January 1, 2016 |
I was excited when I heard one of the writers of The Office had created a workplace sitcom set at a Walmart-ian bargain basement box store. It's a tantalizing idea with plenty of room for goofy fun and social satire alike. I should have known better. NBC's America Ferrera vehicle, Superstore , premiering at 8 p.m. Monday, is an unimaginative, run-of-the-mill network affair full of stock characters, flat dialogue, and too many poop references. It's one of two new and very different shows next week.
November 14, 2015 |
The Second City, Chicago's improv sketch comedy theater, surely has extended its Windy City reach with comic legends such as John Belushi, John Candy, Joan Rivers, Alan Arkin, Bob Odenkirk, Adam McKay, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray. Still, the moment someone mentions the troupe or its school, Chicago rears its ugly head. "I am a member of one of Second City's touring companies, three of them, all based out of Chicago," says comedian Andrew Knox, who managed to get out of town long enough to perform on a cruise ship for nearly five months - albeit a Second City-based excursion.
October 28, 2015 |
Still not over not seeing Tom Haverford on TV every week? Well, meet Dev Shah. Aziz Ansari has finally spilled the beans - or a few of them, at least - on "Master of None," his new scripted comedy series for Netflix that debuts Nov. 6. In a two-minute trailer, the comedian, best known for his stand-up and his turn as a small-town bureaucrat turned baller on NBC's "Parks & Recreation," casts himself as Dev Shah, an actor...
October 24, 2015 |
Way back in another time (1987 to be exact), Barry Levinson directed Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam , in which a famous comedian does his trademark shtick in the midst of a far-off conflagration - bullets flying, convoys exploding all around. It was a star vehicle built just right for Williams. Everything worked: the manic monologues, the soulful 1960s soundtrack, the stick-it-to-the-man mentality, and a character humanized by the war, by the wartorn. Cut to 2015, and Levinson's directing credit is affixed to Rock the Kasbah , in which a famous comic actor does his trademark shtick in the midst of a far-off conflagration - bullets flying, convoys exploding all around.
October 23, 2015 |
The expectations were at least twice as high as Billy Penn's statue on City Hall. After all, Theatre Exile's "Rizzo," whose world premiere is being staged through Nov. 8 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, in Old City, is a play about the most controversial, dominant and polarizing figure in 20th-century Philadelphia politics, written by the city's most successful indigenous playwright and starring an actor who is arguably the region's best and...
September 25, 2015 |
WALNUT STREET Theatre's production of "High Society" is stuffed to the gills with some of the finest work from 20th-century pop-music giant Cole Porter . But it's a Porter song that isn't in the score whose lyrics best sum up the production. It's the one that waxes "it's de-lightful, it's de-licious, it's de-lovely. " And those praises scratch only the surface of this thoroughly entertaining program that proves, with all due respect to other area companies that deal in the format, that the folks at the 'Nut represent the gold standard of regional musical theater.
September 16, 2015 |
Girl power reigned at the third annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival Sunday at Susquehanna Bank Center. It's a tradition. Sarah Silverman and Whitney Cummings stole last year's show. Bridget Everett and Amy Schumer, who are, not surprisingly, close pals, stole it on Sunday. Opener Nikki Glaser had her moments, particularly when talking about her sex life. MC Big Jay Oakerson, born and raised in Philadelphia, talked sex, sex, and more sex, nothing new, but Oakerson was charismatic and a natural host.
August 31, 2015 |
Mary Martello and Johnnie Hobbs Jr. are veterans of the Philadelphia theater scene, yet they've never had a chance to work together before. But thanks to 1812 Productions, Philadelphia's premier comedy company, the two stalwarts of the city's stages come together this week for The Shoplifters . Martello plays Alma, a klepto who sees stealing as her Robin Hood-like duty. Corporations have everything, she has nothing, so she deserves to take what they have. Hobbs is Otto, a security guard who has one more day on the job, and the last thing he needs is to deal with the sticky-fingered Alma.
August 24, 2015 |
Lincoln Financial Field doesn't usually sell out for a guy so short. Next Sunday, 53,000 people will head to Chip Kelly's house to see Kevin Hart - the diminutive comedian, standing tall at a reported 5 feet, 4 inches, who was born and raised in North Philadelphia - become the first comedian to headline, and sell out, an NFL stadium. (Not just any NFL stadium, but the stadium of his hometown team. "Here's the good thing about being an Eagles fan: It can only get better," Hart said by phone.