February 19, 2014 |
* LAFF MOBB'S WE GOT NEXT. 10 tonight, Aspire (183 on Comcast). * FRONTLINE: GENERATION LIKE. 10 tonight, WHYY12. IT'S NOT easy being clean. Not, at least, for comedians facing audiences who've come to expect a certain level of raunchiness from their stand-ups, who in turn have probably come to expect that they'll spend a fair amount of time trying to make drunk people laugh. But one result of the slicing and dicing of the cable universe into smaller and smaller sections is that it eventually creates a market for just about everything.
January 17, 2014
IT'S PROBABLY not a good idea to expect a drawing-room comedy from playwright Nicholas Wardigo any time soon. "I see a lot of theater and, quite frankly, I'm tired of seeing theater set in living rooms and restaurants," said the Ardmore-based Wardigo during a recent phone chat. "When I write, I try to set things in more interesting settings. " "More interesting settings?" Wardigo, 43, is obviously a master of understatement. His newest piece, which has its world premiere Thursday at the Shubin Theatre in Queen Village, is set inside a snow globe large enough to accommodate two women.
December 20, 2013 |
What could be the method to the madness of Northern Liberties natives Garrett Smith and Mike Baurer? Since June 2012, Smith, 26, and his self-described "manchild" pal Baurer, 27, have held (some of) Philadelphia in thrall with their hilarious weekly Trailer Trash podcast, which at first was geared toward humorously reviewing movie trailers, then became an anything-goes chat showcase for themselves and their fellow-comedian pals. Sex, sports, sex while playing sports, and, of course, the potential disaster of a Hollywood blockbuster gone wrong - based on the looks of its trailer - are fodder for the Trash men. "I've been told the sound of my voice could make a rabid mountain lion in heat purr.
December 2, 2013 |
In The Trip, the verité-ish 2011 road pic that paired British comedy star Steve Coogan with British comedy star Rob Brydon - the two of them touring the Lake District, trading quips and impressions of Michael Caine and Sean Connery - Coogan, as Coogan, was often on the phone to his agent, whining that he wasn't being taken seriously. He was not getting the good movies, the substantial roles. There was more than a bit of truth to Coogan's lament. It's a situation he has remedied quite nicely in Philomena , by cowriting the screenplay and then giving himself one of the two leads.
August 23, 2013 |
OK, HERE'S a joke for you. Why did Cory Booker cross the river? No seriously, why did Booker - Democratic mayor of Newark, huge favorite to win the election in October as New Jersey's next U.S. senator, and friend to Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg - cross the river into Philadelphia last night? Booker confessed to wondering the same thing after stealing the show at the 23rd annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night - but only after suffering through 90 minutes of the charity fundraiser, including the unique comic stylings of City Controller Alan Butkovitz.
August 16, 2013 |
"I GIVE IT a Year" belongs to the growing genre of anti-romantic comedy - in this case, the story of newlyweds fated to break up. The picture does a poor job of explaining why the couple (Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne) get hitched in the first place, and simply asks us to accept the fact that folks get married for the wrong reasons. Friends (Stephen Merchant, Minnie Driver) and family see trouble right away: She has a glamorous career that comes with power suits and posh hotels; he's a blocked novelist content to sit around in shorts and eat warmed-over takeout.
August 16, 2013 |
LAKE BELL is pretty vocal on the subject of voices. Bell's on a one-woman crusade to rid American culture of "sexy baby voice," the hyper-girlish patois (words and sentences rise to a sonic, deferential question mark) overused, she says, by grown-up women. And, in her new comedy "In a World . . . ," which she wrote and directed, Bell's making fun of the glass ceiling that exists in movie commercials: Only men's voices are used. She hopes to put a crack in that ceiling. "I feel like when the movie comes out, even though not everyone is going to see it, I know that people in the industry are going to see it, and I hope it persuades someone to consider that maybe using a female voice to sell a movie is not a bad idea," Bell said.
July 26, 2013 |
A throwback comedy with millennial flavor, The To Do List is an improbably entertaining, R-rated raunchfest - and a milestone of sorts. It shows how far the teenage sex comedy has come, and how different it looks when a female writer or director is behind the camera. The film marks the feature-film debut of writer/director Maggie Carey, who delivers sexual slapstick most typically seen in movies about male initiation. It stars Aubrey Plaza as Brandy, a nerdy high school graduate who systematically conducts field research into the 57 varieties of sexual experience.
July 17, 2013 |
I wish I had never seen Michael Frayn's Noises Off . Correction: I wish I had never seen any other company's production of his comedy, now receiving a sensationally funny staging at People's Light and Theatre Company. Frayn's farce focuses on a British theater troupe embarking on a tour of the fictional Nothing On . Act 1 shows them fumbling through the last rehearsal before their first opening night; Act 3 catches up with them toward the end of the run, where the intra-cast hostilities and failed romances have all but consumed the production with mayhem and malice.
July 14, 2013 |
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) , the ultra-light theatrical romp that compacts the great playwright's lifetime output in ways that make CliffsNotes look expansive, is actually tried-and-true vaudeville. It's the classic clash between high and low art - just add some manic frat-house energy, and laughs are inevitable. But that doesn't mean you automatically have a show. That's why the three-member Commonwealth Classic Theatre cast, starting a run of 11 free performances through July 27 at various regional venues, must have felt shot out of a cannon Thursday at the Morris Arboretum.