Sad news from the Windy City: after three years and more than 50 performances, one of live comedy's most interesting experiments is coming to an end. This Saturday, The Late Live Show will have its final performance.
For those of you who missed our profile of the show last year, here's the basic idea: A bunch of comedy nerds who grew up watching late-night shows decided they wanted one of their own, but knew they would never be able to get it on television, so they just started doing it as a live show in Chi-town venues. We're talking opening monologues, desk bits, interviews — the whole kit and caboodle. It became a cult hit, drawing sold-out crowds and high-profile guests.
But now, it seems that the good times will no longer roll. READ MORE
In retrospect, it just seems so obvious.
After a few minutes of talking to the people behind Chicago's The Late Live Show, one starts to feel like the relevant question isn't, "Why did these guys decide to start a live, untelevised talk show?" The real question seems to be, "Why isn't everyone else doing it?"
"There are stand-up shows, there are improv shows, and there are sketch shows in Chicago," said Joe Kwaczala, the show's 25-year-old host. "Those are formats people are familiar with and can dial into. But so is a late-night talk show! We thought, 'Why isn't there one you can go out and see live?'"
Since 2010, Kwaczala and a handful of collaborators have used that creative optimism to build a live experience that regularly draws sold-out crowds to their rented black-box theater space. Unsurprisingly, it's a very do-it-yourself affair, meaning the set usually just consists of a talk show’s bare essentials: a couch and a desk. In lieu of a teleprompter, they have a laptop in the front row, facing Kwaczala.
"We put the show together with duct tape and hope it works," said producer Brandon Hauer. "People see the effort that goes into replicating a talk-show format on stage, and it makes people fans. They want to see us succeed." READ MORE
"My name is Broke Ankleman," Scott Aukerman said as he came to the lip of an unadorned stage.
Roughly 95% of his body was vintage Aukerman: sensible sweater, Oxford shirt, well-ironed khakis, comfortable sneakers, and lightly tousled hair with just a hint of product. But at the bottom of his left leg was a massive black boot, one he bore due to an injury suffered early on in his "Comedy Bang! Bang! LIVE!" tour, weeks before it came to Manhattan's Highline Ballroom last night.
His recounting of the incident was also vintage Aukerman. "I was literally just walking on stage — Walking! Walking on stage! — and I sprained my ankle and broke my heel," he said.
The crowd laughed. But why? What can we glean from this show, which lacked his TV co-host, Reggie Watts, and thus was Aukerman-centric? How can we define the Aukerman mystique that has made him a comedy impresario? READ MORE
To: The Lonely Island, Inc.
From: Abraham Riesman, analyst
Subject: Acknowledging your children
Messrs. Andy, Jorm, and Kiv—
We need to talk about Incredibad.
First off, congratulations — your debut masterpiece turns two on Friday. It remains that rarest of jewels: a comedy album comprised of original songs that you can find yourself humming during idle moments alone.
But you guys have to take some ownership. You’ve been neglectful parents to some of your jams. READ MORE
What the hell happened at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last Friday night?
Ostensibly, a sold-out crowd saw something called “Portlandia: The Tour,” but that title doesn’t tell us much. Sure, it starred Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the creators and stars of IFC’s Portlandia. But it wasn’t a stage adaptation of an episode in the vein of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s “The Nightman Cometh” tour. Nor was it an all-new set of stories like those creepy Glee stadium blowouts. In fact, virtually none of the evening was fictional or in character, at all.
The very existence of the tour is baffling, in a way: what would it even mean to take something as subtle and strange as Portlandia on tour? READ MORE