December 10, 2012 |
"Money doesn't make you happy. "But it sure buys you a better class of misery. " That joke, and thousands more, came from the mouths of top-drawer comics. But they were hatched in the overactive, irrepressibly silly, charmingly warped, and unfailingly funny mind of Sol Weinstein. A once-destitute Jersey boy who honed his gift for gags while banging out obituaries at the Trentonian, he rode a wave of laughs all the way to Hollywood. From the late 1950s into the '80s, he spun shtick for such legendary comedians as Joe E. Lewis and Bob Hope; wrote for The Love Boat , The Jeffersons , Three's Company , and Maude ; composed a signature song for Bobby Darin; and fathered James Bonds' Yiddish alter ego, Israel Bond, filling four popular books with the exploits of Agent Oy-Oy-7.
November 19, 2012 |
After seeing Montgomery Theater's production of Sean Grennan's Making God Laugh , I think biblical standards of humor have declined a bit since Job's time. Grennan's play spans 30 years, beginning at Thanksgiving 1980 and progressing through Christmas 1990, New Year's Y2K, and Easter circa 2010. On each of these holidays, a trio of siblings learn the painful lesson that you can't go home again. The audience, watching the characters' lives move from youthful promise to adult discontent, gets beaten over the head with Grennan's continual insistence on his theme: If you want to make God laugh, create plans, so he can delight in frustrating them.
October 16, 2012 |
On the speaking circuit of 19th-century America, no one commanded greater audiences than Mark Twain. The author of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer crisscrossed the country, reading his books to sold-out crowds. Wendy Bable's Mark Twain: Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers builds on this. She sets her play in 1904, the self-proclaimed last lecture of Twain's first annual final farewell tour. This sets the tone for the evening: a bit whimsical, with a hint of Twain's sardonic, bubble-bursting humor.
October 12, 2012 |
Kid-friendly funnyman Kevin James is at his cuddliest in Here Comes the Boom . And he has to be. This amusing but sometimes unsettling comedy marries the teacher-turns-to-mixed martial arts mayhem of Warrior to the wholesome family dramedy of Mr. Holland's Opus . It works, after a fashion. But that doesn't mean you won't wince. James plays Scott Voss, a Boston high school biology teacher who is a decade past his "Teacher of the Year" days. He's a burnout, habitually late for class, not shy about telling even that rare eager student (Filipino singer-actress Charice)
October 10, 2012 |
He might be the most droll songwriter in indie-pop, and on songs like "Waiting for Kirsten" from last year's EP An Argument With Myself or "I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots" from his new album I Know What Love Isn't , the Swedish singer can be a veritable laugh riot. But don't get the idea that Jens Lekman is not a serious man. "I like telling stories with a sense of humor," says Lekman, who will play a show with his band at Union Transfer on Thursday night. "But humor can also distance you from the subject you're writing about.
October 7, 2012
Through Oct. 17, Philly.com/health and The Inquirer will mark breast cancer awareness month by publishing a profile a day of transformative moments reported by patients. The series culminates in a special Philly.com/Inquirer/Daily News section on Oct. 18, and can be viewed at www.philly.com/breastcancer . A Sept. 21 entry from Ann Silberman's blog, www.butdoctorIhatepink.com : Home phone rings: Private number. I ignore it. Cell rings: Blocked number.
August 24, 2012
POLITICIANS running for president often borrow the tunes of famous musicians to spark the crowd's energy at campaign events. But how many bands get their names included in the title of a Super PAC, the political-action committees now allowed to raise unlimited funds? Meet Hall and Oates Fans for America, a new Super PAC registered by Atlanta waiter William Hansmann with the Federal Election Commission on Monday. Hansmann tells us that the Super PAC started as a joke among a handful of friends.
August 9, 2012 |
PAUL F. TOMPKINS doesn't like performing in comedy clubs, which should make his job tough considering that he's a comedian. His reasons are pragmatic. "Comedy clubs aren't really in the comedy business," Tompkins said from his home in Los Angeles. "They're in the bar-and-restaurant business. " He wants to put on a show; they want to sell overpriced, watered-down drinks and chicken wings. How can he form a connection with his audience if they have got a waitress asking if they want another lager before the end of the set?
July 1, 2012 |
When I finally met Nora Ephron six years ago, I did something I had never done before in a few thousand interviews and I haven't done since. I told her I loved her. I have always loved her, since first reading her Esquire pieces in the 1970s. Of course, her admirers are legion. We love her extraordinary wit, her inimitable style, her appetite for risk and change. Her actual appetite, for butter, pate, steak, pie, and her rejection of the egg-white omelet, of which she noted, "People who eat them think they're doing something virtuous when they are instead merely misinformed.
May 18, 2012 |
The black SUV that transported Gov. Christie got a flat tire as he was on his way to catching a train bound for Washington on May 4. Where was Newark Mayor Cory Booker when you needed him? Three weeks earlier, Booker had made headlines for rescuing a woman from a burning building in his hometown. A new Twitter meme sprouted: Booker was so tough he could single-handedly fight fires, intercept North Korean rockets, and end the Greek debt crisis, the joke went. Surely he could fix the governor's flat tire.