Permalink | 6/30/2008
There's a tomato salmonella scare. But what if Sal Monella was actually just some guy from the Bronx? (A rainy day, 3 hours, and a bunch of cherry tomatoes led to this.)
Permalink | 6/30/2008
Come on out for a special primetime edition of Flying Carpet on SUNDAY (6/29) at 8pm.
The show will feature TIMMY WILLIAMS (from IFC's "Whitest Kids U Know").
And THREE comics fresh off appearances on Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham": DAN BOULGER appeared on "Live at Gotham" last season and before that won the Boston Comedy Festival. JARED LOGAN's appearance on Gotham just debuted and he was also named "Best Comedian" at the Chicago Comedy Awards. VINCE AVERILL's Comedy Central appearance airs in a couple of weeks and he's also appeared at the DC Comedy Festival.
Plus, we'll have JOHN KNEFEL who writes for the Huffington Post and is a member of the sketch group Bare Hand Wolf Chokers.
...and perhaps a special surprise guest!?
FLYING CARPET WITH MATT RUBY
Sunday, Jun 29
Doors at 7:30pm
Show at 8pm
332 E. 11th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave.
P.S. The next "We're All Friends Here" will be July 11 at The Creek. Stay tuned.
Permalink | 6/27/2008
How it happened: A casting director with MTV wrote me last week and said I was recommended to her by another local comedian for a new show they're doing.
We are looking for comedians to do commentary on some of our MTV videos, very similar to how comedians comment on VH-1 Best Week Ever. We are looking for comedians who are good to come back throughout the summer and be our regulars on the show. Unfortunately its none paid, BUT the videos will be playing 8am-11am every morning, and the hour before TRL, hour after TRL and some evenings. So you'll get lots of exposure.
What comedian doesn't like exposure? I tell her I'm in and on Tuesday afternoon I went to the MTV studios.
The deal: The bits are for FNMTV. That's MTV's way of playing videos over the summer while, using picture-in-picture, random people (fans, bloggers, comedians, musicians, etc.) comment on those videos.
The gist of the comments is that you either love or hate the video and you give funny/creative reasons why (in 10 second or so bytes). You also get to answer a couple of random questions about the video or the artist.
Another comic (Joe Powers) and I were slated for the same time period. They brought us up to a conference room, had us fill out some paperwork, and then showed us three videos that will premiere on Friday night: T.I. (rapper), No Age ("experimental" rock), and Day 26 (P. Diddy's new boy band). We watched each video twice and took some notes.
Then they set the camera up and we were rolling. It was just a simple setup. One camera, no lights. (I think it's supposed to look kinda homemade.) Joe went first and did his bits on each video, one after another (and did a nice job). The guy running the show then would ask a few questions if there were missed topics he wanted Joe to address.
Then it was my turn. Some of my bits were def stupid, but I think at least a couple had legs. It's an odd situation: doing jokes off the top of your head in front of a camera that's three feet away and a roomful of about five people who don't really care all that much (they're filming a bunch of people so they've probably seen these videos, and similar comments, hundreds of time already). The good part of that was when you did get a laugh in the room, you felt you were actually onto something. Who knows what they'll leave in/out though.
The videos debut on Friday night and then the talking head comments will start airing on Monday and go through the week, I think. Other NYC comics are doing 'em too: Kumail, Sean Patton, Becky Ciletti, Chelsea White, Gabe Liedman, Jenny Slate, Mara Herron, and prob a bunch more that I don't know of.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 6/26/2008
1) What a craftsman he was. A master at using words. Subtract the beef of his act and you still have all his little asides and clever wordplay stuff which are pretty amazing on their own. (Btw, here's what Seinfeld said about the way Carlin attacked a topic: "He was like a train hobo with a chicken bone. When he was done there was nothing left for anybody.")
2) The evolutionary leap he made when he transformed from nightclub act to freaky hippy guy, which was more truthful to himself. His audience abandoned him. It was a real risk. Ballsy move that.
3) How eloquent he was when he discussed comedy. You don't hear too many people talk about comedy as a real art form so it's nice when someone does. For example, here's Carlin on Charlie Rose (which somehow I missed on my collection of Charlie Rose comedian interviews).
And The Comic's Comic linked up his last interview which is really fascinating too. Below are some excerpts:
Carlin on inner-facing vs. outer-facing comedy (something discussed here recently):
Self-expression can be based on looking at the world and making observations about it or not. Comedy can also be based on describing one’s inner self—doing anecdotes, talking about your own fears. Woody Allen taps into a lot of self-analysis in his comedy. But I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. I think self-expression is present at all times, and whether or not you’re talking about the outside world or your responses to it depends on the moment and the subject.
On being an older standup:
A 20-year-old has a limited amount of data they’ve experienced, either seeing or listening to the world. At 70 it’s a much richer storage area, the matrix inside is more textured, and has more contours to it. So, observations made by a 20-year-old are compared against a data set that is incomplete. Observations made by a 60-year-old are compared against a much richer data set. And the observations have more resonance, they’re richer.
On coming at things from a different angle:
I have a talent to amuse and I have a way of finding the joke, a way of expressing things through exaggeration, interesting images, whatever goes in, whatever the parts are that go into making these things work...I try to come in through the side door, the side window, to come in from a direction they’re not expecting, to see something in a different way. That's the job that I give myself. So, how can I talk about something eminently familiar to them, on my terms, in a new way, that engages their imagination?
On being an outsider:
I really have never felt like a participant, I’ve always felt like an observer. Always. I only identified this in retrospect, way after the fact, that I have been on the outside, and I don’t like being on the inside. I don’t like being in their world. I’ve never felt comfortable there; I don’t belong to that.
On jesters becoming poets/philosophers:
The jester makes jokes, he’s funny, he makes fun, he ridicules. But if his ridicules are based on sound ideas and thinking, then he can proceed to the second panel, which is the thinker—he called it the philosopher. The jester becomes the philosopher, and if he does these things with dazzling language that we marvel at, then he becomes a poet too. Then the jester can be a thinking jester who thinks poetically.
On the audience as a single organism:
You know, you get 2500 people, acting as a single organism: the audience is a single organism and it’s you and it. And to have that feeling of mastery up there—it’s an assertion of power: here I am, I have the microphone, you came here for this express purpose. You’re sitting not in tables at nightclubs with waiters and glasses, you’re seated all facing forward in order to enjoy this and here I am, and wait till you hear this! There’s nothing like it in my experience that I could aspire to. It has as much a payoff as writing, which has a big payoff.
On choosing not to belong:
I have maybe five phone numbers. I’m not in show business because I don’t have to go to the meetings, I’m just not a part of it, I don’t belong to it. When you “belong” to something. You want to think about that word, “belong.” People should think about that: it means they own you. If you belong to something it owns you, and I just don’t care for that. I like spinning out here like one of those subatomic particles that they can’t quite pin down.
Good stuff. Also worth checking out: Todd Jackson posted this awesome voicemail that Carlin left him after a young Todd mailed George a package. Pretty fucking cool that he would do that. Reminds me of that phrase "Character is what we do when no one is watching."
Permalink | 6/25/2008
Permalink | 6/24/2008
Fast forward a year and you've got Rock stumping for Obama and Obama even citing Rock in a speech: He credited Rock during his Father's Day speech speech about the black community and said, “Don’t get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation. You’re supposed to graduate from eighth grade.”
Obama mentioned he was riffing off of Rock's classic bit on how "niggas always want credit for some shit they supposed to do." (Of course, Obama didn't use the word "nigga.") The Rock bit:
You know the worst thing about niggas? Niggas always want some credit for some shit they supposed to do. For some shit they just supposed to do: A nigga will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A nigga will say some shit like, "I take care of my kids."
You're supposed to, you dumb mothafucka. What are you talkin' about? What are you braggin' about? What kind of ignorant shit is that?
"I ain't never been to jail." What do you want, a cookie? You're not supposed to go to jail you low expectation having mothafucka.
Yeah, you've seen it before...but it's still a great bit (starts 2:10 in here):
[Warning: Wikipedia inspired rabbit hole ahead.] Actually, Rock backed off the bit a while ago saying he doesn't like the way actual racists embraced it. (Of course, he's not gonna stick with the same joke for a decade anyway.)
The controversy caused by Rock's constant use of the word nigga led him to remove the piece from his act. In a 60 Minutes interview, Rock said, "By the way, I've never done that joke again, ever, and I probably never will. 'Cause some people that were racist thought they had license to say nigger. So, I'm done with that routine."
Also interesting: In "Smart Mouth," Rock says the inspiration for the bit was the song "Us" by Ice Cube.
I stole more from Ice Cube than from any artist..."Niggas vs. Black People" is "Us" from Ice Cube's Death Certificate: "We will always sing the blues/Because all we talk about is hairstyles and tennis shoes." I took his song and made a joke out of it. My biggest joke is an Ice Cube album track.
Here's a sample of the lyrics to "Us":
You know us po niggas: nappy hair and big lips?
Four or five babies on your crotch
And you expect Uncle Sam to help us out?
We ain't nothin' but porchmonkeys
To the average bigot, redneck honky
You say comin' up is a must
But before we can come up, take a look at US
And one more cool bit from that article: Rock keeps an iPod that's all comedy and speeches.
I got a music iPod and a comedy iPod. One is all comedy and spoken word, every speech, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, whatever.
Q: When are you in the mood to listen to Winston Churchill?
When I'm on tour, when I'm getting ready. There's a lot of preachers in there, a lot of gospel stuff, a lot of stand-up. What I do, what a preacher does, what the president's doing, it's all the same -- you're picking your topic, and you're arguing your point. The president's trying to get an applause break; I'm trying to get a laugh. The preacher's trying to get an amen.
Definitely fits in with the way I saw Rock flesh out his bits. Read about that here:
How Chris Rock works out new material in a small club (3/27/07)
Chris Rock and I "share" a bill again (4/10/07)
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 6/20/2008
the night kitchen
332 e. 11th b/w 1st & 2nd aves.
Gilad Foss hosts
Matt Ruby! and...
The Beauty Bar Show
With Vince Averill, Jesse Popp, and more.
Jun 25 at 9pm: Slumber Party @ Ochi’s Lounge
Jun 30 at 7pm: The Lighthouse: Special Edition @ Kenny’s Castaways
Permalink | 6/20/2008
[Ducks via my nephew.]
Permalink | 6/19/2008
It's probably a good way for comics to think too: Be half a cartoon character up there. Act the way a caricaturist would draw you...ridiculously exaggerated, yet still based on truth/recognizable as you.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 6/18/2008
A fight breaks out during my standup set at the final edition of "The Kissing Booth." Featuring Rob Gorden, Anthony Devito, Brandy Barber, Sara Jo Allocco, Katina Corrao, and myself.
Notes: My nose scratch was the cue to set it off. I kept saying "Colicchio" because it was the safe word in a Top Chef joke I told earlier. I wasn't crazy about the teabagging part but hey, all's fair in love and fake brawls.
Permalink | 6/17/2008
Broadcast out of the heart of New York City, tune in to 87.9 FM Comical Radio Featuring the new generation of comedy talk radio. Hosted by Danny Lobell, Chris Iacono, Dave Kasten and Katy Olson. Featuring exclusvie interviews with top celebrity Stand-up comics like George Carlin, Chris Rock, Jackie Mason and more. Listen live every Friday from 1pm-3:30pm EST.
Let's see what happens.
Permalink | 6/16/2008
Next WAFH is tomorrow (Fri) night.
Permalink | 6/12/2008
And now it's time for another round...
WE'RE ALL FRIENDS HERE
Friday, June 13 at 8pm
The Creek and The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, NY
Comics do some standup and then hosts Matt Ruby and Mark Normand ask them inappropriate questions. Viva boundary issues!
Download this podcast to hear highlights from the first "We're All Friends Here" featuring Baron Vaughn, Tom McCaffrey, Sean Patton, and Brent Sullivan.
And here's a quickie video clip from the show:
Permalink | 6/11/2008
Avril: (on claims her skater-punk look is just a carefully planned image) Nobody tells me what to wear. Trust me. I'm a girl and I'm growing up. I wrote my first album when I was a 16-year-old skater who wore size 32 pants and hoodies. I was a tomboy. I had an older brother I looked up to, and I hung out with mostly guys. Now I'm into skirts. I'm growing up, I'm changing, I'm becoming a woman. That happens to girls - they become women.
Avril: (asked when the last time she had to smack someone down was) In a bar a few months ago. Some chick came up to me and got in my face and said something, so I kicked her in the box and shoved her. I don't go looking for fights, but if someone comes up to me and pushes me, I'm not going to take it.
I am so wanting to use the phrase "I kicked her in the box." Actually, let's Google it...
Oh yes, you knew it was gonna be good. But did you know it would be THIS good: Boxingscene.com: "girls kicking each other in the vag - what's that all about?" Best message board headline ever right there.
And here's the response from one poster:
I've heard on the grapevine that apparently this is a big "no no" as far as most girls go, that only really rough girls do it, and it's "not very nice".
So what's with that? How does it work? Why is it "not nice"? (I mean, I know it's NOT, but if I kicked a guy in the nuts I'd just think "I was a cunt for doing that", it wouldn't irreperably damage my psyche, you know?)
Once I saw two girls roughing each other up and they took turns to knee each other in the vag. I went over to break it up, but had to stop and turn away when I realised I'd got a hard on.
Then I read about Avril Lavigne getting her music slagged off by a girl in a club, so "I kicked her in the box". For a time I fantasised about being a girl so Avril Lavigne could kick me in the vag for it. Then I got a hard on.
Is this wrong?
Yes, this is wrong. Very, very wrong. And "not very nice" too.
Permalink | 6/10/2008
Constantly raise questions and answer them. Questions keep people intrigued.
One big tool is a moment of reflection, the point of the story. An anecdote that kills with no moment of reflection means nothing. Good stories flip back and forth between action and reflection.
The hard part is finding a decent story.
Throw out half of what you try: Abandoning crap is key.
You have to aggressively kill stuff to get to the good stuff. Things that are really good are because someone is being ruthless.
Failure is a huge part of success. If you're not failing all the time, you won't get super lucky.
Your taste is key. You need to know that your early work will fall short. You will fail. You need to do a huge volume of work. You have to turn out work on a regular basis. That's the only way to close the gap between your actual work and your ambitions.
Everything is more compelling when you talk like a human being instead of a broadcaster.
A story is like a conversation: You're telling the story of the other person (or you're interacting with other people) but you're also telling a little bit about yourself in the story.
Permalink | 6/09/2008
Permalink | 6/06/2008
I was talking to another comic the other night about this. I think he is a really strong writer. But I said I'd like to see him be weirder onstage.
See, he's already got a kinda geeky persona and I think it'd endear him to audiences if he went even further with it.
His response was something like "I've got some far out jokes that I don't tell because I'm scared they're too weird. So maybe I'll try them."
I explained that I wasn't talking about weird jokes, I was talking about acting weird. Embracing silliness. Dressing funny, talking funny, moving funny, whatever.
I think he got where I'm coming from but I'm not sure. The thing is when you're a writer, you always think writing is the answer: "If I want to be weirder, I should write weirder jokes."
But sometimes there's only so far writing can take you. I wasn't talking to this comic about writing weirder, I was talking about acting weirder.
I mentioned Zach Galifianakis as an example. The beard, the illfitting polo shirts, the random temper tantrums, etc. They're all there for a reason. Zach is a brilliant writer. But he also acts and looks really funny too. Emo Phillips is another example of a great writer who looks and sounds kooky.
Standup is two trains: writing and performing. If you're not using both of them effectively, you're doing it with one hand tied behind your back.
Permalink | 6/05/2008
Tex-Mex and Chinese Food. What, no room for Italian in there? Best of all: The name of the place is "Food House."
Permalink | 6/04/2008
Women who knit on the subway are the female equivalent of men who attend ComicCon: They are both publically admitting failure with the opposite gender. / People always say they tried gay stuff "one time at camp." Where are all these gay camps? I went to camp and no one ever hit on me. Now I've got a complex that I was a way ugly 10 year old. / I heard someone say the other day: "Fan fiction is kinda sad." Do we really need the "kinda" in there? That's like saying the Pope is "kinda religious."/ I know a girl who uses rhyming nicknames to describe people like Chatty Kathy and Skinny Minny. I'm trying to sell her on Asshole Fredasshole, but no luck yet. / The Grammys are music awards for people who don't actually like music. / "The Bachelor: London Calling" was a strange title since "London Calling" is a Clash song and The Clash doesn't really seem like a good fit for The Bachelor. It's like having "My Super Sweet 16: The Blowin' in the Wind edition." / I'm always amused by the "rockers" on American Idol. It's like watching the Disney version of Aerosmith. (Oh wait, Aerosmith IS the Disney version of Aerosmith now.) These guys are just barely dangerous. They are related to rock 'n roll in the same way Robitussin is related to heroin. / It's important to realize commercial success and artistic quality have little relationship to each other. / The problem with Passover: Too many questions. / Cottonelle has new ads that say "Be kind to your behind." It's the first time I've seen a toilet paper ad that actually mentions your ass in any way. My suggestion for the next one: "Cottonelle: Back that azz up!" / Times New Roman is for pussies.
Permalink | 6/03/2008
He opened with a good 10-12 minutes of riffing about the Meatpacking District (he thinks it's great because he loves cocaine!), the name Comix (the x lets you know you're in for a surprise!), and the odd makeup of the crowd (called out one table for looking like they couldn't get into the Sex and the City premiere).
The place was pretty packed but I was surprised that some of the audience seemed to have no idea who PFT was. I forget that some people just randomly show up at a comedy club on a Saturday night. One guy in the front row even fell asleep which PFT seemed to find extremely amusing. It was fun to watch him handle people talking in the crowd, going to the bathroom, and other shit like that.
He made a big deal of the fact that he was fucking around upfront and teased the audience about when he would start written material. When he eventually launched into it, he gave it a big Michael Buffer-like intro: "Ladies and gentlemen, HERE COMES THE MATERIAL!" Later on he said, "I must tell the stories on the piece of paper or else I will crumble to dust."
The material was all really solid. An extended bit on the Magic Castle was probably my fave. And he even bravely tackled a long bit about his mom's funeral. He intro'd it with a warning along the lines of: "When you hear the opening statement of this story, you will say, "I do not like where this is headed at all, if that is the beginning.' But wait until you see how i weave my magic!" And he pulled it off.
He even got a round of applause for his pinstriped suit and nice shoes after audience members yelled out some comments. I've never seen someone's outfit get a round of applause before.
The great thing about PFT: He's operating on multiple levels. There's this whole highbrow/lowbrow thing going on where he sounds like some snotty intellectual while also mocking people like that at the same time. There's something there for comedy snobs yet people who don't know shit about comedy can also enjoy it too.
And the musical way he changes up his voice and rhythms is really masterful too. He gets away with telling 5-10 minute stories because even when he's not telling a jokey joke, he's still funny. It's just there in his delivery. Like when says, "Oh, folks!" Just that and ya can't help but laugh. Impressive.
He came out after the show and shook some hands at the bar at Comix. I wasn't exactly sober and for some reason this is what I said to open our conversation: "I'd like to lavish some praise on you in a non-creepy way." He was a good sport but, hmm, is there anything more creepy than someone telling you they're not going to be creepy? Gotta work on my approach!
Related: Sarah Hayley recaps the early show at AST and says the crowd was weird at that one too:
Wow. That was...bizarre. I was at the 8:30 show tonight (Saturday) and the crowd was just awful. Paul was SO great, I had never seen his standup and it was a very funny set. However, this “jaded soccer mom”, as she proudly called herself, was a cunt and a half. The show was a bit slow to start, but not unfunny-- just mellow. Paul said he was going to start his rehearsed set soon (“getting to the paper”) and this whiny bitch shouts a minute later, “Do the paper!” First of all, shut up. Second of all, she was the only one in the room not enjoying the first part. Paul handled this moment, along with the other THREE times she yelled uncalled-for rude crap, like the pro that he is, and it became its own joke. She was still incredibly annoying the entire night though, and I couldn’t ignore her since I was sitting right there. She even admitted that she didn’t have any clue who Paul was. PFT! He’s PFT! How do you not know who he is? Seriously! Even if you just got dragged along to the show, you couldn’t have at least googled him? Christ. I was having trouble focusing on the show because I was so busy intensely loathing her. And then there were the two drunks up front, who ended up just being highly entertaining and great fodder for Paul’s improvising. So, to sum it up, fabulous show, god-awful crowd. I think from now on I’m sticking to Rififi and UCBT, I never want to go to another two-drink minimum club again.
I agree a non-clubby venue would be a nice, um, alternative next time.
Permalink | 6/02/2008
Jun 1 (8pm) Writer’s Room @ Rififi
Jun 13 (8pm) We’re All Friends Here @ The Creek and The Cave
Jun 17 (9pm) Don’t Touch Me There @ Ochi’s Lounge (Comix)
Jun 22 (9pm) Beauty Bar Show @ Beauty Bar
Jun 25 (9pm) Slumber Party @ Ochi’s Lounge (Comix)
Jun 29 (8pm) Flying Carpet @ Rififi
Upcoming dates always listed at my MySpace page.
Permalink | 6/01/2008