Modern standup has been around in one form or another since vaudeville, but it’s only been since the late ‘70s that the standup special has gained traction as the crowning achievement of a successful comic. Fortunately, the beginnings of the standup special were as fertile as rock ‘n’ roll’s birth 25 years prior, with many of the all-time greats setting templates right from the start.
The material always comes first, of course, but as a video document of a honed act it’s also important to appreciate the visual elements — the framing, editing, and backdrop — and how they enhance or detract from the pacing and quality of the jokes. [...]
South African comedian Trevor Noah's life story doesn't immediately scream comedy. His standup explores his complicated relationship with racial identity, having grown up mixed race in apartheid-era South Africa, where neither his black mother nor white father were allowed to acknowledge their relationship with him in public.
He was a major hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer, and now his first American solo show, Born a Crime, has just extended its run in New York through the end of June. It's not his first time in the States — he appeared on The Tonight Show last year, and toured the country with Gabriel Iglesias. I recently sat down with him in New York to [...]
Eddie Izzard has been cast as Grandpa in Mockingbird Lane, the upcoming NBC remake of The Munsters. An interesting choice! Izzard has an edge that Al Lewis' warm performance never gave the role. Still, I can see Izzard making a fun invention-happy Grandpa, can't you? And maybe casting a standup comic will lend the "visually spectacular one hour drama" the comedic bent for which it so clearly hungers. Fingers crossed for the announcements of Bill Hader as Herman and Natasha Leggero as Lily.