you can expect to receive line edits for many of your jokes—even if your tape had been approved beforehand. Sometimes Standards & Practices, the legal department that checks your set, gets absolutely ridiculous. Just ask Anthony Jeselnik.

There’s no dress code

While you might be inclined to go out and get a spiffy new suit for your first time on TV, there’s no mandate that says it must be done. “You can wear whatever you want,” Carmen Lagala noted about her time on The Late Show last year. “I wore a fancy outfit that I would never wear in real life, and when I showed up, the dudes were in jeans and sneakers.”

It lives on the internet forever

A late night show will post segments to their social media channels the next morning, so your set can be seen by anyone who may have missed it the night before. This can lead to ever-growing comment sections, which you may be tempted to read. “I believe people comment on YouTube just to hate, just like black people love the Apollo cause they are allowed to boo you,” recalled Nore Davis after doing Conan. “So, it was shocking and surprising to see the world liked my set. Except someone called me ‘Wanda Sykes’s son.’ That stung.”

It can bring people out of the woodwork

A big platform can bring on a big response. Sean Finnerty, who did stand-up on The Tonight Show in January, was overjoyed by the response from his home country of Ireland, where he’s been contacted by multiple local publications. Others reported a big influx of messages from old acquaintances in their email inboxes and DMs—for better or for worse. “I would get messages like, ‘I am SO proud of you!’” said Katie Hannigan, who appeared on Late Show. “I’m like, umm hello? You ghosted me three years ago.”

Yes, there are snacks and bonus perks

Each show has its own way of treating its funny guests. Some studios offer booze while others were dry. “I wish I knew that there wasn’t beer in the green room,” Tom Thakkar lamented about his time on Conan. “I would’ve brought it for after!” Peluffo boasted about her Late Show haul. “They gave me swag, baby! I’ve been drinking out of my coffee mug every chance I get!” Not too shabby for chasing your dreams.

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Eighth Grade is my favorite Oscars snub

Sun, 02/24/2019 - 20:32

We need to talk about this year’s biggest Oscar snub: Eighth Grade. If you haven’t seen Eighth Grade, it is a coming-of-age comedy written and directed by Bo Burnham. It is a sweet, honest, heartwarming, and funny take on growing up that is masterfully written and directed.

I am not the only one who thinks this. The film received rave reviews, including a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes. A lot of well-reviewed films didn’t get nominated this year, but Eighth Grade’s Oscar snub is especially noteworthy given all the other awards it collected this season.

Eighth Grade took home trophies from both the Writers and Directors Guild Awards and, just last night, Burnham won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. His debut film gained nominations for three other Spirit Awards including Best Feature. The American Film Institute and National Board of Review both named it one of the top 10 films of the year.

Yet not a single Oscar nomination. That may be, in part, because Eighth Grade is a comedy and historically very few comedies have won Oscars. Setting aside the unfairness of the Academy’s reluctance to celebrate comedy, if a comedy was going to be nominated it should have been Eighth Grade because Eighth Grade is the kind of comedy that the Academy nominates.

Why did the Oscars snub Eighth Grade?

The Academy has a soft spot for coming-of-age dramedies. Last year, the Academy nominated Lady Bird for the Best Picture Oscar. Eighth Grade and Lady Bird have similar feels. They both follow a young girl through a transitional time in young adulthood and both have a lot of comedic elements. Other coming-of-age dramedies nominated for Best Picture include Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, and American Graffiti. Eighth Grade should be among those films because it really is just as good.

Eighth Grade perfectly captures the feeling of being socially awkward in a uniquely human way. The characters are immediately relatable and transport the viewer back to a moment in time when they were young and insecure. Eighth Grade is also a bit of an anomaly in the genre of coming of age dramas; most focus on childhood or high school and often skip the emotional mind field that is middle school. It’s amazing that the film was written and directed by an adult man since it treats being a tween-age girl with such respect and reverence.

It would have meant a lot to both comedians and young filmmakers to see Burnham and Eighth Grade at the Oscars. A 28-year-old comedian made an Oscar-worthy film this year and that is important whether the Academy agrees or not.

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Brody Stevens: comedian, actor dead at 48 by apparent suicide

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 20:20

Comedian Brody Stevens was found dead Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. Police are investigating the cause of death as suicide by hanging. He was 48.

The well-liked comic was found shortly before 1:00 p.m. The Blast reported that Stevens had told friends that he took himself off his medications amid worries that they were dulling his creativity.

The Chelsea Lately panelist spoke about his struggles with mental health in the past, even appearing on Paul Gilmartin’s Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, but the suicide was a shock to the comedy community. After posting another episode of his Festival of Friendship podcast earlier this week, Stevens tweeted a seemingly optimistic message. “I’m ready to get back on the festival circuit.”

I’m ready to get back on the festival circuit.

— Steven BRODY Stevens (@BrodyismeFriend) February 21, 2019

Brody Stevens death tragic end to storied career

Stevens was a beloved member of the comedy community in Los Angeles—and nationwide. In LA, he frequently closed out shows at The Comedy Store, extending his goofy energy past the time usually allotted to comics no matter how many people were still left in the crowd at wee hours of the morning.

The stand-up veteran had a very accomplished acting career and seemed to celebrate his most fun roles. A close friend tells Laughspin, “He was so proud of being in The Hangover—he would tell everybody. He’d also jokingly remind people he was cut out of Funny People.” In addition to appearances on seemingly every Comedy Central sketch show, Stevens co-created his own Comedy Central series, Enjoy It!, with pal Zach Galifianakis.

His stand-up resume was padded with various TV sets on The Meltdown, Late Night, The Late Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan, and his own half-hour Comedy Central special in 2014.

Comics mourn Brody Stevens’s sudden death

Comedians big and small were devastated to discover the news of his death. John Roy shared a story on Twitter about a horrendous industry show at the Laugh Factory where no one was getting laughs. “Industry crowds are notoriously bad anyway,” he tweeted. “Comics upstairs were whispering, ’This crowd is impossible. No one can get a laugh here.”

“Brody goes up to a mix of silence and perfunctory weak claps. He plants his feet, makes direct eye contact with the most bored looking agent in the front row…”You think I’m intimidated by an industry crowd…I hip pocket YOU[!]” He killed.

Nick Kroll shared, “#RIPBrodyStevens he was so funny and weird and vulnerable and wild and kind. Every time he was onstage it was an adventure.”

#RIPBrodyStevens he was so funny and weird and vulnerable and wild and kind. Every time he was onstage it was an adventure. Here’s some comics talking about what made him so special. https://t.co/wbUNaZgJ2f

— nick kroll (@nickkroll) February 22, 2019

Doug Stanhope tweeted, “Brody Stevens was and always will be comedy legend. RIP.”

Brody Stevens was and always will be comedy legend. RIP.

“But I could have told you, Vincent/This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you” Don Mclean

— Doug Stanhope (@DougStanhope) February 22, 2019

Patton Oswalt reminded his followers to reach out for help if they are ever feeling suicidal. We at Laughspin encourage the same. The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

If you are depressed or feeling suicidal please please please please please reach out to ANYONE. I never get to see Brody Stevens again I can’t stand this. #RIPBrodyStevens #818ForLife pic.twitter.com/n1jQhXdOIz

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 22, 2019

These are just a few of many initial reactions being shared on social media. However, Kristen Schaal probably said it best: Everyone loved Brody Stevens.

Everyone loved Brody Stevens.

— Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled) February 22, 2019

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The Daily Show and Jake Tapper will “panel hard” at SXSW

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 19:15

Trevor Noah and The World’s Fakest News Team will collaborate with CNN’s Jake Tapper on a panel at this year’s SXSW. On March 9, CNN anchor & Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper will sit down with Daily Show host Trevor Noah and his crack team of correspondents to talk about media and the present late night landscape.

Noah previously welcomed Tapper, who President Donald Trump calls “the face of fake news,” to his show where the two discussed the president’s contentious relationship with the news media. Asked how it feels to be labeled the “enemy of the American people,” Tapper said, “Well, calling us the enemy of the people is just nuts. I mean, we’re the media. We’re the Fourth Estate. We have a tradition of being one of the watchdogs over people in power.”

It will be interesting to see fake fake news and real fake news on one stage together.

Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018

Comedy Central will present a series of events at SXSW. The panel with Noah and Tapper will also include Daily Show cast members Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulcé Sloan, Roy Wood, Jr., and Jaboukie Young-White. Most of the correspondents will also perform on The Daily Show News Team Live stand-up showcase. The Daily Show will also bring along its critically-acclaimed and award-winning Presidential Twitter Library, which has traveled around the country to New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. The exhibit—and its corresponding book—highlights the best of President Trump’s worst tweets.

Broad City final episodes to premiere at SXSW

Broad City will premiere the final three episodes of its last season at the annual comedy festival. Of Broad City’s popular five-year run with pal Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer said, “We had been talking about what we envisioned as the end since Season 3, maybe. We just thought, like, five or six [seasons]. But..it just became clear that it was the right decision creatively; for the world, for the characters, and for us as artists.”

Comedy Central plans interactive SXSW stations

The New Negroes with Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle will showcase creators and hosts from Comedy Central’s newest stand-up showcase series.

Other featured panels include a 420 Show with Matt Besser, where guests will hear all things weed-related. Asssscat, the longest-running show at the Upright Citizens Brigade, will feature “inspired scenes from some of the world’s most skilled performers,” according to a press release. Comedy Central’s annual Backyard Bash will also be on display, with interactive stations celebrating fan favorite shows. There will be a Drunk History dunk tank, a Broad City friendship bracelet station, and a photo booth that’ll turn your pictures into your next favorite GIF.

For more information, visit www.SXSW.com.

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Iliza Shlesinger joins Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr for Garden of Laughs fundraiser

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 16:00

Iliza Shlesinger has joined the lineup for Garden of Laughs, the bi-annual comedy benefit thrown in support of the Gardens of Dreams Foundation. Presented by Delta Airlines, Shlesinger joins a night of stand-up performances among fellow top comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr, Michael Che, John Mulaney, Brian Regan, and Jon Stewart.

The 2019 show is hosted by Steve Schirripa and will take place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 2.

Shlesinger recently premiered her fourth Netflix stand-up special, Elder Millennial—which ranked 12th on Laughspin’s end-of-year best of list. The Last Comic Standing winner has gained popularity with her three previous Netflix specials: War Paint, Freezing Hot, and Confirmed Kills. Shlesinger released her first book Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity, a collection of essays and observations on a confident woman’s approach to friendship and singlehood. In addition to stand-up, she was recently seen on the big screen in Instant Family alongside Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne.

Garden of Dreams Foundation making dreams come true

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with MSG and MSG Networks Inc. to positively impact the lives of children. The Foundation works with 30 partner organizations like hospitals, wish organizations, and community-based organizations, to work with children facing homelessness, poverty, illness, and foster care.

Since its beginning in 2006, Garden of Dreams has held shows using the magic of MSG Networks, including the Knicks, Rangers and Radio City Rockettes, to host over 100 kids from the surrounding tri-state area. In addition, through its Garden of Dreams Giving Program, the Foundation provides grants that fund important projects like the refurbishment of gymnasiums and pediatric areas at local hospitals, construction of new dance and music studios and assisting students to achieve their educational goals. The Foundation takes pride in its commitment to changing lives, hosting more than 500 events and programs each year.

Tickets prices for Garden of Laughs range from $70-$395. Tickets are on sale now.

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Late night round-up: Adam Ferrara, Mo Amer

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 15:21

Presidents’ Day was a quiet week for late night stand-up with several shows taking the full week off. Jimmy Kimmell Live! and Conan aired reruns, but a couple of comedians delivered tight sets for those tuning in. Mo Amer stopped by The Tonight Show while perennial veteran Adam Ferrara made an appearance on The Late Late Show. Here’s a couple of stand-up sets to get you 10 minutes closer to the weekend.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Mo Amer debuted a Netflix special last year, Vagabond. Amer made big news a few years ago after tweeting his experience sitting next to Eric Trump on a trans-Atlantic flight. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Falon, Amer discussed his status as a Palestinian Muslim refugee—of course, adding a humorous spin to the otherwise horrid political situation.

Late Night with Seth Meyers Late Show with Stephen Colbert Late Late Show with James Corden

Adam Ferrara gained notoriety as a TV actor on the Denis Leary FX series Rescue Me. The stand-up vet regularly tours the country telling jokes and doing characters that made him the heavy headliner he is today. It was wonderful seeing Ferrara stop by The Late Late Show with James Corden for a tight five.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! Conan

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Ken Jeong seizure joke upsets Epilepsy Foundation

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 12:20

Ken Jeong’s Netflix special, Ken Jeong: You Complete Me Ho, is getting some critical reviews—from the epilepsy community.

In the comedian’s first-ever stand-up special, Jeong tells a story about a time he filmed a scene for Ride Along 2 with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. During the shoot, which took place in an Atlanta nightclub, somebody suffered a “severe generalized tonic-clonic seizure,” as Jeong, who used to be a practicing physician, phrased it.

According to Jeong, both he and Ice Cube sprang into action, while Hart ran away. “We’re like two outfielders going for the same ball,” said Jeong. Ice Cube, who is ripping off his belt while running towards the patient, gets there first.

“I’m like, ‘Woah, woah, woah, you don’t whip the patient, Cube.’”

Instead, Cube puts the belt around the patient’s mouth so he wouldn’t choke on his own tongue. “Ice Cube, not me, saved the patient’s life,” Jeong joked. “Just a shout out to Ice Cube.”

Ken Jeong faces backlash over epilepsy joke

It may have been a joke, but the epilepsy community took the matter seriously. The president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, Philip M. Gattone, M.Ed released a statement admonishing the story.

“While we certainly understand that comedy routines by definition should not be taken seriously, it is greatly and even more disturbing given the fact that Jeong is also a medical doctor — and he reminds his audience of this just before his comedic routine. It is worrisome that his audience would assume his description of seizures and seizure first aid is serious and not comedic.”

As it turns out, the fear that somebody suffering a seizure might choke on his or her own tongue is a myth. In fact, the Epilepsy Foundation website has a section in their first aid tips titled “Do Not Put Anything in the Person’s Mouth!”

“Jaw and face muscles may tighten during a seizure, causing the person to bite down,” according to the website. “If this happens when something is in the mouth, the person may break and swallow the object or break their teeth!”

Former doctor shares second seizure story

The Ice Cube seizure story is not the only seizure joke in the special. He told another story about jumping off-stage to help a woman having a seizure during one of his stand-up shows in Phoenix. Jeong and an audience member, who happened to be a paramedic, helped treat the patron.  

Jeong no longer practices medicine, but he frequently plays a doctor in movies and on TV. Most recently, he played the title character in the ABC sitcom Dr. Ken, which ran for two seasons.

You can read the Epilepsy Foundation’s full statement below.

Epilepsy Foundation statement on Ken Jeong

Members of our community brought to our attention Ken Jeong’s new comedy special on Netflix where he incorrectly referenced seizure first aid procedures and provided potentially dangerous information to his audience. While we certainly understand that comedy routines by definition should not be taken seriously, it is greatly and even more disturbing given the fact that Jeong is also a medical doctor — and he reminds his audience of this just before his comedic routine. It is worrisome that his audience would assume his description of seizures and seizure first aid is serious and not comedic. In fact, epilepsy is a serious neurological disorder and people with epilepsy may experience hundreds of seizures a day. We are outraged and disappointed that Jeong makes some shockingly bad references to seizures and seizure first aid procedures in his Netflix comedy special.

In Jeong’s show, he talks about how Ice Cube “saved” someone having a seizure by wrapping a belt around the person’s mouth because the person could have swallowed their tongue. He then praised Ice Cube for his quick response. This is absolutely NOT the way to aid someone having a seizure. In fact, this wrong action could, at the very least, cause serious injury to the individual having the seizure and to the person attempting to provide help. And, at the worst, this wrong action could result in the death of the person having the seizure.

Seizure first aid is actually easy and safe if done correctly (www.epilepsy.com/firstaid).

It was not long ago that Jeong, himself, helped someone having a seizure during one of his stand-up comedy routines. We would like to think that he, as a medical doctor, is very aware of the seriousness of seizures and how important it is for everyone to know proper seizure first aid. Unfortunately, Jeong’s Netflix comedy routine does not educate people about seizures or provide accurate information on what to do if someone sees a person having a seizure. It does the opposite and puts 3.4 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. at increased risk of injury and death. Communicating improper information about seizures and seizure first aid only adds to the myths, ignorance, misunderstanding and fear that exist about seizures and can destroy the lives and livelihoods of people with epilepsy.

For decades, and in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Epilepsy Foundation has developed and activated nationwide programs to promote public education about epilepsy, seizure recognition and how to administer seizure first aid.

We are disappointed that Netflix, once again, chose to air such inaccurate information about seizures that directly and negatively impacts our community. Despite our numerous attempts to have a conversation with Netflix’s leadership to ensure seizures are accurately depicted in their production projects, Netflix has not been very responsive. We have reached out to Mr. Jeong’s team with the hopes of working with him to educate his audience about epilepsy and seizures and provide accurate seizure first aid information.

 

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Mindy Kaling signs massive overall deal with Warner Brothers

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 18:32

Mindy Kaling logs another big money payday after her latest deal with Warner Brothers. Kaling reportedly signed a six-year overall deal for $8.5 million per year, according to Deadline. The overall deal comes just weeks after the Mindy Project star broke records at Sundance selling her movie Late Night to Amazon for $13 million.

Warner Brothers’ TV production house won an apparent bidding war for the writer-producer-actress. Kaling had been at NBCUniversal for over 15 years before heading to the Warner Brothers lot.

Mindy Kaling flees NBCUniversal after 15 years

Kaling started out at NBC’s diversity writing program before writing on The Office’s first season—where she later played Kelly Kapoor. Universal Television, one branch of the NBCUniversal TV group, co-produced The Mindy Project from Kaling. NBC’s Hulu swept in to save The Mindy Project when Fox gave it a surprising ax after three seasons. The show lasted another three seasons until 2017. Her most recent project with Universal, Champions, lasted just one season at NBC.

The Ocean’s 8 star is in high demand. In addition to the all-female Ocean’s sequel, Kaling appeared in the Oprah Winfrey-led A Wrinkle In Time and voiced a character in the recent Ralph Breaks the Internet. Both of her books have made the New York Times Bestsellers List.

The Warner Brothers deal directs Kaling to develop, write, and produce shows for “all platforms.” The deal is not limited to comedy series. She will create comedies, dramas, unscripted series, digital content—basically, anything Kaling comes up with belongs to Warner Brothers TV Group. Warner Bros. will then shop her ideas around to broadcast television, cable channels, and streaming services.

What’s next for Mindy Kaling?

Fans of the comedian can next see her in Late Night starring opposite Emma Thompson. Late Night is about a late night talk show host, Katherine Newbury (Thompson), who hires a female writer (Kaling) when on the verge of losing her show.

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Broad City surprises superfans during fifth and final season

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 17:40

The final season of Broad City will have at least one shocking twist. A promotional video from Comedy Central depicts Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer posing as male crew members—facial hair and all—and surprising Broad City superfans. Producers told the fans they were just being interviewed about their love of the show.

The clip shows a strong bond between the fans of the show and the stars. Glazer and Jacobson chill in the background of the video reacting to fan answers to questions about why they love the show, or how they would end it.

“Honestly, I just hope Abbi and Ilana get married,” said one fan, as the stars looked to each other and smiled.

Eventually, the real crew stops the shoot because of a supposed lighting issue, and Jacobson and Glazer pretend to come out to fix it. Soon, the wigs come off and the hugs begin.

“Oh, my god, feel my heart,” said one Broad City superfan. “Were you guys the ones that were over there the whole time?”

The Other Two fills in behind Broad City final season

New episodes air Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on Comedy Central. This week’s episode, titled Artsy Fartsy, will be the fifth episode of the final season. In it, “Abbi gets invited to a fancy art event at MoMA; Ilana and Lincoln have a one-year relationship check-in,” says the Comedy Central website.

Following Broad City is Comedy Central’s freshman series The Other Two, which is about two siblings who are trying to manage their own careers while also dealing with feelings of jealousy about their young brother’s new internet fame. The Other Two is crushing it with critics and is already confirmed for a second season as Comedy Central prepares for a post-Broad City world.

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Lena Waithe will teach you How To Make Love To A Black Woman

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 15:30

Lena Waithe just landed a new comedy series at Showtime. How To Make Love To A Black Woman (Who May Be Working Through Some Sh*t) will be an anthology series of multi-part, half-hour episodes dealing with the humor and harrowing nature of sexual secrets. Waithe will executive produce the show with Rich Rajani and Cathy Kisakye.

Showtime inked a first-look deal with Waithe in 2018. Showtime’s President of Entertainment Gary Levine announced last year that, “Lena is a creative force of nature and we are delighted that the force will be with us as she makes Showtime her creative home.”

The deal allows the network first dibs at her scripted work. Showtime also announced last year that The Chi, also from Waithe, was its biggest drama series launch in two years. Just last week, the show about life on the South Side of Chicago was nominated for five NAACP Image Awards—more than any other cable drama. The show’s second season premieres on April 7.

Lena Waithe on the rise at Showtime

Waithe also co-wrote and acted in Netflix’s Master of None. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the Aziz Ansari-led show. She also has a comedy pilot in the works at TBS, called Twenties. That show revolves around a queer black woman and her two, straight female best friends, as they chase their dreams and things get messy. Waithe hit the big screen last year in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Ready Player One.

Kisakye, who wrote on both seasons of The Chi, is writing the pilot episode of How To Make Love To A Black Woman. Waithe described Kisakye’s script as, “haunting, funny, and extremely vulnerable—it’s the kind of script that doesn’t come around very often.” Kisakye is also writing for the upcoming season of Homecoming at Amazon.

 

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It’s such an honor to work with Cathy on this groundbreaking show! Looking forward to the journey. #HowToMakeLoveToAblackWomanThatMightBeGoingThroughSomeShit … an anthology series. Peep the link in my bio for more info.

A post shared by Lena Waithe (@lenawaithe) on Feb 20, 2019 at 9:13am PST

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Here are the Oscar nominees…if The Academy respected comedies

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 13:58

The Oscars don’t respect comedy. Full stop. The Academy rarely nominates comedies for the prestigious award. A non-musical comedy film hasn’t won Best Picture since 1977’s Annie Hall, but there was a slight uptake in the 1950s and 1960s when movies like Tom Jones, The Apartment, and Around The World in 80 Days all won Best Picture. 1930s romcoms like You Can’t Take It With You and It Happened One Night won over Academy voters. Somewhere along the way, comedies stopped being taken seriously as Oscar contenders.

The Academy of Motion Pictures releases a list of all Oscar-eligible movies every year and this year’s had 347 films. Most films on that list will never make it close to an Oscar nomination. There are a lot of reasons for this. Some are bad, some not enough people saw, but many will never get a nomination because “they just don’t feel like the type of films that get an Oscar.”

After seeing Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody win Best Picture at the Golden Globes, many award show watchers were disappointed and left thinking, “That was really the best?” With the hostless Oscars on the horizon, it is time to reflect on the best movies of the year. 

Last year gave us some amazing comedies. Most are not nominated but, to their credit, several historical dramedies like BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Green Book, and Vice have snuck into the list of nominees. Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade continues to shock the industry scooping up coveted awards from the DGA and WGA. Eighth Grade is nominated for zero Oscars. Many pure comedies should be Oscar contenders, so Laughspin has a list of comedies that should be nominated for an Academy Award.

Best Actor/Actress Oscar Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade

Elsie Fisher is only 15 but gave a powerhouse performance in Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, Eighth Grade. Fisher is pitch perfect in every moment of this film and gives a mutated but intricate performance brimming with humor that deserved a nomination for Best Actress.

Regina Hall – Support the Girls

Support the Girls is not the best comedy of the year, but Regina Hall is amazing in it. She won the African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, and may win the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for this role later this year.

Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting

Blindspotting is a dramedy that really leans more toward comedy than drama. Daveed Diggs perfectly balances the dark subject matter of life after prison coupled with laugh-out-loud comedy. The movie scored big at Sundance and was a critical darling, making it harder to believe that the Academy showed it no love.

Jason Mantzoukas – The Long Dumb Road

Not many people saw The Long Dumb Road, but the buddy road movie starring Jason Mantzoukas and Tony Revolori. While the critical response to the movie wasn’t as high as some of the other comedies on this list, his performance garnered rave reviews at Sundance.

John C. Reilly – Stan & Ollie

John C. Reilly has had a wild year. He was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of  Oliver Hardy and a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his work on Holmes & Watson. Stan & Ollie should have been Oscar bait. It’s a showbiz biopic—that’s the Academy’s bread and butter. However, unlike other comedian bio-pics like Man on the Moon or Chaplin, it might be too quiet of a film. The narrative is extremely tight and funnier than other more tragic tales. Empire said of the movie, “[Steve] Coogan and Reilly’s performances are among the best either has ever given. This film, which pays wonderfully funny tribute to two comic legends, richly deserves them.”

Best Original Screenplay Oscar Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You

If it isn’t the best screenplay of the year, it is certainly the most original. Often, the Academy uses this category to reward risks and Sorry to Bother You could should be that film.

Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim – Crazy Rich Asians

Based on the book of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians was something of a cultural phenomenon. The movie has already won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Best Comedy at the Critics’ Choice Awards. A Best Adapted Screenplay seems to fit right in line.

Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker – Love, Simon

Love, Simon was another book adaptation to make waves last year. Based on the novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Love, Simon is a pitch-perfect romcom with a funny and engaging script.

Best Foreign Film Oscar Have a Nice Day

Sometimes comedies secretly slide into this category without many noticing because most Americans do not watch foreign films. Have a Nice Day shouldn’t be missed. This animated Chinese crime comedy tells the story of a driver who steals money from his boss in order to fix his girlfriend’s failed plastic surgery but is hunted down by a hitman, a gangster, and a thief. It is trippy and strange and highly addictive.

Best Director Oscar Jacques Audiard -The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers is the first English-language film from legendary French director Jacques Audiard. With another great performance from John C. Reilly, the film was based on the novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt. The darkly comedic tone of books translates well into the film while Audiard also captures the natural beauty of Calfornia in stark contrast of the industrialization of the Gold Rush.

John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein – Game Night

Game Night is a really good movie, though it is one of the most traditional-looking comedies on this list—which makes it the least likely to ever get an Oscar nod. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have worked together on many comedy films including Horrible Bosses, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Game Night showed the two could direct a financially and critically successful picture together.  

Jonah Hill – mid90s

The Academy already respects Jonah Hill, having nominated him for Best Supporting Actor twice. His directorial debut mid90s is a beautiful film that would feel at home in many categories including Best Cinematography or Best Original Screenplay, but Hill really proved himself as a director with this indie darling.

Bo Burnham – Eighth Grade

This list mentions Eighth Grade a lot, probably because some are calling it one of the biggest snubs of the year. Burnham has already taken home the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for his writing and directing. A Best Director Oscar makes total sense—if the Academy knew what they were doing.

Best Documentary Oscar Love, Gilda

Okay, so it’s not a comedy in the traditional sense of the word, but it seems a shame that this beautiful tribute to legendary comedian Gilda Radner wasn’t honored.

Best Picture Oscar Eighth Grade

As a writer-director, Burnham captured something that is innately human. The film is funny and somehow at the same time haunting. If a comedy could ever sweep an award show, it would be this film because every piece is so well done.

All About Nina

All About Nina takes the trope of tears of a clown and makes it feel so fresh and important. Movies about life in Hollywood are often front-runners for Best Picture, but most of those films focus on the film industry. All About Nina focuses on stand-up comedy. The film perfectly balances romance and humor and trauma and self-destructive behavior. From writer-director Eva Vives, All About Nina was well received at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common giving great performances.  

The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin is a black comedy and while a comedy, does a fairly good job depicting the power struggle following Stalin’s death in 1953. The film feels a little bit like Dr. Strangelove and a little bit like Death at a Funeral. It somehow breaks up the politics with pure nonsense. Russia banned the film but it received high praise in the States.

The Land of Steady Habits

While premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, The Land of Steady Habits was released on Netflix. Many Netflix films appeared on the list of eligible films this year, but The Land of Steady Habits stands apart because of the team behind it. Nicole Holofcener wrote and directed the film and, while she did not receive a nomination for her efforts, she did receive a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay for Can You Ever Forgive Me? The Land of Steady Habits follows a family as their father leaves their mother because he is feeling stifled in Westport, Connecticut.

Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds is a dark comedy/thriller in the style of Heathers. The movie garnered attention at Sundance and is the last U.S. theatrical release to star Anton Yelchin who passed away in 2016. Thoroughbreds is a surprisingly slow movie that is impossible to look away from.

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Mötley Crüe biopic, Amy Schumer: Growing hit Netflix in March

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 13:00

Netflix released a list of everything new to stream next month. On that list, there are new sitcoms, stand-up specials, and comedies that will make you laugh. Netflix released a promo, but it doesn’t have every comedy coming to the platform, so Laughspin is here to bring you every comedy that is coming to Netflix in March.

Netflix Original Shows Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: Volume 2 (Streaming Every Sunday)

Okay, so Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is already back, but there will be new episodes throughout March. Hasan Minhaj already dropped it like it’s hot with episodes about censorship in China and drug pricing for the second volume of his half-hour comedy-news program.

After Life comes March 8

Ricky Gervais stars in After Life, a new show about a grumpy widower. In this dark comedy-drama, Gervais’s character has to deal with the death of his wife, the newspaper he works for failing, and isolation as he pushes those close to him away.

Arrested Development: Season 5 B comes March 15

Arrested Development: Season 5 A came out March 2018 and for fans of the little show that could the wait is almost over. No word yet if there will be a Season 6, so the future of the Bluths is still up in the air.

Turn Up Charlie comes March 15

Idris Elba plays a struggling DJ in this quirky Brittish show. Turn Up Charlie follows Elba’s character as he becomes a manny to his famous friend’s problem-child daughter.

Most Beautiful Thing comes March 22


Most Beautiful Thing takes place in late 1950s Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian TV show follows a woman who gains her independence after her husband abandons her. Early promos have made the show look like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets Bossa Nova.

Santa Clarita Diet: Season 3 comes March 29


The dark horror-comedy Santa Clarita Diet is coming back for a third season. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant are back as Sheila and Joel Hammond as they deal with the consequences of Shelia transforming into a zombie with a craving for human flesh.

Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series comes March 31

In 2014, The Trailer Park Boys ended on a cliff hanger when the cast was turned into cartoons after 12 seasons. Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series will pick up where the twelfth season left off and continue the adventures of Ricky, Julian, Bubbles and the rest of the gang as their new animated selves.

Netflix Stand-up Comedy Specials Jimmy Carr: The Best of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits comes March 12

Jimmy Carr’s second Netflix special, The Best of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits, promises to showcase the downright unadulterated one-liners that made Carr a star. Carr also currently hosts Netflix’s The Fix, which premiered last year.

Amy Schumer Growing comes March 19

In an Instagram post, Amy Schumer called her new special, Growing, “the best special I have ever done.” Schumer recorded the special during her current pregnancy and gets deep in the special about pregnancy, motherhood, and married life. Hopefully it’s better than The Leather Special.

Nate Bargatze: The Tennessee Kid coming March 26

Not much has been revealed about Nate Bargatze’s first solo Netflix special, but the clean-cut southern comic was a hit on Netflix’s 2018 comedy collection, The Standups.

Netflix Original Movies The Dirt comes March 22


The Dirt is a comedy biopic about the band Mötley Crüe. With performances from Machine Gun Kelly, Pete Davidson, and Tony Cavalero the film is gearing up to be a pretty wild ride.

Movies Coming To Netflix You’ve Seen But Want to Watch Again

Budapest comes March 1
Junebug comes March 1
Music and Lyrics comes March 1
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes March 1
Stuart Little comes March 1
Wet Hot American Summer comes March 1
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams comes March 8
Dry Martina comes March 15
Kung Fu Hustle comes March 15
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil comes March 29

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Bo Burnham casts Jaboukie Young-White, Danielle Macdonald in next movie

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:37

Bo Burnham will follow his Eighth Grade success with a comedy starring Jaboukie Young-White and Danielle Macdonald. The two actors are in negotiations to appear in the film, which Burnham will produce alongside Chris Storer. Burnham wrote the film and Amy York Rubin will direct.

Originally titled Gay Kid and Fat Chick, the comedy-drama will revolve around two costumed vigilante outcasts (The Beaver and Gold Bitch) who seek revenge on high school bullies. Paramount Players acquired the script in 2013 when the film made the Black List—a list of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. The project is currently untitled as it decides on a more =ahem= palatable name.

Burnham is coming off his debut film’s critical success. He remarkably won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding First-Time Feature. Eighth Grade was the only film this year to win an award from both of the prestigious entities—and it’s not even nominated for an Oscar.

Jaboukie Young-White, Danielle Macdonald to lead Gay and Fat comedy

Young-White is presumably the “gay kid” in the upcoming film. The 24-year-old Chicago native is the newest member of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The stand-up comedian has shown his acting chops on HBO’s Crashing season premiere—the episode is even named after him. Young-White also appeared in Set It Up and Rough Night, also starring Burnham.

That leaves Macdonald as the “fat chick.” She is the break-out star of Patti Cake$, about a down-and-out aspiring rapper. The Australian actor also recently appeared in two Netflix originals: Bird Box with Sandra Bullock and Dumplin’ with Jennifer Aniston.

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