Friday, August 28, 2009

Cast of The Office catch Jim and Pam Wedding Bug

First Jenna Fischer's engagement to her Texan screenplay writer boyfriend, now John Krasinski's next on the matrimony deck. There must be something in the craft services water - or acting like the proud groom on set all day has rubbed off. Krasinski and his girlfriend Emily Blunt are engaged. I'm sure Krasinski fans who favor the word "squee" are jumping for joy (or crying in their pillow).

Awesome news. Congrats to the man who plays one of my most favorite television characters, and is one terrifically funny guy.

Source: People Magazine

New Office Promo: Gossip

Although I'm not really feeling The Office this year, it's cool to see a promo for the premiere episode "Gossip". (Air date: September 17th - 9:00pm ET) A single track minded YouTuber cut off the promo that follows for Community. Shame. I'm looking forward to the Joel McHale comedy more than a revisit to Dunder Mifflin. (Wow. I never thought I'd ever say that.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Michael and Michael Have Issues: Season Finale

After a six episode run, it kills me to say I was a bit disappointed in Michael and Michael Have Issues. My expectations may have been high since Black and Showalter are always funny. Sadly, there was more silence than laughs for me. The show had a disjointed feel edging between behind-the-scene situations, Michael and Michael's feuds and live studio audience sketches. Nevertheless, it showcased the talents of comedians Leo Allen, Jessie Klein and Kumail Nanjiani who protrayed various production staff. That was a treat.

A second season is not confirmed; however, last night's finale went out on a high note. Michael and Michael have a run in with their comedy rivals (and studio neighbors) Jeff and Larry. Hilarity and nudity ensued. Why didn't we have more of this in previous episodes?

Michael & Michael Have IssuesWed 10:30pm / 9:30c
Jeff and Larry
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

30 Rock Redux

Can't squeeze anything out of my mind grapes today. But I love this episode guest starring Elaine Stritch. Here's a clip...shark eyes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rob Huebel is Sneaking Up On His Enemies

Somewhere in the wilds of Southern California - we'll call the place Los Angeles - is a man with a computer, a Blackberry and a Twitter account. He has rescued American journalists from hard labor in North Korea ("Bill Clinton can take credit for securing the release of the journalists...but just KNOW that it was really me..."), has given super hero advice to those getting laid ("If you go on a date tonight and you end up making out, stop for a second and whisper: "I'm from the future"...then keep going..."), and is in a state of constant alert for unsavory elements ready to invade his airspace ("I will sneak up on my enemies at once. They will look foolish bathed in my toilet of hate...").

It's doubtful that Rob Huebel has enemies. He's well liked. From a far, my guess is that he's somewhat like the Seth Olenick photo above - hiding in plain sight, sitting silent until the right thought comes along, or the funniest quip is ripe for telling. Accessible to fans - but as any private citizen who defies evil - up to a point.

His Twitter presence is just the tip. Huebel (as I've mentioned a few dozen times on this blog) is co-creator of MTV's Human Giant, and is currently working on a script with partners Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer and Jason Woliner to bring the show to the big screen. He played douchebag Tevin Downey in the film I Love You Man (now out on DVD), and guest starred in Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, 30 Rock as well as co-starred in Rob Corddry's web series Children's Hospital. He's also recently enlived Gary Busey's big stonking teeth in Mean's Cinemash parody of the old Kevin Swayze flick Point Break.

Huebel is one of the legends of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre where he performs weekly at their Los Angeles location. (He was everywhere at last week's Del Close Marathon: Doug Benson Interruption, Facebook, Match Game 76, Mantziggle, Respecto Mantalban, Assscat - staple shows all UCB fans know and love.)

Yet, in between performances and moments on screen, his Twitter presence lends a connection to those who love the hilarious thoughts that waft through his mind. In the past year, as his Tweets became more hilarious and prolific, and as things got a little tough in my life, I found that a funny notion micro-blogged from Rob, and visits to his Tumblr blog, just when things started to suck, made life - bearable.

Rob will be appearing in Michael and Michael Have Issues' season finale tomorrow night on Comedy Central (10:30pm). He's also just finished filming a pilot for Fox - The Station. It's Executive Produced by Ben Stiller and directed by David Wain. Huebel plays a CIA operative/assassin. As per his Tweet the week of shooting...

"Shooting with @davidwain. Just got to assassinate someone from a moving car. Squibs, blood, guns. Someones got a hard on."

Sounds like somebody loves his job.

That is...when he's not following around neighbors in his Prius on "Follow Fridays".

Watch out, America.

Mad Men: Love in Ruins

The first two episodes of season three Mad Men have been simmering slowly on the stove, like the milk Don boiled in last week's premiere. Antiquated ideals are steaming to the surface. Old elements are turning to solidified skin, soon to be skimmed away with a wooden spoon.

What struck me the most was the scene at Don's daughter's school. Field Day. Dancing around the May Pole. We see the long haired teacher in a flowing dress, barefoot as she danced with children, glorious in the sun. It was a stark contrast. The suited, bee hived, horn rimmed sun glassed parents, almost faceless, a symbol of old school sobriety and straight laced fashion, meeting the natural hair, the bare feet and peasant dresses that would blow their crew cuts away. Don caught a glimpse of it in California. His fingers brushed the cool grass, perhaps to sense how it flowed between her toes. Black and white cocktail days are turning to Kodachrome color.

Things are moving slow. JFK hasn't even been assassinated yet. Don's world doesn't know what they're in for. The milk will be simmering and boiling over soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aziz Ansari

Photo by Seth Olenick

The breakout star of the summer is Aziz Ansari. How cool is that? A cameo appearance in the Judd Apatow film Funny People as stand up Raaaaaaaandy has given him a bump, spawning viral video shorts on of the brash, "merch" flogging comedian. The character is a loud, fast talking jokester with stories of sexual encounters, macho prowess all accompanied by a DJ who punctuates his verbiage with hip hop stings. Do I sense a bit of Dane Cook-ery here? All attitude, shouting, strutting and gesticulating but when you hear what he's actually saying - there's no funny? Perhaps. Judging from interviews Aziz denies any Cook impression, but that's not to say he wasn't inspired. Ansari has already honed his mockery skills on MTV's Human Giant by co-creating a spoof of Criss Angel's silly Mind Freak antics with Paul Scheer in "The Illusionators" sketches.

His portrayal of Tom Haverford, an apathetic bureaucrat on NBC's Parks and Recreation who likes to make the moves on the ladies is pretty spot on considering I've met a few. After only six episodes, he's emerged as one of the funny highlights in an ensemble cast I hope will be allowed to flourish in the same vibe as The Office. (Poehler, much like Carell, is the star, but might be overshadowing the rest of the P&R group as Leslie Knopes, whereas Michael Scott has been the beacon to many other quirky characters who stand out equally.)

We have more Aziz to see in the upcoming year. In addition to the Raaaaaaandy love, the NBC sitcom and many of his own stand up performances (as himself), he's slated to appear in Apatow's next feature Take Him To The Greek, starring Russell Brand due out in 2010.

Hopefully he'll find the time to work on season three of Human Giant. Please?

You can view videos of Raaaaaaaandy at

On Line at UCB

Last weekend's DCM was a jammed packed three days. After going through my photos and thinking back on the moments and the faces of so many UCB devotees, something occurred to me. There were stories. Stories everywhere. It was not just the amazing yarns told by audience members or performers, it was the stories and snippets of conversations I heard waiting in line. And you wait in line at UCB's DCM. You wait a lot.

There were the UCB students, young fresh faced, baking in the sun, some protecting themselves from the heat under umbrellas. One young twenty-something, I'll call her Karen (since the sun was making me delirious and I'm bad with names) was in Improv 401. She came from Florida by herself just to study at UCB. Through her classes, she found a family. "You have to make friends. " She said. "You have to go out and find a community of people or else you'll be really lonely here."

Other line dwellers were performers invited to trod the UCB stage, but may have been a day or two early for their show, chomping at the bit to get in to see Facebook or Bass-Prov. They talked about driving in a hot bus from the mid-west, or stuffing their junk in a car and heading for New York before dawn the day before. They goofed on fellow performers by cell phone who hadn't made it yet because they were stuck in traffic.

While on line at FIT, I met Robert, a Los Angeles native and UCB intern who was my seat buddy for the weekend, saving my space in line while I got my tickets for the various shows at the Kate Murphy Theater. One evening, while sitting on a sidewalk caked with the crap of the world, he said, "I don't mean to be a jerk, but..."


But...does New York always have that... smell?"

Oh, poor LA dude, I thought. You don't know the half of it. The humidity. The sewer swamp vapor rising from drain pipes. Piss. Puke. Garbage. Exhaust fumes. Cigarette smoke. Hobo smells. Body odor. Tourists. Tourists...everywhere with their synthetic fibers.

"Yes. Oh yes it does. In the summer. All the time."

Then I met Sarah. Like Karen, she was in her early twenties, and an Improv 401 student. Waiting to get into Respecto Mantalban, we laughed at the idea that urine may have been dispensed on the very wall in which we were leaning. Living out of her small canvas bag, silk screened with last year's Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival logo, she spoke of her day job as a medical librarian at Sloan Kettering. Sarah loved puppetry and not only studied the Harold at UCB, but also took puppet improv workshops.

Why did she get into improv? "I always loved comedy." She said. Then her eyes welled up. "I lost my younger sister a few years ago. So, since I'd always been a comedy fan, I escaped from the despair by taking classes at UCB and losing myself in comedy. When you hear them laugh at your work, it's addicting. It makes me forget the pain".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's a "Page Off" with Scheer and McBrayer

I spent a good portion of last weekend watching Jack McBrayer and Paul Scheer partnering on stage and joining other Harold teams at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Del Close Marathon. These incredibly talented artists, who played arch rival NBC Pages on 30 Rock, form a solid bond in the give and take of improvision. Not surprising since they've been doing it for years at UCB. Since some members the 30 Rock team are embedded within the UCB talent pool, the duo's chemistry was a no brainer when the powers that be added Scheer in season two (Rosemary's Baby, Cooter) as Donny Larson, the smarmy evil head of all Pages who wants to bring Kenneth down.

I was on deck to become an NBC Page job years ago after several months as a Talent Relations intern. I groveled and kissed butt over at Guest Relations for a chance to wear the blazer and herd audiences like cattle into studios. Luckily a full time employee job opened up and I by-passed the program. (I'm not sure about today, but back then Pages were not employees and had no benefits.) The arch enemy story line between Donny and Kenneth was extremely satisfying nonetheless. I knew - even then - that being a Page can sometimes be cut throat for real. If only Page-Offs were real, as they are in Tina Fey's world of 30 Rock - where one Page battles another for dominance through a game of wit and physical force.

Here's hoping Scheer (who also stars in MTV's Human Giant) will be back for more episodes soon.

On a completely different Scheer-McBrayer note: Here's your Yo Gabba Gabba "Knock Knock Joke" of the day...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mad Men: Season Premiere

Mad Men's premiere episode entitled "Out Of Town" aired on Sunday. Two days later and two viewings later I am still flummoxed. I'm stuck on that strange flashback Don had in regards to how he came into the world and why he was named "Dick". Was the word "dick" used as an expression during the Depression? Was Don being haunted by his prostitute, feverish, dieing baby mama and his highly devout Christian faux-mom who couldn't birth any babies?

Sal. Poor Sal. I wanted him to have that moment with the bellhop because it would allow him to live out his true nature. Those damn fire drills.

Betty is still pretty and skinny and pregnant and still harbors a latent hatred toward her daughter. With one possibly on the way - there will be two daughters she'll try and screw up.

Joan is looking large this season, although the beautiful Christina Hendricks was undoubtedly padded to look like a linebacker in a bullet bra.

Don is still a cheating cad, but still dashing and sexy.

Roger still drinks and is now married to that 20-something kitten.

Sterling Cooper is officially taken over by the British with a straight laced boss (played by Jared Harris) who neglects to tell Pete and Ken they were both made Head Of Accounts so they can fight it to the death.

Peggy can get no respect from her secretary since the girl treats her like a girlfriend, and the British male secretary who wanders through the secretarial pool doesn't have to type letters because he's a guy. He apparently was hired to make the girls squeal over his sexy British accent.

Oh. A guy got fired and told everyone to fuck off.

To be honest, I wasn't wow'd by this episode. It didn't inspire any Monday morning arm chair quarterbacking from me. It didnt make me wax lyrical over each scene and flow of storyline as it did after last season's finale, when I was inspired to write about the metaphorical aspects of character circumstance. The words just flowed back then.

Maybe I was too tired from spending the best weekend of my life down below ground in a hot, sweaty, funny theater - so anything I watched on TV, or any joke I heard couldn't compare with the 50+ hours of UCB improv I laughed through.

Yet, even if it didn't knock my socks off, the episode was intriguing. There is much to look forward in episodes to come. I hope.

A Random Thought About the Sixties...

My much older half brother Joey always tries to sound like he was a cool hippy back in the sixties, when I was slithering around, unaware of my own hand much less a cultural revolution. Several years ago he mentioned that he went to Woodstock. I never believed him.

This picture in the NYTimes today has proven me wrong. Joe - I guess you were there, or mom had a twin son we don't know about.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Del Close Marathon 2009 - Saturday

It was a late night last night, and I'm word weary and without my thesaurus. The Del Close Marathon will end tonight, and I am so jazzed from seeing the All Stars of UCB up close and hilarious. After an afternoon of performances by eager, fresh faced improv groups (it ranged from curious to boring to finding some individual stand outs), I headed over to FIT for Scheer-McBrayer. Two of the funniest guys around playing Harold games and killing. (Did Jack know what he was in for later that night?)

Went back to UCB. Got in for The Benson Interruption. Twice in one week for me. Couldn't get photos because I was standing within walls of human flesh with just enough view to see. I knew Sarah Silverman was a guest (she appeared in Seth and Ed's Puppet Show previous). Also in the line up was Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer. The Interruption never EVER disappoints. It was incredible. What I didn't know was this was the start of the comedy version of the Midnight Ramble. As Levon Helms once said of the rock and roll version, and I'm paraphrasing, " The songs got raunchier and the prettiest girls would really shake it a few times."

After The Smartest Panels of Experts with Matt Besser as Host to a line up of misfits who answered probing questions, and the tremendous Cracked Out, along came this...
...The Match Game. This was like the last scene (although this wasn't the last of anything for DCM) in The Last Waltz (why do I keep using that film as a metaphor for this?) when Joni, Van, Bob, Robbie, Neil Young, Neil Diamond...everyone came on stage and sang "I Shall Be Released"...but this was the All Star lineup at UCB, playing the Match Game with Host Scheer as Gene Rayburn and contestant Jack McBrayer who got TRASHED by everyone. The multi-star line up was Sarah Silverman as Carl Weathers, Morgan Vukovic Walsh (who I met earlier and is so sweet) as Hot Lips Hoolihan, Matt Walsh as Van Morrison, Benson as Don Ho, Brett Gelman as somebody, Nick Kroll as another guy I can't remember because I was dieing... there was Flipper, the mentally retarded guy from Deliverance, Huebel as a majorly pissed John McEnroe and so many many. So good.

It was absolute hilarious, fucking funny, oh-my-GOD I will never EVER be the same after Seth Morris pulled down his loin cloth MAYHEM, hilarious. I'm speechless. Here are my blurry pictures...

Deliverance Guy gives his answer...

John McEnroe takes his anger out on Jack - who everyone is mock hating - with his tennis balls.

On to a whole afternoon at UCB ending with Assscat 3000 tonight.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Del Close Marathon 2009

The Del Close Marathon started yesterday. After hours in line at UCBT, I got my bracelet and was off to the races...starting with the Marathon Press Conference with founders Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Matt Besser.

Immediately after the press conference UCBT-LA performed Facebook. (Scheer, Huebel, Morris, Carter)

Sorry for blurriness...but with no flash and bad lighting (and second row seats), it was hard to get clear shots framed without a big bulging hairdo.

Then it was off to FIT for 30 Rock Improv. (McBrayer, Lutz, Adsit, Galloway, Scheer, Sagher..sorry not sure of others - but they were all amazing and super funny.) I was in the front row. Nice.

Then a bit later at FIT, Respecto Mantelban started up with cast in audience screaming to Chad Carter about babies being born in a van, medical insurance and the end of the world. It was awesome. Then came Owen Burke, Rob Huebel, Seth Morris, Jack McBrayer and Paul Scheer to the stage. Front and center seats this time. (Tried to keep my noisy camera quiet and clicked during the laughs. Sorry if I bugged the Respecto guys.)

McBrayer started a movie theater three-way hand job moment.

It's 2:16pm on Saturday and I think my iPhone is done recharging. Gotta get back on that hot, sun drenched line! More to come.

...and later. 7:25pm...

Just came back from an afternoon of improv from around the country and...Finland? It led up to UCB-LA featuring founders Walsh, Roberts and Besser. They are the Beatles of this place. When they get on stage, the place rocks and rolls. We could have held up our beaming techie devices and demanded an encore, but the theater needed to be cleaned. (When I originally saw the schedule for the weekend, I thought the slot "Theater Cleaning" was a show. Don't judge me.)

Next...Scheer-McBrayer at FIT tonight! (It's going to be hard missing the Seth and Ed Puppet Show and Doug Benson - but I won't make it.)

Gonna get in line early tomorrow afternoon for Scheer/McBrayer again, Lets Have a Ball, Delta Force 2 and Baby Loves Candy before Assscat 3000. I'm exhausted. But I love this.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Frustrating...

I'm a Mets fan. I'm a comedy fan. I'm very lucky because the New York Mets are hilarious.

Below you will find the 2009 New York Mets roster...on the DL. Almost every starting player in each position is out due to hamstring pulls, bad hips, bum shoulders, pulled pinkies, inverted penises and bruised ovaries. One guy is now disabled because he slipped on a mitt on the step of the dugout...while trying to avoid slipping on a mitt on the step of the dugout. See? High-freaking-larious.

Perhaps the NY Mets DL roster should be put to work - Monty Python style...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mad Men Build Up

Mad Men season three premieres this Sunday. The media buzz is fully underway as we reach the home stretch.

Jon Hamm appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last night. Blogger Rachel Sklar was disappointed in Conan's lack of Mad Men discussion; however, Hamm was an entertaining guest.

More Media coverage of interest:

NYTimes: Arts/Culture - When Cocktails Were Office Supplies

NYTimes: Arts/Culture/Television - Drama Confronts a Dramatic Decade

NYTimes: Arts/Culture/Television - How Does Mad Men Find Advertisers? On Twitter, Of Course.

The New Yorker: Poster Girls - Mad Men: Season Three Preview

Variety - TV Review

Hollywood Reporter - Q&A with Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Benson Interruption

With the Del Close Marathon about to hit the ground running this weekend at Upright Citizen's Brigade in New York, I kick started my participation as a fan by attending The Benson Interruption last night. This show is an uber popular UCB ticket. Comedian Doug Benson produces an hour-plus line up of comedian friends invited on stage to work out new jokes while he sits front row center interrupting with banter. It is beyond hilarious. The additional beauty is - the line up of comedians is a surprise, and like a box of chocolates, you never know...

Benson not only hosts Interruption, but also heads up another fave UCB show Doug Loves Movies. (It's podcasted and available on iTunes). Yes, Doug does love movies. A lot. This show brings comedy friends together to discuss the latest in cinema whether awesome or crap. Sometimes the crappy-er the better.

And Doug loves weed. It's part of his life. Inspired by his love of the stuff, and his love of film, Benson created and starred in Super High Me, a take off of Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary Super Size Me. Instead of eating mass quantities of bad ass portions of McDonalds all day every day for a month like Spurlock, Benson smoked weed each day for thirty days. It turned out that unlike Spurlock, Doug was actually pretty healthy after one month of indica inhalation. The movie also touched upon the marijuana culture in California and some political views about its legalization.

Back to last night's Interruption. The line up was Ali Wong, Moshe Kasher and Anthony Jeselnik, all funny young comedians we'll be hearing more about in years to come.

Nick Kroll and Paul F. Tomkins showed up, and I think I lost my mind. I love them as much as you can platonically love a person.

Kroll (Caveman, Bar Mitzvah Disco, Children's Hospital) is a solid stand up and comedic actor with a line up of characters such as Fabreze Fabreze and the second half of Gil and George in the Oh Hello Show, which he co-stars alongside John Mulaney( seen in video below) on stage.

Up until recently, Paul F. Tomkins was the host of VH1's Best Week Ever, which has gone into a slumbering hiatus. Tomkins himself is uncertain of when it will return and if he'll be hosting. He was a cast member of Mr. Show, he is the dapper be-suited headliner at Largo and UCB. Back in December, I attended the annual Aimee Mann Christmas Show where he directed the comedic happenings. It was a blast to see the Benson/Tomkins give and take at last night's Interruption.

Here's Tomkins and Andy Richter in a funny Best Week Ever bit:

The photo of Doug Benson above is the cover of his new album Unbalanced Load, available for download on iTunes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What To Look Forward To: NBC's "Community"

Mad Men premieres this Sunday on AMC at 10:00pm ET. Cool. Jim and Pam are pregnant on The Office. Ok, we know that. 30 Rock's premiere has been pushed to October. So, what else to look forward to?

Community. The show stars the snarkily funny Joel McHale, host of E!'s The Soup. He's Jeff Winger, a down on his luck attorney who loses his license and starts up a study group with goofy continuing ed students at a local community college. Brought to you by the creators of The Sarah Silverman Show and Arrested Development, it premieres on September 17th at 9:30pm (moving to 8pm in October). This is going to be soo good.

What is also enticing about this show is the cast of comedians and actors who have been seen in cameo roles on television and film, clubs and commercials. In addition to McHale, comedian Donald Glover, NYU Alumni, comedy writer and performer who has appeared on various episodes of 30 Rock will portray Troy, a high school football star looking for direction. It's also great to see comedian Ken Jeong, whose small cameo in an episode of The Office in season two, evolved into his memorable role in The Hangover as the crazy angry Asian gang lord who jumped out of the trunk of a car naked. He will be appearing in upcoming movie The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.

Alison Brie of Mad Men is Anne, the persnickety perfectionist, and The Daily Show's John Oliver is lending his intelligent wit and dry comedy sensibilities as well. I am unfamilar with Danny Pudi and Gillian Jacobs, but the sneak peaks of their scenes look really fun.

I am thrilled about Yvette Nicole Brown being part of this cast. I've been a fan for years. On Community, she will play a divorcee named Shirley. Brown will undoubtedly reveal the great timing and facial expressions that accentuate her comedic ability. I always felt she would find that one show to give her the bump. With all the buzz on Community, this might just be her chance to shine.

Here's a featurette from the NBC site:

Finally, Chevy Chase will play Chuck Pierce, a man with a life time of wisdom, and who appears to have the hots for Shirley. It's good to see Chase return to television. His films such as Fletch and Foul Play were staples in my VHS shelf as a kid, and his work on SNL is indelibly implanted in my memory cells. He looks good in this.

I came upon this interesting interview Chevy did at UCB Theater a while back. It was great to listen to him talk about his work and motivation. He seems pretty cool despite having slapped Rob Huebel's face once for no reason. (Not cool.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes

John Hughes died yesterday in New York. He was 59. He wrote and directed the most iconic coming of age films for a generation of geeks like me - Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club and Trains, Planes and Automobiles to name but a few.

Gawker posted a link to a blogger who had a special friendship with Hughes. Her story probably sums up his character better than all the obits and bios out there.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard Video - Trailer

Bryan Callen is a comedian/actor. He is featured in the video below. I always get a kick when I see him on screen, and sometimes in commercials (He was Hammer in the "Hammer and Coop" ad campaign for Mini Cooper donning wig and fake moustache). He was in the movie Old School. He was in Showtime's Fat Actress and probably could have spun off his own show with Rachael Harris since they were so good together. He was in the original cast of Mad TV, famous for his character Pool Boy. He was also in The Hangover with Helms.

Callen is a New Yorker who grew up around the world because his Dad worked in finance. He is NOT the half brother of Joe Rogen as the internet will have you believe. (They both love to keep that rumor alive.) He was not born in Manila. His Father did not leave his mother. He is not half Native American, and he did not perform plays as a kid to earn money for the family. If he did - it wasn't because they were poor.

Bryan is dad to two year old Stella. Amanda's his wife. He always has the moves, and keeps his butt hard by dragging bags of sand uphill.

Now he's in this video. It's a musical trailer for the upcoming film The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard starring Jeremy Piven, Rob Riggle, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, David Koeckner and a whole lot of funny people. (In Theaters August 14th.)

Jon Hamm

Photo by Seth Olenick by permission only*
Whether he's Dick Whitman in flashbacks, or Don Draper being a cheating cad on Mad Men, Jon Hamm is compelling. He portrays that dark, mysterious genius of advertising, that philanderer. He owns the character. It would be too easy to associate him as deep and as brooding as his fictional alter ego, especially since he was virtually unknown before nabbing the role. But not so fast.

Something interesting happened during Hamm's time off from the AMC drama. He hosted SNL with a surprising handle on comedy that included a few impressions up his sleeve: JFK and James Mason. Who knew? Then, he guested on a few episodes of 30 Rock as Liz Lemon's neighbor love interest, Dr. Drew Baird, where he was sexy, goofy and funny.

Jon Hamm is actually part of the world of funny people. Before he portrayed Don Draper he appeared in The Sarah Silverman Program as a cable guy (Season 1: Muffin Man). He's buddies with an array of comedians such as Jimmy Kimmel and Paul Rudd. He's been featured on Zach Galifianakis' Between Two Ferns on FunnyorDie. He portrayed Lex Luthor in a film short on the same site. He hangs out at comedy podcasts like Never Not Funny and I Love Movies with Doug Benson, as well as the Comedy Death Ray Radio at UCB.

Here's his gig on Between Two Ferns:

I love to watch Don Draper, but I'm glad he doesn't really exist. There's comfort in knowing the man who portrays him embraces humor, stays real with his posse of comedian friends and keeps that twinkle in his eye.

Mad Men premieres on AMC on Sunday, August 16th at 10pm Et.

*Word on Jon Hamm photo above. It was taken by Seth Olenick, photographer and comedy fan. He's been working on a book of photography featuring today's favorite comedians, and kindly allowed me permission to use some photos for some upcoming commentary here. No sharing shots without asking him first. Please? Thank you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mad Men Premiere

Mad Men season three premiered last night in West Hollywood's Director's Guild Theater, and there was a lot of handsome and pretty in the house. It's enough to make me pick up smoking and drinking. Well...I already drink. So.

Rich Sommers and Bob Odenkirk. Just for the hell of it. Also seen in the world of comedy at the premiere was Sarah Silverman and Jack McBrayer.

Photos provided by WireImage.

New Comedy DVD Releases This Week

When Flight of the Conchords season one DVD's came out a while back, fans of the New Zealand duo were convinced that HBO initially under estimated their potential success, explaining why the disk set held no extras, no outtakes, no deleted scenes, no commentary, no nothing. By season two, HBO executives knew better, and pulled together some fun extras, outtakes, commercials with Dave, deleted scenes and songs. Now we can hold out for...a season three? Find it at, or any of your fine stores that are probably going out of business.

Tim and Eric Awesome Show season three also came out on DVD yesterday. These guys are genius, and disturbingly weird. They are probably an acquired taste, but their twisted comedy is infectious - in a good way. Not the fungus or bacteria way. Buy it along with seasons one and two.

I really like the song they created to celebrate being voted as the #10 out of 20 favorite comedians on

Louis C.K. Comes to Pawnee

Some good news from the Twitterverse by way of "Ken Tremendous". Thanks to my past visits to the now defunct, "Ken" is actually Michael Schur, Executive Producer of Parks and Recreation. "Ken" has just announced that Louis C.K. will be guest starring this coming season as a Pawnee police officer.

Can't he be a regular? Either way, Pawnee and its pit just became even funnier.

Hysteria! AIDS Awareness and British Comedy

Back in the 1990's, I lived on and off in London. I was addicted to British television and the comedy scene of Leicester Square's Comedy Store. This fascination may have been fueled by the original British Who's Line Is It Anyway, mixed with my love for Black Adder both birthed by my original romance with Monty Python. I'd come back to the United States with an arm full of VHS Pal tapes such as The Best of the Big Breakfast, Jeeves and Wooster, The Harry Enfield Programme, French and Saunders and Hysteria!, ready to bring a bit of my "second home" back to my first one.

The Terrence Higgins Trust is a charitable outreach organization in Britain established to provide information and assistance on AIDS. It's still very much in existence today. The aformentioned Hysteria! was a benefit performance hosted by comedians such as Fry and Laurie who, along with their comedy friends, put on funny skits about sex to encourage donations for the Trust and AIDS awareness. It introduced me to Craig Ferguson. Along with his success on The Late Late Show, and his recent U.S. citizenship it's cool to see how America has embraced his talent. The same can be said for Hugh Laurie as well.

Here's a performance from 1991 with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Freud, Rowan Atkinson and Ferguson. "Condom Language". It's not outrageously hilarious, but on a day where I can think of nothing, it's kind of fun to look back.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Charlyne Yi on Conan

The adorable and very funny Charlyne Yi will be starring in the film Paper Heart, opening on August 7th. She appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan last night, told stories, sang a song about being dumped by her boyfriend (Michael Cera - for reals) and was super fun.