New York magazine recently conducted a lengthy interview with Chris Rock to promote his latest film Top Five, and it's loaded with great insight on everything from standup and SNL to political correctness, President Obama, and current events like Ferguson and Bill Cosby's demise. Here are Rock's thoughts on how cell phones and social media have driven comedians' self-censorship when developing material:
It is scary, because the thing about comedians is that you’re the only ones who practice in front of a crowd. Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio. But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough [...]
My ignorance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows no signs of stopping, and is from all indications worse than ever. It’s time to take a good, hard look at how uninformed I am.
Just this week, I heard someone say that the death toll rose in Gaza after Israel escalated its air assault. Whatever side of this conflict you find yourself on, I think we can all agree it is truly heartbreaking that I don’t understand what the term “Gaza” means.
Is it some sort of army base? Or a mythical mountain where the gold is hidden? I’m pretty sure it’s not underwater.
Left unchecked, the repercussions of this ignorance [...]
"Anyone who believes in free markets, as American conservatives profess to, should understand that few markets are as ruthless as show business. It is the customers, not some shadowy conspiratorial gatekeepers, who give comedians the hook—or catapult them into the capitalist nirvana of the one percent."
-Frank Rich, in an excellent piece for The New York Times called "Can Conservatives Be Funny?," which dives deep into the current state of conservative comedians and asks why there aren't more of them and why they aren't more successful.
Barack Obama's press secretary Jay Carney told students at Georgetown that Jon Stewart was actually the president's "most substantive, challenging interview" in 2012, instead of, you know, any interviews with real journalists. Here's what Carney said (via The Wrap):
I remember we had some discussion during 2012 about 'Well, is it appropriate for the president, the sitting president and candidate, to give interviews with Jon Stewart and others?' And the answer was yes, again, because young voters we were trying to reach are more likely to watch The Daily Show than some other news shows.
But also, I think if you look back at 2012 and the series [...]
This morning, Funny Or Die released an episode of Zach Galifianakis's web series Between Two Ferns featuring Barack Obama as the special guest. Variety has the story on how this ended up happening.
Basically, the White House wanted to get young Americans to sign up for health insurance before a March 31st headline. Last summer, Obama attended a meeting with White House advisers and a bunch of movie/TV people about how to use Hollywood to spread the word about health care reform. Funny Or Die President of Production Mike Farah was at said meeting and pitched the idea of Obama doing Between Two Ferns there, but didn't discuss [...]