UCB-LA | Characters of Comedy | 08.04.12
Alana Johnston shows us her Cookie Monster Diet.
Today’s recap comes to us from Chicago comedian Andrew Smreker
You can read the discussion that ensued with some coming to Chappelles defense by following the link in the title, which will take you to Andrew’s original note on Facebook.
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The last time I saw Dave Chappelle live was close to a decade ago. It was in the height of Chappelle’s Show (Season 2 had just aired), and I was in High School. I had basically been waiting to see him again for the duration of that decade, it was always in the back of my mind somewhere “When’s he gonna come back?” Through the Africa stuff, his return to clubs, rumors of crazy four hour sets, and clips that showed up on YouTube, I was really excited to ever get a chance to see him again. I finally got my chance last night and when he first came on stage I was so excited I just about weeped-openly. Despite the fact that I’m a HUGE fan of his, I was undeniably dissappointed with the show. I had tickets to both shows and did not stay for the second one, I ran into friends in line for the second show and did not want to talk to them because I didn’t want to rob them of their excitement. What ruined the experience was three polarities that were all contributing to each other (so i have to jump around for the explanation), ultimately resulting in plummeting the show further and further downward.
1.) The House of Blues is an infuriating venue, they completely mis-managed this show.
Here’s how the process broke down. You bought a ticket, and you either got General Admission floor, or General Admission balcony. At the end of the day, that’s just General Admission period, but it implemented a completely arbitrary system that put some people on the floor, and some people in the balcony, regardless of how long they waited in line outside the show. What this resulted in was floor seats that were not filled (literally for the whole show, empty seats down front, like noticeable amounts of them), and very annoyed people up in the balcony who can’t see anything and can’t stop talking about how they can’t see anything.
In addition to that, there were some reserved seats both on the balcony that didn’t look reserved at all, literally reserved bar stools. If you tried to sit in them you got yelled at, but guess what? There was no one sitting in them until maybe halfway through the show, when some annoying fucking bouncer had to cut through the standing people with their loud fucking radio to put some entitled asshole in their seat that they somehow mysteriously obtained. My guess is the people who got seats had some dumbass connection or knew some guy or something, so they felt entitled, and you do not want entitled people at a comedy show, which brings me to my next point.
2.) Chappelle’s Mega-Fame attracts the worst assholes to his shows.
Despite the MC’s blatant warning against heckling, it took about ten minutes into Chappelle’s set for people to start yelling dumbass shit. Guess where the yells were coming from? The reserved balcony seats (primarily), why?
a.)Because entitled people think they’ve earned the right to “participate” in the show, and b.)Because awful people come to these shows thinking “My television can finally hear me now! I’m going to yell a non-sequitur at my TV and force it to react to me! At last, I am truly alive!”
And despite the very clear warning against heckling, the House of Blues did zero policing. ZERO. Before you know it, the show has spiraled into a $60.00 Q&A session about Half Baked and Chappelle’s Show. People, fucking let it go, you’re pathetic. It was forever ago. Your fixation on a thing that is so over is making it impossible for Dave to move on because he can’t go anywhere without someone wanting to talk to him about it. Again, arriving me at my next point.
3.) (The Big Heartbreaker) Chappelle clearly does not care anymore.
Again, I had been waiting almost ten years, hearing these rumors about secret shows, following the whole narrative of it, and I thought this was going to be the great return, covering all new territory, and instead it was him doing a little new material, but mostly just shuffling around, riffing, engaging the heckles, even opening it to the audience for heckles and topics to riff on, all the basic things a great comedian does when they don’t have their shit together. Don’t get me wrong, he said funny shit and had funny riffs, but he wasn’t there to deliver an act. He even said it himself at one point after a long silence “…I feel like you guys are waiting for me to say something, but I don’t know what it is…” In a way I think he didn’t even realize how much he hit the nail on the head. People don’t just love his comedy, they’re invested in his narrative, and I think we all thought we were gonna get some raw point of view, akin to his Inside the Actor’s Studio (which is incredible if you haven’t seen it).
It seems like he’s stuck between being sick of talking about what he’s been through, but not being able to move on from it. At the end of the show, he closed the show by basically saying that he regretted taking the stand he took, which is the very thing that secured him a special place in all our hearts. I’m paraphrasing, but what he basically put forth was whether or not respect was worth it. Now look, he’s being honest and I can respect that, but if that’s how you feel, then let the next guy on. This is true of all comics regardless of their status or ability, if you don’t have something to say or something to prove, don’t step on stage, either until you find it, or for the rest of your life, whichever comes first. I can understand wanting to be real and get it off your chest, but don’t charge people money to knowingly let them down.
I respect his ability and his career, but I don’t like the mentality of “I’ve been doing this 26 years, what is there left for me to do?” That’s like saying, “I’ve been alive for 40 years, what is there left for me to do?” EVERYTHING MOTHERFUCKER! YOU’LL NEVER DO IT ALL! If it matters to you, find a way to stay interested, and if it doesn’t matter to you, don’t ask me for fifty dollars plus dumbass fees. I wanna see the fangs man, the fire, the bark, the hunger. Chappelle absolutely knows how to rip the roof off of a show, so if he’s not doing it, that’s a decision, a surrender to whatever obstacles, everyone has their own.
I’m not saying he lost it, or that he’s not funny anymore, he just wasn’t motivated. He’s got all the talent, all the experience, and all the status in the world, and he’s just sitting on it. Simple as that.
It’s tough to say who fired the first shot, the infuriating venue, the dumbass audience, or the apathetic comedian, but if you’re interested in seeing something real, don’t wait until someone is a huge star to go see them. I can name you ten comedians off the top of my head who consistently rip it harder than Dave did last night. Invest in artists when they’re no one, that’s when they need your help, and that’s when they’ll work for you. The adverse effect of that, is that the proven heavy hitters will have to keep proving it, just like when they were sixteen and nobody knew who they were. Celebrity doesn’t matter, the voice matters. Figure out who’s hungry, that’s how you’re going to see a great show.
If Dave somehow reads this (it’s the internet after all).
Dude, I still believe in you. I know how great you are. I can’t put myself in your shoes and I can’t go through what you’ve been through. It must be maddening to have fans who bark at you and make it damn near impossible to do the thing you love to do more than anything else in the world, but I’m gonna be honest with you man, speaking as a true fan, you let me down. As many people that there are barking at you, there’s still tons of people who want to listen, speak to those people. You’re sitting on every weapon you need to be great again, you just have to wield them. You’re a fuckin’ gladiator man, a true people’s champion. Maybe that’s a lot of pressure, maybe it’s too much, but if it is too much, just bow out. And if you do bow out, I still have endless respect for what you’ve done, but I’ll always hope that the fire does ignite again, and those things you have to say force themselves out of your mouth. When that happens, I’ll be the guy laughing my ass off from the balcony.
“Tragedy + time = comedy. But I don’t have the benefit of time. So I’m just going to tell you the tragedy and know that everything is going to be okay.”
So began Tig Notaro’s set last night at her show “Tig and friends” at the Largo.
Actually, that wasn’t the beginning of her set. It began when Ed Helms welcomed her to the stage and she crossed over, took the microphone, and said “Thank you, thank you, I have cancer, thank you, I have cancer, really, thank you.”
Applause gave way to reticent laughter as she explained how she had planned a set about bees flying alongside her car on the 405, but that she couldn’t possibly do her “silly jokes” when all this was going on. And that’s when she told us that 3 days ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, in both breasts.
But she didn’t just have cancer. She went on to explain that in some manic twist of fate, while her career is at an all-time high — she is moving to New York to work on Amy Schumer’s new television show, she was on This American Life — concurrently, all these terrible circumstances have befallen her over the past 3 months: pneumonia made way for a debilitating bacterial infection in her digestive tract for which she was hospitalized and lost 30 pounds off of her already small frame, days after being released from the hospital, her young mother died suddenly and tragically (fell, hit her head, died), then she and her girlfriend broke up, and then, now, cancer. In both breasts. (“You have a lump.” “No, doctor, that’s my breast.” — one of her most renowned bits is about someone remarking upon her small breasts)
For the first half of her set, even though she was telling the story in perfect grace and humor, I couldn’t laugh. For the second half, for the first time in my life, as far as I can recall, I genuinely laughed and cried at the exact same time, bewildered at the tragedy and the remarkably calm, clever prism through which she assessed her terrible set of circumstances.
While telling us anecdotes from these personal tragedies, all along the way, she assured the audience “it’s okay, I’m going to be okay.” At one part, when she reached a dark place wherein most of the audience could not find the will to laugh, she said “maybe I’ll just go back to telling jokes about bees. Should I do that?” there were several “NOs” and one insistent loud male voice who cried out
“NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. THIS IS FUCKING INCREDIBLE.”
She looked genuinely taken aback, and relieved. She’d managed to make the tragic not only palatable but overwhelmingly engaging. She’d done it.
Tig’s been one of my favorite comedians for a couple of years now. I told her how much I loved her work after a set at UCB one night, and she received my words so kindly that she came towards me and gave me a hug. I’ve gone downtown to bars by myself and sat for hours alone, just waiting to see her headlining set.
At the end of her routine last night, everyone in the audience gave her a standing ovation, for me her wowed, grateful, happy face blurry with my own salty eyes. She’d released her horrific story into the hearts of her fans. I’m sure we all felt like I did; we were made witness to a truly historical moment in comedy, by one of the industry of comedy’s absolute greatest.
Bill Burr followed her set, inexplicably able to make the whole audience uproarious with laughter by the end. Bill Burr then brought on Louis C.K., the surprise guest of the night, which was a shock - it was my first time ever seeing him live - but it was very difficult to give him my enrapt attention after Tig’s on-stage confessions.
My head is still swimming around what happened last night. We all saw the ultimate embodiment of what comedy is supposed to do: deeply personal tragedies somehow transformed, with the enormous, necessary power of an open-hearted audience, into brilliantly-written truths that we’ll all take home with us and keep with us as long as we’ll have a sound-enough mind to remember that show. If schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others, we all shuffled into another corner last night, schadenfreude’s cousin; we’re not laughing at you, we’re crying with you but trying very hard to accept this avalanche of misfortune through the more edible prism of humor.
I’m so grateful I could bear witness to what happened last night, and more than that I’m grateful to comedy and to Tig Notaro for being not only courageous enough and not only spirited enough but for being so endlessly, achingly HONEST with all of us, the stunned, mouth-breathing strangers in the dark.
The Bachelorette Party is a improv show with a stand-up showcase structure. Stand-up comics are introduced by a host to an audience that includes a table of female comics posing as obnoxious bachelorette’s and waiting to derail the comedians well timed jokes at every set-up.
The June 30th 2012 show was on Saturday at 10:30, though it usually takes place on the last Friday of the month at Midnight. It featured host Josh Cheney and stand-up from Brady Novak, Ed Galvez, Josh Meindertsma, Jamie Flam, Jeb Cadwell, and Renee Gauthier all interrupted by the bridal party Mo Welch, Megan Parks, Tia Ayers, Shannon Ayers, and Kelly Minta.
Here’s a few video highlights, though I’d need three cameras to do the show any justice. You must see this show live to realize what makes it work. It’s sort of like watching a slow motion train wreck and its truly an unpredictable good time.
Jamie Flam as Jerry Stinker: http://youtu.be/iuXP_PHkjsg
Josh Meindertsma as Zach Larsen: http://youtu.be/09bvFuo6A0s
Poster for Kyle Clark’s Saturday Morning Show.
The Saturday Morning Show at the Nerdist Theater is hosted by Kyle Clark and Dominic Moschitti. They greet audience members with bowls of sugary cereal before the show starts. It’s a Mystery Science Theater type of show where Kyle, Dominic and their guests watch old cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s and make fun of them. I had a hard time telling who was saying what because the performers are not on stage illuminated, but off to the side in the dark. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the show but did hurt the accuracy of this recap, so I’ll just apologize in advance for that. If I had sat closer to the front of the room I think I could have provided a more accurate recap.
Kyle and Dominic thanked everyone who had made it to their inaugural edition of the Saturday Morning Show. They said that this was actually an intervention because Adam Dorsey’s dopeness had become a problem. They told us that to prepare for the show they’d watched Nickelodeon bumpers for four hours and drank all the beers in the fridge. Dominic said he also ate all the Samoas. Kyle told us that the one idea that they didn’t keep from an early brainstorming session was Dominic’s idea that everyone could show up in pajamas.
The pair then welcomed the evenings guest panelist, Dominic Dierkes and Hampton Yount who shouted, “Lets do it,” as he took the stage. Kyle told us the he had selected an episode of The Real Ghostbusters that was actually terrifying, called “The Boogieman Cometh.” You can watch Part One on Youtube if you follow this link:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_a0fY0qI3M
During the opening credits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pDZpNNLXlM the panel was having a blast and quipped about how it’s weird that the Ghostbusters let Slimer hang out and the phallic nature of energy beams. As the show began the panel noted that Arsenio Hall does the voice of Winston, the black Ghostbuster and also the only cartoon Ghostbuster that looks like his real world counterpart. They also pointed out that the guy who does the voice of Bill Murray’s ghost-busting avatar also does the voice of Garfield on the show Garfield and Friends; (which I’ll point out, makes for a strange Hollywood Ouroboros www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros when you realize that Bill Murray did the voice of Garfield in the recent CGI feature length film Garfield.
The episode starts with the Ghostbusters in their hearse chasing a ghost who’s driving a car. The panelist wondered at what point do the real cops get involved. The ghost looked like a fish with trout-like lips and gills and also was wearing a fedora and suit like an Italian gangster, I think Hampton asked Kyle to pause it so he could say that the ghost looked like he had,”slept with the fishes and then had kids with the fishes and raised those kids.”
The panelist found it odd that Ghostbusters all sleep in the same room and pondered what Slimer was when he was alive, “a kid who died of AIDS,” or, “Wesley Willis.”
Two little kids offer the Ghostbusters everything in their blue piggy-bank in exchange for the Ghostbuster’s help. The Ghostbusters agree to help the kids and follow them back to their home to investigate a monster in the closet. The panelist made quips about how piggy-banks aren’t blue, Egon’s character having a rat-tail and the cartoon version of Dan Akroyd looking much thinner than his real-world counterpart.
The monster that the Ghostbusters discover in the children’s closet is described by one panelist as looking like it was drawn by, “a Muslim who hates Jews.” The Ghostbusters soon follow the Boogieman into the closet discovering a universe of doors he uses to terrify children, (the panelist points out that it looks similar to the hall of doors in the movie Monsters Inc. and wondered if Pixar might have ripped it off.)
When Murray’s Venkman says “as an interior decorator this guy makes a good boogieman,” the panelist decode it as a weird anti-joke from the mind by a frustrated writer abandoning his dreams, to make ends meet by working on kid’s shows.
As the episode winded down, Kyle noted that there was always a, “dancy R&B chase scene” in every episode of The Real Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters final showdown with the Boogieman involved a proton-pack-powered-ghost-bomb, some marbles and a-”YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”-moment on a bridge; not just, “more lasers” as one panelist predicted. The credits rolled over footage of the Ghostbusters walking in a parade in their honor.
After the episode Kyle invited Lewis Sequeira on stage to read a serious essay about what it means to be a real Ghostbuster. Below I have printed Sequeria’s essay in full:
Realism Dialectics and the Family Romance in “The Real Ghostbusters.”
by Lewis Sequeira
The writers of “The Boogieman Cometh” seem to have taken up the
mantle of one of the 19th century’s most well-respected ghost-story
writers, Henry James. James’ novel The Turn of the Screw is a famously
ambiguous piece of work, seeming to anticipate postmodernist New
Criticism, with its unremitting doubleness. The governess could be
heroically protecting her students (two children, a boy and a girl, in
a parallel to our episode) or driven insane by her own sexual
frustration. After all, what is the more legitimate of the two choices
when they’re both equally fictional? Can fictions be further
fictionalized through interpretative action? Is what we imagine purely
imaginary or something somehow more substantial? In this essay, we
will examine the Jamesian notion of realism and the interpretative realism
dialectic and finally get to know the real The Real
In a sense, the world of The Real Ghostbusters is one composed of
dualities, lively dialectic arguments in the midst of which one could
feel as though they were in the Greece of the Socratic Dialogues.
Numerous dualities exist at the heart of the episode: young and old;
fear and bravery; animation and live-action. What constitutes reality
in this world? Central to the plot is the duality of ghost and
boogeyman. The realism in Ghostbusters is contingent on the fact that
the world is inhabited by ghosts — what then is the boogeyman? How is
the boogeyman different than a ghost? They’re both monsters. But the
boogeyman is more directly associated with children, representing a
child’s unique conception of the monster archetype. Taking this into
account, we change the whole vocabulary at the center of the story:
ghosts mean different things to children and adults. In a story that
is told from the joint psychological perspective of children and
adults, our question of what constitutes reality becomes complicated.
Recall that there is a car chase early in an episode with the
ghost of Edward G. Robinson. The theme song plays, indicating normalcy
in the Ghostbusters world. Consider this idealistic Ghostbusting
setting in relation to the frustrating, incomprehensible world of the
Boogeyman. The juxtaposition of these abstract realities parallels the
story’s more subtle reproductions of two central combative
psychologies, the Ghostbusters and the Children. This provides a stage
for the question essential to Jamesian ghost stories — i.e., in the
end, who’s to say what is real? In an unprecedented rhetorical
gesture, The Real Ghostbusters gives this conflict foregrounded
prominence, and, in the process, makes case for transmedia
representations of single characters and events resolving its own
existential dilemma as a multimedia franchise.
Realism is an obtuse mode for a multimedia franchise, given the
inconsistencies that arise from having to create multiple iterations
of the same characters and situations across just as many forms of
media. Peter Venkman is played in the film by the inimitable Bill
Murray, who is, in turn, imitated by, I’m pretty sure the guy from
Garfield and Friends.
How can you possibly resolve this inconsistency while at the same
time preserve your Jamesian realist aesthetic? By redefining the
parameters of realism in your world, and transforming the logical
inconsistency into a necessary byproduct of the Jamesian plural forms
of meaning. In short, anything can be anything to anyone. Meanings in
storytelling are regarded with the potential for infinite complexity.
The realism dialectic reinforces a general liminality that comes to
define the foundational elements of the realism of the Ghostbusters
Freud’s notion of the “family romance,” in which a child, growing
older and more independent, begins indulging escapist fantasy,
provides a psychological basis for the episode’s dominating sense of
liminality. “These cannot be my parents…” reasons the child. “I must
have been adopted. These adopted parents are nothing like my real
parents. My real parents are much nicer and wealthier.” At the heart
of “the family romance,” is a deep concern with storytelling; children
develop the need to invent their own stories in order to cope with the
sexualization of their bodies. “The Boogeyman Cometh” is equally
concerned with the literariness intrinsic to human experience,
commenting on form from the perspective of the two children. Children
aren’t haunted by conventional ghosts, they’re haunted by their
interpretation of a ghost, the Boogieman.
According to Egon, the Boogieman’s realm is “a sort of inbetween
place that opens up in children’s rooms all over the world.”
In a sense, the ambiguity that defines the story renders this universe
into a sort of Boogieman’s realm, a place of in-betweens, where
nothing is exactly objectively right. When the setting changes to the
Boogieman’s Realm, it enacts putatively deep, taboo urges and forces
the Ghostbusters, and by extension the audience, to participate in the
confusing sex nightmares of children.
In the end, “The Boogieman Cometh” qualifies competing fictions,
creating dimensions of fictionality that the audience reflexively
compares. Does the existence of a boogeyman make any less sense than
that of a ghost? What constitutes realism in a reflexively
interpretative audience? The realization that the comparison doesn’t
make any sense comes across as a deep, existential shock to the
viewer, whose sensibilities have already been challenged by its unique
postcolonialist concerns. The result is a labyrinthian complex of
meanings that can never be properly organized; a Borgesian library of
interpretative possibility that is at once reassuring and appallingly
After Lewis’ essay, the panelist watched a bunch of old commercials starting with a few for Ghostbuster’s toys and cereal. The panelists noticed that the Ghostbuster’s theme song was just slightly different in the commercials than it was in the movie. Then they watched some commercials for old boardgames starting with a few that were targeted at adults; Scruples and Therapy, (the former of which the panelist concluded was probably the basis for the movie Indecent Proposal.) Then they a couple different versions of Crossfire commercials, (are you supposed to italicize boardgame names?) They closed the inaugural Saturday Morning Show by watching commercials for three boardgames that the panelist concluded would fall into Milton Bradley’s,”Will-They-Buy-Anything?” Category; Shark Attack, Eat at Ralph’s, and Gooey Louie.
Most of these commercials can be found on Youtube and you can follow all these performers on Twitter:
Thanks again to everyone who came to the inaugural Towne Hall Meetin’!!
If you didn’t make it, please enjoy living vicariously through these photos and get pumped for next time!!
Towne Hall Meetin’ | Los Angeles, CA | 03.01.12
Moshe Kasher closing up the night at Towne Hall Meetin’.
Towne Hall Meetin’ takes place on the first Thursday of every month at 799 Towne Ave #110, Los Angeles, CA. and is $5 with a with a donation only bar. Tony Sam, Aparna Nancherla and Anthony DeVries act as candidates running for a the fictional political position.They field questions from citizens and the moderator, who serves as the evening’s host. These faux town hall sketch pieces are interspersed between stand-up comic acts.
The inaugural March 1st 2012 Towne Hall Meetin’ was hosted by Allen Strickland Williams, and featured stand-up from Dave Ross, Maria Bamford, Brody Stevens, Karl Hess, Mary Mack, Brent Weinbach, and Moshe Kasher. The town folk were played by Scott Krinsky, Robert Buscemi, Tess Barker, Ric Rosario, Frederick Young, Kirk Mason & Johnny Pemberton.
Allen Strickland Williams dressed in a suit and tie, introduced himself as George Feely, the evening’s moderator. He told us that this emergency town hall meeting was to determine who will replace disgraced Public Safety Commissioner, Mario Gutierrez (played by Scott Krinsky). Scott wearing a mustache, hard hat and orange safety vest, came to the stage to apologize and was greeted with boo’s from the audience. One audience member tuned his chair around and sat with his back facing Krinsky for his entire apology. Scott as Mario, told us how he had turned decommissioned county vehicles into marijuana-prostitution-food-trucks. We learned Mario was turning over a new leaf, in sex-addict-therapy, and working on sanitizing all the trucks, so they can be turned into book-mobiles.
Disgraced Public Safety Commissioner Mario Gutierrez (Scott Krinsky) left the stage and George Feely(ASW) welcomed the three candidates vying for the open position, Mario Gutierrez (Anthony DeVries, who was voted most handsome) Mario Gutierrez (Aparna Nancherla, who was running on the same platform as his opponents only more,) and Mario Gutierrez(Tony Sam, who pointed out that this meeting was taking place in a very unsafe building.) They were all wearing the same mustache, hard hat and orange safety vest that the disgraced Public Safety Commissioner had worn before.
Allen then welcomed the nights first stand up comic and three term County Dog Catcher Dave Ross, who came on stage to the Rocky theme. Dave conceded that he was in fact a dog catcher and told us he had parked his car under a homeless guy. He talked about having a gay roommate how he would kill to have someone fuck him in his sleep. He went on to talk about how he won’t go to dance-fighting class with his neighbor. He closed his set talking about advertising bed sheet’s with a shit-pun and The Muppet Movie.
Allen took the stage and reminded the nights speakers that this meeting was about public safety and asked them politely to stay on subject. He then asked the three candidates Mario, Mario, and Mario back on stage to field questions. Allen asked Tony Sam about how he was still alive after donating a liver, a half a heart, and a left big-toe to the organization “Every-BODY Loves Safety.” Tony answered that he was the only candidate with an American flag in his pocket. When the other two candidates quickly pulled an American flag out of their pockets, as well, Tony answered that he was still alive because he signed a deal with the Devil. The next question from the moderator was for Aparna and concerned The Broken Glass and Jagged Metal Crisis of 2005. Aparna told us to listen closely because she was only going to say this once, and then asked the moderator to repeat the question. The next question was taken from Twitter and directed at Anthony. @CrazyGirl asked about why Anthony favored traveling by blimp over airplanes and also wondered “where [he] got those nappy-ass roots.” Anthony responded that his roots came from pure American soil. He told us his roots were here, they were queer, so get used to it.
The next questions came from the audience. Stacey Marino a senior in high school and student council president asked an incoherent, rambling question. Aparna fielded it and told her to stay in school and enunciate. A man in the audience wearing a cowboy hat had a question that was more of an angry tirade about buying a telescope from Wal-Mart on Black Friday and how he can’t see shit looking through it and that makes him feel raped. Anthony fielded this one and came out against rape. The next question was about kids who hang out at yard sales. Tony answered that he’s against yard sales, as well as rusty nails, and told us he never hits his wife. The woman who asked this question then started talking about turkey steaks and Tony asked where she was getting “free speed.”
Allen as moderator then welcomed the nights next stand-up comic, Comptroller Maria Bamford. Maria told us she would like to be a politician and would run on a platform of eradicating sadness in her community. She talked about being the sane one at the coffee shop and Gerardo writing a book about hogs called “Hog Book.” She told us about a conversation she had with one of her neighbor’s children. When the kid asked Maria how she considered herself a comedian even though she doesn’t have any jokes, Maria told the kid to contact her manager who’d explain everything. Maria told us she speaks pretend SWpanish and pretend tiger. She talked about how she has some guy named Ernesto Martinez’s old phone number and people keep calling asking for him. She talked about her friends always trying to get her to buy things she doesn’t need. She asked that the next time we’re considering suicide maybe try dressing up like a cat and yelling at people, instead. She closed her set talking about “Sid the Schizophrenic Squid,” clown operas, and making faces in the bathroom mirror.
Next, the candidates came on stage for more questions. We learned that one of the candidate’s daughter was killed at a Sizzler buffet with a steak knife and they were asked if we should outlaw silverware. Anthony responded that, yes we should outlaw silverware and consider what to do about chopsticks. Tony made a pun using the phrase “misteak knife.” Aparna responded to the question, “True or false?” with the answer “Never.”
Then the moderator welcomed to the stage the third stand-up comic of the evening, and Junior Comptroller Brody Stevens. Brody began by welcoming everyone to his city, county, and neighborhood, Los Angeles. He told us that his focus was so acute that he picks up on everything. He went on to explain that he has jokes and a persona, he shoots on a Cannon D5 and he doesn’t create anymore; he just works with co-creators. He told us that he is constantly surrounded by boom-mics, and while all his life people have told him that he’s funny, now he’s finally starting to believe them. He talked about circulatory problems, mental illness in the neighborhood and his own history with that issue. He talked about how he wants to be a travelling baseball announcer. He talked a little about his neighbor a fellow stand-up comic who was being stalked. He noticed that the audience was young and happy and our parents were probably helping us out. Brody talked about golf tournaments, working audience warm-up, and asked who else in the room was taking Depakote. He told us that Depakote ages you, talked about flights to Vancouver and getting WiFi in the hotel lobby. We learned that Brody was born in the San Fernando Valley, his English isn’t great but he can write a paper and he’s a Rock-o-holic. “Fuck K-Rock.! Fuck NPR! 98.7!”
Next, the moderator welcomed Tony Sam as Mario Gutierrez back on stage for some one-on-one questions. Tony started to hand out fake mustaches to audience members but warned them that these mustaches were choking hazards. His first question was about whether Banksy (the graffiti artist) should be considered a safety concern or just a passing fad. Tony responded by telling us that he spells “SAFETY,” M-A-R-I-O G-U-T-I-E-R-R-E-Z. Then, Tony was asked if we should have fire drills 4 times a day. He responded by talking about how the meeting was taking place in a building that was a fire hazard. The next question came from an audience member who was looking for his long lost father, Mario Gutierrez. Tony as Mario thought the guy had probably taken some “free speed ” and asked security to escort the man to the exit. The next question was about the movie,“1984.” One audience member asked Tony why we can’t all dress the same like they do in that movie. The next question came from a man with a guitar who sang his question and then plugged a few shows. Mario’s estranged son emerged again and produced an American flag from his pocket.
After this question and answer session, Allen took the stage to welcome Former Deputy Mayor Karl Hess. Mary Mack was crouching behind the small stage because she thought she was next and when she heard Karl’s name called she stood up looking a little confused and returned to the bar area. Karl talked about getting a medical marijuana card and Netflix streaming in the same week. He talked about Ralph’s rotisserie chicken, red long-john underwear and not being able to turn off the funny in the real world. He talked about the 15 seconds of clarity you receive before you die, finally getting health insurance, and drinking on antibiotics.
Next, Allen welcomed Mary Mack to the stage. Two girls sitting in the audience told her that they loved the sweater she was wearing and she remarked that she could already tell this would be the best show she’s ever done. Mary talked about the impossibility of living in the now, and asked the audience to focus because there’s a fine line between worst show and best show. She told us that she doesn’t want to just mix the paint; she wants to create the colors. She asked the audience if anyone was feeling hostile and offered a relaxation technique. She talked about being born premature and closed with a bit about “This Little Piggy Went to the Market.”
Next up, Allen asked Anthony and Aparna to the stage to field some questions. “Paul and Anna” were from 5th 3rd Presbyterian Church and said a prayer before asking a question about skateboarders. Tess Barker and Robert Buscemi asked the next question about gay marriage and Matt Peters asked about dogs digging holes in his yard.
Next, Allen welcomed Superintendent Brent Weinbach. Brent started his set by talking about how he doesn’t question the phone when it rings, he answers it. He did a dramatic reading from The Road by Cormac McCarthy and had an audience member read the fortune cookie he received with his meal at Panda Express. He had another volunteer come on stage and do a scene that took place in a library, and closed his set doing an accurate impression of one audience member crying.
Lastly, Allen told us that the votes had been counted and the winner was Moshe Kasher who would be the evening’s final performer. Moshe told us he felt like he should apologize for being another comedian. He talked about valet parking as a threat, fear of bombing, and name-tags as a way to build community. He asked an audience member named Morgan what her favorite part of the show was, to which Morgan replied, “this part.” Moshe told a story about simultaneously crying to Star Trek: The Next Generation and spooning jam into his mouth. He asked the audience member whom Weinbach had imitated crying, “Who cries to rap?” and then looked for a way out of his set, eventually deciding on just leaving.
That was the show. The three Marios got back on stage and thanked the giant cast of characters it took to pull the show off, as well as all the people who came out to watch. I also made a note that someone said, “Enjoy your penises and vaginas” but I’m not sure who said that.
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Eddie Pepitone at last night’s Gallows show, in character as a lounge singer with debilitating Vietnam flashbacks
Gallows Humor runs on the last Thursdays of every month at Vlad the Retailers 4270 Melrose in Hollywood.
Gallows Humor is probably the only comedy show in LA located inside of a clothing store. No coincidence that it attracts a fashionable crowd. The show is produced by two all-around cool chicks, Kira Hesser and Britanny Fields. Kira hosted and opened her set by talking about the giant moth circling the light and how most of her nightmares involve insects. She talked about why her sisters have eating disorders and why she’s a fast talker. Then she brought up the night’s first comic, Nick Turner.
Nick started his set by accidentally touching his tongue to the microphone, putting on sunglasses and talking about his awkward introduction. He talked about the consequences of trying to jump a bush on a park trail, and that boo-boos warrant painkillers, and asked everyone in the audience for their painkillers. He told a story about missing his train and taking his frustration out on a trashcan which dislocated his toe and cost him $3000 at the hospital. He then read some possible letters he wrote to the hospital telling them why he would never pay his bill.
Kira came on after Nick and talked about Valentine’s Day and showering, then brought on Chris Caniglia. Chris talked about that trope in movies where the girl looks unattractive until she takes off her glasses. He discussed not having kids, his wife trying to trick him into having babies and “The World’s Most Selfish Dad” coffee mug he would receive. Chris confessed that sometimes he looks at porno on the internet and equated male ejaculate to a moving fist. Chris closed talking about how black people are never attacked by bears.
Kira riffed on Chris’ set and said that when guys come in your face they aren’t aiming correctly before she brought up Eddie Pepitone.
Eddie talked a little about his jacket which was bright yellow and orange with patches of the Buddha all over it. He talked about how he meditates before he gets on Twitter, and about our fragmented consciousness and the coming apocalyptic wasteland. He spoke about how the valet’s are the only even-keeled people in Hollywood. I made notes that he talked about outdoor dentistry and eating cucumber and lemon sandwiches and how that relates to Beverly Hills being soulless. He thinks that in the future we will invite people over to our homes only to watch a 30 second youtube clip before shooing them away. Pepitone closed his set doing an impression of Billy Crystal singing songs at the Oscars and another impression of a lounge singer who experiences Vietnam flashbacks.
Kira reintroduced herself and told a story about how masturbation with a vibrator is illegal in China before bringing on Britanny Fields who promptly told everyone that she had to pee. She sang a song:”It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Space” about the show taking place in a new location. Then told some stories about the people she met at the Tarzana Treatment Center. She told us about a man she was in love with named Jorge (pronounced George) and his snake tongue. She closed with material about how talking to guys her own age is awkward.
The next performer was Hampton Yount who began his set with a bit about how Soulja Boy theorizes that JFK killed himself. He moved from there into material about how there is no soft-core child pornography. Hampton talked about how vampires are sexy and how the Wolfman in the “Wolfman” movies only strangles people. He talked about a documentary of Detroit and raising a kid to be Jewish, just for shits and giggles. He said Make-A-Wish employees are good at pretending they’re deaf and equated abortion doctors to Lucille Ball in a chocolate factory. He closed his set by talking about robot armageddon.
Lee Keeler was the next comic, he also happened to be the DJ for the evening and his set started with a bang when a few metal rods fell from a shelf to the side of stage and landed on some unoccupied chairs. He told us we were all being punked. He roasted the owner of the clothing store saying the place looked like a Batcave for the Hardy Boys. He talked about taking his wife to a karaoke bar on Valentine’s Day and closed with an impression of Tom Waits forgetting the classics.
Brittany Fields brought out the next comic, Gabe Delahaye. He talked about being from New York City and how stereotypical it is of him to have a bit about bagels. He discussed Eminem’s decline from normalcy and how no one tells you that “The Secret” basically blames Jewish people for the Holocaust. He talked about having a barber as a life coach, it always being 4am when you’re single, and how much him and his dad love Ryan Gosling.
The last comic of the evening was Guy Branum who opened his set talking about Mexican Episcopal churches and uppity farm-workers. He wondered if this entire comedy show was taking place on the set of “The New Girl”, then transitioned into material about Zooey Deschanel getting an old-timey abortion. He did two Grammy jokes, that turned out to be Adele jokes, that turned out to be fat jokes. He talked a lot about centaurs and their relation to Nikki Minaj. He told a story about an awkward ride home with an intern who’s mom was raped by gorillas. He riffed on Chris Coniglia’s set and equated truth to beauty. He closed his set by wondering why black people haven’t killed white people in their sleep.
Kira and Brittany came up and thanked everyone for coming, everyone who performed and Donny Pepper for cooking up some tasty grilled cheese sandwiches.
You can follow all these performers on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/itsmenickyt (Nick Turner)
Fanart of Power Violence boys. From sakarisketches
PowerViolence runs every Sunday at The Complex 6470 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.
If you look up the word “powerviolence” on Wikipedia you find it’s a musical subgenre of hardcore punk, who’s sound was typified by bands emphasizing speed, brevity, bizarre timing breakdowns, and constant tempo changes. Traits surely shared with the show PowerViolence’s sketches, which are certainly bizarre, and also fluid and succinct. The show itself has rage, optimism, and fraternal machismo that musical experts might more closely associate with “youth crew,” another subgenre of hardcore, from the late eighties. Myself being more of a film buff, I felt like I was watching scenes from,”The Outsiders” whenever I’d see Budd, Whit, Clay and Rodney interact.
The show is DIY. It’s a free show with free beer, though they strongly encourage donations. I showed up early and they had skate videos playing in the theater so I just sat down and watched for about 15 minutes.
Power Violence is hosted by Whitmer Thomas, Clay Tatum, Budd Diaz, & Rodney Berry and the four took the stage together, in a ruckus; falling all over the place. Throwing boxes and wrestling around, they accidentely punched a sizable hole in the wall. Whitmer thanked everyone for coming and they talked a little about the new hole. Budd kept laughing at everything in a weird way, sounding a little like Ed McMahon’s laugh. The guys called him out on it and he told them he was taking an acting class and this was his new laugh. They asked for someone in the audience who definitely wasn’t funny to come on stage and read some unfunny tweets to prove that Bud was laughing weird. Some guy named Joe came up and all the PV guys agreed that Joe wasn’t funny, so he read a few unfunny tweets and Budd laughed weird at all of them.
Then they introduced a video that cast Budd Diaz as Dick Cachairen a smooth talking but inept salesmen looking to sell you a tiny fan for cooling down pizza slices. You can watch that sketch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uHJXgOqdEM
After the video they brought on the first comic, Jeff Tepper. Jeff does absurd jokes accompanied by a bizarre Powerpoint presentation. He started by talking about Robocop riding a unicorn, then Stephen Hawking, and a shark as woman’s vagina, with hand drawn slides of each, to help you visualize what he’s saying. The middle portion of Jeff’s act was about movie sequels he’s written and he had the movie posters to go along with them (How Stella Got Her Groove Back to The Future.) He closed with a bit about going to Vegas where his friend Dan snorted Viagra and his dick got so big that it circumnavigated the globe. The last few slides showed Dan’s dick making it’s way into the Complex Theater where the show was taking place and that’s when a giant penis emerged from behind one of the stage doors being held by Budd Diaz.
After Jeff Tepper’s set The Power Violence gang was back on stage and they asked Budd if he would come out on stage as Dan’s Dick. Budd reluctantly obliged and took a seat n the middle of the stage, holding a giant inflatable penis in his lap. After a few questions, Budd went backstage and dropped the penis off before emerging again as himself. Then the gang gave Budd a denim jacket so he’d look cool and they asked him to pop his collar and say something tough. Budd said,”Yer Dead.” and they brought out the next performer, who Whitmer described as The King of Bad Boy Comedy, Mike Burns.
Mike, who was also wearing a denim jacket, started his set by talking about the time he was almost murdered. He went on to talk about the similarities between taking your girlfriend to a Ryan Gosling movie and watching porno with her. From here he transitioned easily into talking about dick pills and how kids today won’t ever know the terror of trying to eject a dirty VHS tape as their parent’s car pulls into the driveway. He closed his set talking about dating sites, specifically how the availability of the username “PizzaNachos69” made him choose OkCupid over Match.com. He also read the personal information from his OkCupid profile.
Next up, was Ron Babcock who started by talking about the hole in the wall. He went on to talk about cancelling his gym membership, travelling outside of LA, and confirming that you’re in a relationship on Facebook. He talked about snuggling, pretending to be a pug, and not being able to fall asleep while spooning.
Then Whitmer brought on Jess Lane who began by giving step-by-step instructions of how to fold a fitted sheet. She talked about tagging all her ex-boyfriends names in an ultrasound photo she posted to Facebook. She covered looking pregnant and all-liquid diets. She talked about getting high from Excedrin, and the idea that if you draw a perfect circle you’re crazy. Jess closed with a bit about a woman who married the Eiffel Tower, which technically made the woman a lesbian because La Tour Eiffel is feminine.
Then, Andy Ritchie took the stage and riffed a little on Jess Lane’s closing bit by talking about how no one would ever marry the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Andy just moved back to LA and found a place to live on Craigslist, so he talked about that. His new apartment’s shower-head is rusted shut on the massage setting. He talked about seeing a sign for a missing falcon named Balthazar, as well as conspiracy theories, and getting his eyes examined at a Target. Andy closed his set talking about a “Choosy Moms Choose Life” bumpersticker.
Aparna Nancherla was next and talked first about deciding between taking the stairs or just hopping up on stage, which she conceded was very un-punk. She confessed that she was wearing socks with individual toes and told us what it’s like to be heckled by her mother. She talked about laundromats, wine gut, and what makes a pizza, “personal pan.” She also discussed Gospel Aerobics, parking tickets quitting their day-job, and race jokes.
Up next was Hampton Yount who started by talking about an undercover Robocop. Then, Hampton did an impression of a pregnant Steven Seagal giving birth to a baby ninja. He talked about overhearing a conversation Soulja Boy was having, while at work at MTV. My notes are a little jumbled, but I think the last part of his act was about how he’ll miss the banner ads from Myspace, that asked you to “Swat the Flies, & Win a Free I-Pad” and how he’s not fit to raise children. At some point in his set Hampton broke a folding chair.
Greg Barris followed Hampton and again my notes are jumbled but I think Greg began his set talking about his show rituals, and being drunk at the bank. He talked about getting older and receiving advice from his father on the balcony of a cruise ship. He went on to talk about gender issues, dildos, nightcaps, cocktails on the roof, and waking up tied to a chair.
Nick Turner began his set by talking about how God wouldn’t let him be happy and Park Rangers not fucking in the woods. He asked the audience if they could give him any pain pills because he has a dislocated toe, no insurance, and a $3000 hospital bill; so he can’t afford the pills, himself.
After Nick’s set Rodney Berry was onstage when he was interrupted by the other PV hosts who were dressed in costume wearing bright, sparkly ball-caps. They told Rodney that they were the cast of “Oh My Ribs!” (a play or musical that’s running a few doors down, in the same complex as Power Violence.) The “Oh My Ribs” Fellas sang a jingle to bring out the next performer, Justin Ian Daniels.
Justin started by thanking the The “Oh My Ribs” Guys for the best intro of all time. He went on to talk about how body parts of murder victims are popping up all over Los Angeles and no one seems to mind. He talked about “Battleship: The Game: The Movie” and also about kids screaming on a plane. In his bit about dream cars he said he would rather own eighty-seven Hyundai Elantra’s than one Porsche or Ferrari. He talked about the show, “Intervention” and the Cincinnati Pepper Grinder. He closed his set reading slogans he’d written to be used in place of “Beef. It’s Whats for Dinner.”
Whitmer came back up and closed the show, thanking everyone for coming and everyone who performed.
FOLLOW POWER VIOLENCE ON TUMBLR
You can follow all of these performers on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/Jefftherooster (Jeff Tepper)
https://twitter.com/#!/pizzanachos69 (Mike Burns)
https://twitter.com/#!/colormebadder (Andy Ritchie)
https://twitter.com/#!/aparnapkin (Aparna Nancherla)
https://twitter.com/#!/itsmenickyt (Nick Turner)
https://twitter.com/#!/funnyjustin (Justin Ian Daniels)https://twitter.com/#!/ronbabcock
Thanks for reading! Please submit your own recaps!
Photo of Brody Stevens from the 2/13/2012 Keep It Clean via thecomedyhipster
BlamBlamBlam runs every second Tuesday of the month at the R-Bar and is hosted by Matt Peters. By injecting just a little bit of sketch into the standard stand-up showcase it’s one of the most inventive shows in Los Angeles.
After fixing some technical problems with the mic, Matt Peters took the stage wearing nothing but a heart-shaped box of chocolates, Saran-wrapped around his crotch. He told us that he would be our Valentine and brought out Michael Driggs who opened up his set by talking about being a teacher and smoking pot, and closed dribbling his foot like a basketball, while Nancy Pirozzi whistled the Harlem Globetrotter’s theme perfectly.
Next up was Esther Polvitsky who told us she lies about being pregnant and wants to be a rap video girl. She talked about being half Jewish and having a hot uncle, then closed by talking about getting clingy with her rapist.
Erin Gibson performed next doing a long bit about the fantasy response she would write to the OK Cupid post “Six Foot and Hung Like a Mule.” She closed her set by telling a story about dancing alone in her apartment.
After Erin’s set Matt Peters brought up Rebecca Addelman and Holly Prazoff. They took the stage as Rebecca & Holly, a duo faking neck injuries who asked each member audience accusingly, “what have you done with your life?”
Sean Quinn was next and explained how he’s not good live and is more of a social media comedian. He talked about swimming, being happily divorced. He closed his set by talking about the amount of apologizing you do as a married man.
Chip Pope had material about Jessica Rabbit, gay club names, and the movie, “Shame.” A bit in the middle dealt with the idea that people who tell you they’re weird because they like “Fraiser” and ice-cream, are not. He closed by talking about Paul McCartney being too humble and Vampire Weekend sounding too much like Paul Simon.
Next came Jim Hamilton. Doing short jokes he was able to cover a lot of ground lampooning blood oranges, throwing stars, crushes at parties, Oasis, Bon Iver, and bad advice from his doctor. He interrupted some of his jokes by complaining to Chuck Watkins about how the old material he was trying out again wasn’t working. Chuck shot back that Jim was, “doing them wrong!” Jim closed his set with material about Applebee’s, fortune cookies, moats, and painkillers.
Up next was Chuck Watkins serenading the audience as Money Corp. International’s Assistant Director for Marketing. He sang songs about Corporations and “That’s So Raven” and closed his set singing a song about blue valentine’s while showing the audience dirty hand-drawn Valentine’s Day cards.
After Chuck was Cameron Esposito, in town from Chicago and wondering how her side-mullet haircut would play on the west coast. She covered coonskin caps, home movies, Ken dolls, and eye-patches before closing with two stories. The first about a penguin-beach-topless-hug and the other about going to a strip club.
After Cameron’s set, Matt Peters was interuppted by a knock at the door. The knock became louder and then in burst a dripping wet Davey Johnson looking for his lover, Jessie. He kept shouting for “Jessie” and started searching about the bar, in a mad panic.
Davey thought he’d found Jessie, in the front row and immediately started gushing about how sorry he was, and how much he missed her, and how he wanted Jessie back. The woman in the front row obviously wasn’t Jessie, it was clear she was just an audience member. She was apprehensive about being involved, as was her husband who kept pushing Johnson’s soaked torso away from his wife exclaiming, “Gross, you’re all sweaty!” to which Johnson quickly replied, “No, it’s raining out,”(which it wasn’t.) Johnson succeeded in ticking this couple off and then proceeded to win them back. The husband went from upset, (”THAT’S MY WIFE!”) to engaged (“I think this is some weird-ass comedy sketch.”). When Johnson put on his glasses to read his lover a dirty Haiku, his improved eyesight helped him realize that this poor woman was not Jessie, at which point he continued immediatley with his search, shouting furiously, “JESSIE!” over and over. Jessie produced himself behind the bar, a 6’4 gentleman with a bushy red beard. Johnson and “Jessie” (Randy Liedtke) reconciled on stage where they embraced passionately.
The headliner Mike Bridenstine is a high energy storyteller. One of his stories was about his first time seeing a bullfight and (maybe) a dead body. He closed with a story about the worst date he’s ever been on, that’s simultaneously grotesque and hilarious.
I missed both Andy Ritchie’s and John Vargas’ sets, which is a shame because I heard they both did well. I do apologize for the hole in this recap but it was a long night of comedy. If anyone would like to fill me in on what they talked about I could update this entry. Thanks to Demorge Brown for producing such a great show.
You can follow all of these performers on Twitter:
PS I couldn’t find Sean Quinn’s Twitter account if anyone knows it, message me.
The Jingles Part II: Part One
So I did a post a while back about website jingles. Personally I love them. A part of why I love them so much is the...
Comedian Headshot Roundup #1
“Tina said she wanted me to fix the copier, I was like ‘Is that ALL that needs fixing, Tina?’ “