Posts by ComedyCrunch:
By Kaylee S. Kim, The Harvard Crimson |Months after Trump’s win and inauguration—and the many overused jokes that accompanied them—student comedians on campus are still pushing themselves to produce original and meaningful political content. The relationship between comedy and politics is by no means new, but many students see comedy as an especially relevant outlet for coping with the current political climate. Harry T. Newman-Plotnick ’18 of the Harvard College Stand-up Comic Society believes that comedians are the best equipped to make even the most absurd of news understandable and digestible for the public. “Things are so outlandish now that ‘real news’ can’t handle it properly because it’s so out of their comfort zone,” he said.
By Brittany Leitner, Elite Daily | A harsh light was shed on the comedy world last summer, when comedian Aaron Glaser was accused of rape by multiple women.Although no charges against Glaser were filed, women in the New York City comedy community quickly joined the conversation. They had either experienced similar assault from Glaser firsthand, or knew someone who had.When men spoke up about the incident, including “SNL’s” Michael Che and former “Inside Amy Schumer” writer Kurt Metzger, they were quick to question the situation.
By Brian Lowry, CNN | The most important hour of “The History of Comedy” — an eight-part CNN documentary devoted to stand-up — might be the most serious and sobering: the high toll comedy exacts on its practitioners, from depression to substance abuse.
The tears of a clown almost sounds like a cliché, but given the high-profile examples of comics who died young or took their own lives — among them John Belushi, Chris Farley, Robin Williams and Richard Jeni — it’s more than just a song title. And in that upcoming segment of the program, subtitled “Spark of Madness,” comics talk with considerable openness and honesty about the exaggerated highs and lows associated with their work.
By Samantha Allen, Paste Magazine | At the start of his New Year’s Eve Late Night special, Seth Meyers launched into a long segment called “A Closer Look Back at 2016: The Year in Politics.”
I could not have changed the channel faster.
It’s not that I don’t share Meyers’ politics; if anything, I’m further left than his show typically skews. I also like Seth Meyers. He’s a brainy guy with a sharp comic voice who manages to squeeze surprisingly endearing interviews out of even the most boring celebrities. But I can’t rub my face in the dystopian awfulness of our current political situation any more than I already do. I’m finished with late-night political comedy until further notice.
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 important television shows is partly because of timing (after the comedy boom went bust, and before television’s new golden age) and genre. Shows filled with stand-up sets get less respect than even soap operas. “Def Comedy Jam,” which is returning for the second time with a new title, “All Def Comedy,” for one episode on Saturday, also faced the same issues that black comics of the era did: being pigeonholed by critics who single-mindedly focused on the profanity and applied moral standards never used for their white counterparts.
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, the porcine eyes, the projection of complete and utter shameless, self-serving fraudulence, the brilliant stroke of pronouncing “China” to conjure “vagina”— this was a Trump to be improved upon only by Trump himself. As for McKinnon, who has been preparing her Hillary for decades, her Hillary impersonation now approaches perfection. The sneakiness, the avidity, the robotic look that undoes careful pre-debate coaching all mesh together like driven gears in her mobile face. Against Baldwin’s Trump, she never dropped a step, Fonteyn to his Nureyev.
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 to do it.”
It’s coming up for 11 pm on a bone-chillingly cold Tuesday night in New York. Higgins and her friend Jon Ronson are huddled backstage behind a thick black curtain, mulling over how the latest gig in their monthly stand-up series, I’m New Here–Can You Show Me Around?,
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 bad taste after nearly 3,000 people were killed a day later in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Mr. Carlin also told a joke about a fart so potent it blew up an airplane. “You know who gets blamed? Osama bin Laden,” Mr. Carlin joked. “The F.B.I. is looking for explosives. They should be looking for minute traces of rice and bok choy.”
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 beside the stage at a stand-up show they host together. As they watch a male comedian named Kent (played by stand-up Joe Derosa), Rhea asks Cameron, “Can Kent even do less than 20 minutes? I haven’t seen him do it?” Cameron agrees and asks for her phone. She proceeds to hold up two cellphones with their screens lit up (as you can see above). When Kent doesn’t respond, Cameron goes, “Come on, nothing? Nothing on double lights!”
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 week on TBS, really ought to be killing it nightly as the host of “The Daily Show.” Stephen Colbert, who for almost a year has been trying to find his footing as David Letterman’s replacement on CBS’s “Late Show,” should be back in character at Comedy Central, satirizing this wayward iteration of the Republican Party with fulsome, ignorant praise. As for Letterman, he’s tending to a beard when he might still be presiding as the country’s elder comedic statesman, wryly brutalizing Donald Trump,