Friday, August 27, 2010

The Chris Gethard Show Turns into 'The Telethon of Shame' This Saturday!

If you're in New York City on Saturday, August 28th and have nowhere to go for a midnight comedy romp, stop by the UCB Theatre on 26th and 8th for 'The Telethon of Shame'. It's hosted by Big Lake's Chris Gethard. Proceeds from the event will go to the March of Dimes. Reservations are currently sold out, but if you wait on the stand by line early (well before 11pm), you might get in. Bring your dollars and an iron clad stomach. Some weird shit is going to happen to raise the dough. If you can't come that night but are in the neighborhood, please make a donation at the UCB box office any time! Thanks, comedy nerds!

Out Fishing

It's not that there haven't been any funny television news on the charts. Will Forte will not be returning to SNL - that's one. The Life and Times of Tim has been renewed on HBO, Bored to Death will be returning in September, and the Emmy Awards will occur on Sunday on NBC with Jimmy Fallon hosting. It's just that summer has taken over my brain, and seems to be pushing me to the west coast. Transitions. Decisions. Changes. So, I haven't been focusing on this blog the way I'd like to - especially since I feel it needs some changes, upgrades, and a new focus. More to come on that...

So, in the interim, I'd like to post a very funny video put up from a show called Death By Roo Roo'. It runs at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York every Saturday night at 9pm. (Friday nights at 9:30pm at UCB Los Angeles). Two members of the audience are selected to talk about their weird families (one for each half of the show), and the cast improvises scenes. Here are the very funny Adam Pally and John Gemberling whose scene work is unbelievably hilarious.

Death by Roo Roo - Picking up
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Double Whammy Viewing on 'Adult Swim' Tonight

Jon Glaser stars in the second season of Delocated, tonight at 10:00pm. Join his family as they weave their lives within the Witness Protection Program, move to New York City and film a reality show. If you love Jon Glaser, ski masks and voice modulators, and admit it - you do, watch this show!

New episodes of Childrens Hospital air tonight at 10:30pm following Jon Glaser and his balaklava hidden face. New to the lineup is the terrific Henry Winkler. I love The Fonz and funny sexually overcharged doctors who take the piss out of the hospital shows I hate so much. Take a hike, McDreamy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conan Teams Up with Jack White's 'Third Man'

Interesting and strange news afoot. Conan O'Brien and Jack White have teamed up to release two albums "And They Call Me Mad?" and "Conan O'Brien Live at Third Man". The former will be spoken word that includes an interview with the deposed Tonight Show host conducted by White, and the latter will be a collection of rockabilly songs recorded with Conan's band. Jack White will also appear on these tracks. Both albums will be released on White's Third Man label.

I'm taken by the cover photo above. What is this exposure trying to say? Conan looks depleted. He needs a bag of plasma and a sandwich. This past year must be taking a physical toll, as he evolves from network good boy into cable's newly welcomed rock star hero.

"And They Call Me Mad" will be released on August 24th. Both albums will be available on iTunes.

Sources: LA Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter

New Episodes of Childrens Hospital This Weekend

The original webisodes of Childrens Hospital have beamed from Adult Swim the past several Sundays, but brand new made for TV episodes of the Rob Corddry comedy will begin this Sunday, August 22nd at 10:30pm.

Take a break from sexy ad men on Mad Men and watch Childrens Hospital for the horny doctors. Henry Winkler will be starring in the new installments, which makes it even better than fantastic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Watch 'Big Lake'

I know what I'm doing tonight: Watching Big Lake on Comedy Central at 10pm and again at 10:30pm. It stars Chris Gethard and Horatio Sanz. Seriously, the casting is an underdog dream come true with Gethard being selected in the eleventh hour to replace Jon Hader, the original choice for the starring role.

Big LakeTuesday August 17, 2010
Big Lake: Extended Trailer
Big LakeA New Comedy from Will Ferrell and Adam McKayIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Johnny Carson on the Web

The Carson Entertainment Group will announce today a two-fold revitalization of the website that will, 1) allow users to view clips from over 30 years of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and 2) provide public access to an archive of 3,500 hours of full episodes of the late night program, once only available to industry professionals. The new online projects are being driven by Carson Entertainment's Jeff Sotzing, Carson's nephew.

After almost twenty years of Jay Leno at the reign of The Tonight Show, access to an abundance of Carson material will remind us what we're missing in the late night forum. This isn't a dig on Leno, but he turned the show into something very different - ratings success or not.

David Itzkoff of wrote a piece announcing this new venture.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Conan on TBS

How Chris Gethard Was Captured From the Wild and Made Into A Sitcom Star

When Executive Producers Adam McKay and Chris Henchy first captured Chris Gethard from the wild, they knew this wild child Ron Howard look-a-like could be made into a star. So, they booked him a role on their Comedy Central series Big Lake, premiering August 17th at 10pm ET/9pm CT.

Take a look into this amazing documentary short about the evolution of the Chris Gethard, New Jersey's nature boy.

Jane Lynch to Host 'SNL'

To all Glee-ites and fans of comedy in general. Great news is afoot. The amazing Jane Lynch will be hosting Saturday Night Live on October 9th. All is right with the world because that's going to be some rocking sketches performed by one of the funniest ladies around. It's time she got the recognition she deserves. And it's refreshing that Lorne Michaels isn't handing out repeat hosting duties to the stars of Twilight so early in the upcoming season. At least, not yet.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Check Out NTSF:SD:SUV Extended Version

Filled with lots of kick ass, Adult Swim and Funny or Die bring you an extended trailer of NTSF:SD:SUV. Watch it until your face explodes.

'Office' Rumors on Carell's Replacement

Here's an interesting turn up for the books. As per, NBC's The Office may be interested in bringing back a familiar face from the original British series. Showrunners Paul Lieberstein and Greg Daniels have been considering Ricky Gervais as a replacement for Steve Carell when he leaves the role of Michael Scott at the end of next season. Although Lieberstein mentioned to Vulture magazine Gervais not a top choice, the concept is "not a dead idea".

Sources: and New York Magazine

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A 'Daily Show' Surprise

August is upon us, and it's week number two on Jon Stewart's dastardly handsome goatee. New episodes of Childrens Hospital is on the horizon, a new season of Mad Men is currently airing and summer movies are being released into the sea of sweaty humanity. The latest Adam McKay flick, The Other Guys, starring Will Farrell, Mark Wahlberg (and what? Rob Riggle?) is opening this Friday. This movie was filming all over the New York area last year, so I'm pretty stoked to see it.

Farrell has been doing the PR rounds and landed on The Daily Show last night, bringing with him a surprise guest. Spoiler: It's former Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Will Ferrell
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Office UK and US: Comparing Two Scenes

I've been feeling a little nostalgic over The Office lately. Having been a fan of the original British series when it first debuted in the U.S. in 2002 on BBC America, and consequentially becoming an obsessed viewer of the American version on NBC in 2005, I always looked for similarities in story line structure between the BBC show and NBC's adaptation. Especially in the heart of each series - the love story between Jim/Pam and Tim/Dawn.

The British and American versions both went in different directions scene-wise to get their favorite love interests together. In the BBC's series finale, Tim gives a beautiful, heartfelt monologue about how he's come to terms with letting Dawn go, how she was a temporary ray of sunshine in his life, and he'll be fine as he walks on in life without her. In the NBC version, we see Pam beaming with confidence days after admitting to Jim at a beach party that she left Roy because of him, and that Halpert's friendship meant more to her than she let on. In the episode "The Job", Pam came to terms with Jim's possible departure for New York, admitting that she'll move on and that they'll always be friends.

Below is the final heart wrenching and wonderful ten minutes of the British Office series finale. It's fascinating to see how the U.S and U.K versions went down different paths to reach the same conclusion on the Tim/Dawn and Jim/Pam romance. Despite the British series finale being much longer than the US's season three finale, there are parallels in the devices used to change the minds of the object of one's affection before they walked out of our lives. With Dawn, it was the paint kit and letter from Tim. With Jim, it was the phone message and yogurt lid from Pam.

Since the British Office was wrapping up their series here, we see loose ends tied up and more exposition to draw things to a nice end. You might even find about ten different US Office episodes embedded in these ten minutes. (Christmas parties, Michael dating...)

This is the last two minutes of the U.S. Office episode "The Job". The bones of Tim's confession, the edits and voice overs are adapted beautiful and briefly in Pam's talking head. The flashback at the beach is not really comparable to the British version, but it lends nicely to the build up of the conclusion and provides some background on where Jim and Pam left off after what is known in fan circles as Beesly's "Beach Speech".

As the U.S. version of The Office continued year after year, the blueprint of its U.K. predecessor faded. Yet, one hopes that when Steve Carell leaves, show runner Paul Leiberstein and his writers will go back to the original for inspiration and revisit David Brent's departure from Wernham Hogg. It was a painful moment that revealed the heart of a man who lived for his job and found loneliness beyond the company walls. It may be a nice homage to the original if the US Office followed suit. Considering Michael is only a shadow of David Brent, re-writing his departure will undoubtedly be different.

FX Renews 'Louie', 'Reno 911!' Team's Pilot is Picked Up

It's an alternative comedy Christmas over at the FX room at TCA. Word is out that Louie CK's Louie, currently airing its first season on FX, has been signed on for 13 more episodes.


Reno 911! creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant have just been given the go by the powers that be at FX for their pilot U.S.S. Alabama.

Nice to see FX ramping up their comedy block.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Upright Citizens Brigade to Open UCB EAST

The current Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on 26th and 8th.

You might have heard about it, but it's real and it's coming! UCB is opening a new venue, UCB EAST, (aka UCBeast) located at 3rd and Avenue A. It's a 150 seat theater that will focus more on stand up than improv. ASSSSCAT and all other regular performance shows will remain at UCB's current 26th and 8th Avenue spot here in New York. The new location will have a bar called "The Hot Chicks Room". As lusty as that sounds, it's unlikely you'll find chicks swinging on poles. Or will you? Find out in early 2011 when the new theater is due to open.

Del Close Marathon 12: A Celebration of The Man

The 12th annual Del Close Marathon kicked off on Friday, July 30th at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre with a fanfare of vuvuzelas. You know, those obnoxious horns that pierced your brain lobes for about a month during the World Cup? As the founding fathers of the UCB took the floor Friday afternoon, a fanfare of blasting honks vibrated among the cheers and applause aimed at Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts.

The noise pierced through the din. They called out the various audience members who lugged their noisemakers to the event. Vuvuzela owners came forth to the stage, one after the other to show their cheeky selves. Jokes from the UCB 3 flew, and we were off on another marathon of Improv fun.

Bonus point: The weather in New York that day and over the weekend broke from its hot sticky tradition, and remained dry and pleasantly sunny with cool nights. Comfy.

There were some changes in this year's DCM. The theater itself looked polished. A nice lashing of black paint on the stage floor and walls made it ready for a weekend of non-stop comedy pounding. Old broken chairs in the front row were torn out and replaced with new ones arranged in order. Even the pipes, precariously hovering overhead, held together by duct tape and usually saturated with dripping water, seemed more secure. The bathrooms (ladies room in particular) was refurbished with red UCB logo infused murals. It was a nice touch. Not sure about the men's room. As a lady, I'd like that to remain a mystery.

Another change was access to the shows. Performers were not allowed to bypass lines, nor were bloggers and the press. Waiting on line is always a necessary evil; however, this hindered some people from seeing the shows they wanted to see. Even getting in line early did not promise entry in time for a highly coveted show. This seemed more of a problem this year than in previous DCMs possibly due to the fact more people had to go through the line before entering. Also, meeting up with friends already on line caused a "cutting in" problem that was frowned upon, but not fully enforced. You could be sitting on line for two hours and see the line thicken in front of you with more bodies who didn't wait as long as you did to get in. All personal moaning aside, in terms of line management, there is always room for improvement.Besides, this is a celebration of Del Close and the craft of improv. As one twitterer intimated on the #DCM12 Twitter feed, that hashtag ain't for haters. Besides, with such a limited house capacity and so many lovers of comedy performance, nothing is going to be perfect.

Back to the press conference.....

The press conference is always a fascinating time to sink your teeth into the history of Del Close and the origins of the UCB. Del Close was an actor and comedian who devised long form Improv, implementing a technique known as The Harold. The Harold provides the bare bones of popular comedy today, having been taught by Del to his students such as Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and many more famous and funny people to name. Not only have students gone on to incredible careers, but they also carry on the work of Close by teaching others. The Upright Citizens Brigade is one major entity that has an accredited training center with amazing performers who teach students the Harold. Plus, the theater celebrates the life of the underrated Del Close each year with this annual around the clock approximately 60 plus hours of non-stop improv.

Performers around the country and parts of the world are selected to perform: Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston. Even Australia was in the house. Anthony King, UCB's Artistic Director usually screens and selects tapes from hopeful teams. He mentioned that the selection process is much more challenging as the DCM gets bigger each year. Submissions went up from around 500 audition tapes last year to 800 this year.

What was palpable during the press conference were (and is) Besser's, Walsh's and Roberts' love for Close. He was a complicated man , who never rose to the same level of fame as his comedic contemporaries (such as Elaine May, Mike Nichols); however, despite some of his professional draw backs and failed opportunities, Del came to terms with his fate and broke out of the staid form of the old comedy box by creating a format for long form Improv using the concept of "Yes...And", "If this is true, what else is true?" and if "what else is true, why is it true?" This is all confusing stuff if you don't know this skeletal creation; however, as a viewer, you've seen it on SCTV, SNL, The Office and Parks and Recreation.

An interesting note was that Del Close loved the crazies in his classes. (Farley and Belushi came to mind.) He'd push his students to challenge their comedic muscles, to heighten a scene and to make it extraordinary. As UCB performer and Close student Kevin Mulaney mentioned in the UCB Podcast (recorded last Thursday, soon to be up at, Del was hard on students. He wasn't sure if it was because he didn't like them and wanted them to quit, or he needed to see the crazy rather than the sane in a scene.

The sad part about Close's life (he died in 1999), as discussed by Matt Walsh and his colleagues, was that Del wasn't acknowledged by the comedians he came up with. They push his method aside as an annoyance, and grumbled that Second City and other forums teach one how to be an actor. Besser, a student of Second City and of Del's, politely disagreed, mentioning that he didn't feel his training at SC was any more beneficial than what UCB's Harold based curriculum has taught students for years now.

Del Closes' spirit is everywhere this weekend. You can't help but catch the Close Fever.

The Del Close Marathon is streaming live on Sirus Radio. You can download the media player and hook into free trial period so you can hear the crazy in NYC.