Posts Tagged ‘Comedy Central’

Koldcast’s 15 Most Under-Appreciated Comedians

July 26, 2010

Koldcast.tv is a great site for digital content of all sorts, but today I found a simple blog post that I found incredibly interesting.  As a MONSTROUS comedy nerd, I tend to value and follow certain comedians that most people don’t care at all about, if they’ve ever even heard of them.  Which is quite a shame.  Because for every unfunny JB Smoove and Pauly Shore character out there that has struck enormous mainstream success, 30,000,000 other MUCH-funnier, MUCH-more-cerebral, MUCH-more-deserving comics are still struggling with a fan base not much bigger than their immediate friends and family.  That’s why this list of the Under-Appreciated made me so happy!  And while certain people on here have just recently blown up (or are just about to) the list still mostly rings true for these funny people.  First, here’s the actual link to the post itself.  Below I have quickly and succinctly gone down the list and analyzed Koldcast’s suggestions.  If for nothing else, it would be a small victory if just one of these artists received a smidgen of recognition off of this list.  So, without further ado:

1.  Andy Kindler

While Andy Kindler IS great, he just recently landed the VERY cushy, coveted title of being a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  Kindler has been doing comedy for YEARS and after all the writing gigs and stand-up, it is extremely refreshing to see him in such a great position.

2. Matt Berry

Berry is actually one of my favorites from this list.  I fully agree that his voice is like a soothing chorus of angels against a light thunderstorm in the background of my mind.  He is absolutely hilarious on Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and exceptional, as well, on my favorite, The Mighty Boosh.  American audiences need to wise up to this man’s incredi-mazing-ness right quick.

3. Peter Serafinowicz

Another incredibly talented Brit who seems to appear all across the board, but still hasn’t achieved that massive name success that so many comedians bank on to further their careers.

4. JB Smoove

This entry I outright disagree with (as referenced above).  His style of EXTREME over-the-top comedy punctuated with random yells and the most trite, predictable comedy I have seen in years, keeps you rolling your eyes and groaning through his entire set.  To add insult to injury, Comedy Central just recently gave Smoove a half-hour special to MC.  While I love Comedy Central dearly, they do have a problem with just handing loud, overbearing, unfunny people money (i.e. Carlos Mencia).

5. Andy Daly

Andy Daly has been plugging away at the comedy scene for years now.  While he’s not quite my brand of ha-ha, he has been at it for years continues to weave in and out of random groups and circuits with relative ease.

6. Aisha Tyler

Tyler is hilarious and represents a demographic with almost zero representation in the comedy world, the demographic of fangirl.  Tyler’s comedy is hilarious and generally tends toward the nerdy side, which usually leaves audiences either scratching their heads or simply disregarding what she says as not true, because the woman looks like an Amazonian.  She’s incredibly tall and gorgeous, to boot, so when she starts on a Slave Leia Cosplay story, many have trouble imagining her going to lengths to perfect the tin bikini.  Content aside, she is INCREDIBLY deserving of greater recognition and more roles in front of larger audiences.

7. Michael Hitchcock

Hitchcock I, myself, have not heard of, yet I have seen Waiting for Guffman.  That being said, an acolyte of Guest’s is usually not right up my alley.  His humor is generally too dry for my tastes (and as an avid fan of Stephen Wright, that’s TRULY saying something).  What I’m trying to say is that I can’t pass judgment, though I would like to.

8. Jessica Walter

Walter is someone I know when I see her, but, once again, I don’t know enough to comment!

9. David Pasquesi

Ditto.

10. Terry Crews

Terry Crews has always been hilarious.  With his Old Spice campaign and his role in the upcoming move The Expendables, I don’t know if this man needs much more exposure.  Mr. Crews may be right where he needs to be.

11. Molly Shannon

While I do dearly love Molly Shannon, I will say this, she has had more than her time to shine.  Shannon was a formidable presence on SNL during its third most popular streak, in which Tina Fey was writing and Will Ferrell was still performing every minute of.  Shannon even had multiple engagements after SNL, with movie and TV deals (remember Kath and Kim, anyone?) yet simply couldn’t capitalize.

12. Kristen Schaal

Schaal is an all-around talent, more-often-than-not actually taking to the stage, rather than the screen.  Her work transcends SO many different formats, however, and it would be lovely to see what she could do on a larger scale.

13. Nick Swardson

Swardson is hilarious.  His illustrious stand-up career has never seen a lull and he has consistently had his hand in Happy Madison’s productions, either writing, performing, or both.  In the Fall, however, Swardson will finally get his own sketch show on Comedy Central!

14. Amy Sedaris

Sedaris seems to have been everywhere and seems to have done it for the last 15 years.  I first came across her on Stranger’s With Candy, but between hawking her book and just making guest appearances, she pervades ALL FORMS OF MEDIA.  She even narrated a PBS special on the history of American comedy.

15. Robert Smigel

Smigel has written for SNL and Conan and is responsible for Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, and DAAAAAAAAAAAAA BEARS!  In some form or another, people know Robert Smigel.  They just don’t know…Robert Smigel.  I’d be very interested to see what the man is up to currently, and what he has in store for the future.

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Conan O’Brien Beats NBC With a Weapon They Know Nothing Of: Tact.

January 12, 2010

My, has it been an exciting week in Hollywoodland!  First my dreams come true with the usurping of Raimi’s Spider-man franchise, and now Conan is finally telling NBC to shove it!  Hurray for bold moves!

What has developed over at NBC is the result of piss-poor decision-making and NBC’s acquiescense to Jay Leno, the antiquated comedian who ousted Letterman for the very position in question oh so many years ago.  The Peacock Network had moved Leno up to an unprecedented 10 o’clock time slot from his 11:30 time slot on The Tonight Show in an attempt to replace more expensive, scripted programming with Leno’s much cheaper, theoretcially more popular, late-night show.  The move was absolutely disastrous for NBC’s late-night ratings, and eventually proved to be poisonous to all surrounding programs, even local news sets!  As the show directly following Leno, The Tonight Show (now manned by a promoted Conan O’Brien) began to lose steam in the ratings race, as well.  Things became so bad for NBC that local broadcasting affiliates threatened to drop the network if it did not resolve the late-night fiasco and attempt to salvage their numbers. 

No answer is easily found in this equation.  At least not to the exectutives.  For me, it’s quite simple.  Fire Leno, forever, and leave Conan right where he is.  Replace that God awful attempt of a show that Leno perpetrated with the scripted television that he replaced.  Le sigh.  But this isn’t my world, pretties.  No, this is Earth.  The same place where Paris Hilton is still allowed to exist.  Anyway, the problem is that Leno is financially more bankable than Conan in the numbers game.  Well, he was, at least, when all these prior moves went down.  The other problem is that Conan and Leno both have AMAZING agents and managers who have managed to give NBC a huge headache over this whole debacle.  Conan is contracted to host The Tonight Show, and cannot be removed from that franchise, which means that they can’t merely push Conan back and call Leno’s new failure “The Tonight Show.”  That is Conan’s and Conan’s only.  The loophole is that they CAN simply move the age-old Tonight Show wherever they want it.  Which is precisely what NBC would like to do.  Word broke on Sunday that The Jay Leno Show would be moving to an 11:35 time slot and would promptly push O’Brien’s Tonight Show to 12:05.  This seemed to solve all their problems at once, as it made good on Conan’s contract and it put Leno (who is contracted millions of dollars whether he works or not, so dropping him is simply out of the question) back where he is most poised to make money.  This seemed to solve all of their problems…until Conan did what I absolutely love him for.  He unwaveringly stood his ground.  O’Brien issued a statement on January 12th stating that he would not move the program to the new time slot as it would “damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting.”  O’Brien also sighted that the move would be unfair to his replacement on Late Night, Jimmy Fallon.  With an incredible amount of poise and tact, Conan went on to describe how he had been preparing for years for the opportunity to host The Tonight Show and that he refused to see it eventually go down in flames due to NBC’s negligence. 

Whether or not you believe that Conan is really looking towards the future and actually attempting to salvage everyone’s career who is involved, you have to acknowledge that Conan has managed to come out on top of this situation the least-unscathed.  And while it very well may be that this is all one big ego trip about time slots and who’s playing second fiddle, I honestly don’t think it matters.  Conan’s points about the franchise of The Tonight Show inevitably tanking are all MORE than relevant, and his comment regarding being unfair to Fallon is a double-edged sword which reminds the public just how unfair NBC is being to Conan, himself!  O’Brien was promised the chance to carry on The Tonight Show’s legacy and that chance is being further and further diminished by NBC’s thoughtless business practices. 

Which brings me to my favorite part.  As Conan himself states in his letter, you needn’t be sorry for him. While he doesn’t specifically address this notion, the fact of the matter is that he is far too lucrative a talent to be thrown to the wolves.  If NBC refuses to make good on what they promised him, Conan will EASILY be able to find other, better opportunities elsewhere.  Personally, I think that O’Brien is a gargantuan talent that has not been able to fully grow yet, as a comedian and an artist.  I wish that he would enlist with a low-budget cable network (*ahem* Comedy Central *ahem*) where he would have full creative control and be restricted by absolutely nothing but his own mind.  Regardless of where he ends up, however, there is one thing that I would certainly put my money on: Conan O’Brien WILL have the last laugh.  And that puts an even bigger smile on my face than the one I had yesterday when I heard that Mopey Maguire would no longer be Spider-Man.  At this rate, I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!  Maybe Michael Bay will end up in prison for 35 to life!

P.S.  This is the Yahoo article which contains Conan’s public letter.  A great read!

Sherry Sirof

April 22, 2009

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While I’m fresh on the subject of female comedians, I thought I’d list a fast up-and comer that I would have loved to insert in the list had I actually accrued more than ten minutes of footage on her.  She had me mesmerized when I first saw her on Comedy Central.  The clip I have below is definitely not Sirof’s best work, but it’s the only proper piece of standup I could find on the comic as she is still fairly new to the scene.  I had just stumbled across her the other day on Comedy Central’s Night at Gotham.  Without being too blue, Sirof’s style is decadantly absurdist in nature as she jokes about abortion, birth control, and punching black children.  Her unconventional approach and free-floating stream of consciousness narrative style are on par with that of Daniel Tosh, a favorite of mine.

Top 5 Female Stand-Up Comedians

April 21, 2009

I have a  strange affinity for women in comedy.  Actually, allow me to further clarrify, I have a strange affinity for funny women in comedy.  A talented female stand-up always catches my eye and makes me stand-up (no pun intended) and take notice.  Of course, being the misogynist that I am, I, personally, believe that there are very, VERY few talented female comedians out there.  Honestly, I don’t think too many people would disagree with me, I just have no problem admitting that its my opinion.

Whether or not that throws you into a fiery, feminist rage, it shouldn’t matter.  What my above opinion means is that when a talented female comedian comes along and is able to hang with the boys, I respect her all the more.  And it’s not easy for women in comedy.  I’ll gladly admit it.  They have to contest with a bunch of men in an all-boys-club while still retaining their own style and brand of humor (The only thing worse than a bad female comic is a pandering-to-mens-sensibilities female comic.)

Which brings me to THE LIST!!!  These are my top 5 favorite female stand-ups currently running the circuit.  Each one is hilarious and individual in her own right and has the propensity to draw major crowds in whatever club they frequent.  Enjoy!

5.  Natasha Leggero

Natasha Leggero is a regular on Chelsea Lately and always comes prepared with an iron wit.  Her ‘look of desperation,’ as I call it, delivers the punchline to much of her material and manages to encompass her delivery and personality as somewhat “comicopolitan.”  Yes, you can quote me on that.

4.  Loni Love

I love Loni…Love.  She’s like a big, warm hug in the form of an over-bearing, loud, rapid-fire comic.  Her approach manages to be brash, hard, and controversial, while maintaining an almost nurturing effect.  As though your favorite aunt were lulling you to sleep with well-thought-out jokes of crack and obesity.

3. Wanda Sykes

Everyone has heard of Wanda Sykes, but not many realize just how prevalent she has been in the comedy scene.  Sykes started out in comedy writing for Chris Rock on The Chris Rock Show. From that point on, Sykes has expanded her own illustrious career with multiple Comedy Central specials and roles in multiple shows such Crank Yankers, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and others to boot.

2.  Lisa Lampanelli

Wow, what a woman.  She’s the certified queen of Comedy Central’s Roasts due to her brash, anything goes persona and her affinity for being downright lewd.  Yet, there’s something still original about Lampanelli.  Something in her contenance that despite her overtly vulgar subject material, you never get the impression that any of it is contrived or that she is physically trying to be controversial.  She’s a genuine comic.  A dirty, filthy, loud, blue, hilarious, genuine comic.

1.  Chelsea Handler

Admittedly, Chelsea’s stand-up won’t immediately knock you off your feet upon first hearing it.  After you take a minute to process the subject matter, however, you realize that the girl is absolutely brilliant.  Chelsea attacks any and all parts of our culture and our thinly vieled boundaries that we set up on a daily basis.  If for nothing else at all, she should be given credence for continually putting content on the air on an average of 5 nights a week, through the facet of her late night talk show.  She expresses any and all forms of disdain that she has for anything at all and refuses to tread a line.  Fence-sitting is not in Ms. Handler’s repertoire.  FACE-sitting, however, is an entirely different matter…