Fall = Podcasts

September 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

Weather often dictates my consumption of media, and as fall starts to slow my rhythm and keep me indoors a bit more, I’m ready for more podcasts. I wrote this list for Rolling Stone in the spring, but if you’re at all like me, now is the time to plumb it.

Of course, picking 20 funny podcasts in such a vast field is a bit mad, but narrowing things down at least makes for good arguments. Some are standards, all have their own highs and lows, but all impress in some way. Some I’ve gotten even more into over the summer… Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver’s The Bugle, for instance. Consistently funny and, like Oliver’s HBO series Last Week Tonight, on the money.


Uptown Showdown / New York Super Week

September 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

The return of Uptown Showdown in a couple of weeks is going to be FUN. As part of New York Super Week, we’ll argue about whether zombies or vampires are the superior repository for our end-time fears and anxieties. Great cast: Wyatt Cenac, Sean Donnelly, Dan Soder, Mike Drucker, Maeve Higgins and Jean Grae.

Anyone we throw fake blood and gore on will receive umbrellas to defend their clothing. Or, if you have ever seen Gallagher, please bring that souvenir sheet of plastic for you and your neighbors.


Joan, jokes and that huge file

September 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Watching comedy legends die–oof. The eds at RS online have very kindly kept me on the side of laughter, probing available online resources, making lists. This watching and compiling means I didn’t have much time to dwell on the negative…

Rather than pick great jabs out of Joan Rivers’ huge collection of one-liners and post them out of context, we decided to cull from clips we could share, and let many of her Tonight Show appearances stand on their own.


So happy I got to see her in Montreal at Just for Laughs last year, yowling about how she might drop dead on stage, and how we’d all done out on that story for the rest of our lives. She, of course, ripped celebrities, herself and told some questionable jokes that drew groans. But her sort of fearlessness was fun, and her unwillingness to apologize was fortifying.

And I keep thinking about the epic joke file she kept in her home–as featured in excellent Rivers doc “A Piece of Work”–arranged by topic and stuffed with index cards of nearly every joke she’d worked out. Something nice about the idea that, beyond books and specials and Fashion Police re-runs, there’s a still, quiet encyclopedia of Joan’s brain just waiting for someone to pry

Shorts and Showdown

September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

When the producer of the very funny Uptown Showdown, Jenny Brennan, asked me to step into the silly debate series for a sick comic a couple of years ago, I had no idea it’d lead to more than a few yuks.

Yes, as I hosted the show more often, the number of yuks increased. But there were other treats: I got to interview Patty Marx and Simon Rich for Selected Shorts upstairs at Symphony Space. Then I was asked to fill in for BD Wong during Shorts while he was out-of-town for an acting gig. That went well, and I was invited back once, twice…

This fall, I’ll get the chance to be ridiculous with comedians while hosting Uptown Showdown in the Thalia downstairs and the opportunity to connect authors and actors to audiences during Selected Shorts upstairs. I can’t think of anything better than using both the literary and comedic parts of my brain for the entirety of the 2014-2015 season.

Here are the calendars for Showdown (http://www.symphonyspace.org/events/series/162/uptown-showdown) and Shorts’ 30th anniversary season (http://www.selectedshorts.org/onstage/), so you can see what we’re up to…