Hails from: Chicago. Greener pasture: New York.
Ride the train: Plenty of comics leave Middle America for one of the coasts early in their careers. So why did Buress choose New York over Los Angeles? “My driver’s license was suspended for parking tickets,” he says. “I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I couldn’t be in L.A.” Once he was in Gotham with MetroCard in hand, an appearance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” led Buress to a season writing for “Saturday Night Live,” then a job as a scribe on “30 Rock.” Typecast as a bum? After only one season of working for Tina Fey, Buress already has a recurring role—as a homeless man. Usually, writers read for small roles before actors are cast later in the week, he says, but “I got a laugh the first time it was in the script. So they were like, ‘Let’s just have Hannibal do it.’ And then they kept writing it in.” Read the rest of this entry »
Comedian Matt McCarthy loves professional wrestling, and thinks the sport deserves to be viewed and appreciated like any of the performing arts. For that matter, so should comedy. “I see a lot of parallels between stand-up and wrestling,” he says. “They’re both bastardized, in a way.”
And so on Monday, Jan. 24, McCarthy presents the first installment of “Marking Out,” a new “comedy extravaganza” to be held the third Monday of every month at the Ace Hotel in NYC — with a name inspired by the experience of watching pro wrestlers.
In wrestling, a “mark” is a fan who believes that the characters and events depicted in professional wrestling are real — or at least reacts as if they don’t know them to be staged. “‘Marking out’ is when you know wrestling is fake,” McCarthy explains, “but you get excited and lost in it anyway. So I’m calling the show ‘Marking Out’ because you know it’s just a joke, but you laugh anyway.”
Calling attention to joke-telling as performance art reveals McCarthy’s cerebral approach to working as a stand-up comic, which he has been doing in NYC and across the country for about eight years. When I ask McCarthy to describe his comedy writing and performance schedule, he pauses for a moment to make mental calculations, then decides, “Well, it’s all I think about.” Read the rest of this entry »
PunchlineMagazine.com, an online publication devoted to comedy, celebrates its fifth anniversary this month with two star-studded stand-up comedy shows, in NYC and L.A. First, on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at Comix in NYC, comedians Michael Ian Black, Christian Finnegan, Todd Barry, Hannibal Buress, and others will perform to toast one the of the best online resources for comedy news, reviews, interviews, and more.
“I wanted to launch a site that was covering stand-up comedy the way other arts have been covered for decades before,” says Dylan Gadino, Punchline Magazine Editor-In-Chief. “I’m really proud of it. It’s gotten increasingly popular each year. I get the sense, for sure, that comedians like what we’re doing and respect what we’re doing.”
Gadino’s mission is to encourage audiences to appreciate comedy the way it should be: as an art form, the craft of practiced and talented performing artists. My thoughts exactly.
“Writing about comedy always has its pitfalls,” says comedian Christian Finnegan, who is hosting Punchline’s 5th Anniversary Show at Comix on Tuesday. “But there are people out there who love stand up comedy — it’s true, I’ve met them! — and they’ve been under-served for so long. There are hundreds of magazines devoted to music, film, and literature. But because the prevailing feeling has been that stand up comedy isn’t capital A ‘Art,’ it hasn’t been included in the discussion.
“Part of this is the nature of comedy itself,” Finnegan adds. ”The main goal of most comedians is to make what we do appear effortless. So we can’t then be shocked when the world assumes it requires no effort. Sites like Punchline highlight the fact that great comedy, the kind that lasts, is about more than just making fart sounds and sexually harassing bachelorette parties.” Read the rest of this entry »
The ECNY Awards, celebrating the best of the comedic performing arts in New York, were presented Monday night, March 8, at the city’s Comix comedy club. Fifteen awards were given out, in categories ranging from best male standup comedian to outstanding achievement in the field of tweeting.
For the third year in a row, Jon Friedman (“The Rejection Show,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”) hosted the show. “It’s weird to choose a winner in comedy,” Friedman said before the ceremony, comparing the ECNY Awards with the previous night’s Academy Awards. “Comedy is so subjective, and any comic can simply have an off night on any given night. Or, as a comic, you can connect with certain people and not at all with others, no matter what day or night it is. Whereas with a film—say, for best picture—that film is exactly the same every time it’s shown.”
Among the past ECNY winners presenting awards were Kurt Braunohler (BBC’s “Penelope Princess of Pets”), Sara Benincasa (Sirius Satellite Radio), Leo Allen (“Saturday Night Live”), Pat Baer (UCB Theatre), Reggie Watts, Kumail Nanjiani (“Michael and Michael Have Issues”), and Michelle Collins (BestWeekEver.tv). Other presenters included Michael Musto (The Village Voice) and Andrew W.K., with a special video greeting from Michael Ian Black (The State).
Upon accepting his award for best one-person show early in the evening, Tom Shillue said of the raucous event, “The future of comedy is community. And that’s what this is.” Shillue then exceeded his 30-second acceptance-speech limit, was played off the stage with “Me So Horny” blaring from the speakers, and cursed everyone he had just thanked. Read the rest of this entry »