Tag Archive | stand up

Craig Ferguson at Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Craig Ferguson Marquee
All Photos By Jamie Moroni

I love comedian Craig Ferguson as the host of CBS’s The Late Late Show, but can rarely stay up late enough to watch it, so I was excited to have the chance to see Craig do Stand up at NYC’s best performance venue, Radio City Music Hall. Ferguson is so off the wall and charming, so I suspected he would put on a pretty good show, and I was not disappointed.

Craig Ferguson with Dancers
Ferguson is Ushered onto the Stage by a group of Rockette-Like Dancers

What stood out most for me was that Craig’s jokes are some of the most original bits I’ve heard in a stand up routine. I hadn’t heard any of them before, either on his talk show or via YouTube clips, so everything was totally fresh and hilarious.

While a bit in which Craig debated the correct pronunciation of the word “Clitoris” went on kind of longer than it needed to, he did manage to incorporate a distinctive and highly memorable hand gesture culled from that routine (you’ll recognize it if you see his act) into bits about Warren Beatty and possibly others as well. Hysterical! My friend, Jamie and I continued to make that gesture to each other while we hung out after the show! We were laughing so hard for well over an hour, and you know how you can hardly ever recall specific bits from a show like this after you leave the theater, because it moves so fast, but many jokes — such as his bit about Actors going to Rehab and a Drew Carey Joke that took him the entire length of the set to finish telling — stood out. Craig is awesome and I would see him again.

Craig Ferguson Suit

We also enjoyed the opening act, Josh Robert Thompson, who you will recognize as the voice of Craig’s Late Late Show gay robot skeleton Side Kick, Geoff Peterson. Thompson does spot on Morgan Freeman impersonation and his ability to actually transform his face into that of a young Robert Deniro for his “Happy Birthday to Me” bit was just amazing.

Must See Movie: Get Him to The Greek!

There’s a pivotal scene near the beginning of Get Him to The Greek where main character, A & R Rep Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) sits in a pitch meeting with his fellow record label flacks. His boss, label head Sergio Roma (Sean “P Diddy” Combs) is badgering the staff to come up with any new ideas that will infuse a desperately needed revenue stream into their flailing faction of the troubled music business. Aaron’s idea is to stage a comeback concert at LA’s Greek Theater for Rock musician Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), whose career has taken a nose dive since the release of African Child – an audacious, PC misstep of an album that turns out to be a wildly offensive, commercial and critical bomb. Aaron proposes that a simulcast pay-per-view special, re-release of Snow’s back album catalog and a live DVD of the concert will generate millions of dollars in cash for the label and give disappointed music fans what they’re most hungry for. “There aren’t any Rock Stars anymore,” Aaron argues. “Aldous Snow is a Rock Star!” And, man, is he ever right on about that. Real Rock Stars went the way of the Dinosaur long ago, and watching a movie featuring a handsome and charismatic actor who not only can play a believable decadent Rock Star but also make him hilarious and lovable, and who can fucking sing and perform? That’s almost too much to ask for. That alone is reason enough to see Get Him to The Greek: because Russell Brand is a fucking Rock Star, and this role is going to make him one hot commodity.

When Sergio green lights the Greek Theater concert idea, Aaron is charged with the awesome responsibility of retrieving the very much off the wagon Aldous from London and getting him back to Los Angeles within 72 hours and in time for the concert. What follows is a true comedy of errors, with Aaron navigating Aldous through a dense mind field of every possible licentious temptation, none of which Aldous has the willpower (or desire) to resist. Since the character of Aldous Snow was introduced to audiences in the 2008 hit, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, everyone is going to ask, “Is this movie anything like Forgetting Sarah Marshall?” Let me dash your hopes right now and confess that no, no it isn’t. Sarah Marshall was a basically a romantic comedy with a few fart jokes thrown in. Get Him To The Greek is a completely different type of movie: an all out, hard R-rated raunch-fest that is nevertheless beyond hilarious.  It just happens to have one of the same characters as the film it spins off from (here, Jonah Hill plays a different character than the Aldous Snow-worshipping cabana boy he played in Sarah Marshall). Hill, who has proven himself to be a gifted comedic actor, is great as Aaron, Diddy is impressive as Sergio (and he has some of the film’s funniest lines) and if you’ve read his outrageous autobiography, My Booky Wook, you will immediately recognize that Brand is playing his pre-rehab self to perfection. Among the excellent supporting cast are Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss as Aaron’s girlfriend Daphne and Rose Byrne as Snow’s ex-girlfriend and fellow pop star Jackie Q. There are also many very funny cameos by stars like Meredith Viera and Lars Ulrich playing themselves. And the music can go head to head with the greatest hits of Spinal Tap. Rock & Roll!

Get Him to the Greek, Directed by Nicholas Stoller, hits theaters everywhere on Friday June 4, 2010

Ricky Gervais at The Theater at Madison Square Garden

While it was once the case that people knew British actor and comedian Ricky Gervais mainly from his having created the wildly successful TV series, The Office, these days he’s something of a household name. Few would argue that Gervais has enjoyed an exponential increase in popularity these past few years; not only with commercially successful films like Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying but also via his TV shows such as HBO’s Extras and The Ricky Gervais Show, an animated series based on his hilarious podcasts. I just adore him.

When I heard that Ricky was coming to the Theater at Madison Square Garden for two shows in May as part of his current Out of England 2 tour, I snagged a pair of tickets so I could take my friend Diane (aka “Diaaaahhhne!”) for her birthday, as she is a huge fan as well. I appreciate Ricky’s offbeat humor and the fact that he isn’t afraid to risk offensiveness for a good laugh – because most worthwhile humor pushes the boundaries of good taste – but I admit that I was unprepared for how completely filthy and un-PC Gervais’s stand up shows are. But filth and depravity has never bothered me. Bring it on, I say!

After a brief but hilarious warm up set by comedian Todd Barry, and a short film featuring fellow comic Louis C.K. that set the bar for the raunch and outrageousness to follow, Gervais hit the stage dressed in his usual uniform of jeans and T-shirt and entertained the sold-out crowd with mock tirades about subjects ranging from African famine to his fear of flying after 9/11 and his observation that spiders are never really relaxed but rather are “always ready for action.” My favorite of his routines were those also accompanied by slide show presentations.  One was devoted to deconstructing a children’s book about Noah’s Ark (wondering how Noah could get two of every species of animal into the Arc “when the giraffes took up a third of the room already”).

Those who’ve seen Gervais perform before know that Bible stories are among his favorite targets. Another highlight of the evening was his exploration of the book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity,  exploring gay behavior in the animal kingdom, which was completely hilarious and just offensive enough to inspire a couple seated down the row from us to get up and leave mid-set! Gervais is a big supporter of Gay rights and some of his more “adult” material concerns the fact that sexuality is something one is born with rather than a personal choice. But he certainly doesn’t feel the same about fat people, and while he’s a former fatty himself (Gervais has now lost enough weight to be considered quite trim) he is side-splittingly merciless when it comes to poking fun at those who would take up a little too much room on the bus. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to find yourself laughing about matters we’ve been taught to be socially sensitive about, but you just can’t help it. Gervais is fucking hilarious. Diane and I laughed all the way through his tight 75-minute set.

Ricky Gervais plays Saturday and Sunday May 15th and 16th at L.A. Live’s Nokia Theater.

George Carlin, 1937 – 2008

Comedian George Carlin passed away Sunday of heart failure at the age of 71. It seems like George Carlin’s comedy was a part of my life since I was a tiny lass, and initially got all shocked and horrified at his routine about “The Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say On Television.” Because I was about ten years old at the time and hadn’t yet become the expert at swearing that I am today. I never saw Carlin perform, but I did once meet his nephew, Dennis Carlin, who is a drummer in a punk rock band out in LA. He was pretty funny as well. Rest in “Mother Fucking Cock Sucking” peace, George.

Another One Bites the Dust: R.I.P Harvey Korman

Harvey & Tim
Harvey Korman and Fellow Carol Burnett Show Cast Mate, Tim Conway

Death sure is having a field day just lately. Yesterday, actor and legendary funny man Harvey Korman passed away at the age of 81, following a complication with an aneurysm four months ago. I used to watch Korman on The Carol Burnett Show when I was growing up, and he was beyond hilarious. He also voiced the alien character The Great Gazoo on The Flintstones. He rocked.

Great Gazoo

“Say Goodnight, Dick”

“Goodnigh,t Dick”

Comedian Dick Martin , co-creator of the hilarious and pioneering early ’60 sketch comedy/variety program, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (which I watched religiously as a small child) died Saturday in Santa Monica from respiratory complications. He was 86.