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Keith Robinson on health recovery, how he’ll convince Kevin Hart to produce his next special

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 23:00

The New York City comedy scene is full of brilliant, compelling performers who are widely respected by their peers, yet never become household names like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, or Amy Schumer. Certainly, Keith Robinson can be counted amongst them—and he knows it. His Twitter bio says, “I’ve done a lot of things! Trust me.”

Those things include, but are not limited to, being a finalist on Star Search, writing on Chappelle’s Show, starring in his own Comedy Central special. You may or may not recognize him from various movies and TV shows. Most recently, he turned up in the Season Three premiere of HBO’s Crashing where he introduced protagonist Pete Holmes to the Comedy Cellar stage—a job Robinson fills regularly at the storied club.

Laughspin decided to check in with Robinson about his recovery process and how his health forced him to write without all the ‘extras’ and just tell good jokes.

Congrats on the appearance on Crashing. How was that able to come together?

I know Judd Apatow from Trainwreck, where I did a scene. I’ve done every season of Crashing, but you’re always happy to do something. It was good to be on it.

Based on your appearance on the show, you seem to be doing better physically, am I right?

Yes, the progression is really good, getting back in shape.  When I first came out of the hospital, they had a scene for me in the Robert DeNiro movie at the Comedy Cellar, but I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t ready. After I had the stroke, it was like a whole different world. I was thinking, “Uh-oh,” because comedy is your thought process. Would that interfere with it? Can I still do it? What’s gonna happen?

I had the stroke all during the day, February 3, 2016. When I got up in the morning, I was dizzy and I was leaning towards one side. I shook it off, took two Bufferin. Then I had to drive to Philly to get my passport renewed and see my son’s show. When I’m getting my passport, my vision got blurry and my leg started to go down, but I went to see my son, and I’m limping up the steps to the venue. My cousin said, “I think you may be having a stroke.” I said, “Ah, shut your fuckin’ mouth.”

Then, I get back in the car, take two more Bufferins. I get home in Woodbridge, New Jersey. I take a nap, feelin’ fine. Then I take a drive to the Comedy Cellar to do the club’s podcast with Noam [Dworman] before my spot. Right after I finished the show, my energy just dropped, and I’m like, “Oh, man, what is goin’ on?”

Hannibal Buress was there and I gave him my spot. I didn’t tell anybody what was going on, because most men are goofy. When there’s something wrong with them, we don’t go, “Help! Please help!”

I tried to order some chicken, trying to get some protein. I’m diagnosing myself, like a dumbass. Then, I limped to my car and drove back home. My girlfriend, at the time, drove me to Mount Sinai hospital, back in New York. I got there about midnight and everyone at the hospital was really panicking. I’m like, “Why is everybody panicking?” I didn’t realize the severity of the stroke. I woke up the next morning and my right side was down.

Did they give you any reasons as to why the stroke might have happened?

The reason why was my high blood pressure. It was a hypertension stroke.

What was the initial recovery like?

When you’re in the hospital, to me, it’s almost the same as being incarcerated. After having a stroke, no one cares about the severity of it. They just treat you like you had a stroke. They say, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that. Don’t get out of bed.” But I’m like, “I can get out of the bed!” They have cameras on you. They had nurses, like security, making sure you don’t do nothing wrong. They’d say, “Let us know that you’re going to the bathroom.” I’m saying, “I’m a grown man; I’m not letting y’all know, get outta here!”

You make a lady wash you, and all this, and it’s just like, oh, my God, I can’t take this. I should have took my blood pressure medication!

How debilitating was the stroke?

One side of my body ceased to operate fully. You can see, the face gets crooked. It takes time for the muscles to regenerate, so I was in a wheelchair for a month. But I’m hardheaded; I kept getting up to see what I can do.

Did you have to do speech therapy and physical therapy?

Speech therapy ended pretty early. But all your therapists want to see where your mind is and test your short-term and long-term memory. One woman tried to play games with me to see if I could think right, so I said, “Let’s play some chess.” She said, “Oh, you like to play chess?” I said, “Yeah, let’s play some chess so we can see where this mind thing is,” and I beat her in like five moves. So I said, “How’s that for you?”

So she wasn’t so condescending after that?

Right! I whooped her. I was smiling, and she didn’t like that.

When were you able to get back up on stage?

I got out of the hospital March 3. Then, I start going to outpatient therapy. I was in that for about a week and I said to one of the therapists, “I want to get back to comedy around June.” She said, “Good luck with that,” which pissed me off. So in the next couple weeks, I’m back on stage again. I’m like, “Fuck this, ‘Good luck with that!'” Are you kiddin’?

Where did you return? Was it the Cellar?

No, the first time was at the Stress Factory.

That’s kind of ironic.

Yeah, yeah! The Stress Factory is not too far from me, so I’d go to open mics and work stuff out.

You really didn’t hesitate much to start working on that material about your stroke then, huh? You just get up on stage and you have to address your condition, right?

Right. I just kept on doin’ it. A lot of people would see me with a crutch and I’d say something about how I was at a Trump rally, to start off. It would get a laugh, but then I’d say that it was a stroke. I did the mics for about a month. Then I’m back on the road with Wanda Sykes for three months.

Within three months of the stroke, you’re back on the road playing theaters?

Yeah.

So, if I may, your stroke material was already good enough?

It was good enough and I had other material I was working on, too. I started to get stuff to be good enough to where I could deal with it.

And people were responding, huh?

Yes.

Wow. What was that like, especially when it’s going well, in front of a crowd at a theater?

It was great because just getting back meant the world. In my mindset, I had to fight through thinking that comedy isn’t perfect. So, it may not be perfect, but I’m back.

How grateful are you to Wanda for bringing you out?

Well, me and Wanda we’re like best friends. I’ve known Wanda since like ’87. Wanda opened up for me around then. So us being friends, it just helped out. Wanda came through to the hospital. The hospital staff saw Amy Schumer come through. They saw Kevin Hart come through, and they’re like, “Who’s this guy?” They started treating me like gold! “This guy is somethin’ special!”

You just named these huge names in comedy as friends, but you haven’t ever broken into the mainstream quite like they have. Are you content with your place in comedy?

No, you’re never supposed to be content, hell no! You just keep working. No matter what, you keep working. And you can’t think about where somebody else is and where you’re not. I’m where I am at. I don’t even think about it. I’m still working; I’m still growing. When I cease to be funny, that’s when it’s over.

Going back to the health front, are your muscles regenerating?

They’re not regenerated fully, but I don’t worry about that. I’m a man! They call it toxic masculinity.’ But I just work through it. Whatever it is I’m just working through it. I feel as good as I’ve ever felt.

There wasn’t any kind of thought like, “I’m done?”

No. You know what it is? I’m delusional. And that helps. I always thought I was doing great.

And the stroke just gave you new things to explore, right, new ways to be funny?

Absolutely. It made me stay in the pocket more [to use a football analogy]. In the pocket you have to think more. I wasn’t a scrambling guy no more. Now I just go, “Look, you gotta like me for what I’m saying, and that’s it.” There ain’t too much moving, ain’t too much facial stuff, it’s just me and you. So here we go. Deal with it.

 

What do you see happening for yourself in 2019? Anything big planned?

I don’t look at things, like big and small. Comedy’s come under major change from when I first started.

How so?

Things are social media driven, more than anything now. Being on TV back in ’90, was like, I’m on TV! Now, it’s like, all right, whatever. I’ve had my special aired on Comedy Central, on Hulu, on Netflix, on Amazon, now it’s on Starz, and more people know me from Amy Schumer’s podcast, 3 Girls, 1 Keith. But I’m having one hell of a year.

You haven’t done a special since the stroke though.

That’s my next thing.

Any idea when that might come together?

Little Dummy, Kev[in Hart], I’m gonna make him put the money up for it. Usually, I can bully Kev. I don’t know. I can’t bully him as much now. I love Kev like a brother. I pick on him a lot. He probably shouldn’t speak to me anymore, to be honest with you.

Well, when I get this printed, maybe he won’t.

So what? Who cares? Little Dummy, he loves me. I love him. He’s a pain in my neck. I’m a pain in his neck. Wanda was my roommate, but when Wanda moved out, Patrice O’Neal moved in. When he did Elephant in the Room, he asked me, “Keith, what are they saying in the barbershops?” I said, “They ain’t sayin’ shit!” But, for real, they were talking about it. He knew he hit a home run with that one.

With this next thing, I know it’s a good one. I know there’s a good one brewing. I can feel it in my bones. This one is going to be: whoah!  

Last thing: The Cellar lost one of its longtime hosts William Stephenson recently. What are your thoughts on his passing and what he meant to the club, to the community?

William had been at the game for a long time. He was an institution of his own. He was the best MC in New York. Everybody knew William was there. That’s why he’s going to be missed. He was a dependable guy. He was Iron Man. So you’re going to miss his presence, and it was a very strong presence.

The post Keith Robinson on health recovery, how he’ll convince Kevin Hart to produce his next special appeared first on LaughSpin.

The Daily Show is all over Trump’s State of the Union address

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 19:57

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will provide immediate coverage for the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5, after Trump provides the game plan for his third year in office. The show’s social media accounts will also live tweet President Trump’s broadcast.

This will be the eighth time Trevor Noah’s Daily Show has broadcasted live. Last year, Noah and his crack team of fake news correspondents went live after the State of the Union and the night of the midterm elections.

The Daily Show and State of the Union rescheduled due to government shutdown

The State of the Union and The Daily Show special coverage were originally supposed to air on January 29 but were postponed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The broadcast was postponed due to the 35-day partial government shutdown over Trump’s ongoing and persistent demand for border-wall funding.

In a letter to the president, Pelosi wrote: “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after the government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.”

This is the first time in presidential history that a speaker revoked an invitation to deliver the State of the Union. The last time a State of the Union announcement was postponed or delayed was in 1986 when Ronald Reagan postponed his speech following the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will go live February 5 following the State of the Union on Comedy Central.

The post The Daily Show is all over Trump’s State of the Union address appeared first on LaughSpin.

Watch The Muppets rap battle on Drop The Mic

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 19:14

The Muppets crew faced off in a rap battle on Wednesday’s episode of Drop The Mic. Kermit the Frog and Pepe the King Prawn battled Miss Piggy and Beaker and the insults were incredible—but not what you’d want your toddler watching. The TNT show pits celebrities from all walks of life against one another in brutal roast battles. The show is hosted by Method Man and Hailey Bieber.

Kermit was first to drop the mic as he took the stage in a classic white tee. “I’m excited to be here, competing in rhyme, now let’s all play fair and have a great time,” Kermit opens with his PG verse. “So to Beaker, hello and Miss Piggy, what’s up? If I had Pepe’s arms I’d give you four thumbs up.”

Once Miss Piggy got the mic, however, she was ready to drag with punchlines about frog legs and viral memes. “Kermit what was that? You even trying to compete? We’re on Drop the Mic, not Sesame Street,” she declares. “You used to be a star. It was easy being green, but now you’re just a tease, sipping glorified meme.”

Drop the Mic airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on TNT, with encore episodes airing Thursday at 10 p.m. on TBS

The post Watch The Muppets rap battle on Drop The Mic appeared first on LaughSpin.

Eric André reveals reason behind Eric Andre Show hiatus

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 14:45

 

It’s Impractical Jokers meets Jackass. Eric André and Lil Rel Howery will star in a new movie following their cross-country road trip full of incentive pranks. That explains why we haven’t seen a new Eric Andre Show since 2016. Bad Trip is co-produced by André, Jeff Tremaine, David Bernad, and Ruben Fleischer. Not surprisingly, Tremaine worked on the famed Jackass franchise

On Tuesday, André addressed his 1.5 million Instagram followers, “sorry I took such a long hiatus from making the Eric André show….I’ve been secretly making a hidden camera prank movie with @comedianlilrel this whole time.”

According to Orion Pictures, their film will be the first “hidden-camera narrative film” in theaters since 2013’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.

André is no stranger to pranks. His sketches show him boarding a NY subway car in a centaur costume and dressing like a potato to drop cash on a supposedly injured cyclist.

The Bad Trip announcement adds to Howery’s already big week. On Monday, his movie Brittany Runs A Marathon premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Amazon is reportedly closing a $14 million deal for the world rights to the crowd-pleasing movie. Inspired by a true story, the film revolves around a woman who parties too much and then trains for a marathon to lose weight and regain control of her life.

The good news comes just days after Howery lost his friend—and Rel series co-creator—Kevin Barnett.

Bad Trip comes out October 25, just in time for Halloween hijinks.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Sorry I took such a long hiatus from making the Eric André show…. I’ve been secretly making a hidden camera prank movie with @comedianlilrel this whole time

Artie Lange heads back to rehab; cancels all stand-up gigs

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 12:46

UPDATE 9:38 a.m.: Another tweet has been sent out from Artie Lange’s account. The tweet tries to clear up confusion caused by news that Lange was in jail. While Lange is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, N.J., it is allegedly to sober him up before sending him to a treatment facility. The tweet comes after multiple news outlets reported that he was being held. Variety also reported “according to the Essex County Correctional Facility inmate database, Lange was in possession of a controlled substance. However, there is no sentencing or bond information listed on the website.”

His lawyer Frank Arleo was quoted by NJ.com as saying, “He knows he’s got a problem. He knows he shouldn’t have tested dirty yesterday, but he did. He knew what was going to happen.” NJ.com also noted that Lange could be held at the jail until February 6.

The comments made by Arties lawyer have been taken out of context.. Artie was not arrested and sent to jail… they are holding him a few days to sober up before transferring him to a long term treatment facility, Artie needs us to be with him, not against him- TeamLange

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) January 31, 2019

**********

Artie Lange’s team announced the beloved Crashing star is going back to rehab. In a tweet from Lange’s account, it was revealed that he will be going to “a long term treatment program” and that his fans should “excuse any show advertisements.. [sic] starting today” that promise him on the line-up.

Excuse any show advertisements.. starting today, Artie will be undergoing a long term treatment program, he loves and respects his fans… updates coming soon.. and it’s time – TeamLange

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) January 30, 2019

While little there is no information about who has taken over the Twitter or which rehab program it will be, the news that he will be in treatment comes after a hectic and rocky few months for the veteran comedian.

Artie Lange rehab comes after rocky few months

Back in November, Lange announced he was going to rehab. That announcement came after New Jersey police found heroin in his car during a traffic stop, and then the MADtv star missed a court appearance. At the time, he pleaded guilty to possession of 81 baggies of the illegal substance. He then violated the terms of his parole by failing a drug test.

Then in December, Lange completed a 25-day rehab program but admitted that he had used cocaine after the treatment via his Twitter. In his post, he said, “Today in court they drug tested me. For the last decade or more they’d have found both Heroin and Cocaine. With the help of in my eyes a miracle legal medication called Suboxen I tested negative for Heroin. I haven’t used Heroin in 41 days…” Later in a thread, he said, “10 days ago when I left rehab I had to touch the flame. I used Cocaine…”

What happened to Artie Lange’s nose?

The comedian also made headlines for the appearance of his nose. His septum had collapsed after decades of snorting various drugs. He tweeted a photo of his nose saying, “My nose is fucked. Gotta accept it. But I’m alive & blessed w a gig 2nite & many more.” Now, in January, on an episode of the Are We Still Talking About This? podcast, Lange claims that the appearance of his nose was due to an attack.

Woke up clean! My nose is fucked. Gotta accept it. But I’m alive & blessed w a gig 2nite & many more. My 3rd season on ⁦@CrashingHBO⁩ starts Jan 20! My 3rd book “Wanna Bet?” Is still out. I’m taping my 4th Special at a unique venue & I have the best fans! Life’s Good! 143 pic.twitter.com/pQUCHmXnXn

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) December 8, 2018

While he started by saying, “The reason I have this nose is, of course, the abuse. I have no septum,” he went on to say that 11 months ago, “I also owed a bookie $62,000… and a kid who worked for the bookie… he was collecting, and he thought I was a billionaire because he saw me on TV, and he kidnapped me. I was going to my truck, he knocked me out with one punch… Knocked me out for like 10 minutes.”

After describing the attack he continued, “It destroyed my nose. The septum from the abuse from the years of drugs and this hit broke it, and I’ve had two operations, and it’s just in bad shape.”

Lange took to Twitter after the podcast to elaborate, indicating that he was not actually kidnapped, saying “I was not kidnapped. I had an altercation w someone that lasted a couple hours tops. It has been solved and forgotten. Everyone involved is fine.”

Honestly everything I thought was fun was fun at the time. But I lived my life to extreme levels. No moderation at all. To younger ppl I must say that doesn’t work. Not in the long run. Live a good clean life. Behave!

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) January 30, 2019

All of us at Laughspin are happy to hear he is getting treatment and hope his journey to sobriety runs smoothly.

The post Artie Lange heads back to rehab; cancels all stand-up gigs appeared first on LaughSpin.

Pete Davidson, Judd Apatow announce movie loosely based on SNL star’s life

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 11:35

Pete Davidson and Judd Apatow are coming to a theater near you. Apatow is directing a yet-unnamed-comedy based on segments of Davidson’s life. The movie was co-written by Davidson, Apatow, and Dave Sirus—a stand-up comic and former writer for Saturday Night Live. On Tuesday, Apatow announced on Twitter that, “we are finally ready to shoot this summer. It’s been many years in the making.”

Apatow and Barry Mendel, both of whom co-produced The Big Sick, will reunite to produce the film. The movie is loosely based on Davidson’s life growing up on Staten Island. When Davidson was seven-years-old, his firefighter father died during the September 11th World Trade Center attack. Davidson has tackled this subject before in his stand-up.

Thanks. Pete and Dave and I have been working on getting a screenplay right almost since TRAINWRECK. We are finally ready to shoot this summer. It’s been many years in the making. https://t.co/hkvvENtWTD

— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) January 30, 2019

Pete Davidson under Judd Apatow’s wing

Apatow’s upcoming movie is one of several new movies to feature Davidson. Big Time Adolescence, which stars Davidson as a burnout, premiered on Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival to great reviews. Vanity Fair even announced that a “new movie star was born.” The magazine also compared the coming-of-age comedy by Jason Orley to a film in the style of Judd Apatow or John Hughes. On February 8, Davidson will appear in What Men Want, an updated reboot of What Women Want starring Taraji P. Henson as the Mel Gibson role. The New Yorker also stars in Going Places, a spin-off of The Big Lebowski, set to be released in 2019.

Many fans and friends have worried about the 25-year old comic’s well-being in the past year. After his very public engagement and break-up with Ariana Grande, Davidson posted that he had been bullied online and in public. In December, he appeared to threaten suicide on a lengthy Instagram post, which prompted a wellness check by the New York Police Department. Davidson reemerged on January 19’s Saturday Night Live and briefly addressed his suicide threat during Weekend Update—but he’s mostly just excited about The Mule.

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Liza Treyger on Louis CK, TJ Miller: Being a comedian is a privilege, not a right

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 13:59

Liza Treyger has a simple request to her colleagues: Stop touching women you barely know at work. She’s tired of dudes she doesn’t like kissing her on the cheek when she asks them not to or strangers rubbing her lower back. Treyger noticed a distinct shift in behavior after the 2016 election and was disappointed to learn that many of her comedy friends held some troubling positions on sexual abuse and racism. However, the star of Netflix’s stand-up series The Degenerates is trying to be more positive and go after what she wants instead of wasting her time getting into fights at the back of the Comedy Cellar. “It’s exhausting to be a bitch all the time…It’s not fun calling people out.”

Laughspin’s Billy Procida spoke with Treyger at the Adult Entertainment Expo/AVN Awards for an episode of The Manwhore Podcast—part of which you can read below. In the full episode, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major podcast apps, the Glittercheese comedian discusses her fluid sexuality, the orgasm gap between men and women, and predicts that 2019 will be the Year of Watersports!

The below has been edited for content and clarity. To hear the full conversation, listen to Ep. 251 of The Manwhore Podcast.

Why are you here at AVN?

I’m a believer in you gotta just put things into the world that you want. I’m a big porn watcher and fan. I’m not just a casual fan. Most people I talk to who like porn don’t know the girls’ names or anything, but I watch the interviews. I read their interviews—I’m a super fan. So once Cardi B was going to perform—cuz I heard Lil Wayne was a disappointment last year—I know she’s going to bring it. I know it’s going to be hoes for hoes. So I was like, “I need to get over here and ask questions [to see Cardi B.]” And [the porn stars] always get asked the same questions. Even Brazzers, who I’m working with this weekend, was like, “Let’s do a spelling test with them!” I was like, “I’m not going to see if they can spell.” I don’t even know how to spell!

They’re trying to be funny but I was like, that’s weird. Even when I’ve watched red carpet interviews, like this one for Abella Danger he’s like, “Can I grab your ass?” or it’s like, “What’s your favorite position?” and I just wanted to come and talk to them as a pervert fan but not be dismissive of them as people.

They’ll be appreciative of that. There’s only so many times you can be asked, “Are your parents okay with it?”

That’s also not a casual question! In what brain realm do you think it’s okay to go to someone and say, “What’s your relationship with your family?” That’s nuts! And they’re more than just the job. I think a lot of these porn dudes are fans that don’t realize that they go home. And I’m sure they’re super slutty—I follow Adriana Chechik’s OnlyFans page and they do wild stuff on there.

So you pay for OnlyFans?

I do! I pay for it! I also buy stuff from ManyVids and I have a subscription to Kink.com. But then, of course, I go on PornHub sometimes. It’s hard not to.

So long as you’re paying for some of your porn. I was told by a friend in the industry that if everyone who watches porn—which is just about everyone—put just $100 a year into the industry, it would make a vast difference.

I hope I get to talk to Riley Reid this weekend. She has over a billion streams. Can you imagine if that was Drake or a YouTuber? The amount of money—I mean, obviously I think she’s doing well, but billions of people are jerking off to you and you aren’t making money off of that? That’s insane. That pisses me off.

The number one question I’m going to ask this weekend is how everyone gets their pussies so smooth. Because they can’t wax, because you have to wait 3-4 weeks to rewax, and so they all shave, but I don’t know what they’re doing. All the girls in my life are like, “You need to find out.” They’re the smoothest shavers in the world!

The AVN red carpet gig seems like a sweet one.

It’s huge. It’s really my dream to do this. Me and my family, all we did was watch award shows and red carpet and buy the People magazines of the best dressed the next week. I always have loved it. It really is a huge honor and treat that I get to do it. But I hope I don’t fail under pressure. You know when you’re just too cocky, like, “Sure, I can do this,” but I’ve never done it before.

I do all these comedy festivals and we all know each other, so I do feel a little bit like an outsider trying to be like, “Hey, guys!” It’s like their Just For Laughs or whatever. That’s why I’m so worried about being at the Brazzers booth where they’re like, “Pump people up!” It’s like, “They’re pumped up.”

They’re ready. They don’t want this comedian coming on stage who’s not wearing pasties.

I am wearing a see-through shirt but it is goofy, for sure, that I weaseled my way in here. They are paying me and I’m just like, “I hope this works out.”

They’re going to see you go up there and go, “Who’s this goofy cam girl?”

Yea. We’ll see! I am nervous to meet all these fans and ask them questions. I don’t know. It’s weird being on the outside for sure.

When you go to comedy festivals—

—I feel like the coolest person, because you know everyone. They’re all your friends—or you have your enemies, but whatever. Then everything’s catered for you. You’re running from show to show. You’re doing podcasts. There’s a panel here. Let’s do lunch over here. Let’s smoke weed in this room. So it’s kind of like summer camp. I describe Just For Laughs as summer camp. You know, we all live around the country and we’re traveling and all that, so we’re all together. The shows are not that strenuous. Even if you’re doing hours, it’s fun! It just feels really cool.

Have you ever gotten into some crazy hijinks while at a comedy festival?

I accidentally this past year, me and a few friends were going to go outside to smoke weed and I told a friend, “Oh come with us.” And this girl that I fucking hate came with us and I don’t know what came over me—it’s so embarrassing—in the elevator, I said, “I don’t understand why you’re coming with us.” And she was like, “What?” And I said, “I don’t like you and I think it’s weird that you’re here with my friends and I don’t want you here.” And she was like, “Well, too bad, bitch! I’m here and these are my friends, too. And I get to smoke if I want to.” I said, “Whatever. I’m just saying, I think it’s a weird choice for you to come.”

Then when we went outside, there were like 40 people smoking weed. The fact that I was trying to keep her from it is ludicrous. Then when we were sitting there a few minutes, I turned to my friends and asked, “Was that weird?” And they were like, “Yea!” A couple of my friends went, “Oh, we thought you were kidding and you knew her.”

So then I had to go apologize to her and that sucked. I always say sorry if I’m sorry. I was humiliated.

Do you frequently get into beef with other comics?

Yes. I am a shit stirrer—I mean, my goal this year is to talk less shit, but I definitely…I don’t know if it’s that, but if I don’t like you, don’t waste my time. Get away from me.

I’d like to follow your Twitter @ replies.

Yea, I’ve definitely fought on Twitter. That’s embarrassing, too. In person, it’s just like…there’s also a lot of misogynists and I feel like you’re not worth my time. Get away from me. Then there’s people that have fucked over my friends or were not nice or you just don’t trust them because they’re inauthentic. It’s like, I don’t want to be around you.

How do you handle when you’re on a show with someone you fucking hate?

It happens to me all the time. I’m a professional. I’ll host someone, bring ‘em up, give them a good intro. I’ll say, “Good job.” I don’t care. There are a couple guys that will switch around their sets to not be around me. One of the producers of this show was like, “Oh, well he’s going to be later, so can we switch you.” It’s like, no, I’m a professional. I can do whatever, I don’t care. If he cares, then that’s on him. I don’t understand why I have to cater to how this man feels at a show and you’re not even once asking why I don’t like him. And it’s because I stopped him from almost raping someone once. Stop trying to make me feel bad for hating these people. It’s like, I have to make sure they feel safe and cool, versus asking, “Hey, why do you hate this dude? Maybe we shouldn’t even fucking book him.”

So I’ll be mean to him and give him dirty looks, but it’s not my responsibility to make him feel good. If you’re trying to switch me around for his emotions, he needs to grow up. We’re in a business. We will perform in front of people we don’t like and it’s fine.

I’ve been in situations where I’m as close as we’re sitting right now and would not acknowledge someone. We would be in one tiny room. Everyone knows that we don’t get along. But I’ve smashed a lot of beefs with a lot of old school girls that I’ve known—I’ve been doing this for 10 years. When you start at 21, you do make enemies because you’re an idiot. You’re a young person. Then you grow up and you’re like, “Hey, how are you? How did that go? Congrats on that.”

My friend had to tell me, “You think if you’re nice to someone, people are going to think you’re phony? No one’s going to think that. You’re at work. Think of some of these people as your co-workers.” That totally changed it. I just don’t want to be seen as inauthentic. You can just say hi to someone if you don’t like them. It’s fine.

But my new kind of batch of people I’m not into is post-election Cellar crew “Louis did nothing wrong” type of people. There’s just a lot of cis white dudes that are just like, “Well, why didn’t she go to the police?” The election brought out points of view and opinions I didn’t think existed in a lot of the people I was friends with. All of a sudden it was like, “Wait, what? You think trans people are trying to trick you?” You know? All of a sudden you’re just like, “Oh, you don’t believe in equal pay? All right. I don’t want to be your friend.”

You cut them off?

Yea, I just don’t say hi. You’re not worth my time. I just don’t want to sit and argue with you. I’m sick of having to argue at the table with comics about humanity. I’m just sick of having to prove to you that feminism is necessary. Or like, that racism is real. I just don’t’ need another dude going, “There’s other factors of inequality but whiteness and maleness.” I just got sick of having to argue constantly with these dudes whose points of view are crazy.

This is so minor, but it bothered me so much, but I walked into the comedy club and was like, “Oh my god, my doctor’s office was all black women. I couldn’t believe it. It was so fun. That’s amazing. I’ve never been in an office where everyone was a black woman.” And one guy was like, “Yea, because we’re all the worst. All the white guys are the worst. Thank god it’s not a white guy.” It’s like, this has nothing to do with you. And if you truly want to go to a white guy, 90% of New York is there for you. Also, mortality rates of black women at the hands of doctors is really high. So if they get to go to an office where they’re seen by people that relate to them and give them the time of the day and don’t think they’re lying, then yea. This is huge, great news. Why are you taking it as a personal slight to you? It’s just things like that.

Or if someone gets something—a cool Netflix thing—it’s like, “Oh, well they were looking for gay. They were looking for something.” It’s like, no. They were funny. That’s the new stream of ‘get the fuck away from me.’ But one of the dudes I hate is my friend’s ex. It’s like, yea, I’m not going to like you. One producer was like, “It was really awesome you were nice to him. I just want you to know it meant a lot to him that you were great to him.” I don’t want him to feel good at all! I just hate that the lenses are out, like how I’m going to treat this person that did my friend dirty.

So last year I watched every comedy special that came out in 2018. I watched 61 stand-up specials in about a month.

Oh my god. So, Showtime, HBO, Comedy Central…

Self-released, yea. All of it (I hate comedy right now). So when I did the Top 20 list for Laughspin, I put it out. I didn’t try to manufacture diversity into it—I just let funny and originality speak for itself. It just kind of ended up somewhat diverse naturally. My top five had only one white guy (Adam Sandler). But I was curious: What was the makeup of the top 20? I only had 5 women in the top 20. So I thought, “Well, how many stand-up specials came out from women?” I went into the spreadsheet, counted them up: eight.

Five of the eight I put in the top 20. So really, women kind of crushed it in comedy based on ratio. And one of those specials was Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher’s Honeymoon Special, so it was kind of like a shared special. So don’t tell me they’re looking for more women. Yea! They need to! Eight specials out of 61! And one of them was Cameron Esposito’s, which was self-released.

How many came from people of color? I think about 25%.

There is a theory where if there’s just a few people that are of color, you’re automatically like, “Half of them!” It’s like: no, no, no. There’s still 20 white dudes going to JFL for New Faces. You know? There’s maybe more people of color than ever before, but it just looks crazy because it’s never happened. Also, they want a courtesy they’ve never given to anyone else. Now they’re complaining they’re not the ones the industry are looking for. But for decades, all these people have been complaining, “All my auditions are with accents.” Most of my auditions are just a girl going, “I’m fat and gross and like to eat and fuck.” It’s just so annoying. All my auditions have a line like, “Well, I’m not as beautiful as you.” It’s just so annoying. So everyone’s been telling you all this and you didn’t care. Now you want everyone to come up in arms because you didn’t get a Netflix-something.

One guy was complaining, “Yea, they weren’t looking for white men for half-hours.” But there were still three white men in it. So maybe that’s why you didn’t get it, but these are the people you should hate, not the one black woman who got it.

So that’s the type of people I’m just annoyed with and it bothers me. But I’ve been having a good time. I really want to stop gossiping. That’s one of my goals for 2019: stop talking shit, putting negativity into the world. Obviously, it’s hard in a friend group. You want to gossip, but thinking twice before saying something shitty.

You said you don’t mind being a professional when you’re in a room with someone you don’t like. Now that we have all these stories of sexual assault or sexual misconduct coming out—I mean, we in the comedy community know about stuff no one’s talking about. No one’s talking about TJ Miller, still.

That’s someone I had in my head, yea.

So how do you, when you’re on a line-up with someone who is credibly accused of something like that, how do you handle those situations?

I was going to do a show and the booker texted me saying, “Hey, T.J. Miller is going to come. So you might go up later.” I said, “I’m going to go up on the spot that I was booked at. I’m not being bumped by anyone, especially him. And honestly, I don’t even think he should be booked there.” And he immediately went, “You’re right. You’ll keep your spot.” He did go up after me, but I’m not fucking with my money to prove a point. A lot of people go, “Well, why are you still performing at the Comedy Cellar? Louis’s there.” I’m not gonna perform at the best club where it’s packed and make money because he’s there? How does that help me or any woman? If all the women or all the dudes who say, “Fuck you, Louis!” left, what good does that do? Then our perspective’s not even talked about. At least I get to go up there and do jokes that are against him or whatever. I don’t know. Or just be a breath of fresh air in a line-up that’s all dudes. I don’t want to stop performing there, but it is hard.

I wish I had more guts sometimes. Sometimes I want to go up to someone and say, “Why aren’t you fucking talking about it?” But when I did see him, I didn’t do that. I just walked away. I just didn’t say anything. I just walked away.

Louis C.K.?

Yea.

You mean, why aren’t you on stage talking about it?

Yea!

It is just ridiculous that he wasn’t talking about it when he first came back. It’s the masturbating elephant in the room! Put good PR or morality aside: diffuse that tension!

Or just don’t come back. Some go, “What? Should he be gone forever?” No, but at least until he can fucking talk about it.

Because if you can’t talk about it, did you actually learn anything?

No, he didn’t. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He thinks he’s a victim of something and that he did nothing wrong.

I genuinely thought he could have been an example of someone who messed up, doesn’t need to go to prison, learns what was wrong, and comes back after showing he’s changed. Then when I finally heard what he was dying to talk about—not judging it as a final product, but you can tell the direction it’s going in based on the premises—I’m like, “This is it?!” Because he’s brilliant enough he could have come back from this after a couple of years and made it poignant and hilarious and important and maybe a teaching moment. If anyone could do it, I thought it would be Louis C.K.

Or [Dave] Chappelle. Because even Aziz [Ansari]’s material is all about PC culture and how people are too sensitive. No one wants to understand their behavior sucks, even if it’s not criminal. That’s what I keep telling people because a lot of the arguments are, “He’s not Harvey [Weinstein.]” No one’s saying he’s Harvey. Just because someone doesn’t want to get raped in the street doesn’t mean they want their lower back touched at work. I don’t understand why it has to be the worst case to go, “Can you just stop?” One of my friends said, “This is probably who he actually is, now, and he was just hiding it.”

And he’s going to sell out. He’s going to go on tour and sell out. And that’s another layer to this that pisses me off. Wait, do accusations and all of this ruin men’s lives or is he going to continue to work and sell out and no one gives a fuck? That’s what pisses me off. You’re pretending to be a victim and you’re still going to make millions of dollars. No one’s leaving the Cellar shows. People are coming and they’re not leaving.

I hope more dudes in comedy are thinking about how they interact with women in the industry after all this.

So, I’ll get hugged, let’s say. And then all of a sudden it’s, “Oh #MeToo. Can I hug you?” Fuck you for diminishing what this truly is. But also, if you’re so scared, don’t fucking hug me. No one will be mad if you’re not hugging us. People have hugged me who say my name wrong, who will then kiss me on my cheek and it’s like, “We’ve never even hung out. Why would you do this?” It’s so weird. The touching is so annoying. I hate getting kissed on my cheek by any loose lunatic.

Then dudes take it personal. That’s what’s annoying, too. You can’t even just tell them the boundaries. It’s like, “Why don’t you just say no?” It’s because men truly can’t handle it. This one dude kissed me on my cheek and I said, “Oh, I don’t really like that.” And he was like, “Oh, right? You think you’re so much better than me?” No, it’s not that I think I’m better. This is about me. He goes, “Fine, then I won’t even touch you. I’m not even going to say hi.” Like, truly flipped out at me at New York Comedy Club. So then—I always try to avoid him—so this last time I was at Gotham [Comedy Club] and I saw him coming and I knew he was going to hug me. He’s always touching me. So I turned towards the bar so my angle—he hugged me from behind, hugged me on stage when he brought me up. It’s like, we’re not friends at all. I will hug my friends. It’s like, “Why are you hugging me? I don’t fucking like you or know you and I’ve asked you to not.” So then, after my set, I’m sitting and I see him coming towards me. He kisses me on my cheek and I sighed. So he went, “Oh yea, you don’t like that. Well, you know what, Liza? There’s one of you and hundreds of women, so I can’t keep track.” It’s like, you knew I didn’t like it! There’s no way you remembered after you did it that I didn’t like it.

Yea, I should be meaner, but I said this recently on another podcast: It’s just exhausting to be a bitch all the time. It sucks always being on the defensive and always seeing what’s wrong and having fights. It’s not fun. It’s not fun calling people out. It’s not an enjoyable thing. So it’s like, fine, I’m not going to say something this time. I’m not in the mood to get yelled at or flip out or make an issue out of something.

How does that make you feel?

It’s annoying! There was a regular, a comedy fan, and we were sitting and he was rubbing my lower back. And I hated it. And while I was sitting I was like, “I should just tell him to stop.” And I didn’t say anything to him. It just doesn’t seem worth it a lot of the time. And it’s exhausting. Sometimes you just shut down.

Does it just get to be too much at times? Do you ever go, “I just don’t want to go do that spot.”

No. Not, “I don’t want to go do that spot.” But I definitely haven’t been back to New York [Comedy Club] in a few weeks. Even the booker at the Cellar called us and said, “Louis’s going to be on your show. How do you feel about that?” It’s like, well, I don’t want to say something and then I get fucked with. I just don’t want that. I waited till we were in person and I talked to her about it. I was just like, “So if I said I was uncomfortable, you would have not booked him?” and she said, “Absolutely.” I don’t buy it, but okay. But also, who’s she gonna pick? Because what she’s been doing is moving people to the other club. I just can’t believe we’re catering so much to this dude.

Because you don’t need the Louis C.K. drop-in. People go to the Cellar because they know famous people drop in, not because it’s Louis. It could be Jerry Seinfeld; it could be Amy Schumer; it could be Chris Rock.

Yea, that’s what pisses me off. Just rent a theater and sell it out. I feel being rich and famous fucks with your brain. Most famous people are pretty weird and they don’t understand the world around them. Like, we’re supposed to feel bad about a dude who has a four-story home in Manhattan and a summer home and a boat. Like, excuse me? Okay. “What if he never gets to work again?” I’m supposed to feel bad for him? Are you out of your fucking mind? If it was a cook at the comedy club, I’m sure no one would be rallying around him. I have to feel bad for this dude who won’t take any accountability and is a millionaire? All right.

Also, doing comedy and being successful, famous, or well-known or being able to just do it for a living is a privilege. You’re not entitled to it. It’s not a right just because you got to do it. It’s a fear that I constantly have that one day I might have to be a salon receptionist. You have to enjoy it, but we are not entitled to be professional comedians. Truly, it’s a gift. To make it seem like he suddenly lost his life—nope. You’re not entitled to be famous. Go away. I don’t understand.

And maybe one day I’ll bite my tongue and I’ll do something terrible.

The post Liza Treyger on Louis CK, TJ Miller: Being a comedian is a privilege, not a right appeared first on LaughSpin.

Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen political comedy teases 2020 presidential election

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 20:34

Charlize Theronand Seth Rogen are joining the presidential election buzz. No, the two actors are not on a split ticket. However, Theron will star alongside Rogen in a comedy about a long shot—the first female president of the United States. Long Shot, which also stars Bob Odenkirk and June Diane Raphael, premieres at SXSW this March. Lionsgate announced the new title Tuesday.

Rogen will play an unemployed journalist, Fred Flarsky, who through a string of circumstances and good fortune catches the attention of the world’s most powerful woman, Charlotte Field. Charlotte, played by Theron, is one of the most powerful and unattainable women on the planet, brings Fred into her inner circle in her journey to become the first female president of the United States.

The film was originally titled Flarsky. Lionsgate renamed the flick after it scored above 95% in test screenings, indicating that the film can perform as a major summer comedy.

Charlize Theron comedy foreshadows 2020 presidential election

Long Shot couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. Many Democratic hopefuls recently launched exploratory committees and announced presidential runs—many of whom are women. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand all intend to fight for the Democratic nomination amongst a crowded field.

The thought of a female POTUS is still considered a long shot to some after Hillary Clinton’s surprising defeat to Donald Trump in 2016. Many claimed the country is still uncomfortable with a woman in charge and many others simply said the problem was this woman. It should be noted that Clinton has reportedly not ruled out another attempt in 2020. Hopefully, the country has become more open-minded in the last few years. Female candidates broke records in the 2018 midterm elections with over 100 women winning elections for Congress or governorships.

We won’t have to wait until 2020 to find out if Charlotte can win her fictional bid. Long Shot hits theaters nationwide May 3.

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Barry is “most evil bad-ass person” in HBO trailer

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 14:45

Bill Hader is back for Barry Season Two! HBO released a teaser for the second season of the award-winning smash hit. While there is no release date yet, the show returns this spring.

In the short trailer, Barry is still caught struggling between his dreams of being an actor and his job as a former marine-turned-hitman. While Barry asserts “What I do is not who I am,” his acting teacher Gene Cousineau, played by Henry Winkler, tells him, “There is inherent darkness in you.”

In another scene, Barry asks Noho Hank if he is evil. Hank responds, “You are, like, the most evil, bad-ass person I know. Do I not tell you that enough?”

After the Season One finale, Entertainment Weekly asked co-creator Alec Berg about what audiences could look for in a second season. He said, “As Barry gets more emotionally enlightened and he starts to take apart his own psyche in pursuit of being an actor, he’s going to look deeper and find things that maybe he’s not prepared to deal with.”

Winkler and Hader, who co-created the show, both won Critics’ Choice Television Awards and Primetime Emmys for their roles on the first season of the show and, according to Metacritic, the show is universally acclaimed.

You can watch the full trailer below.

The post Barry is “most evil bad-ass person” in HBO trailer appeared first on LaughSpin.

Customs and Border Protection halt bus; call documented comedian ‘illegal’

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 13:35

Portland-based comedian Mohanad Elshieky may not have been famous before Sunday, but according to his Twitter account, “Now the whole country knows that I’m a broke ass comedian who can only afford to ride smelly Greyhound buses.”

Elshieky, originally from Benghazi, posted a dozen tweets yesterday about his harrowing experience dealing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents on a bus ride from Spokane to Portland.

Based on his Twitter timeline, Elshieky performed at Washington State University over the weekend and joked that he “bombed so hard.”

I bombed so hard that the crowd is now marking themselves “Safe” on Facebook. https://t.co/fHB3DIRpZ3

— Mohanad Elshieky (@MohanadElshieky) January 27, 2019

Customs and Border Protection boards bus, harass immigrant comedian

He then tweeted about his trip back to Portland on the budget-friendly bus line. Initially, he claimed that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents had boarded the bus, but he later clarified that they were actually CBP agents. Later, the agents asked him and a few others to step outside. He was then interrogated for about 20 minutes and accused of having fake papers and being “illegal.”

Per his tweets, the comic explained to the agents that his documentation was legal and he had been granted asylum in the U.S.

Elshieky stated that the agents then called immigration authorities. The comic tweeted that even though he heard the person on the other end of the phone say that he is here legally, the agent told him there was no record of his asylum. He then said that agents finally returned his documents after he threatened legal action. He also posted pictures of the agents and his bus ticket.

Here is a photo of the racist trash Fox News call “heroes”. pic.twitter.com/oXbSfoKvB7

— Mohanad Elshieky (@MohanadElshieky) January 27, 2019

After the ordeal, Elshieky tweeted that, “I have never felt as terrible as I did today.”

According to The Washington Post, border agents have been conducting “routine” bus checks for several years. Amidst U.S. President Donald Trump’s stern support of border protection, it is no surprise that Elshieky has received some negative responses to his story. On Monday afternoon, he tweeted, “Stop sending me hate mail….because you’re not gonna break me fools.”

Mohanad Elshieky gets support from politicians

Despite some of the negativity, Elshieky confirmed via social media that he still views the U.S. as his home. He also tweeted today that he appreciated “everyone’s kindness and support.”

I appreciate everyone’s kindness and support. What happened to me doesn’t make me want to stay in the U.S any less. I do love being here and I view the United States as my home. Few bad Apples and some negative replies won’t change that. Thank you all.

— Mohanad Elshieky (@MohanadElshieky) January 28, 2019

Political activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez replied with a supportive tweet, “One of these days, I hope people realize that the idea that ICE should be scrapped isn’t so crazy after all.” The freshman congresswoman continued, “ICE jails children in for-profit detention centers funded by private equity grps. Kids are dying w/o accountability. If that’s not totally broken, I don’t know what is.”

Spokane District 1 City Councilwoman Kate Burke even tweeted an apology to the comedian. She stated that the City Council had passed an ordinance to prevent harassment of this kind, but that the local mayor had not executed the law.

One of these days, I hope people realize that the idea that ICE should be scrapped isn’t so crazy after all.

ICE jails children in for-profit detention centers funded by private equity grps. Kids are dying w/ 0 accountability. If that’s not totally broken, I don’t know what is. https://t.co/AlMgLiHVnu

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 28, 2019

.@MohanadElshieky I am absolutely ashamed and sorry this has happened to you. We on City Council passed an ordinance to prevent this kind of harassment.

Our mayor, David Condon, has failed to execute that law.

This failed leadership continues to have real consequence. https://t.co/tVNRnzXLBH

— Kate Burke (@kate4spokane) January 27, 2019

On Monday afternoon, Elshieky explained in a now-deleted tweet that he’s “just a stand up comedian who had a bad experience and shared it.” Elshieky further tweeted (and deleted) that he is not accepting interview requests, but he is accepting offers to write for late night shows.

Now the whole country knows that I’m a broke ass comedian who can only afford to ride smelly Greyhound buses.

— Mohanad Elshieky (@MohanadElshieky) January 28, 2019

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Mindy Kaling movie snags $13 million Amazon deal at Sundance

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 19:16

Mindy Kaling is getting paid! Amazon bought the U.S. rights to the Office star’s movie Late Night for a record-breaking $13 million. This total exceeds any previous U.S. distribution deal for a movie from the Sundance Film Festival. The film was written and produced by Kaling, who also co-starred with Emma Thompson. Late Night premiered on Friday at Sundance and is already being called a crowd pleaser.

In the movie, Thompson plays the only female late-night talk show host on network TV. When she’s poised to be replaced by a man, she updates her writers room by quickly adding a woman to the staff. Kaling plays the first-time writer struggling to fit in with the team.

Late night writers rooms have been the focus of successful TV shows like 30 Rock and The Larry Sanders Show. In 2017, Amazon made a $12 million deal at Sundance for The Big Sick, another audience-favorite focused on the world of stand-up comedy. Late Night joins shows like I’m Dying Up Here, Crashing, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel showing what it’s like on stage and off for professional funny people.

Late Night, unlike late night, run by women

Late Night has a trio of powerful women leading the way. In addition to Kaling, Amazon Studios is run by Jennifer Salke and the film is directed by Nisha Ganatra. Referring to Salke, Kaling announced that, “it seems fitting that this film written by, directed by and focused on women will be shared with the world by a studio that is anchored by another incredible female.”

Ganatra remarked to Vanity Fair, “That’s the goal—to get more women in the door, more people of color in the door, and more of these stories on-screen so we can all have a more enriching entertainment experience.”

The post Mindy Kaling movie snags $13 million Amazon deal at Sundance appeared first on LaughSpin.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel sweeps SAG Awards

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 18:55

Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel swept Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. Rachel Brosnahan won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series while Tony Shalhoub won the corresponding award for a male actor. The show’s nine-person cast also received Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the 25th Annual SAG Awards in Los Angeles.

The three wins came as a shock considering the guild did not nominate the show for any awards last year. Additionally, it has been over a decade since a comedy series swept all three prizes. In 2008, SAG awarded NBC’s 30 Rock for its ensemble cast and performances by Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.

Other female nominees recognized by the guild this year were: Alex Borstein, also for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Alison Brie for GLOW; and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, both for Grace and Frankie. Male actors nominated by SAG for their comedic roles were Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas, both for The Kominsky Method and Bill Hader and Henry Winkler, both for HBO’s Barry.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel builds steam towards Season 3

In an encounter on the red carpet, Brosnahan even seemed to convince actor This Is Us’s Sterling K. Brown to guest star in a future episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Maybe we’ll see him show up as an iconic comedian in Season Three, which is currently under contract renegotiations. Not surprisingly, the well-awarded cast is expected to receive “sizable salary increases.”

Rachel Brosnahan adds her new statuette to a her collection, which includes a 2019 Golden Globe Award and a 2019 Critics’ Choice Award. Last year, the show garnered an impressive eight Emmys becoming the first comedy produced by a streaming service to win the comedy series race.

The show and its strong female lead have been a huge hit with the public, critics, and the comedy community. On January 7, podcast giant Joe Rogan posted on his Instagram that it is a “damn good show” and “it may be the best fictional representation of stand-up ever.”

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Saturday Night Live recap: James McAvoy, SNL recycle old bits

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 15:46

James McAvoy hosted Saturday Night Live this week. McAvoy isn’t known for his comedy, but as an actor, he was fully committed to this week’s show. Films like Split, Glass, and the X-Men franchise made McAvoy a major star since his indie film days. The Wanted actor took the SNL stage with a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, the perennial sketch show cursed him with a lot of repeat sketches that no one wanted. As always, Laughspin is here to break down what you need to see based on our SNL star scale:

 

SNL Cold Open

This Tucker Carlson-themed open would have been perfectly forgettable if not for Steve Martin’s portrayal of Roger Stone. His impression is good, but you will find yourself mostly thinking in the sketch, “Is that Steve Martin?” The SNL vet is always great, but couldn’t save this political cold open from being too scattered.

James McAvoy Monologue

SNL writers let McAvoy, surprisingly, deliver a monologue about his Scottish heritage without random interruptions from the cast. He is extremely charming even when he loses his place and has to improvise with the cue-card holder. Honestly, his improvised lines are some of the funniest in this monologue. The jokes in this monologue aren’t really that funny (except the one about him being in Star Wars), but McAvoy makes it work.

Virgin Hunk

SNL has done a lot of Bachelor parodies. This one probably didn’t need to happen. It doesn’t help that they use the exact same structure every time they resurrect this sketch, but because the structure relies on someone saying the most outlandish thing possible, you’re just reminded of the past sketches. It’s a nice touch that they updated it for this season’s bachelor which features Colton Underwood—a virgin.

Mr. H

This sketch is really silly and will have you cracking up. You will see the final twist coming, but it doesn’t dampen the enjoyment of the sketch. As Mr. H, a teacher seeing his student deal drugs on the street, McAvoy really showcases his acting talents in all the little choices he makes for the character.

Air Traffic Control

Whoever wrote this sketch should have given it another pass, but it’s still really good. The people on the plane are given a backstory that just feels a little underthought, which is almost impressive given that the only joke in this sketch is “Scottish accents are hard to understand.” While it is a super simple premise, it is really funny.

The U.E.S.

The U.E.S. is certainly not the first parody rap song ever made about living in a nice neighborhood, but it is so well done. Kate McKinnon’s verse about her cat is adorable, but the rest of the song is truly the Leslie Jones Show. Sometimes SNL doesn’t know how to use Jones to her fullest, just having her play various wives and immemorable parts. Here she truly shines.

Charmin

McAvoy’s pronunciation of “Charmin” is somehow the funniest thing in this sketch—and that’s saying something. This SNL sketch features four wacky characters, all of whom are equipped with some great punchlines.

Weekend Update

The characters robbed Michael Che and Colin Jost of the attention on this weekend’s Weekend Update. As usual. The jokes from Che and Jost are forgettable, but Chris Redd’s Soulja Boy and Cecily Strong’s Cathy Anne talking about politics are pitch perfect. Both are well done and, while Cathy Anne is a running character, it is hilarious every time. I just wish the hosts came to play as much as their ‘guests’ did.

Mr. Tumnus

This feels like one of those sketches that might actually become a cult hit. However, while there are a few solid jokes in there, the sketch feels messy and the reveal that Mr. Tumnus is gay at the end feels lazy. Also: did he start dating his lover when the boy was a child? If so, that’s upsetting. If not, why is he wearing a school boy’s outfit?

Another Brothers

As the title suggests, this is the second Brothers sketch. Back in November, we didn’t rate the first one too highly and the second one loses the surprise factor that really carried this sketch. In November, Liev Schreiber played the father and, in this one, McAvoy takes on the role. No backstory is needed about why this character is played by different actors, but this sketch seems to want to try to explain. Honestly, it just makes everything more confusing.

I Love My Dog

It was good to see some Pete Davidson during this episode (even if Twitter stans are going to come for him using those bunny ears). This rap song gives Ego Nwodim a time to shine, which is great given that new cast members don’t always get a lot of screen time. That being said, this is the second rap song of the show. It isn’t quite as good as the first one, but if it may have shined more had it stood by itself.

New Orleans Vacation

SNL chose to close the show with another repeat sketch. It’s a shame since the last sketch of the night has often been reserved for something that pushes boundaries. The original sketch featured a couple coming back from Cuba with Seth Meyers. This one features a couple returning from New Orleans. Whether it is the city itself or McAvoy’s acting choices, this one might actually be funnier than the original. However, in a week with The Bachelor, Brothers, and this, it would have been nice to see more new ideas toward the end of the night.

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Late night roundup: Adam Newman, Kellen Erskine (and Siri)

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 16:08

It was a fairly quiet week in late night stand-up despite Conan’s return to TV. Adam Newman and Kellen Erskine did solid sets this week showcasing their talents to a national audience. Erskine can be seen on Amazon’s Inside Jokes docuseries and made his late night stand-up debut on Conan in 2018. He also performed on everyone’s favorite ‘what’s this person going to do?’ series America’s Got Talent. Newman is becoming a TV regular with sets on Late Show, Late Late Show, and other multiple showcase series, including Comedy Central’s rebranded The Half Hour.

Here’s your late night stand-up roundup, though we’ll definitely advise for everyone to turn on Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight to catch the hilarious Samantha Ruddy.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Late Night with Seth Meyers Late Show with Stephen Colbert Late Late Show with James Corden

Adam Newman makes his first appearance on Late Late Show but, as usual, he comes prepared to crush. Unfortunately, it appears that he has more TV credits than chest hairs.

Last Call with Carson Daly Conan Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Kellen Erskine gets some assistance with his material during this set, utilizing his Siri function to read jokes and it goes pretty much the way you expect. If a comedian tells a good joke, it’s great. If a robot says something other than GPS directions, it’s hilarious.

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Amazon picks Jim Gaffigan as first original comedy special

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 14:07

Jim Gaffigan will release his next stand-up special, Quality Time, on Amazon Prime Video later this year. Gaffigan’s seventh taped hour will be Amazon’s first foray into producing comedy specials. The Jim Gaffigan Show star will record Quality Time at the State Theatre in Minneapolis on March 9.

“I am so honored to be Amazon’s first original stand-up special,” said Gaffigan. “This is going to be exciting.”

Amazon’s entrance into stand-up comedy comes after Netflix’s established dominance as the King of Comedy. The streaming giant produced dozens of original hour-long specials in 2018 and launched multiple showcase series like The Lineup, The Standups, and The Degenerates. HBO, previously the go-to place for the best comedians to drop their hour, put out just two hour-long specials last year: one from Drew Morgan and one from Pete Holmes. There’s no denying Netflix runs the comedy game now. Amazon will have a lot of work to do to compete, and snagging one of America’s most accessible comics may prove a wise decision.  

Gaffigan has released specials on multiple platforms over the span of his career. Beyond the Pale and King Baby came out as DVDs from Comedy Central Records and would frequently run on the network. Even before then, the Fat Dad author would do half-hour specials on the comedy channel. In 2012, he sold Mr.Universe for $5 on his website (remember when that ‘the thing’ to do?), and subsequently became available on Netflix. Obsessed and Cinco are Netflix Originals. Noble Ape, his most recent special, was produced by Comedy Dynamics and released on paid-for streaming services before getting a TV debut on Comedy Central. Now he’s poised to be Amazon’s test dummy in the stand-up comedy game.

The Chappaquidick actor next co-stars alongside Academy Award-winners Viola Davis and Allison Janney in Amazon Studios’s film Troop Zero, one of Gaffigan’s nine feature films out this year.

Prime members will be able to stream the special exclusively via the Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices, and online.

 

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Tig Notaro books Pittsburgh comic who sacrifices gig over Louis CK

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 12:42

Louis C.K. is in the news again—though he hasn’t actually done anything this week. Comedian John Dick Winters made waves in the Pittsburgh comedy scene for canceling a gig at a venue that booked C.K. And Tig Notaro is giving him a big thumbs up.

Winters canceled with the Pittsburgh Improv when the club announced it had booked the former comedy wunderkind on what could be called an unofficial comeback tour on a different night. While Winters might have given up his Improv spot, he may have gotten a bigger break out of all of this.

Comedians take a stand against Louis CK, abusers

Winters, who is the founder of the Burning Bridges Comedy Festival, published an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Current saying “I’ve worked really hard at both the comedy and the business side of stand-up. And I’ve become, albeit a small one, a gatekeeper of our little Pittsburgh comedy scene. And I don’t want to work with anyone that will work with Louis C.K. or anyone like Louis C.K.”

Notaro took notice. He posted the Current article to Facebook and the One Mississipi creator commented on the article, “I like your style, sir.” After a brief exchange, she invited him to open for her in Harrisburg, PA.

Comedians are starting to take a stance on who they work with. Phoebe Robinson similarly walked off a show this week when she found out New York Comedy Club had booked an alleged abuser. Comedy Central announced that C.K.’s former manager Dave Becky will not be listed as an executive producer on the final season of Broad City.

Winters told Laughspin about the new gig, “Well, I’m not 100% convinced I’m not being brilliantly catfished.” He continued, “But if it is legit, and it seems like it is. I’m stunned. It’s an incredible gesture that I honestly don’t think I deserve but I do intend on taking advantage of.” Notaro has been vocal on her dismay over C.K.’s comeback.

John Dick Winters questions capitalism’s hold on comedy’s soul

Winters felt it needed to be done despite how difficult it is to cancel paid comedy work. “I think it’s important as a human,” he says. “Not sure what effect it will have cause there will always be another comic with some hot takes about chemtrails or whatever to take the open spot. I think personal integrity is important in all situations, despite the general public not seeming to see it that way all the time.”

Whether or not to book admitted abusers is a hot button topic in the comedy world. Few comedy clubs have declared that they will not let the disgraced star take their stages. Most are happy about the business. Winters commented, “I’m not sure if the capitalist hellscape we exist in will allow comedy clubs to make moral decisions. Their job is to get people in the seats and then sell them overpriced chicken fingers. ‘Let the market decide’ is exactly the motto that allows folks like C.K. to get away with very few if any consequences…As a consumer of comedy, I encourage folks to find independent shows, venues, and clubs; just like restaurants, avoid the chains (except Red Lobster cause those cheddar biscuits are amazing).”

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Phoebe Robinson to New York Comedy Club: Do better than booking alleged abusers

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 15:05

2 Dope Queens star Phoebe Robinson has had ‘enough’ of comedy clubs letting alleged rapists on stage. Robinson took to Instagram late Wednesday night calling out New York Comedy Club to “do better” after an “alleged rapist” was also on the night’s line-up.

Robinson was booked to perform on the 9:00 show at New York Comedy Club’s 24th Street location on Wednesday evening. In the video, she shares that she chose not to perform when she arrived and saw that another comedian booked on the show was an alleged rapist. T.J. Miller, who was accused of assault in 2017, performed on the show.

From the club’s website, the show was set to feature stand-up from Robinson, Mark Normand, Rosebud Baker, Ryan Schutt, Lawrence Deloach, Chris Scopo, Kase Raso, and Miller.  The club shared on Twitter that Miller would be a part of the 7:00 show, but did not promote the line-up for the 9:00 show on Twitter.

TJ Miller has been accused of sexual assault, though he denies the allegations

Miller was accused of sexually assaulting and punching a woman while in college. The accusations surfaced at George Washington University at the time of the alleged assault, but the accusations picked up steam in 2017 in the midst of the #MeToo movement. He publicly denied the accusations after they were made public.  

Phoebe Robinson calls for comedy clubs everywhere to ‘do better’

Robinson captioned the video, “Do better, comedy clubs, because I’ve had enough.” In the video, she does not name the alleged rapist. In her words, she states that “there [was] a surprise drop-in comedian and he is an alleged rapist, so I left… comedy clubs, of course, there is no HR, but we have to do better. We can’t have alleged rapists, sexual predators, abusers performing on the show. It is not safe for the comedians. It is not safe for the audience. It is fucking disrespectful to the victims. Enough is enough.”

The author and comedian says in the video that she is getting back into stand-up after publishing two books, You Can’t Touch My Hair and Everything is Trash, but It’s Okay. Her mega-hit podcast, 2 Dope Queens, ended in late 2018, but the queens are still set for four more HBO specials due out next month.

Miller has been touring and promoting his shows by offering free tickets to federal workers and recently lent his voice to the Kingdom Hearts III video game and an upcoming film titled Underwater. Miller has not made a comment about his shows at New York Comedy Club or Robinson’s video at the time of this posting.

Laughspin reached out to New York Comedy Club for comment. This story will be updated as it develops.

View this post on Instagram

Do better, comedy clubs, because I’ve had enough.

A post shared by Phoebe Robinson (@dopequeenpheebs) on Jan 23, 2019 at 8:00pm PST

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Netflix in February: Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History, Ray Romano stand-up special, more!

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 12:37

Netflix just released its list of new shows coming for next month. The list came out in conjunction with a video hyping some of the new shows coming. The video does not show everything coming to the platform, but it does show some new original TV shows and new comedy specials. You can watch the announcement below, but Laughspin is here to break down all the comedies coming to Netflix in February.

Netflix Original TV Russian Doll coming 2/1

What if you were caught in a time loop and forced to live out your death over and over? Yes, it is pretty much the plot of Happy Death Day, but Russian Doll is a TV show, not a movie, and it is a dark comedy, not horror. The show also stars Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne.

¡Nailed It! México coming 2/8

The comedy cooking show Nailed It! is getting a Spanish language spin-off geared towards a Mexican audience. The American version stars comedian Nicole Byer, but ¡Nailed It! México will feature Mexican comedic actor Omar Chaparro.

One Day at a Time: Season 3 coming 2/8

One Day at a Time is a sitcom based off of the 1970’s hit of the same name. The family comedy centers around a Cuban-American family trying to make it through the good and bad times. Season 2 ended with legendary actress Rita Moreno’s character having a stroke.

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: Season 2 coming 2/8

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants is based on a popular children’s book. While the show hasn’t exactly won over an adult audience, it will keep your kids laughing.

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: Volume 2 coming 2/10

New episodes of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj are coming every Sunday. The first season caused some controversy after Netflix was pressured into removing an episode that portrayed the Saudi prince in a negative light. Hopefully, Volume 2 will pack as much punch.

Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy coming 2/15

This four-part comedy series follows Larry Charles, the director behind Sasha Baron Cohen’s character films and producer of both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as he travels around the world examining comedy scenes. Larry Charles’ Dangerous World promises to feature comedy from Russia, China, India, Iran, Nigeria, Turkey, and other places where comedy can be “dangerous.”

The Umbrella Academy coming 2/15

Netflix canceled many of its serious superhero shows, so it will be interesting to see how The Umbrella Academy fares. The first season follows a quirky family of heroes. As opposed to cancelled shows like Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, the streaming giant is producing their supercharged world all on its own.

Workin’ Moms coming 2/22

Workin’ Moms is a new comedy show coming out of Canada. The show follows a group of Toronto moms as they return to work after maternity leave.

Original Movies The Breaker Upperers coming 2/15

The Breaker Upperers is a new female-led comedy out of Australia. In the film, best friends have made a business where they will break up any couple for money. The girls have to deal with the ramifications when one of the friends grows a consciousness.

Paddleton coming 2/22

Mark Duplass and Ray Romano star is this dark comedy about a man diagnosed with cancer and his neighbor who promises to serve as an angel of mercy for him.

Netflix Comedy Specials Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner coming 2/5

Ray Romano is back. Other than his work in films The Big Sick and Paddleton, he is returning to the stand-up stage. Right Here, Around the Corner will be the sitcom giant’s first stand-up special in 23 years. The special consists of two unannounced sets at the Comedy Cellar and the Village Underground. Netflix has already released a trailer, so if you’re not sure if he’s still got chops, you can watch for yourself below.

Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History coming 2/8

Kevin Hart had a rough couple months after deciding not to host the Oscars, but you can’t stop Hart, other than new movies, he is debuting a new special that promises to also be educational with Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History.

Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho coming 2/14

Ken Jeong has had a lot of opportunities in comedy, but the doctor turned star has never actually released a comedy special before. Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho will be the first stand-up special from the Hangover star.

Movies coming to Netflix you want to watch again

About a Boy coming 2/1
American Pie coming 2/1
American Pie 2 coming 2/1
American Wedding coming 2/1
As Good as It Gets coming 2/1
Hairspray coming 2/1
Personal Shopper coming 2/1
Pretty in Pink coming 2/1
The Edge of Seventeen coming 2/1
Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua coming 2/3
The 40-Year-Old Virgin coming 2/16
Our Idiot Brother coming 2/26
The Rebound coming 2/28

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Jay Leno on Conan O’Brien Tonight Show transition: I wouldn’t change a thing

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 04:00

Jay Leno shared his thoughts on the disastrous Tonight Show transition in a rare appearance on Tuesday’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. When asked by Cohen for “one thing” he’d redo about his controversial return to late night, Leno stated, “I can’t think of anything I’d do different.”

Jay Leno’s Tonight Show debacle resurfaces

In case anyone forgot the decade-old drama, NBC replaced Leno with Conan O’Brien—then the host of Late Night—in 2009. Less than a year later, NBC wanted to bump O’Brien’s time slot due to slipping ratings and effectively give the show back to the late night giant. The Conan host declined and NBC gave him the boot, paying out a monstrous amount of money. TBS then gave him his now-popular show Conan. The Tonight Show controversy was so complicated that it has its own 11-section Wikipedia entry (2010 Tonight Show confict) and a book, The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy by Bill Carter.

Leno confidently defended his stance on the Bravo talk show—which also featured fellow guest Judd Apatow chiming in—during a segment called Plead The Fifth. “They’re ratings-based shows. People act like it’s your decision…The network makes these decisions. They decide you’re going to leave and then they decide when you come back. So there’s not a lot different I would have done.” Coincidentally (or not), O’Brien aired his much-anticipated, half-hour format last night, after a three-month hiatus.

David Letterman and Jay Leno are fine, says Leno

This isn’t Leno’s only complicated relationship with a fellow late night host. During the interview, Leno also discussed his misunderstood relationship with David Letterman (about which, there’s a whole other Bill Carter book). Leno clarified that they have not talked to each other recently but they do not “hate” each other. Leno stated that he is a “huge fan” and that, “sure, I’d go on” Letterman’s newly-renewed Netflix show—if asked.

For the past several years, the punchline workhorse has hosted Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC and performs many Sunday nights at The Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach.

Watch Leno’s comments on Conan here:

Watch Leno’s comments on Letterman here:

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Broad City final season trailer says, ‘Don’t be scared.’

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 16:34

Broad City returns to Comedy Central in just two days for “one crazy, epic final season.” A hot new trailer dropped on Wednesday that has fans of the beloved show wondering how it will all end for Abbi and Ilana.

The trailer assures viewers, “no matter what the outcome, don’t be scared. Wherever the series goes, creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson have surely come a long way since their their hit comedy was just a great, little web series.

In the trailer, we see the anything-goes millennials doing everything from wearing hazmat suits and a leather bustier to sniffing armpits and brushing teeth while naked to showing their ”virgin breast meat” (whatever that is). That’s just a one-minute trailer.

The trailer for the critically-acclaimed series also features return appearances from Hannibal Buress, Rachel Dratch, and Susie Essman.

The previous season of Broad City took a somewhat dark turn as the best friends experienced their first fall and winter under the Trump presidency. Season Four’s finale episode,Friendiversary, featured the duo exploring the origins of their friendship on a scavenger hunt. The ten-episode final season begins with an episode titled Stories and ends with an episode simply called Broad City.

Leading up to the season finale, the Broad City team has dealt with some struggles.David Becky will not return as an executive producer for the final season of the show. Becky previously served as Louis C.K.’s manger and inadvertently helped to keep the embattled comic’s misconduct under wraps.

If that weren’t enough, Kevin Barnett, who wrote for the show died this week while vacationing in Mexico.

Watch the final season of Broad City on Comedy Central starting this Thursday, January 24, at 10:00 p.m. ET.

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