The world's first White Collar Comedian at 50 First Jokes

Me as Mortimer the Steel Baron, the world's first White Collar Comedian, performing standup at 50 First Jokes in NYC.

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Video: Inflatable balloon man dances

I filmed this guy outside an H&R Block in Brooklyn. He's got some good moves.

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Super Tuesday Flying Carpet next week

One week from's Super Tuesday! And I'm pretty sure it's
called that because of the super Flying Carpet show that will be held
that night:

FREE comedy extravaganza
Tuesday, Feb 5 (9:45pm)
RIFIFI at 332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.


Dan Boulger (
Kumail Nanjiani (
Becky Ciletti (
Brad Steuernagel (
Mark Normand (
Dan Hirshon (
& more!

There might even be a super surprise guest too. I'll let ya know next
week if/when that's confirmed.


"Pets latest victims of mortgage crisis"

TE: check out the front page of local news (story)


TE: man they gave out loans to EVERYBODY
MR: i really doubt they fully understood the fine print
TE: we need to protect them better
MR: i love the hard hitting news link under the story: "Send in photos of your pets"
TE: your former pets!
MR: what a lead to the story too: "The tentacles of the foreclosure monster reach all the way into a Naperville animal shelter, where McKenzie and Rocket are its collateral damage."
MR: sounds like the trailer for Michael Bay's next movie.

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Vajayjay's popularity explained

I recently complained about people who use the word "vajayjay." So I was fascinated by this explanation of the word's popularity from "What Did You Call It?" (NY Times)

Another view was offered by John H. McWhorter, a linguist and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who pointed out that the women associated with introducing the word — Ms. Winfrey, the Miranda Bailey character on “Grey’s Anatomy” — are middle-age African-Americans.

“The reason that vajayjay has caught on, I think, is because there is a black — Southern especially — naming tradition, which is to have names like Ray Ray and Boo Boo and things like that,” Dr. McWhorter said. “It sounds warm and familiar and it almost makes the vagina feel like a little cartoon character with eyes that walks around.”

This is so crazy! Because I constantly picture my penis as a little cartoon character with eyes that walks around too. And I call him Ray Ray! Like this: "Watch out baby, here comes Ray Ray." OK, I don't actually ever say that. But I'm thinking it.

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A collection of Charlie Rose interviews with comedians like Seinfeld, Rock, Chappelle, Martin, Rickles, etc.

The Charlie Rose site includes videos of his interviews with comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Steve Martin, Don Rickles, and lots more.

The bad news: The site doesn't organize them in a way you can find them all easily. (Some are under the keyword "comic," others "comedian," others "standup," etc.)

So I dug through the site's archives and grabbed all of Charlie's comedian interviews. I'm posting them here so ya can find all of them in a single place.

Some notes: The list goes in alphabetical order by last name and the descriptions given are from For some of the clips you'll need to fast forward to get to the comedian interview. (That's why Bernic Mac looks a lot like George Bush in the still shown below.) To skip ahead or to get full size versions, click through the links.

On to the clips...
Dave Chapelle (04/28/2004)
A conversation with sketch comedian Dave Chapelle about his hit television comedy show on Comedy Central, which uses humor to examine race relations in the U.S.
Stephen Colbert (12/08/2006)
A conversation with comedian Stephen Colbert, host of "The Colbert Report" about his life and career, the rise of television punditry and his successful partnership with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report".
Larry David (05/13/1998)
A conversation with Larry David, co-creator of "Seinfeld", about the behind-the-scenes stories of the show's end.
Janeane Garofalo (10/10/1997)
A conversation with comedian Janeane Garofalo about her standup comedy on "HBO Comedy Hour", her film "The Matchmaker" and her role on "The Larry Sanders Show".
Ricky Gervais (10/21/2004)
A conversation with British comedian Ricky Gervais about his hit BBC sitcom "The Office".
Bernie Mac (05/23/2002)
A conversation with comedian Bernie Mac about his starring role in "The Bernie Mac Show", his roles in films such as "The Kings of Comedy" and his book “I Ain't Scared of You: Bernie Mac on How Life Is”, an autobiography.
Bill Maher (05/04/2007)
A conversation with Bill Maher, comedian and host of Real Time with Bill Maher.
Bill Maher (11/20/2002)
Comedian Bill Maher, former host of the ABC television show "Politically Incorrect", talks about his new book, "When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism".
Bill Maher (07/31/2001)
A conversation with TV host Bill Maher of "Politically Incorrect" about his show, which blends a late-night talk show format with a Sunday morning news program. He discusses his comedic approach to politics, the controversy surrounding some of his remarks and his plans for upcoming segments of the show.
Bill Maher (04/04/1996)
A conversation with comedian Bill Maher, host of "Politically Incorrect", which brings together unlikely guests to discuss current events. Maher discusses his experiences creating and hosting the show and offers his take on the news of the day.
Steve Martin (01/25/2008)
A conversation with actor and comedian Steve Martin about his career, his life and his memoir: "Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life."
Steve Martin (09/29/1998)
A conversation with actor Steve Martin about his book of humorous essays from "The New Yorker", collected in "Pure Drivel".
An interview with Steve Martin (10/04/1996)
An interview with actor, comedian and writer Steve Martin, whose career began in the seventies with appearances on "The Tonight Show" and "Saturday Night Live" and then transitioned into film with movies such as "The Jerk" and "All of Me".
Lorne Michaels (09/26/1997)
A conversation with the creator and producer of "Saturday Night Live" Lorne Michaels about launching the upcoming season, his career in television and comedy and his life growing up in Canada.
Bob Newhart (10/10/1994)
Actor Bob Newhart talks about his career in Hollywood and return to stand-up comedy.
Conan O'Brien (08/24/2006)
An hour conversation with the host of NBC's "Late Night", Conan O'Brien about hosting the 2006 Emmys and his experiences as a writer and actor straight out of Harvard. He talks about his succession as host of the "Tonight Show" in 2009 and the development of his comedy.
Richard Pryor (12/13/2005)
A remembrance of legendary comedian Richard Pryor.
Paul Reiser (05/15/1996)
A conversation with comedian Paul Reiser, the creator and star of the hit NBC sitcom "Mad About You".
Don Rickles (08/30/2007)
An hour with Don Rickles. Rickles discusses his career and new memoir Rickle's Book.
Chris Rock (03/16/2007)
A conversation with actor and director Chris Rock about his comedic influences, his directorial process, and his film "I Think I Love My Wife", which provides a humorous take on the state of modern marriage.
Chris Rock (04/12/2004)
A conversation with actor and comedian Chris Rock about his popular stand-up routines and his comedic album "Never Scared".
Chris Rock (09/09/1996)
Comedian and actor Chris Rock talks about his career in comedy and serving as the sole presidential campaign correspondent for "Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect".
Ray Romano (09/29/2000)
Actor and stand-up comedian Ray Romano talks about his hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond", which draws from his own family life and middle class upbringing.
Jerry Seinfeld (11/05/2007)
A conversation with Jerry Seinfeld about his film Bee Movie.
Garry Shandling (02/29/2000)
Actor Garry Shandling, best known from his critically acclaimed television show "The Larry Sanders Show", talks about writing and starring in the film "What Planet Are You From?"
Garry Shandling (11/16/1998)
An hour conversation with comedian Garry Shandling about his role in "The Larry Sanders Show", his film "Hurlyburly" and his book "Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host: The Autobiography of Larry Sanders".
David Steinberg (06/22/2007)
A conversation with author and comedian David Steinberg about his book "The Book of David".
Jon Stewart (09/29/2004)
A conversation with Jon Stewart, Emmy Award-winning writer and host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, about his book "America the Book: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction".
Jon Stewart (05/21/2003)
A conversation with the host of "The Daily Show" Jon Stewart about the difficulties of tastefully and comically covering the war in Iraq.
Jon Stewart (08/09/2002)
A conversation with comedian Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", about the current events that inspire the show and the incorporation of humor into serious subject material.
Jon Stewart (08/15/2001)
An hour conversation with Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", about his career as a comedian and broadcaster, his Peabody Award for the show’s coverage of the 2000 Presidential elections and the role of comedy in politics.
Robin Williams (12/10/2002)
An interview with comedian and actor Robin Williams about his stand-up comedy tour, recent film roles in "One Hour Photo" and "Insomnia", and his travels to the Middle East.
Robin Williams (04/20/2000)
In a lively conversation-cum-comedy routine, actor and comedian Robin Williams talks about his life, career, politics, and other the work of other comedians.

You can find a few more comedy-related interviews with actors like Will Ferrell, hosts like David Letterman or Jay Leno (fyi, Conan made the above list because he's still actually funny), and writers like Tina Fey at

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Barking for comedy clubs

Classic Mitch Hedberg joke:

Whenever I walk, people try and hand me a flyer. And when someone tries to hand me out a flyer, it’s kinda like they’re saying, “Here, you throw this away.”

Here's a friend of mine (who's really funny) doing some barking — passing out flyers for a comedy club — in New Orleans. He has some fun with it but you can see how it'd get old real fast.

In NYC, a lot of the mainstream clubs try to get newbie comics to bark. Even if you're desperate for stage time, it seems like a bad deal to me. It's soul crushing and even if you do it really well, you'll probably just get stuck doing it more.

My .02: Hit an open mic if you're hard up for stage time. Or start a new room/mic where you can perform and/or trade spots with other people. (Same thing goes for bringer shows too.)


An in-depth analysis of that creepy Fox NFL robot

The Super Bowl's gonna be on Fox. That means one final dose of that ridiculous robot that Fox puts on all it's NFL telecasts:

Love how he stretches (because robots totally need to stretch before they play football). And he points a lot too...because robots are HUGE trash talkers. He's all like, "You better get your WD40 ready, bitch!" Or "Yo momma was a Texas Instruments calculator."

Silly me, I thought football was exciting enough on it's own. But no, we need a 'roided out transformer to really jazz things up.

During Thanksgiving he was even a turkey robot. A turkey that's a robot that plays football. Parse that.

People have mixed feelings about the robot. This guy thinks "That fucking FOX NFL robot is out of control"...some choice comments there:

Flex This Says:
December 3rd, 2007 at 9:46 pm
The robot would kick your asses, obviously you guys are just jealous because the robot has a huge johnson and does your girlfriends as long as they needs him for, then he keeps fucking, and fucking, and fucking...By the way...have you seen your girlfriend or wife lately ?

Love this. Mr. Flex nailed it. I hate the robot because I am jealous of him! I'm jealous of him because he's fucking my girlfriend. And then he just keeps on fucking her. And no, I haven't seen my girlfriend lately. Probably because she's fucking the Fox NFL robot. Man, look at what my life has come to. I don't even have a cool screen name like "Flex This."

jamesk256 Says:
January 14th, 2008 at 10:40 am
The robot appeals to the same people who wear sweatpants out shopping. And consider TGI Fridays a good choice for a “special occassion”. These people are idiots, the robot symbolizes all of their shortcomings so they can relate.

Can I agree with James yet still love TGI Fridays? I mean I wouldn't have a wedding reception there or anything. But a bar mitzvah...sure!

"The Fox NFL Robot" is a post that says, "Don’t people like robots? Don’t they like football? Why shouldn’t the two things be combined?" Some comments there:

January 10, 2007 at 2:08 pm
I immensely enjoyed the Fox 25 ROBOT during our regular season and I hope they keep him as a ‘mascot’ for the NFL. For all you anti-Robot folks, relax, it’s an R-O-B-O-T ... he’s fun, he’s energetic, he’s tough and he’s jazzed to play some ball, so just relax and let him! It’s a great icon! Stop taking yourselves so seriously! Life is good!

That sure is an optimistic outlook for someone who's actually commenting on a blog post about the Fox NFL robot. How do you stay so positive even though you're a grown adult living in your parent's basement? (Bah, I'm reading these damn things so I guess I should keep my mouth shut.)

Da Wood
January 11, 2007 at 3:18 pm
Oh, man.....after a 5am bender on saturday night....there is nothing better than watching that robot go f’n BANANAS on FOX!!!! He pulls off some high knees, jumps, and then the trademark ...YOU...YOU...YOU..YOU.....NYYYYAAAAAAAAA!!!!....After i see him my clothes start to rip and my skin turns green.....I’m ready to HULK!!!! GO BEARS!

I assume "Da Wood" is another dick reference, right? I def need to get more penis action going in my screen names.

There's even a FOX Sports Robot Action Figure for $19.95.

Last year's revival of the NFL Robot on FOX marked the beginning of a new era for America's favorite spectator sport...The FOX Sports Robot utilizes its fully articulating joints to evade defenders and score touchdowns. A must-have piece for every sport fanatic's collection.

Saying the return of the robot "marked the beginning of a new era" seems like a slight exaggeration to me.

"A chance to destroy the Fox NFL robot" talks about the action figure. Some of the comments:

Anonymous said...
You Guys are total squids...

Please tell your Sex in the City fantasy league buddies you will be late for power yoga today and go spend your $20 on the Shawn kemp is my father T-Shirt....

You had me at "Please tell your Sex in the City fantasy league buddies you will be late for power yoga today..." That's a pretty terrific way to start a paragraph. We may have the next Raymond Carver here.

I also like this exchange...

October 22, 2007 10:48 AM
Anonymous said...
Why does a robot have to stretch? I ask myself this question every Sunday...

October 22, 2007 11:43 AM
Jarrett Carter said...
Look around the league at the pethora of injuries, and tell me you don't want the robot to warm up appropriately...


October 29, 2007 7:52 AM
Anonymous said...
When I saw that dopey robot doing warmup exercises,deep knee bends and running back and forth,I laughed like hell. I hate to say it, but the robot was the best part of the entire day's broadcast. I'm going to buy the poster and the plastic model.
(ps) I'm 78!

78!? Oh man, tell your kids you have Alzheimer's now. It's only going to get worse.

Lastly, here's the robot dancing and ghost riding the whip...

There's really nothing more to say after that.

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Get Sandpaper Suit delivered by email

You can now get this blog delivered to ya by email. Click here to sign up.

How it works: Every day you'll get an email with the posts from the day before. No new content, no email for you. Emails will include a recap of "The Pocket" links that are in the sidebar too. Enjoy!

Performing for little kids

I was asked to perform for "a group of five-year olds" on Saturday. I turned it down. Just because I can make adults laugh doesn't make me think I know anything about making a bunch of kids laugh. Especially not after listening to the horror stories I heard on This American Life's How to Talk to Kids which featured this story...

Sean O'Connor and Nick Maritato are professional comedians, and their job usually involves saying things that kids aren't supposed to hear. But last summer they got booked on a tour of kids' summer camps. TAL producer Jane Feltes tells us what happened.

The show I was asked to do: The Rachel Trachtenburg Morning Show.

The drummer girl who's been touring with her parents' Slideshow Players art band for the past five years is now 13, and she's hosting her own all-ages show. We're in awe—she's already figured out how to keep it both focused and freeform. And kids are entranced, probably as much by her sweetly feisty teen persona as by the funky puppets, the sparkly headbands she helps them craft, the snacks she makes for them to eat and her mom's felt-board storytelling aid.

Actually sounds pretty cool for a kiddie show. But I'm still pretty sure my jokes about strippers, nazis, etc. wouldn't have gone over so well.


10 things I hate: the vajayjay edition

pongPeople who play drinking games
Drinking games are insulting to alcohol because they imply booze has to be combined with a silly recreational activity. No one ever tries this with other substances: There's no Crossword Puzzle Crack, Oxycontin the Tail on the Donkey, or Heroin Sudoku. Forget the wacky sidekick, alcohol can carry this film just fine on it's own.

125959964_f782a1d3d3_bPeople who knit on the subway
You realize we've solved this problem, right? It only costs 30 cents to have someone in Bangladesh make a scarf that's way better quality than the dyslexic one you've spent over 400 hours on. I hope it's big enough to cover up the chasm that's been growing in your soul ever since you got rejected by eHarmony.

850-side-lgPeople who wear Bluetooth headsets that blink
You realize that your eyes are actually located in front of your ears, right? That means that annoying blinking light isn't actually viewable to you. So, unless you're worried about getting clocked by a low-flying plane, that light is merely there to show off to the rest of us. And we don't care that you have to take calls all the time (and fyi, it's more impressive to _not_ have to take calls).

282060911_8aa65979e7_bStreet performers who paint themselves silver and stand like statues
Just because you cover yourself in spray paint, stand on a box, and stop moving does not mean you deserve to get paid. You're just shiny and doing nothing. If this deserved compensation, office workers could just put on a bunch of glitter, show up at work, and pass out at their desks. Give that a whirl and see how it goes.

906042995_224b55f714_bAny football fan who gets all sanctimonious about Michael Vick
How on earth could an athlete who's been trained from a young age to compete in a vicious, brutal sport, one that causes terrible injuries, merely for the entertainment value of others who like to place bets on that sport, think it could be alright to, well, train animals from a young age to compete in a vicious, brutal sport that causes terrible injuries merely for the entertainment value of others who like to place bets on that sport. Outrageous! (In other news, I'm putting big money on the Giants to cover against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. If Eli starts throwing interceptions, I'll kill him!)

540003277_2fecd0e905_oPeople who claim vegetarian food tastes as good as meat
If so, then why is the menu at every vegetarian restaurant filled with fake meat products like Tofurkey, Sham, and Fake'n? I consider these the tribute bands of the food world. "Tonight, playing all the hits of real beef: Not Dogs!"

28vaja600.1Anyone who says vajayjay
Because body parts that rhyme can't be naughty! Er, do you still say pee pee and doo doo too?

black lightAny local newscaster that does an "investigative report" revealing what hotel rooms look like under a black light
If you've never seen, here's the gist: The blankets at all hotels are actually 3% down and 97% semen. Enjoy your next hotel stay.

Related: What's Hiding in Your Hotel Room?

While cleaning crews may dust, vacuum and disinfect daily, most hotels say they do deep cleaning only four times a year, on average -- unless stains are visible. But most unsuspecting hotel guests aren't prepared for the surprises Primetime found, like urine on a hotel Bible.

"Urine on a hotel Bible"...if that was a Robert Mapplethorpe piece, it'd be in a museum.

pom-wonderfulThe makers of POM pomegranite juice
Why does a 16 oz. bottle of this stuff cost $18,000? Is it made from unicorn piss? (That's piss that comes from a unicorn's vajayjay, btw.)

1219154436_30b190fa87_oHipster guys who wear those leather "gladiator" wristbands
Yeah, you're a fucking gladiator Brandon or Brody or whatever your name is. You're 126 lbs. of don't-fuck-with-me. Really, I get it: If ya mess with the Fine Arts program at Bard College, you get the horns! Please don't slit my throat with your asymmetrical haircut and then use my blood to make street art.

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R.I.P. Rififi?

My show Flying Carpet started at Mo Pitkin's and then that place shut down. I moved it to Rififi. Now the same thing's happening again: Rififi To Close (?). Sigh.

The whole story is that Robert, the owner of RiFiFi, gathered a bunch of the people who do shows (and some of staff at the bar) the other night and basically said that the bar will close under present ownership at the end of February, but that he was willing to let any of us take over the lease and try to take it over under new management. There are a few more details than that, but let's just leave it at that for now.

Bobby Tisdale, host of Invite Them Up, posted this message about the potential closing:

It is true there is probably a five percent chance Rififi may exist under new management, but without a doubt, Invite Them Up will hold its last show at that particular venue on the 27th of February.

That doesn't mean the show is over-- we will be doing some specials from time to time throughout New York City and probably go on tour in the future.

Bummer that this means the end of Invite Them Up, prob the best downtown show out there. Where will the other Rififi shows move to...Piano's? Brooklyn maybe?

As for Flying Carpet, I'll do one more at Rififi (Feb. 5) and then prob move to a secret undisclosed location for the next one after that. Could actually be very cool. Stay tuned.

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Video: What online commenters *really* look like

This is a dramatization of Citysearch user Alinoelle78's review of the New York restaurant "Butter."

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Burlesque shows are silly, not sexy

I think burlesque shows are silly, not sexy. If you've never been, burlesque is stripping...but for girls who went to art school.

I guess that's great if you like to see chicks named Misty Kitten, Penny Butterscotch, or Dirty Martini play the spoons while shaking their cellulite. But to me, it's a festival of things that are not quite what you want them to be: The girls aren't quite that attractive. And they don't quite get naked. And they don't quite have a real talent. But it's ok because they're performing for a bunch of guys who don't quite have the balls (or money) to go to a real strip club.

I find this quite offensive. Not as a feminist, but as someone who enjoys real strip clubs.

See, I subscribe to the philosophy that two wrongs don't make a right. So if I don't want to see a chunky girl in a bikini and I don't want to see her hula hoop, then I really don't want to see both at the same time.

I'm just not looking for intellectual stimulation or artistic integrity from a stripper. I'm not trying to write a thesis, I'm trying to get a boner. That's why I want a girl who shakes her tits like she's illiterate. (Btw, that's going to be the name of my first hip hop single: "Shake Ur Tits Like U Illiterate"). I think stripping should be about degradation, not deconstruction. I'm old fashioned that way.


Overuse of the word "ghetto"

I'm sick of people using the word "ghetto" to describe things that are not at all ghetto.

"My computer setup at work is so ghetto. Every time I want to transfer files from my G4 to my MacBook Pro, I have to unplug my printer. So ghetto." Um, you know when your computer setup is ghetto? When it's in a pawn shop. Otherwise, it's pretty suburban.

"My GPS system is so ghetto." No, it's really not. Not unless it's just some homeless guy in the trunk yelling, "Turn the fuck around."

You should only be allowed to call things ghetto if they're really ghetto. Like this: "My collection of crack vials is so ghetto."

Related: Since when does "urban" actually mean black. What if you're a Black R&B singer from Alaska. Are you still considered urban?


Flying Carpet on Tuesday with God's Pottery, Tony Pizzazz & Dr. Xanax, and more

Tomorrow (Tuesday) night, Flying Carpet returns. I'll be hosting, showing a video, and getting funky. All the acts are great but I'm especially psyched for the NYC debut of Tony Pizzazz & Dr. Xanax, who are coming down from Boston. Here's their description at MySpace:

Victims and gentlemen. I am Tony Pizzazz. Magician/Level 3 sex offender. I was recently reunited with my former partner, Dr. Xanax, the Hypnorapist. Please come check out one of our performances. Our shows are unlike anything you've ever experienced before. It's something you'll never forget, no matter how hard you try. Just let it happen...

FREE comedy extravaganza
Tue, Jan 15 (9:45pm)
RIFIFI at 332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.

* God's Pottery - Christian acoustic folk duo, new record out on Comedy Central Records
* Tony Pizzazz & Dr. Xanax - UNBELIEVABLE magic act from good it's criminal
* Master Lee - Kung Fu comic with appearances on Conan O'Brien, Showtime At The Apollo, America's Most Wanted, & Sesame Street
* John F. O'Donnell - ECNY Emerging Comic Award nominee
* Dan Curry - Comic, author, and comic strip artist

Flying Carpet on Jan. 15 at Rififi

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Cartoon masterpieces: High Note, Duck Amuck, and What's Opera, Doc?

High Note

Duck Amuck

What's Opera, Doc?


Live shot from 50 First Jokes

50 First Jokes

Me live at 50 First Jokes. Photo by Maryanne Ventrice, here's her full Flickr set from the show.


Demetri Martin compares developing in comedy to teaching

In The Sound of Young America podcast Dog Days 1-7-06, there's an interesting interview with Demetri Martin. When he talks about why he doesn't like performing in comedy clubs, he compares progressing in comedy to progressing as a teacher. The gist: Performing at clubs is too much like babysitting a bunch of little kids. (This bit starts around 40:00 in.)

I always think of the levels of comedy as you go along in the developmental stages, it's a lot like being a teacher. When you're teaching young people, kindergarten through 2nd grade, it seems like more of your job is about discipline than it is about the content of teaching subjects. You have that big part of it where you don't want people to shit in their pants or fight or pull someone's hair.

Where, if you're a college professor, discipline should be a very small part of what you do. It's more about the subject. It's about the content that you're teaching. And people have even gone as far as to choose your class.

The [comics] I see at a very high level have gained that as professors because the audience has chosen their "class." They don't have to deal too much with disciplinary action for their audience.

So comedy clubs to me, the idea of people going to see comedy generically is kinda a funny thing because you don't do that with music. Most people don't go: "Q: What are you going to do tonight? A: We're going to go see music. Q: Who are you seeing? A: I don't know, we're just going to a music club and whatever bands are playing, we're gonna see."

Speaking of music/comedy comparisons: A while back I heard another comedian (can't remember who) make a funny point: If you're a band, the audience always wants to hear the songs they know, not new ones. For comics, it's the opposite: Everyone wants to hear your new jokes, not the ones they already know. (Though I've heard bootlegs of Mitch Hedberg and Patton Oswalt shows were people yell out joke "requests" that are met. Nice in a way but that's also gotta be a weird feeling.)


Hillary vs. Obama

TE: Someone asked my friend if he preferred hillary or obama
MR: yeah
TE: i told him he should say something like:
TE: well obama is only half black but hillary is 100% woman
MR: that's funny.
MR: but is she?
TE: touché
MR: i'm voting for hillary cuz she's half robot.

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Next Tuesday's Flying Carpet: Christians, Criminals, and Kung Fu

FREE comedy extravaganza
Tue, Jan 15 (9:45pm)
RIFIFI at 332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.


* God's Pottery - Christian acoustic folk duo, new record out on Comedy Central Records

* Tony Pizzazz & Dr. Xanax - UNBELIEVABLE magic act from good it's criminal

* Master Lee - Kung Fu comic with appearances on Conan O'Brien, Showtime At The Apollo, America's Most Wanted, & Sesame Street

* John F. O'Donnell - ECNY Emerging Comic Award nominee

* Dan Curry - Comic, author, and comic strip artist

Flying Carpet on Jan. 15 at Rififi

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Stitch and bitch bitching

Memo to people who knit on the subway: You realize we've solved this problem, right? We have people in Bangladesh who can do that for you. It's true, you can buy a scarf for $10 from The Gap instead of spending 400 hours making your own. What other medieval things do you do for fun?...Carry water from the well?...Catch bubonic plague?

Memo to guys who paint themselves silver and stand like statues in parks: This is not a real talent. If you're a performer, perform! Just because you cover yourself in spray paint, stand on a box, and do nothing does not mean you deserve to get paid for it. You're just shiny and doing nothing. If this deserved compensation, office workers could just put on a bunch of glitter, show up at work, and pass out at their desks. I tried that once, didn't work out so well.


50 First Jokes was cool

The 50 First Jokes show on Saturday night was a humdinger. Great vibe in the room for a few reasons I think. One, you had 50+ comics hanging out. A bit of a scene that. And then the crowd was really into it. I think because the bits were so short (1-2 minutes), it gave audience members a sense of relief. Even if you didn't like someone, it was over quick. That made it easy for even ADDers to tune in. Plus, there was a distinct rhythm. Comics actually had to get a laugh in that time and then get off. No dilly dallying. I wish more "alternative" shows had those elements. Instead, crowds are forgiving so performers can get a bit indulgent and wandery. (Whereas a club crowd will get on your back real quick if you try to just tell stories or whatever.)


Lessons from Improv 201 (Game of the Scene) at UCB

Notes from my Improv 201 class at Upright Citizen Brigade's Theater in New York. The class is called "Game of the Scene: Learn how to find and play games within scenes and create smart second beats." My instructor was Porter Mason.

I'll start with some bits that I think apply to doing standup too...

  • Whatever scares you, do it.

  • Specificity is our friend. Add it. 

  • Establish and repeat. Hit the same note a couple of times.  

  • Heighten: Have the stakes get higher and higher, keep one upping. 

  • Honesty is our safety net. We can never go wrong if we speak how we honestly feel at the time. 

  • Whatever you feel uncomfortable doing is exactly what you should try doing. 

  • When in doubt, confess. "I think I have a problem." "I need to tell you something." Etc. 

  • Go from A to C. Leaving the B out is often the interesting part because it lets the audience's brains make the connection. 

  • First laugh line is often the audience telling you where the game of the scene is. 

  • Give the audience relief by calling out the truth ("Phew, it's not just me.")

  • Be ahead of the audience. If you just thought of it, go for it. If they already know where you're going, you've lost.

And some other notes that are more improv-y...

  • The game is the central pattern of the scene. It's based on the first unusual thing that happens.

  • Scene rules: Don't ask questions (answer them instead), don't deny the other person (build together), "Yes and...", avoid transaction/negotiation scenes (conduct the transaction and go), avoid teaching scenes, keep things active (show don't tell).

  • The audience has a memory like a rat. They only pay attention to what's shiny and new. They'll forget whatever happened 30 seconds earlier. 

  • Give reason(s) why for the game/action of the scene.

  • Characters can disagree as long as you move the scene forward. If you deny, add information.

  • Make future choices based on your first choice.

  • Get out who, what, where early on.

  • Ways to edit a scene: Add sound effects, be an inanimate object, swinging door, tag outs.

  • Rules for editing a scene: 1. Edit at the peak. 2. Edit, don't comment. 3. Edit hard. 4. Late in the scene, if you want to walk on, edit.

  • "If you think you should edit a scene, you probably should have done it 10 seconds ago" -Amy Poehler

  • Answer "Why do I care?"

  • 2nd beat of the scene #1: time dashes = same characters at diff time in their lives. 

  • 2nd beat of the scene #2: analogous situation = diff characters in similar situation. 

  • 2nd beat should heighten scene.

  • If you come in with a premise, you have to be willing to drop it. Don't steamroll your idea into the scene. 

Lessons from Improv 101 at UCB [Sandpaper Suit]
Interview excerpts about the game of the scene [ITC Notebook]


Disaronno on the rocks

What I love about this commercial is its subtlety.

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50 First Jokes on Saturday Night

On Saturday night, I'll be here...

50 FIRST JOKES is happening Saturday, January 5th!!! We are kicking off a new year of NYC Comedy by having FIFTY + Comedians tell their first joke of 2008. This is gonna be huge!!! We're gonna party at The Creek and The Cave (coolest bar ever) all night long. Presented to you by John F. O'Donnell, Claudia Cogan and Jiwon Lee


Saturday, Jan. 5th - 8:00 PM (Doors 7pm)
@ The Creek and The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101


Melodies:lyrics = funny:ideas

Paul Simon's a great lyricist. Yet he admitted in a recent interview that the lyrics don't matter if the melody isn't there. If people don't think the melody's catchy, if they can't sing along, they won't bother to get to the lyrics.

The same's true for comedy. A comic's brilliant, insightful views on the world don't mean dick if they're not funny. You've gotta get funny first. Then, and only then, can you work on being the next Bruce/Maher/Hicks/other "important" comedian.


Catalog photo mashup: Ever since that Friday I've known what silence is

catalog pic

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