comedy

Sketchfest NYC: The Full Report

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I got back last night from a great weekend at Sketchfest NYC. Some highlights and lowlights:

I was dead tired the entire weekend. It turns out that Sketchfest NYC runs till like 3AM every night. I usually go to bed at around 10:30. So, even with the time difference, you can see how that'd work out.

I saw a pile of shows over the two nights I was there, and missed a pile more. Los Angeles' Birthday Boys took the "we're goofing around, being silly, don't you love us" model of much LA sketch these days and really knocked it out of the park. Their show, which originated at the UCB, had consistently strong sketches and execution. There weren't any standout performances, but with only a year in existance, they're poised for growth.

Portland's Third Floor put on a really remarkable show full of bizarre twists and turns. They opened with one of the strangest (and best) high school reunion sketches I've ever seen, and closed with one of the best dance numbers I've ever seen in a comedy context.

Troop!, from Los Angeles, performed what amounted to a play in sketches, about a post-apocalyptic world where condiment packets are money and the most valuable commodity of all is toilet paper. I was impressed at how well the show held up over a full 45-minute-or-so runtime, with full characterizations and high production values.

The highlight for me was a consistently hilarious new show from New York's Elephant Larry (above). Every sketch was inventive, hilarious and more than ably played. Geoff Haggerty stood out with compelling performances as a self-conscious, bumbling drill sergeant and a suburban vampire, getting huge laughs while uttering nothing more than what you might call a "vampire noise." (Blurgh? Bloor?) I honestly couldn't tell you why these guys aren't on television.

A bizarre moment: a "sketch" during the closing night "Sketchfest Craptacular" (a collection of the performing groups strangest material) from Kurt Braunolher of Kurt & Kristen. Kurt ran on stage and started to pump the audience up for the greatest experience of his life. He had decided that a great sketch would be a "doing whippets fight," for which he'd purchased $75 worth of whipped cream cannisters. Then he'd decided that that wouldn't be too exciting to watch on stage, so he added a "fighting fight." He cued Andrew W.K. at full volume on the sound system, and several muscled sketch players ran on stage, topless, and started to wrestle (pretty sincerely). He and the lovely New York comic/writer Jane Borden then commenced whippetting at a disturbing rate. Is it possible for pandemonium to be infectious?

All in all, a great weekend. It'll be a couple weeks before the show goes up, but if all goes according to Hoyle, we'll be able to offer some video in addition to the audio on the podcast.

Podcast: Comedy at the Edge

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Show: 
Bullseye

Richard Zoglin talks to us about his book "Comedy on the Edge". Zoglin talks about comedians such as Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Richard Pryor and the effect they have had on American culture.

If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Michael Cera
The Upright Citizens Brigade
Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk
The Human Giant

Podcast: The Chris Farley Show authors Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby

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Show: 
Bullseye

Chris Farley burned brightly as a comic actor, rising quickly to enormous fame as a television and movie star. Unfortunately, he also crashed and burned. Writer Tanner Colby and Farley's brother, Tom Farley, have collaborated to tell Chris' story through the words of those who knew him in the book "The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts." We talk with Tom and Tanner about the life of this gifted and troubled comic.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Belushi with Tanner Colby and Judith Belushi-Pisano (MP3)
New York Stories with Bill Hader and Roz Chast
Two Sides of a Coin with Dave Attell and Michael Showalter

TSOYA is Live! in New York on Saturday Afternoon

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The Sound of Young America is Live! in New York City on Saturday afternoon as part of Sketchfest NYC.

We're so happy to have Ze Frank, Jay Smooth, Pangea 3000 and Dawn Landes to entertain you.

Tickets are available now, so buy yourself some.
And tell a friend!

Ep. 64: In Front of the Mayor

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Jordan joins Twitter, and much is discussed, including brand loyalty and shame.

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* Follow Jesse and Jordan on Twitter
* What was your most embarassing moment?
* Vote in March of Time Madness!

CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
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Nobody does gentle mockery like Mr. Dave Hill

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Celebrity field correspondent Mr. Dave Hill can say the meanest things in the world... AND HE ALWAYS SEEMS NICE. This is a superpower I would like to have. It is the perfect superpower for VISITING THE COMIC CONVENTION.

Wyatt Cenac's Daily Show Debut

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Friend of MaxFun Wyatt Cenac made his debut as a Daily Show correspondent last night, and he did a great job! Not as great as the big closer in his standup act, but that's because nothing could be that great. Except for the genuine article of course.

In other news, he's had a beard for a while now, and that's pretty great, too.

WE SALUTE YOU, WYATT CENAC!

Sketchfest Seattle is Accepting Submissions

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Our pal Andrew Connor from the brilliant sketch duo The Cody Rivers Show is taking over the venerable Sketchfest Seattle -- the longest-running sketch comedy festival in the country. Prank the Dean had an amazing time playing the festival a couple years ago. If you're a Seattleite, keep your eyes peeled. If you're in a sketch group, they're taking applications.

Here's what Andrew has to say for himself (and the fest):

SketchFest Seattle is now accepting applications for 2008!

SketchFest Seattle, the original sketch comedy festival, is ready.
Really ready. Ready for YOU to apply. We've got a cool new venue, a cool new format, and we need your application to make it all happen.

This year, we'll be running September 24th through 27th at the Theatre Off Jackson in Seattle's historic International District. We're getting back to our roots: one full weekend, jam-packed with jury-selected sketch comedy! So much funny, our copy editor won't let us use the words necessary to describe it.

We think you'll like what we've got to offer:

* Two shows in a fully-stocked and tech-staffed theater.
* Free lodging with a local volunteer.
* A $500 artist's fee.
* The opportunity to perform in front of great Seattle audiences at the original sketch comedy festival.
* Artistic Direction led by the one and only Andrew Connor of
The Cody Rivers Show.

The application can be downloaded directly here, or at the Sketchfest website.

The Timewaster Letters

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Robert Popper emailed me from ENGLAND, a place that's like the United States, but with funny taxicabs. Robert is a superstar comedy writer-producer -- he worked on the amazing series Peep Show and Look Around You (the first episode of which is above).

Robert just released a book in the US, written as "Robin Cooper," called The Timewaster Letters. It's a book of fake letters in the tradition of Don Novello's The Lazlo Letters. Robert's sending me a copy, and I'm excited to read it.

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO!: Ep. 63: Web 2.0 Mobisode

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Jordan joins Twitter, and much is discussed, including brand loyalty and shame.

ACTION ITEMS:
* Follow Jesse and Jordan on Twitter
* What was your most embarassing moment?
* Vote in March of Time Madness!

CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

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Download This Episode

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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

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