Archive for category: Television

/ April 26, 2017 10:16 am

Seeking Political Relief: Comedy on Campus

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 […]

/ February 16, 2017 11:01 am

‘History of Comedy’ probes a dark side of stand-up

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 […]

/ January 15, 2017 11:51 am

Political Comedy is Killing the Absurdity of Late-Night

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. […]

/ 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 […]

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