When I started this series I knew that sooner or later I would be writing about Jay Leno. No comedian has been as villainized in the past two decades as much as Leno. As soon as he replaced Johnny Carson as the host of The Tonight Show, Leno has been inundated with criticism from just about every corner of the comedy world. Almost overnight, Leno went from being a standup wunderkind to a representation of everything that is soulless and mediocre in the entertainment industry.
It didn't help that all of the dirty details concerning NBC’s handling of Carson’s torch passing was meticulously detailed in Bill Carter’s illuminating book, [...]
Before we start, let me say that I know there are many that will take issue with Janeane Garofalo’s inclusion in this series and understandably so. She is, after all, one of the architects of the so-called “alternative comedy” movement and despite a lower profile compared to her 1990s heyday, still commands quite a bit of respect from the comedy community and continues to perform throughout the country as well as appear in film and television.
However, there are those within the comedy community who, to this day, take issue with Garofalo’s reliance on notes on stage, not to mention the many people who abandoned her idiosyncratic style of [...]
I have a secret. A dark, terrible secret that I have trouble even admitting to myself: I don’t hate Dane Cook. I know I should. Practically ever since Dane Cook arrived on the national stage over a decade ago, his critics have been extremely vocal. He has been accused of being a joke thief, a douche, and plain old not funny.
However, despite all of these accusations, Cook is arguably the most successful standup comic working today. Numerous film roles, stadium gigs, and a double platinum comedy album (a feat not accomplished since Steve Martin’s A Wild and Crazy Guy in 1978) are just a few of the stand [...]
When I have a tool in my hand, like a screwdriver, let’s say, or a power drill, I become riddled with anxiety and begin to sweat profusely. A tool offers less in the way of helping me fix things than it does a brand new opportunity to fail at something. My brothers built trucks when they were teenagers, and my Dad used to hang around with them, offering instruction and insight into the inner working of the combustible engine. Where was I? Probably in my room, nose firmly planted in a book. Or masturbating. Yeah, probably masturbating. So, a trip to a hardware store for me generally tends to [...]
This week, I decided to write about Rob Schneider after listening to him on Marc Maron’s WTF. The man who starred in dreck like The Animal, The Hot Chick, and Big Stan was on the show and he was laid back, interesting, and funny! He also had some fascinating insight into stand-up comedy. For example when talking about a venerated San Francisco comic, Schneider points out that while funny, the comic lacked the discipline to put together an act, which Schneider feels kept him from breaking nationally. Which is a pretty damned astute and reasonable advice for any comedian.