• Why ‘Def Comedy Jam’ Gets No Respect

    Why ‘Def Comedy Jam’ Gets No Respect

    By Jason Zinoman, New York Times | Before “Veep,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Sex and the City,” there was “Def Comedy Jam,” one of the first hit comedies on HBO, often beating its network competition in ratings on Friday nights throughout much of the 1990s. That this trailblazing showcase for black comedy is routinely overlooked in discussions of the most […]

  • The Laws of Comedy

    The Laws of Comedy

    By Ian Frazier, The New Yorker | The “Saturday Night Live” parody of the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with Alec Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as Clinton, was the funniest thing that existed in America up until that time. Evidently, Baldwin’s whole career had led up to his channelling of Trump. The pursed, prurient lips, […]

  • In the 21st century, comedy is our greatest tool for progressive change

    In the 21st century, comedy is our greatest tool for progressive change

    By Mary O’Hara, Quartz | Maeve Higgins once set herself a task. The Irish-born comedian wanted to see what life would be like if she stopped laughing at things that weren’t funny. Turns out it wasn’t as easy as she thought. “It was so effing hard,” she says. “Laughter is a lubricant and is expected, and it’s really hard not […]

  • A George Carlin Special Too Raw After Sept. 11 Resurfaces Now

    A George Carlin Special Too Raw After Sept. 11 Resurfaces Now

    By Jason Zinoman, New York Times | On Sept. 10, 2001, George Carlin, the greatest political comic in history if measured only by stand-up specials, recorded a bracing hour of social commentary for his new HBO special. The next day, he shelved it. It wasn’t only the title, “I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die,” that seemed in […]

  • Seinfeld, Take My Wife, and the Rise of Comedies About Comedy

    Seinfeld, Take My Wife, and the Rise of Comedies About Comedy

    By Jesse David Fox, Vulture | Early in the second, and by far the best, episode of Take My Wife — the new semi-autobiographical Seeso comedy created by and starring comedians and spouses Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher — Cameron and Rhea (note: first names mean the characters; last names mean the real people with the same name) are chatting […]

  • Stephen Colbert’s Joyful Return to Political Comedy

    Stephen Colbert’s Joyful Return to Political Comedy

    By Ian Crouch, The New Yorker | During this election cycle, it has often felt as though the country’s politically inclined late-night talk-show hosts have been sitting in the wrong chairs, or else sadly absent altogether. Sure, John Oliver is in the right spot, hectoring gleefully at HBO. But Samantha Bee, who is doing a superhero’s work just once a […]

  • Louis C.K.’s stand-up comedy challenges growing fan base

    Louis C.K.’s stand-up comedy challenges growing fan base

    By Peter Hartlaub, SFGate.com | Louis C.K. has had a string of recent successes — upending the economic landscape of stand-up comedy, receiving adulation on multiple platforms and even voicing the alpha dog in the just-released PG-rated box office juggernaut “The Secret Life of Pets.” And yet he still paces the stage with the hesitant vibe of a man on […]

 

Other News

/ November 21, 2016 12:17 pm

Why ‘Def Comedy Jam’ Gets No Respect

By Jason Zinoman, New York Times | Before “Veep,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Sex and the City,” there was “Def Comedy Jam,” one of the first hit comedies on HBO, often beating its network competition in ratings on Friday nights throughout much of the 1990s. That this trailblazing showcase for black comedy is routinely overlooked in discussions of the most […]

/ October 25, 2016 10:48 am

The Laws of Comedy

By Ian Frazier, The New Yorker | The “Saturday Night Live” parody of the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with Alec Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as Clinton, was the funniest thing that existed in America up until that time. Evidently, Baldwin’s whole career had led up to his channelling of Trump. The pursed, prurient lips, […]

/ September 18, 2016 3:17 pm

In the 21st century, comedy is our greatest tool for progressive change

By Mary O’Hara, Quartz | Maeve Higgins once set herself a task. The Irish-born comedian wanted to see what life would be like if she stopped laughing at things that weren’t funny. Turns out it wasn’t as easy as she thought. “It was so effing hard,” she says. “Laughter is a lubricant and is expected, and it’s really hard not […]

/ September 5, 2016 7:56 pm

A George Carlin Special Too Raw After Sept. 11 Resurfaces Now

By Jason Zinoman, New York Times | On Sept. 10, 2001, George Carlin, the greatest political comic in history if measured only by stand-up specials, recorded a bracing hour of social commentary for his new HBO special. The next day, he shelved it. It wasn’t only the title, “I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die,” that seemed in […]

/ August 15, 2016 10:51 am

Seinfeld, Take My Wife, and the Rise of Comedies About Comedy

By Jesse David Fox, Vulture | Early in the second, and by far the best, episode of Take My Wife — the new semi-autobiographical Seeso comedy created by and starring comedians and spouses Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher — Cameron and Rhea (note: first names mean the characters; last names mean the real people with the same name) are chatting […]

/ July 24, 2016 3:03 pm

Stephen Colbert’s Joyful Return to Political Comedy

By Ian Crouch, The New Yorker | During this election cycle, it has often felt as though the country’s politically inclined late-night talk-show hosts have been sitting in the wrong chairs, or else sadly absent altogether. Sure, John Oliver is in the right spot, hectoring gleefully at HBO. But Samantha Bee, who is doing a superhero’s work just once a […]

/ July 17, 2016 12:48 pm

Louis C.K.’s stand-up comedy challenges growing fan base

By Peter Hartlaub, SFGate.com | Louis C.K. has had a string of recent successes — upending the economic landscape of stand-up comedy, receiving adulation on multiple platforms and even voicing the alpha dog in the just-released PG-rated box office juggernaut “The Secret Life of Pets.” And yet he still paces the stage with the hesitant vibe of a man on […]

/ June 27, 2016 9:46 am

Late-night comedy needs to get over Jon Stewart

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, theweek.com | I miss Jon Stewart — particularly every time I try to watch a late-night comic not named Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart was truly special. It’s not often that a talented person finds the instrument that is just perfect for him. You see this sometimes with kids. You have a child who has an obvious gift […]

/ June 22, 2016 11:28 am

Could a College Degree in Comedy Be Anything Other Than a Joke?

By Luke O’Neil, New York Times Magazine | There’s a maxim about comedy typically attributed to Lucille Ball, although it’s one whose essence you hear echoed by almost any professional comedian: “People either have comedy or they don’t,” the saying goes. “You can’t teach it to them.” On a Tuesday morning at Emerson College last September, Erin Schwall was trying […]

/ June 1, 2016 4:38 pm

Is Comedy a Crime?

By Patralekha Chatterjee, Deccan Chronicle | Most people think of Siberia as one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on earth. It also has accomplished groups of “laughtivists”, activists whose trademark is hilarity, famous political activist Srdja Popovic tells us in his seriously funny book Blueprint for Revolution. These laughtivists were not born so; they were made. And Vladimir Putin’s Russia has […]

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