American audiences can only wonder how funnyman John Oliver plays to his English countrymen. The comedian and "Daily Show" correspondent makes his Britishness an overt part of his performing style, as you can note in his voice performance in this BBC America promo. I get the impression that he uses his English accent as a counterpoint to his carefully-timed f-bombs, "arseholes" and other profanities. Then again, on his long-running, light-hearted news podcast The Bugle he performs basically the same way with his colleague Andy Saltzman, who's no less British. (You can support the financially-challenged podcast here.) Oliver performs Feb. 24 and 25 at the Punchline; here's a recent "Daily Show" clip of Oliver celebrating the behavior of Georgia's Newt Gingrich.
Whitney the singer dies, Whitney the sitcom lives. No justice in this world.
— Topher Payne (@topherpayne) February 12, 2012
I've learned more from Pawn Stars than any history class I've ever taken.Going to school in West Virginia may have played a part in that.
— Steph Swain (@Stepholumpagus) February 13, 2012
Watching the Westminster Dog and Cankle show.
— carlos valencia (@carlos_valencia) February 15, 2012
I'm not sure how to take the "by invitation" funeral, though I assume the deceased is hoping to be on the list wherever they're headed.
— Punchline ComedyClub (@punchlinecomedy) February 16, 2012
Drinking with southerners is like getting in a time machine. Spoiler: you always go back to right before the civil rights movement.
— Mike Kaiser (@Mike_Kaiser_) February 12, 2012
True story: When I was a college undergraduate, I received a review copy of Emo Philips' first comedy album, E=mo2, while working for the Vanderbilt Hustler. Given that the young Philips bore a faint resemblance to Paul Reubens, I wondered if Pee Wee Herman's alter ego was trying out another boyish comedic persona with an affected voice. After the years went by, I decided to give Philips the benefit of the doubt that he's a real person, and he can be seen in the flesh at the Laughing Skull Lounge from Feb. 9-12. I like the way his Wikipedia page says, "Much of his standup comedy stems from the use of paraprosdokians and garden path sentences," as if we know what those mean.
I discovered a fun bit of trivia about Philips: In 2005, a British website voted one of his jokes from E=mo2 as the best God joke ever, which is animated here. Here's another shorter bit about religion:
My first introduction to Demetri Martin occurred when the young, deadpan actor/musician/comedian played "key-tar" opposite Todd Barry as the one-hit wonder band The Crazy Dogs on an episode of "Flight of the Conchords." Martin starred in Ang Lee's 1960s nostalgia flick Taking Woodstock, but his acting appearances have never done justice to his unique brand of whimsy as a stand-up performer. His comic approach often emulates the surreal one-liners of Steven Wright, at times accompanying himself on guitar or keyboard. Martin particularly likes to break down cliches or comedic concepts using visual aids, as if delivering the world's funniest TED Talk. Here he is analyzing the adage, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones:"
Martin performs at The Punchline tonight, Jan. 30, for one-night only.
Not to be confused with a Beard of Comedy, stand-up comedian Kyle Kinane has a dark, shoot-from-the-hip sensibility reminiscent of Louis C.K. or Doug Stanhope. The A.V. Club put Kinane's 2010 album Death of the Party on its "Best Comedy Albums of 2010" list, saying "The weariness in his voice complements his constant bafflement over the state of his life and the world in general. Kinane excels at spinning the most soul-crushing experiences—check out the track about his job selling gourmet cake decorations—into funny stories." Kinane brings his trademark joie de vivre to The Laughing Skull from Jan. 26-29. Here's an animated clip of his "Bunnies" routine:
Comedian Cris Gray of Crash! Comedy spoke to CL's staff writer Curt Holman about good TV and bad movies. The interview took place in a huddle room in our Atlantic Station office. Why does the podcast start mid-sentence? Only Gray knows the answer to that!
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