Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baron Vaughn rules as the aristocrat of random comedy

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM

I would say that not a lot of black comedians make jokes like Baron Vaughn, but not a lot of white comedians make his type of jokes, either. Performing at The Laughing Skull from April 19-22, Vaughn crafts jokes around familiar topics like dating, travel and race relations, and adds a conspicuous love of wordplay and antiquated affectations. At the beginning of his album Raised By Cable he explains that he became a comedian because, "I grew up in a neighborhood where people had knives and guns, and I speak like this. I'll just throw out the word 'perspicacity' if I feel it. So my plan was if I'm funny, I won't be killed."

Vaughn will work into his set a pun like "spaghetto" or "skycrapists" and clearly enjoys interjecting a phrase like "I say unto you" into an otherwise normal, conversational sentence. On his album he describes being a black actor (or "blacktor") and describes going to auditions and inevitably being directed to play either a Chris Rock type or a Chris Tucker type. Vaughn's highest profile acting gig is the role of legal assistant Leonardo Prince on USA's "Fairly Legal," but one gets the impression he'd love to play one of "Downton Abbey's" arch aristocrats. (After all, his name sounds like "Baron von...") On his most memorable routines, he can launch into mellifluous yet ranting speeches from, say, an enraged homeless guy making incongruous references to 1970s television, or a feline politician with an extravagant Southern accent. My favorite Baron Vaughn bit, both for its humor and its sheer strangeness, is his impression of excitable, lisping character actor Ed Wynn — probably most famous for voicing the Mad Hatter in Disney's 1951 Alice in Wonderland — as a heart surgeon describing a failed surgery to a grieving family: "Have you ever seen an elephant angrily step on a basketball filled with raspberry jam?"

Here Vaughn, with characteristic unpredictability, performs a medley of David Bowie songs from the movie Labyrinth:

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tommy Wiseau directed a commercial for the Plaza Theatre

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 5:11 PM

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Judy Tenuta loves snacks, and you, and makin' love

Posted By on Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

  • James Franklin
Learning to play the accordion is one way to get noticed when you're one of eight kids in an Italian/Polish Catholic family, so Judy Tenuta latched onto the instrument at an early age. The comedian made a name for herself in the '80s thanks to the squeezebox, a dippy stage persona, lots of scarves, and sing-songy pop culture satire. Known variously as "Aphrodite of the Accordion," "Love Goddess," "Multimedia Bondage Goddess" or simply "the most famous person who has ever lived," Tenuta is also an ordained minister who performs weddings at her stand-up shows. She appears at the Punchline April 12-14 to promote her love cult "Judyism" and her new book Full Frontal Tenudity, a "chicken soup for your crotch."

You're an ordained minister?
Yes! I make it part of my show that I perform a wedding ceremony for anybody who wants to take or renew their vows during my show. I've had guys ask the club owner "Can I talk to Judy? I wanna propose to my girlfriend." So I've had situations that are really sweet like that, and other times I've just married total strangers! I've always thought everyone has the right to be miserable and married.

Do you have any advice for a long and happy marriage?
You have to enjoy certain things together. I don't mean everything! The biggest thing is, if you have a fight you have to talk about it. When you lose communication with each other, that's the first step to breaking the relationship. You have to keep the communication going somehow. And yeah, go to bed angry! No, don't go to bed angry. But yeah, with guys... they do need time in their cave to pout, that's what I've noticed.

What do you think about all these conservative male politicians who have such strong opinions about women's reproductive rights these days?
First of all I'd like to say, "Excuse me," to Rick Santorum and all these conservative pigs trying to make laws over women. The only time you are allowed to tell a woman what to do with her eggs is when you are ordering the grand slam breakfast at Denny's! It is none of the government's business. It's like they have no conscience about the planet. Let's think about the planet. Overpopulation. Not being able to take care of the poor and hungry, because there's too many mouths to feed. I mean even Catholics are taking birth control now. For these idiots to say the only reason you should be poppin' birth control pills is if you got acne, or if your uterus is outta whack ... . Based on their logic, the only one who's qualified to have birth control is Snooki! How about starting with healthcare, unemployment, the environment?

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catie Donnelly doodles all over 'The Best Show on WFMU'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Todd Barry by Catie Donnelly
  • Courtesy Catie Donnelly
  • 'Todd Barry' by Catie Donnelly
Closing in on the impressive 12-year mark, The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling holds a special place in the extremely passionate hearts of comedy nerds worldwide. To quote Spin's recent, fantastic profile, "Trying to explain The Best Show on WFMU to someone who hasn't heard it can be one of the most frustrating takes on the planet. It's a radio show. Let's at least start there. It airs out of listener-supported station WFMU in Jersey City, New Jersey… The simple explanation is this: For three hours each week, a guy named Tom Scharpling gets on the radio, plays some cool records, takes some phone calls, and then his friend, Superchunk and Mountain Goats drummer, Jon Wurster, calls up and acts like a jerk."

Pretty niche, weird thing, right? Not so much.

During the past dozen years, the show has amassed a wide-ranging audience, not to mention some very famous guests. Comedians Zach Galifianakis, Aziz Ansari and Marc Maron have stopped by, as have musicians Andrew W.K., Aimee Mann and Carl Newman. One time, during WFMU's 2008 fundraising marathon, Scharpling, Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard and Patton Oswalt covered Abba's "Take a Chance on Me." Yep, pretty special. Extremely passionate. Comedy nerds.

Another such nerd is Catie Donnelly, an Atlanta resident who works in software and has been drawing for fun since she was in middle school. Like many Best Show devotees, Donnelly is glued to Twitter on Tuesday nights when the show airs, interacting with fellow fans. But her fandom is a little more serious than most, if only because she live-draws the show each week. Her "about" page explains: "Catie is a person who draws ridiculous shit all the time." I caught up with her to find out more.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

A Three-minute interview with comedian Barry Sobel

Posted By on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 5:31 PM

  • Photo courtesy the Barry Sobel Girls
Comedian Barry Sobel blazed a path in the ’80s, merging the worlds of rap and stand up comedy. Now, between recording sessions with his 3 Minute Talk Show, Sobel pays a surprise visit to Atlanta, and he’s brought some friends.

$10. 8 p.m. The Punchline, 280 Hilderbrand Dr. 404-252-LAFF (5233).

Chad Radford: So what are you doing in Atlanta?

Barry Sobel: I’m just out doing some comedy gigs. … I’m doing a surprise show on Wednesday at the Punchline.

If it’s a surprise, is it cool to talk about it?

Yes, please announce it! We’re going to surprise you with comedians Skyping in from all over the country, my friend Brandon Wardell, the youngest and coolest comedian out there doing it, he’s from Washington DC, Eddie Brill, and we’re going to do a sketch with him that I wrote. Jarrod Harris is going to Skype in with one of his hilarious characters, another friend of mine, Michael Priest, from Austin, and my pal, the one and only Drop Dead Diva, Margaret Cho is going to stop by.

And then I’m also in pre-production with the 3 Minute Talk Show. It’s everything you would see in an hour-long talk show, but in just three minutes.

I've seen them all. I think the Jon Cryer episode is my favorite ...

Thanks! I created it based on a talk show that I did back in ’96 for Comedy Central called the Barry Sobel Show. We rolled out the first episode by saying it was going to be an hour-long show, and in the middle of my monologue Kevin Meaney comes out as the president of the network and says, "I’ve got some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that you have a great hour of TV. The bad news it that we’ve had some scheduling problems, we’ve had to make a couple cuts and your show is only three minutes!” Then he goes to a meeting. Fred Willard was sitting by me, and I say, "Hey, I know you as Fred Willard." He says, "Thanks, you exaggerate."

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Top 5 tweets from ATL comics this week: Off the lot

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 9:12 AM

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Garfunkel and Oates reveal need for job training

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 1:23 PM

As Garfunkel and Oates, a musical comedy act comparable to Flight of the Conchords, Rikki Lindhome and Kate Micucci swing by The Laughing Skull March 9-10, partly in support of their new album, Slippery When Moist. Their latest recording presents the duo's usual assortment of sprightly, at times shockingly raunchy songs. Some simply examine awkward situations, like "Hey Girl in the Moonlight," which wonders just where you're supposed to look when someone's serenading you, or "My Apartment's Very Clean Without You," a winsome take on a break-up song. As you might expect from its title, "Handjob, Blandjob, I Don't Understand Job" proves to be the most graphic track on the record. The only downside to Slippery When Moist is that, at less than 30 minutes, it's a little short, so given the choice, catching their live act might give you more value for the money.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How Ashima Franklin becomes "a beast" on stage

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 1:55 PM

  • Courtesy of Ashima Franklin
Ashima Franklin did stand-up comedy while pregnant, up until the night before her infant son’s birth, and started styling herself “The O.B.: Original Baby Momma.” Frequently Franklin, nicknamed "Skinny Fine," takes the stage persona of a vengeful, inescapable Baby Momma who makes her Baby Daddy’s life a living hell, like a folk hero for unmarried mothers. In real life, Franklin says she has good relations with comic Karlous Miller, with whom she has a young son, and they even write Baby Momma jokes together. An uninhibited dynamo willing to ask her audience any question, no matter how personal, Franklin caught a big break last fall and is currently opening for Katt Williams on the popular comic’s tour. You can see her in Williams’ upcoming DVD Kattpacalypse and the movie Slice: The Horrocomedy, but you should try to catch her at Atlanta clubs, just in case she moves on to bigger things.

How did you get started in stand-up comedy?
I moved from Mobile to Atlanta in 2005, because I had an opportunity to train for a job at AirTran. The day I found out I didn’t get the job, a friend took me to the Uptown Comedy Corner, and I realized that stand-up comedy is what I always wanted to do. I got a job there as a waitress and worked there for a year and a half, while going to open mics at other clubs around the city. Katt says I came up the Hollywood way: “You got a job in something you wanted to do.”

How did you connect with Katt Williams?
Last October I was co-headlining at Uptown for a whole week, and Katt happened to be in the audience for my last show on Sunday night. There wasn’t a big crowd, but I don’t care if the audience is two or 2,000, I’ll put on a show. Afterwards he came up and told me that I was the best female comedian he’d ever seen, and asked me if I wanted to go on tour with him. That was on Sunday, then on Monday his people called me to make the arrangements and I was on tour that Wednesday. We were in Los Angeles on New Year's Eve. I’m just pinchin’ myself — is this real? And I have been killin’, man. Katt has four comedians open for him and on the first show, he put me on first, for a five-minute set. Then I moved up to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and now I go on right before Katt with a 20-minute set.

How do you build up so much energy in your stand-up performance?
First, I gotta get that first laugh as soon as I get out there. I gotta get out there and be a beast. People expect for women not to be funny. You’ve got to show confidence onstage. You’ve got to command a stage. Yes, I’m an attractive female, yes, I’m a mom, yes, I’m funny and yes, you’re gonna like me.

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Top 5 tweets from ATL comics this week: No-K Cupid

Posted By on Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 8:13 AM

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Top 5 Tweets from ATL Comics this week: Fun in funeral

Posted By on Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 4:04 PM

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