Monday, October 21, 2013

Mel Brooks interviewed by Conan O'Brien

Comedy legend Mel Brooks sits down and talks with Conan O'Brien for almost an hour and a half.  Epic interview.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blimey Cow

Jordan Taylor and his friends and relatives have a popular YouTube comedy channel called “Blimey Cow.” Over time, they’ve built up quite a following with their short, funny bits opining on modern day life.

Taylor’s hyper/silly delivery makes you wonder if he was homeschooled and has a compelling need to communicate with somebody-- anybody. His comedic rants often have a faith-informed slant to them, and his recent video, “How to talk like a Christian,” manages to cut to the truth of how modern day American evangelical Christians talk, think and act.

Taylor is a college-aged Christian who very cleverly mocks the weirdness of today’s Christians, while still appealing to Christians. That is not an easy thing to do.

Listen, whether or not you have faith in Christ or don’t, the Blimey Cow YouTube channel has a lot of comedic clips to make you laugh. Some of their video titles include “College might be a waste of your time,” “Seven things that won’t be cool in twenty years,” and “My smart phone made me stupid.”
Visit, where new videos are posted each Monday.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Arrested Development

Arrested Development is truly one of the best comedy shows ever made. It is unique in the way it presents and disguises its jokes but also in the way it references itself throughout episodes and seasons and thereby gives the viewer the feeling of being in a clique.

Those are some reasons why Arrested Development was always a fan favorite. It was so loved by fans that it made a comeback for a new season this year, which some people regard as the comeback of the decade since the show managed to preserve its entire cast and promised to resume where it left off.
It is debatable whether or not the show manages to have the same effect on its audience but nonetheless the fans seemed mostly happy with the comeback. Let’s leave that all out and point to the core of the show, the sarcastic humor and the fact that is packed with jokes and references in such a way even if you watch the same episode a 3rd or 4th time you can still discover new stuff.

Speaking of the characters, they are by far the best thing about the show. The whole cast is great, and they all work together flawlessly. If I had to choose a favorite it would be Jessica Walter as the mom, Lucille Bluth. Every line she says is clipped with the perfect degree of icy rudeness. She's crude and manipulative, but she manages to see herself as classy and victimized. One of my favorite lines in the whole series is when GOB is tackled for bringing bees into the prison and she pointlessly chides him "They don't allow you to bring bees in here." It's a throwaway line that could easily have been cut from the script but it suits her character so perfectly (it's such a heartless and useless thing to say) that it becomes laugh out loud hilarious.

I'll just end by saying if you're going to start watching it be prepared to watch all 3 seasons because you probably won't be able to stop. With so many people touting Arrested Development as "the best show ever" it's tempting to say that it's overrated. But the more I think about it, the more I really don't think it is overrated, because in all honesty nothing else that I've seen is this good.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Read my book on how to write comedy.  Newest edition now also available in paperback!

In Bed with Joan

Joan Rivers is 80-years-old. And she’s arguably busier and more popular at 80 than ever before.

In recent years, Joan was perhaps best known for winning The Celebrity Apprentice TV show, helmed by businessman Donald Trump. Joan showed she doesn’t quit when the times get hard.

One of the most devastating things to happen to Joan was dealing with her husband Edgar’s suicide in 1987.

It has often been said that the best comedians have a lot of tragedy and depression in their lives, so they make others laugh to cheer themselves up. Joan could have easily faded from the public spotlight after her husband’s death, but she realized that making others laugh was something that lifted her out of the dangerous place of wallowing in self pity and sadness.

Joan loves a challenge, so she sells her jewelry lines on TV shopping channels and stands on red carpets to interview Hollywood starlets about “who they’re wearing,” commenting on whether or not she thinks they’re gorgeous or hideous.  Ever opinionated, Joan keeps people laughing with both self-deprecating humor, and observational rants about what bothers her about celebrities and people groups.

It’s pretty amazing to think she’s an octogenarian who is still touring, entertaining huge crowds, with an extremely sharp mind, great timing and superb delivery of hilarious lines.

Joan’s latest venture is a YouTube show called “In Bed with Joan,” where Joan invites a celeb into her bed, and they have a conversation about anything and everything. It’s uncensored and it’s funny!

Here’s Joan talking in bed with Jeff Garlin of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and the new comedy “The Goldbergs.” Enjoy!

Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang theory is a very popular TV sitcom that follows the daily lives of four friends -- Sheldon, his best friend Leonard, Raj and Howard. Those are the main characters of the show and are all scientist at a university. Other main characters of the show are the girlfriends of Leonard, Sheldon and Howard, namely, Penny, Amy and Bernadette.

The comedy this TV show offers was planned by the producers to be clever and making jabs at popular culture. The main characters are supposed to be real-life nerds that are living real nerdy lives. The anti-character here is Penny, who is the only main character that is not a scientist. Unfortunately, the comedy in this TV show often falls back on Penny’s stupidity and ignorance by letting main characters like Sheldon constantly make fun and / or harass her lack of knowledge.

Sheldon, which the show puts a lot of emphasis on, is a theoretical physicist and seems to have a very high IQ but is entirely socially inept and has no social skills whatsoever. But he is not the only character in this sitcom with failed social integration. For example Raj cannot talk when there are women nearby listening, unless he is drunk.

The problem with this forced ineptness is that this makes the TV show full of totally unbelievable characters. Everybody knows at least one nerd or geek and I’m sure most of those are quite unlike the ones portrait in this show. Actually, the most believable character in the whole show is Penny, which should be a comedic relief.

The show totally misses that geeks are not geeks because of their super intelligence and because they are socially inept.

All this means not that this show is bad, but it sure isn’t the best what could be made out of such versatile theme. The fact that the show always relies on the same patterns for comedy (which are not very smart by themselves anyway) shows that the writing is lacking what comedy is all about, the comedic factor.

Regardless, the Big Bang Theory is a quite popular show with many fans, but it could’ve been much better with a little bit more twist in comedy and overall a little more believable characters. Unfortunately the show is not going to change what it is and therefore will be quite forgotten in couple of years.  Just like the popcorn you ate the last time you watched a movie, nothing special.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Brief Musical Interlude with Marc Scibilia

Americana music has a new Bob Dylan, of sorts. Marc Scibilia started out as a teen music prodigy emulating piano man Billy Joel, but around age 18, he discovered the music of Bob Dylan, and ever since, he’s more Dylan than Joel.

Scibilia hails from Buffalo, New York, but calls East Nashville home, where he lives in a farmhouse with his bandmates, working on music around-the-clock when they’re not touring the country.

Balancing the fine line between folk, blues and rock, Scibilia is surrounded by Country music makers, and his music has been subconsciously influenced by it. One of his latest songs, “Shining Like America,” has been getting airplay on Sirius XM’s new Country station, “The Highway.” In addition, the FOX-TV show, “Bones,” used Scibilia’s song “How Bad We Need Each Other” in a recent episode.

As a singer-songwriter, Scibilia is appreciated for being a humble and genuine musician, the kind who plays several instruments well, greets listeners after a show, and comes across as down-to-earth. Fans of John Mayer, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan will want to add Marc Scibilia to their playlists.

His latest 4-song EP is called “The Shape I’m In.” Check out the video here, where Scibilia tells you about his life and music:

Kate the WASP

What do you do to stand out in comedy? Well, if you’re on Saturday Night Live, you become a character like Bill Hader playing “Stefon,” where you have a unique, distinct point-of-view and comedic delivery that makes people laugh—and remember you. And if you’re not fortunate enough to have a job on SNL, but you live in New York City, you have to do something to stand out from the crowd. Enter comedian Kate Hendricks, aka Kate the Wasp.

Kate the Wasp (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) is a comedic character who goes around the streets, festivals, and public events of New York City talking with people who most Wasps wouldn’t associate with. Her shtick is that she’s a pearl necklace wearing conservative raised in a wealthy family, yet curious to find out what it’s like to, for instance, be a drag queen or live in Harlem.

Kate the Wasp is a character who performs “comedy with a sense of entitlement.” It’s funny to see such a supposedly high class woman—the kind who wears heels-- hanging out and kickin’ it with middle and lower class “peeps.”
She’s a loveable fish out of water, as a cameraman follows her around at events like a gay pride parade or Occupy Wall Street, where she’ll talk with participants, and talk to you, the viewer, as if she’s narrating a trip to another world. She plays her character so well that half the time you forget it’s an act. If you like the comedy of Stephen Colbert, you’ll appreciate his female counterpart.

Currently, Kate the Wasp has a popular YouTube channel where you can see her New York City adventures. Here are some of them:

Follow her on Twitter:

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Simpsons

Long ago, in the 1980s, there was a new TV network called Fox. And on Fox were some awful comedies like Women in Prison, and some out-of-the-ordinary variety shows, including one from British comedienne Tracey Ullman.

On The Tracey Ullman Show, which ran from 1987-1990, the Simpson family first appeared on television. The Simpsons were crudely drawn for animated shorts on Ullman’s comedy-variety show. Eventually, the drawings got cleaned up as the popularity of The Simpsons grew. In 1990, Fox-TV put the half-hour Simpsons TV series on-the-air, and it was a huge hit.

In 1990, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Bart Simpson t-shirts with catchphrases like “Don’t have a cow man” on them.

Today, almost three decades later, Fox is still running new episodes of The Simpsons, and it has been renewed for next season, meaning we’ll be enjoying Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and plenty of zany characters for many more episodes.

It’s not every day that a TV show lasts as long as The Simpsons has. It’s a testament to great comedic writers keeping it fresh and current year after year.

Did you know The Simpsons have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Universal Studios created a virtual coaster ride based on the animated family. And even the U.S. postal service honored the show with five postal stamps personally designed by series creator Matt Groening.

Having won 28 Emmy Awards, The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted show in TV history. Surprisingly, it shows no signs of slowing down.