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Posts tagged as standup

Harnessing Absurdity to Help Others with Kurt Braunohler

You can catch Kurt Braunohler’s new episode of The Half Hour this Friday, July 25, but he’s been focused on a lot more than just standup lately. In June, the comedian jet skied the Mississippi River from Chicago to New Orleans as part of his Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 to provide 500 goats and 1000 chickens to African families in need. The quest is documented in his Comedy Central web series Roustabout, coming out this fall.

On top of that, Kurt is starring in the upcoming film B Roll, has plans to release a compilation album from his standup/variety show Hot Tub with Kristen Schaal, and continues [...]

Sheng Wang on New York and San Francisco's Standup Scenes

Over a decade into his standup career, Sheng Wang has amassed a list of credits that includes Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show, and his own Comedy Central Presents special. Wang, who came up via San Francisco's comedy scene, currently resides in New York, where he plays both alt rooms and clubs. Wang is one of several comedians, alongside Janeane Garofalo, Eugene Mirman, and Michael Che, featured in A Night at Whiplash, a Splitsider-produced standup concert movie based on Leo Allen's long-running live standup showcase Whiplash. I recently had the chance to talk to Sheng Wang about his beginnings in comedy, [...]

Joe Zimmerman on His Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and Staying in NYC

Self-proclaimed "ambassador of joy" Joe Zimmerman is in a New York state of mind. The comedian is putting down serious roots in what he callsthe place to go if you want to be a standup comic.” And who can blame him? The city is treating him and his career quite well. After making his Comedy Central debut last year on John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show, Zimmerman is now preparing for the release of his Comedy Central Half Hour special this Friday. I talked to him about his comedy roots, the NYC scene and how West Virgina is kind of like Ireland.

Five Years a Comedian's Assistant: What It's Like Working for the Most Neurotic Bosses Around

Hi, I’m Stephie, and I’m a recovering assistant-aholic. For the past five-plus years, I’ve had the incredible fortune of working for a whole slew of professional funny people.

Many of my jobs were in film/TV production: as a personal assistant, production assistant, writer’s assistant, associate producer, and script supervisor, multiple times over in each capacity. But my absolute favorite gigs — the ones where I really cut my care-of-comedians teeth — were as road manager on three cross-country tours. If there’s one place to get to know a comedian (or anyone) in a profound way, it’s inside a compact rental car with a faulty GPS, desperately trying to find the [...]

Damien Lemon on His Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and How He Became a Comedy Cellar Regular

For years Damien Lemon was known as much for his comedic skills as his legendary beater Toyota Corolla. With the way his career is going now, he’s probably due for an upgrade if he hasn’t done so already.

Lemon is one of the rising stars in the NYC comedy scene and has become a regular at most standup clubs, including the famed Comedy Cellar. He’s a cast member on MTV2’s Guy Code, and made his film debut two years ago in The Amazing Spider-Man.

On Friday, you can see his new special on Comedy Central as part of their Half Hour series.

I recently caught up with Lemon while he [...]

Humor Sickness: What Makes Comedians Tick?

Announcing your innermost insecurities and self-aggrandizing fantasies in public would generally be considered a strong indicator of mental illness — but when you add a mic and a drink minimum, we call it comedy. 

Conventional wisdom (admittedly the least cool kind of wisdom) holds that many comedians exhibit a similar and curious mix of maladjusted personality traits: the narcissism and egocentrism that allow a person to stand in front of an audience and share their thoughts, coupled with the seemingly-opposed neuroses and self-loathing that makes those thoughts hilarious. Google “(Your Favorite Comedian’s Name)” + “narcissist” or “(Your Favorite Comedian’s Name)” + “self-loathing” and you will most likely see [...]

Just For Laughs Chooses Its 2014 New Faces

Every year, Montreal's Just For Laughs comedy festival chooses a bunch of up-and-coming comedians to highlight in their "New Faces" showcase, and this year's list has been released. Last year's list featured a bunch of comedians who enjoyed a breakthrough year including SNL's John Milhiser and Brooks Wheelan, standups Mark Normand and Aparna Nancherla, Late Night's Conner O'Malley, and more. Just For Laughs splits their choices up by categories New Faces (non-Canadian standups with managers), New Faces: Characters (sketch performers), Homegrown Talent (Canadian comedians), and New Faces: Unrepped (comedians without managers). Click through for the full list of this year's New Faces:

Joe Wengert on His 'Half Hour' Special and Writing for Three Very Different TV Shows

With a half hour special under his belt, Joe Wengert's standup career is taking off, so it’s not hard to believe that he's also an accomplished improviser. Wengert ran the UCB Theatre's school in New York and then in LA and still regularly performs improv at the LA theater with the team The Smokes in addition to the long-running show ASSSSCAT. His TV writing credits are impressive as well: Wengert has written for Kroll Show, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Playing House. You can catch his episode of The Half Hour this Friday, July 18th, at 12:30 am.

I got to talk to Joe about preparing for The Half Hour, writing [...]

Mark Normand on His Eventful Comedy Central 'Half Hour' Taping and Bad Advice from Other Comedians

Mark Normand has slogged his way through the New York comedy scene since 2006. For years now, he's labored through open mics all across the city, played shows to half-filled rooms and drunk, distracted patrons, spent hours enticing passers-by to free comedy shows in the West Village, and balanced multiple careers, a relationship, and a social life.

But all of these have not been for nothing. Normand is now a Comedy Cellar regular, has appeared on Conan, Last Comic Standing, and Inside Amy Schumer. Most recently, Normand finally assembled his first album, Still Got It, and filmed his first Comedy Central special for their series The Half Hour, which [...]

Rachel Feinstein on Her Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and the Other Rachel Feinstein

Rachel Feinstein came to New York when she was 17. She did not go to college. She lived in Brooklyn. She shared her apartment with a band that called itself "Dicksister." When Feinstein entered comedy, however, she found an outlet and crowd that she grew to love. Since then, she's appeared on Last Comic Standing, had a Comedy Central Presents special, performed in Women Who Kill, produced an album (Thug Tears), appeared in numerous online sketches, done voices for Grand Theft Auto, and has begun to make more appearances on the acting scene.

Her second Comedy Central special, as part of their series, Half Hour, airs this Friday. I recently [...]

The Inside Story of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail

“I’ve always been fascinated with the moment people go from being a just a group in a room to one unit – for me, that’s the most interesting thing on the planet,” says Emily Gordon, co-producer of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail. “Movies do that, and church does that, and comedy shows do that, and I always wanted to make an environment where that happens.”

Every Wednesday night, it happens in an unlikely place: the dim, unfinished back room of a comic book shop on Sunset Boulevard. 

Just a few blocks east of Los Angeles’ biggest comedy clubs, the NerdMelt Showroom is home to one of [...]

Brooks Wheelan Is Going on the "Brooks Wheelan Falls Back on Stand Up Comedy (sorta) Tour"

Since news broke last week that SNL had fired three featured players, none of them have responded and bounced back from the bad news quite like standup Brooks Wheelan. In addition to his string of hilarious tweets following the big announcement ("Whats the protocol on length of departure from SNL and your 'Best Of' DVD coming out. So stoked to see mine. Bet it's super long…"), Wheelan is making the best out of an unfortunate situation by going back to his standup roots in the form of an international tour, as announced via his Tumblr. Wheelan will make stops in New York, Canada, Europe, Seattle, [...]

Maria Bamford Tells 'NYT Magazine' That She's Enjoying Her Gravy Boat

"People want to know: 'So what are you working on? What's going on with you? What's the next page? What's coming up for you? What's on the horizon?' And I say: 'Oh. I'm done … Yeah, I finished early. I'm actually living in a gravy boat filled with delicious gravy.'"

- Maria Bamford in a fantastic new NYT Magazine profile, which covers the comedian's childhood, her struggles with mental illness, her standup style, The Special Special Special!, and much more.

Finding Controversy by Accident with Kurt Metzger

After 15 years of performing standup, New York comic Kurt Metzger's career is gaining momentum, all without the help of business cards and t-shirts. But hey, it's never too late to try something new. "My income’s been getting kind of better, so it’s just a matter of if I have the extra money to spend on something like that."

His new one hour special, White Precious, premieres tonight on Comedy Central at 11pm. I talked to Metzger about leaving behind the religion of his youth, his family, his love/hate relationship with social media, and his penchant for controversy.

From what I’ve read you’re not much of a marketer [...]