An Early Onslaught of Trump Jokes

June 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Trump

I catalogued a horde of Trump jokes for New Yorka couple of months ago, a fascinating experience. If anything, it’s just a reminder of how fast things move and how disturbing they are…

A First Draft of History, Told in 117 Days of Trump Jokes

Pete Holmes, Crashing & Bombing

February 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Pete Holmes and Artie Lange in Crashing (Mary Cybulski/HBO)

Pete Holmes and Artie Lange in Crashing (Mary Cybulski/HBO)

Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow’s new HBO series premieres this week, and I got the chance to write about it for Rolling Stone. It’s about divorce and the open mic comedy world, but quietly a spiritual quest. Not unlike Holmes’ experiences in the pitch room, all of the longwinded references I made to Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey were (rightfully) deemed excessive.

Inside Crashing: How Pete Holmes Survived Comedy and Live to Tell About It

50 Best Stand Ups

February 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Richard Pryor from Richard Pryor: Live in Concert

Richard Pryor from Richard Pryor: Live in Concert

The internet has to be loud and definitive, but every time I make a list like this, I can only think about the compromises we made in the process of putting it together. With this one, I feel like there are about 25 ironclad names and another 25 that might be occupied by 50, even 75 names about whom it’s worth having conversations. (And that sentiment doesn’t make a great headline to click on.)

50 Best Stand-Ups

Anyway, it’s always fun to think about stand-up past and future; I feel like I’ll have to convince my editor to find space to do another addendum for the 25 foundational comedians who opened the door for all of the voice-driven stand-ups on our list.

100 More Jokes of Modern Comedy

February 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Illustration: David Perezcassar

Illustration: David Perezcassar

Jesse David Fox rounded up a bunch of us to think and write a second part tothe 100 Jokes of Modern Comedy we did last year around this time. We broadened it a bit this time, talking satire and art and even more film. It was fun to ponder, and the whole thing makes my brain make connections it wouldn’t otherwise.

100 More Jokes of Modern Comedy

As a part of it, I talked with Mike Myers about the Wayne’s World “NOT” joke in particular. Apparently, there’s a mathematical formula for the joke. (True.)

Mike Myers on How the “Not” Joke Went from Wayne’s World to Donald Trump

Lin-Man, Hanks and other SNL treats

October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

Leslie Jones & Tom Hanks (Photo: NBC/ Rosalind O'Connor)

Leslie Jones & Tom Hanks (Photo: NBC/ Rosalind O’Connor)

I think if I told my 14-year-old self, “In the future, you’ll be paid to watch SNL and talk about it,” his brain would have exploded and I wouldn’t be here with you now. Here are the first severalback-to-back SNL episodes, wrapped in tidy bows, for Vulture.

Oct 22: Tom Hanks
Oct 15: Emily Blunt
Oct 8: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Oct 1: Margot Robbie

Blur of the Edinburgh Fringe

October 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

Rash Dash's "Two Man Show." (Photo by the Other Richard)

Rash Dash’s “Two Man Show.” (Photo by the Other Richard)

A few thoughts and notes from my first Edinburgh Fringe. In a word, overwhelming. Easily could have spent the entire month (and all my money) there… but incredibly glad to have the week. And runningaround with the cast of Ghost Quartet and Eliza Bent was delightful.

Finding Magic, Skirting Angst at the Edinburgh Fringe

Are Plays Great Literature?

September 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Asa man who received undergraduate degrees in English Lit and Theater, I believe playscripts can begreat works of artand are worth reading, not just whilepreparing to see a show or auditioning for a part, but when in search of lit kicks.

I’m not convinced that manySeriousReaders agree. Most of my friends and critical types feel significantly less interested inpicking up plays than they are in nabbing novels, nonfiction or poetry. I was happy to get the chance to make my case for paper scripts on Lithuba site I really love. (Its content is certainly informative and scholarly, but never skimps on the fun.)

Ten Plays You Can Read Like a Novel

More Listening In…

August 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

Aparna Nancherla and Tig Notaro (Photo-Illustration: Kelly Chiello / Getty Images)

Aparna Nancherla and Tig Notaro (Photo-Illustration: Kelly Chiello / Getty Images)

I’ve had the chance to do much more listening in to comics’ conversations for Vulture.Fun in any context, delightful to hear a comic ask the question I am silentlywishing they’d ask…

Tig Notaro Talks to Aparna Nancherla about Comedy, Babies and Being More Direct

Jim Jefferies Talks with Anthony Jeselnik about Being ‘The Gun Guy,’ How to Remain Offensive, and Dating Comedians

W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu Talk about the Responsibility of People of Color in Comedy and the Beauty of a South IndianMan’s Chest Hair

 

Birbigs and Big-Screen Improv

July 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

MIke Birbiglia (Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

MIke Birbiglia (Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

Spoke with Mike Birbiglia about the new “Don’t Think Twice,” which is about (the dissolution of) an improv group. As a middle-aged occasional improviser, this one hit close to home. (See also: That Onion headline about how everyone in the improv group has a receding hairline.) I do think it’ll hit a lot of people, though… especially creative types who have been at it for some time, and who sometimes ask themselves why they keep at it.

Mike Birbiglia Talks the New Movie ‘Don’t Think Twice’

Though I do think Alex Karpovsky’s TJ & Dave movie “Trust Us, This Is All Made Up,” translated improv to the big screen really, really well, I appreciate the time and energy that went into portraying improv here. It’s clear Birbigs et al wanted the viewer to be a part of it, wanted it to feel lively and fun, and it does.

Bassem Youssef’s American Incarnation

July 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

Bassem Youssef (Larry Busacca/Getty)

Bassem Youssef (Larry Busacca/Getty)

Americans are still a little at sea when Bassem Youssef is mentioned; they seem to perk up, though, when they hear “the Egyptian Jon Stewart.” A brave guy who isn’t waiting for congratulations or tocommiserate about howdifficult it was toget death threats every day. (For the record, he still gets them, they’re just not as frequent.) Here is my profile on Bassem and his new Fusion series for Rolling Stone.

Beyond the scuffle with North Korea re: The Interview and Comedy Central putting the kibosh on images of Muhammad (in a bear suit) for on South Park, it’s a little hard in the states to make sense of the moment Youssef lived through. We’re awash in satire. We presume free speech. Barring some horrifying episode like the one that the writers of Charlie Hebdo went through, Americans can poke fun and feel safe. To get a sense of the transitions Egypt went through, what they mean and what might be ahead, Bassem is an amazing help.