Last year, Jon Stewart took his first leave of absence from hosting The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to make his directorial debut with Rosewater. The film, bought by Open Road Films, will finally see the light of day with a Nov. 7 release date. Rosewater is based on the true story of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari, who travelled to Iran to interview presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Moussavi in 2009. Moussavi at the time was running against incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bahari was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard police after selling footage of post-election riots. He was then tortured and interrogated by a group led by a man calling himself “Rosewater.” Bahari then wrote a book about his trials, Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival, on which Stewart based the script for Rosewater.
The late night host stayed close to the story as it unfolded, covering it nearly every night on The Daily Show. He debuted the drama to potential buyers in Cannes and will finally show everyone his directing chops this fall. While he was away, Daily Show correspondent John Oliver took over hosting duties on the fake news program and stunned viewers and industry decision makers. Based on his spectacular job filling in for Stewart, HBO offered Oliver his current weekly news satire Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Jim Gaffigan’s single-camera pilot has finally found itself a home. TV Land gave the show a series order for a 10-episode first season. The Gaffigan Show will debut in 2015 on the Viacom-owned network.
“I’m thrilled that TV Land is giving us this opportunity to do this show that Peter [Tolan], Jeannie and I have been fine-tuning for three years,” said the Dad Is Fat author. (Jeannie Gaffigan is Jim’s wife and writing/producing partner). Also part of the exciting news, Comedy Central will air the new episodes within a week of their TV Land premieres. Comedy Central is not footing any of the production costs and is simply promoting the show. The Gaffigan Show was developed by Sony TV and given a pilot order by CBS two years in a row. Comedy fans worried a few months ago as series orders were announced in bulk and neither a pass nor a greenlight was mentioned in regards to the comedian’s pilot.
The sitcom, which will shoot in New York, is based on Gaffigan’s real life as a father of five children, stand-up comedian and relentless snacker. The Gaffigan Show will welcome back from the second pilot Ashley Williams, who plays Jim’s wife, Adam Goldberg as his best friend and Michael Ian Black as his wife’s meddling confidante.
In addition to The Gaffigan Show, Gaffigan will release his second book Food: A Love Story on Oct. 21.
If Sarah Palin launches her own online news channel called The Sarah Palin Channel you know that Stephen Colbert is going to have plenty to say about it. And last night on The Colbert Report, our favorite fake conservative pundit said a lot. Segueing from another story, Colbert began, “Let’s turn to something that evidently will never die and cannot be destroyed…Sarah Palin” to huge applause from the studio audience.
“I have always been a huge fan of Sarah Palin,” Colbert continued. “She’s a strong leader with a proven history of selflessness. In the midst of her 2008 campaign, she took the time to help out a struggling senior with severely impaired judgment,” referencing her vice presidential run under presidential nominee John McCain. “And this week, in her continued quest to remind American’s of her existence, Palin announced an exciting new project,” Colbert said, tossing to a video of Palin explaining The Sarah Palin Channel.
“This is all part of Sarah’s continuing mission to protect our freedoms at any cost— specifically $9.95 a month,” Colbert says. “Sure, that’s more than Netflix, but it’s just as good as House of Cards with even more threatening monologues into the camera.” But the segment wasn’t complete until Colbert surprised viewers with his own bit of news—Colbert purchased the url TheSarahPalinChannel.com; the former governor’s site is SarahPalinChannel.com. We’re not sure who the hell is advising her, but Web devlopment 101 dictates you buy the url you’re going to use as well as all obvious variations— you know, so Stephen Colbert actually has to work a little in order to make you look like the fool we all know you are.
As of now, TheSarahPalinChannel.com lives on a Tumblr page with the tag line: “The only Sarah Palin Channel on the internet with a definite article in the address!” Then there’s a link to Colbert Report’s June 6, 2011 segment “Paul Revere’s Famous Ride,” wherein Colbert hilariously unloads on Palin after the former Alaska governor proved during an interview that she didn’t really understand what Paul Revere actually did. Check out last night’s full Colbert Report segment below!
Since the first Night at the Museum movie hit theaters in 2006, the franchise has made nearly $1 billion at the box office worldwide; that, of course includes the 2009 installment Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. So it’s no surprise the third movie — Secret of the Tomb — is almost upon us. And judging by the just released first trailer, writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon and director Shawn Levy have created yet another action-packed, fun-filled family comedy. The trailer reveals our favorite museum security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) travels to London for his next adventure. We also find Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson and Ricky Gervais making appearances. Check it out below and tell us what you think! Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb premieres in theaters on Dec. 19.
MONTREAL – “Yes, there are problems.”
The cold opening to Marc Maron’s intimate Place des Arts show drew huge laughs. The line was unexpected, yet not – after all, Maron traffics in problems, to heartwarming and introspective effect. And indeed, we really couldn’t conceive of a more appropriate sendoff to our week in Just For Laughs-land than an evening spent in the company of Maron and his character-defining problems.
Spending much of the set perched on a stool, Maron’s hour-long performance cascaded through a series of hilarious events. Much like the self-professed “river of rage” constantly running through him (“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” he punctuated while miming paddling a kayak), Maron’s particular strengths as a comedian pertain directly to his ability to go with the flow of a show’s natural rhythms. Several audience members shouted non-threatening responders to a few of Maron’s interludes, which the nimble-minded comic easily incorporated directly into his act. One particularly memorable moment occurred when an audience member with a boisterous laugh continued filling the room with guffaws long after all other laughter died down. “I can’t imagine what your neighbors must think,” Maron said to the man’s significant other, with a knowing wink.
Beyond engaging with the audience, Maron came prepared with a quiverful of arrow-sharp material – some new and relatively untried, some classic Marc. From compulsive ice cream eating to the ups and downs of Skype sex, nobody can work a room to full neurotic perfection quite like Marc Maron. French or English, anger is a language everyone can speak, and Maron’s fluency in the universal stuff of human vulnerableness is exactly the kind of memories we’re excited to leave Montreal this year with. Au revoir, Monsieur Maron, and you, fair heart of Quebec. We laughed until we cried, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Peyton Manning ‘Rocky Top’ Dancing Video Amazing… Denver Broncos Quarterback Dances To Tennessee Volunteers Song At Practice (VIDEO)
Peyton Manning may be one of the hardest workers in the NFL, but that does not stop him from having a little fun at training camp. Video of the Denver Broncos quarterback dancing to “Rocky Top” has gone viral.
Each day at Broncos training camp, one member of the team gets to pick the music played during the team stretching period. Naturally, Peyton Manning paid tribute to his alma mater, University of Tennessee, with the school’s unofficial fight song, “Rocky Top.”
“It was his day to pick the music so it wasn’t a surprise to me what it was going to be,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller told Denver Post of Peyton Manning’s “Rocky Top” selection.“It’s just a part of it. When it’s my day I think you’ll be asking other guys about what I played and what they thought about what I played. It was Peyton’s day so it was all good.”
It wasn’t long before Peyton Manning started dancing to “Rocky Top.” Ever the professional, he only stopped to groove for about 20 seconds before going back to his stretching routine. But thankfully, his hilarious moves were captured on video.
Watch Peyton Manning dance to “Rocky Top” at Denver Broncos practice.
But Peyton Manning was not the only member of the Denver Broncos to dance along to “Rocky Top” during practice. Wide receiver Wes Welker and Tennessee alum Britton Colquitt also had fun with the quarterback’s musical choice.
Watch Briton Colquitt (in No. 4 jersey) dance to “Rocky Top.”
And even Wyoming alum Mitch Unrein, whose college squad beat the Volunteers at Tennessee, tried to copy Peyton Manning’s dance moves.
“I like that song because it reminds me of when Wyoming went out to Tennessee and we beat them 13-7, believe it or not,” the Broncos defensive tackle said. “I was giving (former Volunteer defensive end) Malik (Jackson grief) about it. Yeah, they played that song in our locker room for a week straight before we went out there so it was just stuck in my head. But yeah Peyton had a nice dance out there. I was trying to mimic him a little bit but I just couldn’t do a good job doing that.”
As if Sarah Palin did not have enough media exposure, the former Vice Presidential candidate has decided to start her own online video channel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this led to the hilarious #PalinTVShows Twitter trend.
“I want you to talk directly to me,” Sarah Palin said when announcing her new online channel. “That’s what I’m most anxious about — hearing from you. Together, we’ll go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter.”
The Sarah Palin Channel will allow fans to interact with the former Alaska governor while discussing current events issues. The subscription-based network will also include “fun” clips from Palin’s home life, guest interviews, and behind-the-scenes access to various political speeches and rallies.
Watch Sarah Palin announce her new online channel below.
Indeed, the website for the Sarah Palin Channel proves the politician will not be shy about sharing her opinions with her subscribers. The site features a constantly-rising tally of the country’s debt and a countdown to the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. The home page also includes plenty of preview videos touching on everything from the possible impeachment of Obama to her strategy for dealing with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The Sarah Palin Channel will cost $995 per month or $99.95 for a full year. For perspective, a Netflix account costs just $8.99 a month, though Palin’s price is comparable to a similar channel run by Glenn Beck.
“We’ll go directly to the root of the problems confronting America,” Sarah Palin continued his the introduction of her channel. “We’ll talk about the issues that the mainstream media won’t talk about, and we’ll look at the ideas that I think Washington doesn’t want you to hear. And we’ll be inspiring people from across our great nation.”
At the moment, it’s unclear whether Palin’s latest foray into media will be profitable. But much of Twitter is choosing to mock, rather than celebrate, the Sarah Palin Channel. The hashtag #PalinTVShows trended online as word of this new venture went viral. And even though Palin’s channel will focus primarily on news, many of the tweets made fun of the former governor while parodying old and current television shows. Below are some of our favorites.
#PalinTVShows This Old House You Can See From Russia
— Paul Lander (@paul_lander) July 28, 2014
I Love Lucy But Deport Ricky #PalinTVShows
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) July 28, 2014
New Sarah Palin network programing: Moose Burgers Made Easy, Keeping up with the Russians + Maverick Housewives of Wasilla #PalinTVShows
— Lauren Sivan (@LaurenSivan) July 28, 2014
The Big Benghazi Theory #PalinTVShows
— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) July 28, 2014
Two and a Half Moose #palintvshows
— Jonathan Bourne (@JonathanBourne) July 28, 2014
How You Helped Me Deport Your Mother #PalinTVShows
— ️ (@BornAgainVagina) July 28, 2014
Peter Griffin meets Homer Simpson and the rest of the yellow-skinned family in an epic cross-over episode of The Simpsons this Fall. Fox released a five-minute trailer for the episode at the San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. The Family Guy folks find themselves lost in Springfield and becoming friendly with the Simpsons while indulging in a series of meta jokes. Typical Simpsons humor ensues, as Bart teaches Stewie how to make a prank phone call while Peter teaches Homer how to set up for a cut-away gag. There’s a battle of beers, a hepatitis joke and an amazing cameo. The trailer has received both criticism and praise. You’ll have to judge for yourself during the special one-hour episode The Simpsons Guy on Sep. 28 on Fox. Until then, check out the trailer below!
On this very special episode of The Laughspin Podcast, I sat down with the mighty Judd Apatow on the set of Trainwreck, the movie written by and starring Amy Schumer, which Apatow is currently directing and producing. We chatted inside Apatow’s trailer on Staten Island, where Schumer and co-star Bill Hader were shooting a driving sequence. Apatow and I got into a great many things, including his return to stand-up comedy, working with Amy Schumer an upcoming episode of The Simpsons that Apatow wrote, and so much more.
For your pleasure, I’ve pulled out a few chunks from Apatow’s answers to give you a taste. But to fully enjoy our conversation, you’ll have to listen to the complete episode, which I’ve lovingly embedded below. You can also check it out on iTunes.
On working with Amy Schumer:
Amy is a fantastic writer. She really has a lot she wants to say, which is the best kind of person to collaborate with— someone who has opinions and visions and a great, strong comic point of view. She wrote this script fast compared to a lot of other people and she’s worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever collaborated with. She’s just been a pleasure. She’s really funny and really smart. She’s been doing her sketch show so she’s very skilled with production and acting and everything that goes into something like this. She hasn’t made a film before, but I like that. You’re so into it when it’s your first movie. You get a level of passion that’s ridiculously high.
On returning to stand-up comedy:
I had a blast doing it, but I don’t know how good I was. I did it from the time I was 17 until I was about 25, 26. And then I just got busy working on The Ben Stiller Show and The Larry Sanders Show and there just didn’t seem to be any time to focus on it. I felt like the universe was telling me I was probably a better writer than a stand-up comedian. But now that I’m older I have some stories and more things to say. It’s fun to do when you don’t have to worry about feeding yourself by doing stand-up. That puts a lot of pressure on you to be funny— if you can’t get the clubs to like you and book you, you won’t be able to pay your rent. So I find it really freeing and fun. I like doing it because there’s no purpose to it other than it’s a way to express myself. I’m not attempting to appear anywhere – on TV or anything – it’s just a moment between me and the audience. And it forces me to think about what I’m thinking about.
On listening to old interviews for his upcoming book, which will feature conversations he conducted with legendary comedians while he was in high school.
It’s pretty painful because I’m so young and I have a very strong Long Island accent. It’s pretty rough. I wasn’t very smart. I wasn’t a very smart kid. I had decent taste in comedians. You know how sometimes you hear about kids, ‘He wrote a novel when he was 12,’ I was not that kid. I was an idiot. And it shows in most of the interviews.
On the direction of his movies:
When we did This is 40, for some people it was hard to watch because we’re talking about a lot of real life problems. And for other people, they said, ‘Thank God, it made me feel so much less crazy knowing that other people are dealing with the same obstacles to happiness.’ That’s what I like to do with all the movies, like ‘This is what’s kind of complicated for me. Here’s how I’m struggling through it, and maybe if I’m honest enough about it, someone else feels a little better about how it effects them and their lives.’
On feeling the need to sometimes mentally check out of adult responsibilities:
I think you think thoughts like that when you’re married. Like, is there something I can do to myself where I get injured enough to be left alone for a period of time? Like, if I threw myself off a balcony and just broke my leg, everyone would have to take care of me for six months… Sometimes I’ll see a celebrity go to rehab for ‘exhaustion’ and I’ll think, ‘What do I need to do to be allowed to do that?’ Do I need to just pull a gun on the street corner somewhere? What would get me the Exhaustion Vacation?
On The Simpsons episode he wrote:
I went to watch them record it recently. And I have to say as a comedy nerd, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. I went to the table read and a couple days later, just in a small studio, there are The Simpsons— all of them right there… I don’t know if people realize how funny those people are. To watch Dan Castellaneta just do it. And to see how much of that show is brilliant because of his brilliance and because of the brilliance of all the actors. The choices he’s making and the timing is stunning. I was blown away. I felt like I was watching Jackie Gleason shoot The Honeymooners.
Each week on the Laughspin Podcast, Dylan Gadino and Mike Gogel bring you comedy news, the most recent audio clips from the comedy world and a few laughs (and the occasional special interview episodes). Be sure to subscribe to the Laughspin Podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘Mandatory Fun’ Hits Number 1 … Video Shows ‘Tacky’ Singer’s Reaction When Tom Green Reveals New Album Tops Billboard Charts
It has been more than 50 years since a comedy album reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart. So it’s easy to see why “Weird” Al Yankovic did not expect his latest record, Mandatory Fun, to hit No. 1. When the comedy singer received the news on Tom Green Live, he was clearly in shock.
“Weird Al” appeared on the AXS TV series last week, before the Billboard chart was even printed. Green then surprised the singer with a framed printout of the rankings, featuring Mandatory Fun at No. 1. “Weird Al” was nearly brought to tears when he discovered his accomplishment.
“Wow. Wow,” “Weird Al” said when presented with the proof of his No. 1 album. “Thank you. I’m having a moment… this is really amazing.”
“It doesn’t feel real,” replied “Weird Al.” “This is something that I never thought was possible. I never thought in my wildest I would be looking at something like that. There’s never been a comedy album practically my entire lifetime at the top of the charts. You just thought that was not ever going to happen. It’s pretty crazy.”
Watch “Weird Al” Yankovic react to his No. 1 album below.
Indeed, the last comedy album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 before “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun was Allan Sherman’s 1963 record My Son, The Nut. The closest efforts came from Cheech & Chong and Steve Martin, who each reached No. 2 in the 1970s.
Ironically, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s first No. 1 album came a year after the comedian announced that he would focus on digital singles instead of full records once his current contract expired. And the success of Mandatory Fun has not changed his strategy.
“I continue to think the same things that I thought prior to the album going to Number 1,” “Weird Al” Yankovic said. “I still think that albums for me are not the most efficient or intelligent way for me to present my music to the public. I would prefer to get my songs out in a more timely fashion.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s use of digital media likely helped Mandatory Fun reach No. 1 on Billboard. The singer released one music video a day for eight straight days to celebrate the album’s release. This allowed some of his hilarious parodies, like the incredibly catchy “Tacky” (based off Pharrell’s “Happy”) , and the grammar nerd’s anthem “Word Crimes” (a takeoff of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”) to go viral and fuel album sales.
“There was always the danger people would get tired of it, by the third day I was wondering if people would be going, ‘Oh no, more Al,’” Yankovic said of his Mandatory Fun strategy. “[Instead] it kind of had a snowball effect. By the end of the eight days there was a little bit of a Pavlovian effect as well, because when it ended, people were like, ‘Where’s the “Weird Al” video?”
Watch “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” video below.
MONTREAL – With the venerable Judy Gold acting as opener, Kathleen Madigan’s headlining show could really have been a double bill for outstanding, fiery comics in peak form. As arbiters of bitingly hilarious, personalized comedy, the two women have been flexing powerful comic muscles for decades now, and it’s refreshing to see that neither has lost steam as the years have gone on.
Taking the stage first for an unarguably strong half hour set, Gold spent the better part of her stage time taking the audience into her twisted romantic relationship with a therapist — “every simple question involves an hour of analysis” — and dissecting her equally twisted relationship with her mother. Gold even played a voicemail from her 92-year-old momma over the mic – “Hi Judy. I have nothing. Could you bring me a block of cheese?” And no, Momma Gold hasn’t transformed into a mouse any time recently.
For her part, Madigan power-housed through an impressive hour-long set that included a particularly memorable impression of her best friend Lewis Black; these days, Madigan might even be doing Black better than Black himself, given the recent mellowing of our favorite stage-rager (further reading: Wednesday’s JFL coverage.) Madigan also worked through some uproarious Irish Catholic family material – most notably, the fact that her brother, John Patrick Madigan, can’t get DIRECTV because their father, John Patrick Madigan, refuses to pay a $9 movie fee.
In all, the two ladies left audiences gasping with sheer delight. And really, isn’t that the whole point of Just For Laughs – top-of-the-game comedians, serving up what they do best, one room full of indelibly sated super fans at a time.
MONTREAL – As one of the most exciting new sitcoms to hit the major networks in a years, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has quickly garnered a well-deserved reputation for being smart, hip, and extremely hilarious. Therefore, it’s perhaps not too surprising to see that the remarkable cast chemistry translates to something equally as electric offscreen as well as on. Sitting down for a panel discussion of the show with New York Times culture columnist Dave Itzkoff playing moderator, the cast and executive producer/series creator Michael Schur delved deep into the show’s origins and creative history. As a Saturday Night Live alum, Schur was already connected to Andy Samberg by proxy (though their tenures at the comedy institution never overlapped), and the rest of the cast fell into place organically, thanks to stellar casting director work.
Quite possibly the most interesting revelation to unveil itself during this hour long Q&A was the notion of race and gender identity – or rather, lack thereof, when it came to originally writing the characters and choosing actors to fill their shoes. According to Schur, most of the ensemble was initially written without specified gender or race criteria, and some of the actors even read for roles that ended up molding into opposite gendered characters. While diversity wasn’t a primary objective, the show’s creators knew that they had to create a realistic looking police force – a staff full of stuffy white guys just wasn’t going to cut it. The ensemble show stars Samberg, along with Andre Braugher, Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio and more.
But hands down the best portion of the panel discussion was just watching the cast interact in platonic ease with each other. It’s clear they’ve all become close behind the cameras, and teasing ran rampant. Chelsea Peretti even let slip that Joe Lo Truglio had walked into a glass door earlier in the day. As Joe himself said, we should probably expect to see the exact same thing happen to his character later on in season two.
MONTREAL – Lewis Black has never been one to shy away from a good vein-pulsing, temple-throbbing holler fest, and that’s exactly the type of forthright rage that keeps fans coming back for another dose of anger, one sold-out show after another. Which is why it was so surprising – and perhaps curiously refreshing – to see Black in a more somber state at Just For Laughs this year. This is not to say that the master shouter wasn’t still in peak form, crushing nearly every asking-for-it group, from ISIS to the meatheads in Congress, but something definitely has mellowed within Black.
Taking the stage Wednesday night for a nearly 90-minute set, he steered off his usual political territory to rhapsodize on a recent colonoscopy experience (let’s just say, Lewis advises you to bring reading material when doing bathroom prep the night before), and indeed delved into more personal, conversational bits then I had yet observed from this connoisseur of righteous rage. Still, Black was not without his trademark moments – one particularly memorable interlude found him pulling off his glasses and jumping up and down (he’s spry, you guys) – and the audience eagerly lapped up the offerings, whether those offerings were singed or insightfully subdued.
Indeed, it would be difficult to walk away from such a strong performance, courtesy of a comedian in peak form, and not feel sated from top to bottom. No subject matter is safe, but the deeply satisfying belly laughs certainly are guaranteed.
MONTREAL — Every year, comedian Andy Kindler delivers the State of the Industry Address at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. It’s one of the biggest highlights of the weeks long festival as fellow comedians, agents, managers, producers, media and more gather to listen intensely to Kindler, who has made complaining into a comedic art form. SiriusXM Comedy was there to capture the audio and well, we’re here to lovingly embed it below. Enjoy!
There’s been handful of truly great insult comedians throughout the history of comedy– Don Rickles, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross come to mind. But no one but Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has mastered the art of the insult (while being a rubber canine) the way Triumph has. And that is why it would be an amazing honor to be insulted by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. And that is why we’re telling you about the opportunity to do just that.
Check it out. Rob Kutner and the Levinson Brothers, the brains behind the recently released 2776 album – an epic musical comedy concept album about America’s past, present and future – are giving you the opportunity to be insulted by Triumph the Insult Comic dog on video to be posted right here on Laughspin! And you’d be getting insulted for a good cause. Kutner and the Levinson Brothers produced 2776, which includes performances by Patton Oswalt, Neko Case, Paul F. Tompkins, Aimee Mann and literally 78 others – to benefit OneKid OneWorld, an organization that provides much needed educational opportunities in impoverished countries around the world.
So how do you win the ‘Win A Personal Insult From Triumph’ contest? There are three ways to enter. First, you can buy the 2776 album here; you’ll be automatically entered. Second, you can simply get on Twitter and tweet at the @2776updates saying why you should be insulted, using the hashtag #TriumphInsultMeBecause. Finally, if you happen to be at San Diego Comic-Con, which runs through July 27, you can find the Cyborg Patriot from the Year 2776 (Rob Kutner, pictured) and he’ll sign you up.
That’s it! So, get those entries going because you want to contribute something to a great cause– but mostly because you’re a piece of shit and you need Triumph to tell you that.
MONTREAL – The New Faces of Comedy, a beloved Just For Laughs tradition, is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated showcases to grace the Montreal mega-comedy festival each and every year. More than giving under-the-radar comedians a chance to shine among more established peers, the New Faces lineup also affords fans of comedy the opportunity to make the acquaintance of stand-up performers they might otherwise never have encountered. Sure, most people attend JFL for the marquee headliners, but in my opinion, its the surprise favorites that make this fest so remarkable. And that’s where the New Faces come in. So, without further adieu, let’s meet this year’s breakout stars of group two of the New Faces. Stay tuned for a review of group one.
Group two kicked off with Hasan Minhaj, who already has some significant name recognition in his own right. Minhaj used most of his stage time to recount an unexpected brush with Michael Jordan. Minhaj set the scene expertly– here he was, clad head to toe in Jordan apparel, ready to confront his hero face to face. Audiences even got treated to a little rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” – as you might expect, this is what was playing in his head while the air man strolled by. [Ed. note: We've been covering Hasan for years because we're awesome: Hasan interview from 2011; and one from 2009.]
Following Minhaj was Michelle Wolf, (pictured) who volleyed off of Minhaj’s Jordan worship with one hilariously ad-libbed line: “Michael Jordan has been on the Wheaties box eight times, which is more times than anyone has ever had Wheaties.” The rest of Wolf’s set hit every note just right, with quips on everything from the Kennedy assassination (“everybody remembers where they were, but nobody ever says ‘I was masturbating on the couch’”) to her lamentably single state. Bold, brassy, and hilarious, Wolf ended up being one of my favorites, and will certainly be a new face to watch closely.
Ryan O’Flanagan graced the stage third, and kept the evening’s momentum going strong with an affable, everyman charm. For his set, O’Flanagan riffed on the dangers of Mountain Dew (memo to guys: it may lower your sperm count), as well as his own sad pube situation (turns out, after getting his own place, his former roommates weren’t actually the ones clogging up the shower drain every morning.) Given the quality and caliber of his humor, it’s not hard to picture O’Flanagan as a future beleaguered dad on America’s next favorite sitcom.
Following O’Flanagan was Monroe Martin, who turned the tenor of the evening into something a bit more personal with material on his background as a foster kid. “The idea behind foster families is that you take a kid from a home with abuse, molestation, and neglect, and put them in another home with all the exact same stuff,” he quipped, to big laughs. Martin even veered off into blood familial territory by recounting how his mom used to make him shoplift things for her, as in, “We’re going to play a game called ‘Hold this.’” If you’ve been paying attention to the new season of Last Comic Standing, you’ll recognize Martin as one of the finalists. He was booted during last week’s episode but only after battling comedian Joe Machi in two unsecheduled rounds of joke slinging.
The next performer, Jesse Elias, gave arguably the most unusual, if downright weird set. Looking down at his feet the entire time, Elias perfectly affected the awkward, nerdcore comedic voice that so often resonates with fans of indie comedy. “My father always said, Jesse, you can be successful if you always make eye contact. You see how that’s working out,” he quipped, to uproarious laughter. Given the caliber of his mumbly but decidedly hilarious performance, we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Elias, even if he’s not returning the gaze.
As Justine Marino took the stage, the first words out of her mouth attuned the audience to her single status. Oh, and donuts. The girl loves her donuts. “If I’m going to be a stereotype, might as well go all the way with it,” she mused, before ending things on the evening’s only abortion joke. (Hey, it was bound to stray into controversial territory at some point, right?) Perhaps the best part of Marino’s set was her scrupulous honesty about her single status, and the stigma surrounding the presence of an unattached female who’s not afraid to talk about it. We’re betting she’ll be beating back offers in just a short amount of time.
Clad in a laser-eyed cat shirt (exactly as cool as it sounds, by the way), Jake Weisman took over mic duty next, and delivered a few cool lines about Michael Sam doing for the NFL what Jackie Robinson did for baseball – “now it’s mostly minority players. Maybe in a few years the NFL will be completely gay.” You mean all that butt slapping on the field has been purely accidental this whole time? Leave it to the guy in the laser-eyed cat shirt to call out the not-so-obvious and twist it into something hilarious and profound.
Whitmer Thomas was responsible for perhaps the night’s most unexpected moment – bringing Wanda Sykes into the New Faces show. Well, not exactly Miss Wanda, though a surprise appearance from her would have been pretty killer. Rather, Thomas professed his passion for creating characters and doing impersonations, and thusly obliged the intrigued audience by breaking into an impeccable impression of Sykes’ instantly recognizable drawl. Coupled with his Blink-182 sendup, millennials may just have found their man for the foreseeable comic future.
If you’ve ever found yourself fantasizing about restraining order sex – that is, sex with a person who has taken out legal grounds against you – then Drew Michael is the kind of comic who speaks your language. But even more than that, Michael’s performance on the New Faces stage pushed and challenged the audience with a long-form, meandering joke, in which Michael adopted the personality of a congressman waxing idiotic about infrastructure dismantling. The piece definitely pushed audience members to follow Michael along his unconventional train of thought, but ultimately proved worth it. Blessed be the comic who can deviate so easily from the setup-punch line formula to great effect. We also highly recommend you pick up Michael’s album Lovely.
Eliza Skinner brought a very strong energy to the stage, even as she was discussing encounters with her ex-fiance and the woes of the dating game. “As soon as I had that ring on, it was like no, fire,” she opined, drawing huge laughs. Also notable from Skinner’s set was her bit on talking with animals. For the record, it would be her preferred super power of choice, even if the conversations were likely to only revolve around getting fed. (But really, who wouldn’t want to discuss that at length?)
Last up was Matteo Lane, who opened with an operatic vocal warm up and easily segued into the embracing of his own proud gayness. Michael Jordan again popped into the evening’s festivities, as Lane noted, from a family home movie, “someone said, Michael Jordan rules, to which my older brother, then nine, responded, if anyone rules, it’s Janet Jackson.” Two gays in one family can be unusual, but one uproarious comedian is enough to leave any parents exceptionally proud. We hope to keep seeing more of Matteo, even if Starbucks baristas can’t manage to get his name just right. (It’s Matteo, not Potato.)
There might be some beef at this year’s Emmys ceremony between comedy stars Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K. The two men are both nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, both for their titular characters in Derek and Louie, respectively. Gervais appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday night and made quite the statement. When Meyers asked the former Office star if C.K. ever thanked him for roles in his HBO Special Out of England and feature film The Invention of Lying, he said, “I discovered that big, sweaty slob. I’ve done everything for him.” Gervais even mentioned appearing on the comedian’s low-budget tiny Emmy Award-winning FX series. Even though Shameless and Chewed Up were before all of the Brit’s ‘help’, he continued on, “He’s never thanked me. And now he’s trying to take my award.”
We’re sure it’s all in jest, though. The two friends have worked together plenty, including the HBO one-off Talking Funny in 2011. Louis C.K. has won four Emmy Awards, including one for writing in 1999 on The Chris Rock Show. Ricky Gervais has previously won two Emmys, one as a producer on The Office and one for acting in Extras. For Louie, C.K. is also nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Comedy Series. He received an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series nod for hosting Saturday Night Live as well. This year Gervais is also nominated for…wait, no. Just that one. We’ll see what the Academy thinks on Monday Aug. 25 at 8pm EST on NBC.
UPDATE: We’ve now uploaded the official audio. It sounds amazing. So enjoy!
MONTREAL — Just a few hours ago, comedian Jim Norton finished delivering I Insincerly Apologize, they keynote address at the ComedyPro conference at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. We’re working on getting the proper audio from the mixing board, but in the meantime, we wanted to post the raw audio. That’s how excited we are about Norton’s speech. So, skip the comments about how the audio isn’t perfect and just enjoy Norton’s brutal honesty and wisdom.
My Man is a Loser, starring John Stamos, Bryan Callen, Michael Rapaport and Tika Sumpter hits theaters and will be available on Video on Demand services tomorrow, July 25! And to celebrate, Laughspin (that’s us) will be hosting a live Twitter chat with Bryan Callen. You likely know Callen from the Hangover movies or MadTV or USA Network’s crime drama In Plain Sight or this nation’s finer stand-up comedy club stages.
But in My Man is a Loser, along with Michael Rapaport, Callen plays one of two married friends of playboy Mike (John Stamos). While the trio are the best of friends, it seems the married portion of the group are starting to lose touch with their spouses. In an effort to help his stammering friends, Stamos imparts his woman-pleasing methods on the duo. When things don’t go as planned, it takes another friend (Tika Sumpter) to right the sinking ship.
Check out a trailer from My Man is a Loser below. And at 4 pm EST today, be sure to point your browsers to @laughspincom and @bryancallen and use #MyManIsALoser to participate in Laughspin‘s live Twitter chat with Bryan Callen! You can check out more about the movie at MyManIsALoser.com and on Twitter at @MyManIsALoser.
Jerry Seinfeld just wrapped up season four of his recently-renewed Crackle web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffe. Now his latest “between-the-seasons” project, Single Shots, has launched its first episode. The mini-sodes will feature multiple guests talking about the same topic. Seinfeld uses the hours of footage left over from Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to compile shorter videos with the same big stars. The comedian will release a new video every Thursday at noon on his Crackle site until season 5 premieres this Fall. The hit web series was renewed for four additional seasons back in April, already having lined up a fourth and fifth season. The show has featured huge names in the entertainment industry, including Jay Leno & Louis C.K. He recently told USA Today that he’d be delighted to have Woody Allen on the show, who recently launched a podcast, “if he knows about it or would like to do it.” The first episode is called “Donuts” and features Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Alec Baldwin and Brian Regan. Check it out here!
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