Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Comedy Death Ray This Week: Superb Edition

Because we needed to get out, we caught Comedy Death Ray in Los Angeles this week! The lineup was indeed fantastic. Statistically speaking, you missed the show, so here's who you didn't get to see (and the entire lineup meets our standards of worth seeing):
  • Hugh Moore hosted the show and did a bang-up job at being exciting and low-key all at once. The man puts on a good set.
  • The first comic was the delightful Jen Kirkman and she, in her own words, basically managed to turn what was essentially a "Cathy" strip into something funny. Rarely do comics bring visual aids to show how fat they have gotten, but hey, here it is.
  • Famed "Republican senator" and now tea party representative Richard Martin (also known as Paul Gilmartin) showed up, giving us our first in-person glimpse of the character. You may have heard his stints on various radio or podcast programs, and as a one-man act he managed to hold up quite nicely. If you're like us and listen to a lot of podcasts, odds are you'll want to be sure to seek him out just to see what he looks like.
  • From New York, Jamie Lee put on a too-short but great set.
  • Another too-short set from Greg Behrendt went amazingly well and his tone seemed different from some of his other performances. If you are ever in a position to make a request of him, his dissection of the GQ photo spread was well worth the price of admission.
  • Character genius Paul Scheer assembled a one-man show bit combining the boring life of a TSA worker and pretty much every stereotype you might expect from a pretentious one-man show. It was brilliant, the kind of thing you wish you saw more of on television but most likely won't since Human Giant is seemingly on permanent hiatus. With tons of musical and light cues, it went off seemingly perfectly. Genuinely great funny.
  • For fans of surprises, the unannounced Patton Oswalt brought in some new (to us) material as well as some dusted-off jokes which he self-consciously delivered. Can you trot out an Avatar joke at the end of your set if it has just been released on iTunes? The answer is yes, and it still works. Other material (for those of you comedy nerds wondering what may or may not make his next album) included a riff on babies pooping themselves and rich people. We dare not spoil it for you but in the off chance you're looking for evidence of great lost Oswalt bits, well, enjoy that last sentence.
So there you have it! Another great week and $5 well spent.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

David Cross: DVD+CD Bigger and Blackerer Coming Soon

Hitting stores or elsewhere May 25, 2010, "Bigger and Blackerer" is the latest effort-- and third proper album-- from the very recognizable and even more funny David Cross. It's coming from Sub Pop Records, like his previous recordings.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brian Posehn's "Fart & Weiner Jokes" Out on April 27

Brian Posehn's next album, Fart & Weiner Jokes, is up for pre-order on Relapse Records right now. It's $12 or available in bundles with his first album or one of two t-shirts. Since Posehn is a funny dude, odds are you'll want to go ahead and order this.

Also, big points for making a nice retro metal album cover. We can't wait to hear it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Road Trip Album Picks: "Death of the Party" from Kyle Kinane

WHAT: Kyle Kinane's first comedy album
LABEL: A Special Thing Records, 2010
GOOD IF YOU LIKE: Quality modern comedy albums, the world's finest bathroom joke
WHERE TO FIND IT: Online or bust
LENGTH: 65 minutes

AST Records is fast becoming everything Comedy Central Records really needs to be. Which is, you know, relevant and cheap. While releases like Kyle Kinane's Death of the Party are unquestionably awesome, even on the label's home turf in Los Angeles, you won't easily find these recordings.

We've often pointed to an album's ability to be easily heard as what makes it good for the road-- which this is-- but this also has that awesome "you must play this for everyone you visit" aspect. "The House Is Rocking" (track #3) is one of these tracks, and it's a marvelous tale of using a strange bathroom and the chaos that ensues shortly after, we presume, one gets the poop sweats. While not exactly what you would call high-brow, and the sort of thing that we're probably supposed to roll our eyes at, we found it gutbustingly fantastic and surprisingly quotable.

The crazed mindset of insomnia is explored in new and exciting ways, plus you get the usual wonderment by way of Kinane's head. Like Thin Pig this is one of those albums you really ought to be ashamed of yourself for not having heard yet. While we haven't yet had the fortune of seeing Kinane in person, we hope to change this soon. Get this album.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekly Comedy: The Prodigal Shit Returns

The Olympics are over, which means one good thing and one very bad thing. The good news is that Community, Parks & Rec and The Office are all back with new episodes this week. The very very bad news is detailed at the end of this post. All you can do is shake your head in disappointment.


Cold Souls – Paul Giamatti’s black comedy involving his soul being put in cold storage so he could become a better actor came out quietly last year and is out on DVD this week, where people might actually see it. Set your Netflix queues!

Gentlemen Broncos – Pretty much every single critic out there thought this thing – which is from the people responsible for Napoleon Dynamite (is it time to start ironically wearing Vote for Pedro shirts yet?) – was a total disaster, and so 20th Century Fox actually cancelled its theatrical release. It also features Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement and Sam Rockwell, and that might be enough for some to roll the dice.

Rifftrax Double FeatureBest of Shorts vol. 1 packaged with Night of the Living Dead for cheap. THRILLING!


Players – A new comedy from Matt Walsh airing on Spike TV Tuesday night, Players is being advertised as kind of an obnoxious sitcommy spin on Waiting…, set in a sportsbar. The commercials are probably not doing it justice based on the talent involved, but this is Spike, so who the hell knows. Check it out for yourself and judge away.

Big Downer of the Week

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno returns March 1st, which is today. A nation mourns.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Road Trip Album Picks: "Thin Pig" from Todd Glass

WHAT: Todd Glass' first album of 100% stand-up
LABEL: Comedy Central Records, 2009
GOOD IF YOU LIKE: Quality modern comedy albums
WHERE TO FIND IT: Online or bust
LENGTH: 60 minutes

Comedy Central Records should be ashamed of themselves for releasing this record. That is, they should be ashamed of releasing this album as a download-exclusive. Todd Glass' superb Thin Pig is one of the best albums we've heard in the past few years. Glass' second album, this release covers material from his whole career and a gag or two first shown on his original album which nobody ever heard in the first place. (Including you, our statistics show.)

His former podcast Comedy and Everything Else does influence his material slightly, in between the bits going for big laughs are a few attempts at applause lines. For example, he has a marvelous routine about K-Mart and Target, pointing out that the former is, essentially, something of a shithole. (If you live in Los Angeles and can still find one, odds are you can verify this.) His outrage is real, and really funny if you, like Glass, understand the importance of things like clean floors. Spoiler: they're important.

My one big beef with this release is that it wasn't put in stores. Comedy Central Records releases a ton of albums, many of which may sport bigger names but this is easily one of the funniest. Also, Glass has a fantastic voice which carries well in a car, which is the most important thing about a good road trip comedy album. Aside, you know, from being great. Get this one. Oh, and it was recorded at the Tempe Improv in Arizona, in case you were curious.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekly Comedy: Amazing News That Will Amaze You

This week’s comedy offerings are a mixed bag with some excellent stuff, some promising stuff and some crap, as usual. But that's not why we're here today - there is some STUNNING NEWS to be found at the end of this post!


Cop Out – Kevin “Southwest Airlines” Smith is now directing movies he didn’t write, which could be a really good thing. The premise of this is simple: it’s a buddy cop movie where one of the cops is Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock, as portrayed by Tracy Morgan. Looks like it could be fun. We’ll have a review up on Friday.


The Informant! – Easily the best thing out this week. This is a really unique comedy wherein Soderbergh has cast a bunch of recognizable comedians – Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale – in serious roles as FBI agents and lawyers surrounding Matt Damon’s comic performance as a corporate whistleblower. There’s a lot more to this film than just that, though; it’s very entertaining and funny and ultimately a really fascinating true story. So go rent it already.

Superjail! Season One - Superviolent abstract comedy from Adult Swim. This one doesn't seem to have nearly as many fans as Metalocalypse or even Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, but hey, here it is on DVD if you're curious.

Night Court Season 3 – WHO is buying Night Court DVDs? Seriously, who? Is there one sad old guy sitting in his crappy apartment, coffee table littered with divorce papers and beer cans, scratching his gut and chuckling at Night Court Season 3? Answer: probably.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead – Some Troma thing that fans of Evil Dead or whatever will probably like. Sounds z-z-z-zany!


Sinbad: Where U Been? – And now your promised BREAKING NEWS!

Sinbad is not dead or in rehab or the subject of a depressing VH1 reality TV show - he has a new Comedy Central special out on DVD this week.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weekly Comedy: The HBOpocalypse

There aren’t a whole lot of exciting new DVD releases this week, but there’s enough new stuff on Friday night alone to keep you busy for a while. HBO is doubling down on comedy programming and the winner is (potentially) us (maybe).


Black Dynamite – Surely to be the most-played DVD in college dorms for the next 3 years, this blaxploitation spoof has gotten pretty mixed notices from critics. Basically, if you saw the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the film. Or so I’ve heard.

Good Hair – Chris Rock’s amusing but admittedly thin documentary about the African-American hair industry. It’s certainly eye-opening and actually pretty funny; worth a rent for sure, or catch it on cable in a month or two.


The Ricky Gervais Show – HBO is launching their new Friday night comedy lineup with this, which seems like a really weak premise – they’ve taken the old Ricky Gervais podcasts and animated them in Flash with Hanna-Barberra-esque cartoon versions of Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. If you’ve heard those podcasts – and millions of people have – then you’ve seen this material already (and frankly it was funnier when Pilkington's nonsense wasn't visualized Shorties Watchin' Shorties-style). Hopefully there’s some original stuff in here and it isn’t 100 percent rehashed, but we’ll see.

Funny or Die Presents – This is the highlight of the week and is not to be missed by any discerning comedy fan. It’s not clear if this is going to be all original material – the trailers suggest it’s a mix of stuff from the website, with more new stuff than old – but it seems every talented comedian and comic actor is taking part in this sketch show, including most of Human Giant, Zach Galifianakis and more. It’s on at midnight on Friday after Real Time.

The Life and Times of Tim: Season 2 – More of the somewhat-animated comedy series I haven’t seen nearly enough of to comment on. Time to rent season one!

Real Time with Bill Maher – The world’s smuggest (and probably most entertaining and interesting) talk show is back after a long hiatus this week. Last season Maher experimented with his format a lot; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, and he seemed to be running low on interesting guests (every panel should probably have at least one person whose job it is to be entertaining), but it was certainly more hit than miss.


Small Wonder Season One – Shout! Factory has given unto us many marvelous things on DVD; Mystery Science Theater 3000, Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and a whole bunch of other great, somewhat obscure shows.

They have decided to abuse this magical power they have and are releasing the first season of one of the worst sitcoms of all time, Small Wonder. Feel free to give this a rent at some point and make sure you have a stopwatch handy so you’ll know exactly how many minutes you were able to tolerate how horribly, embarrassingly bad this show is.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weekly Comedy: A Rollercoaster of Quality

One of the best movies of 2009 is released this week alongside one of the worst and they’re both in this column! Fancy that!


A Serious Man – Even though this black-as-pitch comedy was nominated for Best Picture, it still feels underappreciated. The Coens have constructed something special with this movie; it's structured almost like a traditional joke with a really hilarious punchline at the end. It’s probably one of the darkest comedies ever made, and it’s certainly not for everyone, but since you’re reading this on a site aimed at nerdy comedy snobs, odds are you’ll dig the hell out of it.

The Life and Times of Tim: Season One – The barely-animated HBO series featuring the likes of Nick Kroll and Eddie Pepitone is out on DVD now, so if you missed the initial airing, here’s your chance to catch up. It’s definitely hit and miss, but there are some really funny episodes in here. Worth a rent, at least.

The Sarah Silverman Program: Season 2 Part 2 – Sarah Silverman’s sitcom had a pretty strong season 3 premiere last week, and the rest of season 2 is (finally) out this week, so there’s enough Silverman material for you to figuratively roll around in. If that’s your sort of thing.

Gary Unmarried Season One – wait a second how did this escape the toxic waste pit


Valentine’s Day – Gary Marshall rises from his cursed crypt to once again inflict his particular brand of focus-group-tested “romantic comedy” treacle on the unsuspecting public, this time with every shiny-faced actor and actress accepted as “pretty” by empty-headed housewives who snap up new episodes of People Magazine as though its foul pages provide them with the very putrid nutrients they need to keep their black blood flowing.

Anyway it looks pretty bad.

Couples Retreat – But it’s hard to tell if it’s as bad as this fucking nightmare, the latest from the now-untrustworthy Vince Vaughn –Peter Billingsley duo who are now responsible not only for this unfunny pile of laugh-free white bread bullshit but also Four Christmases and Fred Claus. Fuuuucccckkkk