August 1, 2014 |
FOR AT LEAST a century we've been beaming our pop culture into deep space, which probably explains why we've gotten no official visits from aliens. If there is intelligent life out there, watching "Gilligan's Island" and listening to the Starland Vocal Band, surely they'll skip the Milky Way altogether. At least that would be a reasonable guess. The funny, kicky "Guardians of the Galaxy" offers a different take - that whatever magic resides in an '80s mix-tape could save the universe.
June 18, 2014 |
How does the Kardashians' excluding Bruce Jenner from their product lines relate to the Constitution's commerce clause? Why are lifetime-appointed Supreme Court justices like DJs at a strip club? In what way do Bruce Springsteen concerts resemble the short shrift given to the workingman by Congress? Colin Quinn's Unconstitutiona l has the answers. His smart, hilarious romp through U.S. history, presented by Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, takes an absurdist approach to the divisive intolerance for differing opinions that separates red states from blue, immigration-reformists from the closed-borders crowd, and gun-control types from NRA partisans.
June 7, 2014 |
Bob Newhart will be remembered centuries hence as one of the greatest straight men in American comedy. The soft-spoken stand-up comic and actor who has the deadliest deadpan in the biz and the driest of humors was singularly brilliant in his first major sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show , which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1972 to 1978. In a great character choice, Newhart plays a therapist, Dr. Bob Hartley. Consistently calm in the midst of chaos, Bob listens in each episode to the strange and hilarious problems of a slew of series regulars who bare their souls to him. Florida Friebus has gone down in TV history for playing one of Bob's patients, Lillian Bakerman, an elderly woman who spends her therapy sessions knitting.
June 3, 2014 |
HE MOVED FREELY in the worlds of business, government, education and journalism, and those who knew him in all those worlds mourned Lewis Katz yesterday. His philanthropic activities were nearly the stuff of legend, including a $25 million gift last year to his alma mater Temple University, which will name its medical school after him. It was just a few weeks ago that Katz spoke at Temple's commencement ceremony. The speech was, according to Temple board of trustees chairman Patrick J. O'Connor, "among the most inspiring ever given.
May 16, 2014 |
IN "CHEF," we learn that revenge is a dish best served never. The lesson comes courtesy of a trendy chef named Carl Casper (Jon Favreau, directing himself and some pals) whose hip restaurant has reached a stodgy phase. A scathing review (from Oliver Platt) causes a fuming Carl to roast the critic in person, an unhinged confrontation that goes viral, costing Carl his job. "Chef" then converts to a road movie - Carl takes his neglected son (Emjay Anthony) on the road in a revamped food truck, falling in love again with cooking and with his neglected son. All of this happens at the urging of his gorgeous and helpful ex-wife (Sofia Vergara)
May 9, 2014 |
YEARS from now, anthropologists tracking the development of Rogen Man may point to "Neighbors" as the moment he began to walk fully upright. Seth Rogen has been his generation's icon of knuckle-dragging bachelorhood - imparting Falstaffian advice in "The 40 Year Old Virgin," fecklessly dating teens and smoking pot in "Pineapple Express," making tentative steps toward reform and domesticity in "Knocked Up," reverting to Hollywood hedonist in "This...
April 18, 2014
IF THE "Daily Show," "The Colbert Report" and late-night gabfest monologues still don't quench your thirst for political and pop culture satire, you're in luck. Thursday, the jolly jokesters at 1812 Productions will raise the curtain on their latest edition of "That Is the Week That Is. " The plucked-from-the-headlines comedy revue runs through June 1 at Center City's Plays and Players Theatre. For the uninitiated, the 7-year-old "TITWTI" is inspired by the early-1960s TV show, "That Was the Week That Was," the granddaddy of everything from the "Weekend Update" segment on "Saturday Night Live" to current programs hosted by the likes of Jon Stewart and Bill Maher . "It's a political satire show based on current events," explained Don Montrey , the show's writer.
April 4, 2014
LET'S FACE it: To this point, 2014 hasn't exactly been what you'd call a laugh riot here in the old Del Val. Unless, of course, you have the kind of twisted sense of humor that would find hilarity in the horrendous weather, 76ers' losing streak and the latest political and police scandals we've endured since New Year's. So, it is with gratitude and a sense of relief that I can point you to a pair of ensemble-propelled chuckle-fests currently playing in the region. These two shows are not necessarily for the same audience.
April 4, 2014 |
* TURN. 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC. * SILICON VALLEY. 10 p.m. Sunday, HBO. * VEEP. 10:30 p.m. Sunday, HBO. AMC, fresh off another record-breaking season finale of "The Walking Dead" and a week away from the Season 7 launch of "Mad Men," splits the considerable difference between zombies and '60s admen on Sunday with "Turn," a historical drama about a group of men and women who spied for George Washington during the Revolutionary War....
March 27, 2014 |
IT WAS THE laugh that defined Jason Pennypacker. It embodied the essence and spirit of a man whose zest for life defied all constraints. It was a laugh that told the world that everything was right and fine, and that it was always sunny in Philadelphia. Frank Dougherty, former Daily News writer who was Jason's landlord for a time, employed his well-honed flair for description when he said Jason's laugh was like "naval guns booming across the water. " Actually, it was Frank's garden that took the brunt of that exuberance.