comedy

Spinning Wheel Gotta Go Round

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For those who remember my recent interview with Dr. Oliver Wang, we had a discussion of "Spinning Wheel," an example of a song O-Dub is so intruiged by that he'll buy records blind just to hear a cover of it.

Today over on Soul-Sides, Oliver posted a set from his old KALX show The Ozone featuring a mini-set of Spinning Wheel covers.

Above you can watch my favorite Spinning Wheel cover, by Mr. Hank Kingsley on the Larry Sanders show. It starts a minute and a half into the clip.

"What can I say, Hank? You're a quadruple threat. You're a singer, a dancer, a raconteur... ... ... and a singer again because you're just that good." - Bob Odenkirk as super-agent Stevie Grant

The Top Ten Sketches of All Time

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The man who goes by the handle "BillBrasky2620" on aspecialthing.com is a librarian by trade, and he's nothing if not thorough. Below, this comedy expert among comedy experts offers his top ten comedy sketches of all time. With our apologies to Abbot & Costello and Your Show of Shows.

#10 Dave Chappelle - Clayton Bigsby
I feel a little less strongly about this one than some of the others on this list, but I felt that Chappelle should be included, and this was one of the best sketches he ever did (impressive that it was in the first episode ever aired too). The last line of the sketch still packs a considerable punch, and it makes me wish that he was still doing stuff like this.

#9 The Day Today - Rok TV
I'm not really sure if this counts as a sketch, it's really a series of sketches in the context of a parody of MTV, but it's one of the best parodies of MTV ever, and amazing when you consider one person (Chris Morris) is essentially playing every single character in this sketch. There's a willingness to go into dark areas here too, which Morris would eventually do even more in Jam and the Brass Eye pedophilia special. Not just the Fur-Q stuff, but little things like the Ian Curtis joke, show that Morris was willing to push the barriers of what might have previously been considered acceptable in comedy.

#8 At Last the 1948 Show- Four Yorkshiremen
Not a Monty Python sketch, but the version I linked to here is the one from Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. Basically, any sketch which is based on progressive exaggeration to an absurd end owes a debt to this sketch. Could Kristen Wiig's "one-upper" character have been inspired by this?

#7 Upright Citizens Brigade- Ass Pennies
This is probably the best example of the UCB's style of humor, their particular brand of odd agressiveness- I guess you could call it a "punk" approach to comedy. I don't think the concept for this sketch could have ever come from anywhere but Ian Roberts' head, and his commitment to pursuing an idea that would not even occur to most people (to an almost scary level) is what made their TV show so unique.

#6 SNL- 60 Minutes
The 1984-85 season of SNL is a really underrated season in the show's history, and maybe one of its best ever in my opinion. Most of that was due to what Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer brought to the show- an emphasis on filmed sketches that told a story and tried to make the characters as realistic as possible, while still being funny (basically what Guest continues to do today in his movies). The Synchronized Swimmers sketch is another good example, but this one is such a bizarre premise, with such well-defined characters (including Martin Short's Nathan Thurm) that I think it wins out.

#5 SCTV - Half-Wits
One of my favorite types of humor is the humor of people who have difficulty understanding things or grasping simple concepts- the Mr. Show "Flat Top Tony and the Purple Canoes" conversation and the guard scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail are other good examples. These sketches from SCTV were pioneers of the form, and really laid the groundwork for endless game show sketches on SNL since then (the Celebrity Jeopardy sketches are pretty much direct descendants).

#4 Mr. Show- The Pre-Taped Call-in Show
There are many Mr. Show sketches which could be included on this list, like Shampoo or The Audition, but this is in my opinion the show's greatest achievement in terms of producing a timeless piece of sketch comedy. Congratulations, Dino and Brett Forrester, for having the patience to think this through and making it airtight, completely grounded in logic while still being insane at the same time.

#3 Kids in the Hall- Citizen Kane
There doesn't seem to be a video of this online, which is a shame, because a lot of the humor derives from the performances of Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald, and this sketch is maybe not as funny reading it on the page as some of the others on this list. Nevertheless, this has possibly one of the best endings to a sketch of all time (and a good example of how violence can be funny in comedy).

#2 Peter Cook and Dudley Moore- One Leg Too Few
This probably isn't the best version of this available (it's from a 1987 edition of Comic Relief), but this is a really funny and well-constructed sketch. As the Wikipedia entry on it says, it is "a classic example of comedy arising from an absurd situation which the participants take entirely seriously, and a demonstration of the construction of a sketch in order to draw a laugh from the audience with almost every line."

#1) Monty Python- Dead Parrot sketch

I don't think I really need to say too much about this. Sure, you could make the case that the Cheese Shop sketch or the Argument Clinic are equally deserving of placement on this list, but I don't think anyone could argue the fact that the parrot sketch is an all-time classic of sketch comedy.

And here's a special bonus, in honor of our author's nom-de-internet... Bill Brasky at the Airport

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: The Onion

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

The Onion has been reporting fake news since 1988, when it was created by two juniors in their University of Wisconsin dorm room. Today its empire covers nearly all forms of media, and its hilarious wit and satire has never dulled. On this week's show, we talk with staff writer Joe Garden and editor-in-chief Carol Kolb.

Also -- Recorded comedy from the Sklar Brothers and Hard N Phirm!

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Special Free Screening of The Ten in SF

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Our pals at SF Sketchfest and ThinkFilm are presenting a special FREE screening of David Wain's newest magnum opus, "The Ten" in San Francisco:

Tuesday, July 24
7:30 pm
Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre
1572 California Street, San Francisco.
To attend, you must RSVP to thetensf@yahoo.com. Be sure to give your full name and let us know if you will be bringing a guest. Please note the theatre will be slightly overbooked to ensure capacity; an RSVP will not guarantee you a seat.

For those of you who aren't in San Francisco, you can just watch the trailer above and drool. You can also listen to this interview with Wain on TSOYA last year.

Happy Birthday to Dr. William Cosby

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The greatest standup comic of all time turned 70 yesterday. Here's his brilliant special "Bill Cosby, Himself" in all its hilarious glory.

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe, Ep. 13: Foot Apple

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In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. Today, their humor is a cultural touchstone for artists as varied as Henry Rollins and The Upright Citizens Brigade.

These recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

This week, Coyle & Sharpe talk seriously with a man about apples growing human feet, and how, if need be, he might herd them across the country.

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Tom Lehrer performs "Werner Von Braun"

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The greatest comic songwriter of the 20th century? Could be.

Tom Lehrer was my prof for a class at UC Santa Cruz, and he is a way awesome guy. Very crotchety in the best way possible. The only songwriters he likes since the 60s are Sondheim and Randy Newman. He always made fun of my announcements about my improv group or radio show, but he always let me do them. King of teachers.

Great weekend for Bay Area comedy...

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Not only is the one and only Mr. Paul F. Tompkins headlining this week at the Punchline in San Francisco (win tix here), but The Shooter himself, Mr. Jimmy Pardo is headlining at Rooster T. Feathers in Sunnyvale.

In the unforgettable words of the Rooster T. Feathers answering machine: "Cock-a-doodle-DOOOOOOOOO!"

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse, Go!: Ep. 29: Hot Tubbin' with Ashkon

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This week's show features very special guest Ashkon, who's song "Hot Tubbin'" has been tearing up the Max Fun charts since its debut a few weeks ago.

Introduction
Jesse and Jordan are in a Dinosaur Park. They say dinosaur names they know, and give you a preview of the show to come.

Listener Calls
Happy pet stories (aka the Cat Came Back), First Time Drunk, Waiting on the Tow Truck, Crying at the Cracker Barrel... no, it's not Jordan's new country album, it's listener calls!

Calls from Listeners


Jordan receives some shoe advice and gets propositioned. He'll also be put on the internet in his underwear, for you to dress up.

People Who Listen to the Show Dial a Number and Leave a Message and Jordan and Jesse Talk About It


Longtime pal Brian shares a cautionary tail about knives, Jesse is corrected, and the definitive White-Guy-Know-It-All theory is offered.

Zoo Animal Showdown!
Monkey vs. Lion

Jesse introduces a new segment called Zoo Animal Showdown. This week's match up: Monkey Vs. Lion. Head to the forum to cast your vote!

Ashkon

Jordan and Jesse chat with Ashkon about wild nights in LA, his connection with Murder Inc.'s Irv Gotti, and, of course, hot tubbin' on the late night. Yadadamean?

Ashkon Performs

Ashkon performs an acoustic version of "Hot Tubbin'" and an awesome freestyle rap.

Outro:


Lots of action items this week!



ACTION ITEMS:


*Vote in the first round of the Zoo Animal Showdown! Visit the forum for details.
*Have you ever done something stupid? Think you can beat Brian's stabbing the crap out of his hands? Call in and tell us about it!
*Coming Soon: Dress up Paper Doll Jordan on our flickr page!
*Check out Ashkon at www.gradschoolmusic.com


CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* Review the show on iTunes.

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

Jeff Coorwin's Discount Tires

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The tri-county area's ONLY haunted tire retailer!

Part of Eric Appel's brand new SuperDeluxe series, The Subconcious Channel, in which we are treated to a tour of one man's strange dreams. Thanks to Eric for letting me be a part of it, it was the most fun you can have in a strip-mall sound stage next to a body shop in North Hollywood!

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