March 7, 2014
WHAT would you call a presentation that educates as much as it entertains? Well, on Monday and Tuesday, you can call it, "An Evening Without the Catskills. " Subtitled "A Brief History of Jewish Humor" and staged at Plays & Players Theatre by 1812 Productions - the region's only company dedicated exclusively to comedy - "An Evening Without the Catskills" is the latest in a series of special events that limn the history of American comedy. Past productions have included "An Evening Without Steve Martin " and "An Evening Without Woody Allen " (the point of the titles being that those individuals were not part of the shows)
February 26, 2014
THERE'S A line in the movie "Groundhog Day" that probably sums up how you feel about the recent weather. "I'll give you a winter prediction," says weatherman Bill Murray, condemned to Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney until he learns to love someone other than himself. "It's going to be cold, it's going to be gray and it's going to last you for the rest of your life. " The line was written by Harold Ramis, 69, who died yesterday after a prolonged struggle with an autoimmune disease. You probably know his name, but if you don't, know that Ramis probably made you laugh more than any writer/director/actor of his time.
February 26, 2014 |
LAST WEEK, the United Nations issued a report chronicling North Korea's massive human-rights violations under the rule of Kim Jong-un. It is estimated that there are up to 200,000 political prisoners. The report alleged that many have been executed, tortured and starved. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has visited North Korea and its idiot leader many times, which has inspired a 20th Century Fox film to be titled "Diplomats. " And get this: It's going to be a comedy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film will be directed by Tim Story, whose past projects include "Ride Along," "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" and "Barbershop.
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.