Author Archives: John Merriman

‘Up Next’ Finalist Chris Cubas Readies for New York Comedy Fest Appearance

Bulletin

As we reported last month, Austin comic Chris Cubas advanced in Comedy Central’s Up Next competition and as a result will perform at the New York Comedy Festival on Wednesday night. Cubas will appear on the Comics To Watch  show which features “the best up-and-coming young comedians from across the country.”

In this exclusive clip from Comedy Central, Jonah Ray talks to Cubas who, along with Tone Bell, was one of two finalists from the Florida semifinals.

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Beginning November 11th, you can vote for Chris as your “Up Next Fan Favorite” giving him a chance to win $2500, a Comedy Central Records digital release, an appearance on a future Comedy Central series, and more!

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Everything Funny at Fun Fun Fun

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Fun Fun Fun Fest is first and foremost a music festival but its got more comedy than many comedy festivals. Marquee acts like Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, and Tenacious D join Austin comedy linchpins such as Matt Bearden, Mac Blake, and Maggie Maye for three days of some of the best comedy in the country. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Austin expats Doug Mellard and Nick Mullen who number among the many highlights at this year’s fest. Here now is a complete listing of all of the comedy related events at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year!

Sarah Silverman

 

FRIDAY (11/8)

Yellow Stage

11:30 AM ATX Comedy Hour W/ Lisa Friedrich
12:00 PM David James
12:15 PM Natalie Cox
12:30 PM Cody Hustak
12:45 PM Maggie Maye
1:45 PM Rob Gagnon’s One Hour Comedy Festival
2:30 PM Live Action Battle Rap
3:15 PM Judge G-Su
4:00 PM Kyle Dunnigan
4:20 PM Matt Bearden
4:50 PM Kyle Kinane
5:20 PM Patton Oswalt

State Theatre Nites

10:00 PM Kyle Dunnigan
10:30 PM Doug Benson
11:00 PM Sarah Silverman

New Movement Nites

12:30 AM Doug Mellard
1:00 AM Kyle Kinane

Belmont (Inside) Nites

12:00 AM Fred Armisen (Dj Set)

 

SATURDAY (11/9)

Yellow Stage

12:00 PM Norman Wilkerson
12:10 PM Amber Bixby
12:20 PM Katie Pengra
12:30 PM Ryan Cownie
12:40 PM Lane Krarup
1:00 PM The Real @christrew Show
1:50 PM One Night Stand
2:45 PM Miami Improv Machine
3:35 PM Jenny Slate
4:05 PM Doug Benson
4:35 PM Craig Robinson
5:20 PM Tenacious D

Mohawk Nites

9:30 PM Matt Bearden
10:20 PM Jenny Slate
10:55 PM Craig Robinson
11:20 PM Tenacious D

New Movement Nites

10:30 PM Road Stories with Jt Habersaat

 

SUNDAY (11/10)

Yellow Stage

12:00 PM TNM Comedy
12:30 PM Veggie Hot Dog Eating Contest
1:00 PM Master Pancake
1:30 PM Chris Tellez
1:40 PM Joe Faina
1:50 PM Nick Mullen
2:00 PM Mac Blake
2:15 PM Altercation Punk Rock Comedy Hour
2:55 PM Air Sex Championship
3:50 PM Doug Mellard
4:15 PM Bridget Everett
4:45 PM Rob Delaney
5:25 PM Sarah Silverman

New Movement Nites

11:00 PM Bridget Everett

 

Three day passes and single serving day passes are still available as of this posting. Get your tickets here before they’re gone!

Fun Fun Fun

The Top Five Halloween Sketches of All Time!

Screening Room Halloween

In honor of Halloween, here are THE TOP FIVE HALLOWEEN SKETCHES OF ALL TIME or at least the top five out of the sketches that I could find on the internet over the past couple of days plus they’re kinda arbitrarily organized but lists really seem to get hits and clicks so let’s count down THE TOP FIVE HALLOWEEN SKETCHES OF ALL TIME!

 

5. Weekend Update: Stefon on Halloween • Saturday Night Live
Don’t worry about security, because it’s guarded by an army of hobo-cops.

 

4. Zombies • Kids in the Hall
They’re safe, but for how long?

 

3. Michael Jackson • Key and Peele
Where the children at? That’s in bad taste.

 

2. Monster Parties: Fact or Fiction? • Mr. Show
The unexplained. The inexplicable. The hard-to-convey. Since the dawn of time, men have wondered: do mysteries really exist? Some say ‘maybe’. Others aren’t so sure.

 

1. Jeff Montgomery – Happy Halloween… What?! • Saturday Night Live*
You have any Kit-Kat bars? Heck, I´ll take anything without toffee. Its a real bitch on the fillings. Hey, don´t call me a bitch! You´re the bitch, bitch! Wha-a-at?! Seriously though, trick or treat.

*If video doesn’t load, try clicking here.

 

Do you have a favorite Halloween sketch not on the list? Comment below and let me know what I missed! Happy Halloween!

Dan St. Germain hits Cap City this week

Dan St GermainA rising star in the standup scene and one of my personal favorites, Dan St. Germain will be at Cap City tonight through Saturday. Dan was chosen as featured comic in Variety’s annual prestigious “10 Comics To Watch” list and has appeared on such shows as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan, and John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. He’s the creator and star of the web series Kicking Dan Out and co-hosts a podcast with Sean Donnelly called My Dumb Friends. His first album, Bad at the Good Times, is forthcoming from aspecialthing Records and he recently sold a pilot to Fox. Dan generously agreed to answer some last minute questions and did not disappoint.

What’s your favorite thing about being a standup?

New bits that don’t suck.

Who inspires you?

Life sized busts in my own image.

How would you describe your comedy to an old lady sitting next to you on a plane?

“It’s a lot of personal stories mixed with act outs mixed with… Who are we kidding? Let’s make out right now.”

Congrats on your deal with Fox! What can you tell us about the show?

Well right now it’s a script deal and we’re hoping it moves to pilot. Fingers crossed. Dustin, a complete train wreck, moves back in with his ex girlfriend and her new boyfriend in hopes of learning from his past mistakes and growing as a man. It’s kind of like What About Bob meets Forgetting Sarah Marshall but a TV show!

 

 Dan St. Germain performs at Cap City Comedy Club October 30th – November 2nd. Doug Mellard  features and Duncan Carson hosts so this should be a phenomenal show. Tickets are available here.

Austin’s Top Comics Perform as Dead Celebs in Comedy Seance

seanceAustin’s favorite Halloween themed standup comedy show returns this Wednesday night at the Spiderhouse Ballroom with many of Austin’s top comedians performing as various dead celebrities. Norman Wilkerson, whose Borscht Belt Satan character may be familiar to Doug Stanhope fans, returns with a wickedly funny, thoroughly original night of standup.

And the lineup is stacked. Austin comedy stalwarts including Matt Bearden, Mike MacRae, J.R. Brow, Jake Flores, Katie Pengra, Joe Hafkey and reigning Funniest Person in Austin champ Mac Blake are all slated to appear. I spoke with Norm about the origins of the show, what happens to us after we die, and Jack Klugman. 

 

What is the Comedy Seance?

The Seance is basically an excuse for comics to dress up for Halloween and tell some jokes as somebody else for a night.  The conceit of the show is that Satan, the host and emcee, has brought back the ghosts of a handful of dead celebrities to put on stage for a night of standup comedy.  The celebrities themselves might have been comedians during their lives, but could just as easily have been politicians, actors, musicians… really anybody that it might be funny to hear from.  It’s really left up to the creativity of the comic playing the part, and this year we have seven of the most creative and funniest people in Austin participating.

Where did you get the idea for the show?

Back when Avi Hartman and I were doing various comedy shows around town under the Austin Comedy Trainwreck banner, we were brainstorming ideas to try to get an audience to actually show up for a change.  Halloween was coming up, so we figured we could do something with the comics dressing up in costumes.   I was already working on my Satan character for another show, and it just sort of came together.  That first year we asked everybody to chose a dead stand-up comedian to portray, and it was a big hit.  The  following year, a couple of people didn’t get the memo and chose celebrities from other walks of life.  One comic even did a set as God.  They wound up being some of the funniest sets of the night.  After that, we  just let everybody do whoever they wanted, and were amazed at some of the ideas people came up with.

Tell us a bit about your devil character and how it originated.

The Satan character was originally supposed to be sort of a cross between an old time borscht belt comic and Andrew Dice Clay, maybe with a bit of Tony Clifton thrown in.  Since then, he’s sort of taken on a personality of his own.   Back in 2007, when I was still occasionally opening for Doug Stanhope, he suggested I come up with a goofy character to do from time to time.  I think it was his way of telling me he was bored with my act.  About that same time, Lucas Molandes and I had come up with the idea of doing a Spite Club round as Jesus vs. Satan.   This was at the same time that Avi and I were discussing  the Seance idea, so it was sorta killing three birds with one stone.  I was batting around ideas for a costume, when one day my wife came home from shopping with what is probably the most ridiculous Satan mask ever made.   I just sort of developed the character from there.

Who will be channelled on Wednesday?

Some of the comics are being very mysterious about this.  Matt Bearden is usually pretty secretive about his plans, but he never fails to deliver the set of the night.  I’ve heard that we can expect Phyllis Diller and Winston Churchill to be making appearances. What I can tell you for certain is we have seven very talented and creative people on the show, all doing things you’ve never seen from them before.

If you could ask any famous dead person a question, who would you ask and what would you want to know?

Jack Klugman.  I’d like to know if he’s honored that my wife names all of our cats after characters he’s played, or if he just thinks it’s creepy.  My money’s on creepy.

What happens to us after we die?

We quit disappointing ourselves and others.

Can I have a hug?

Have you showered recently?

 

The Comedy Seance begins at 8pm on October 30th at the Spiderhouse Ballroom. Tickets are $10 at the door or $7 in advance when purchased here.

Screening Room: Batman, Superman, Silverman & Cownie

ScreeningRoom

Screening Room is a regular feature that rounds up funny videos from the comedy world at large with a special focus on works from Austin, TX.

In this edition of Screening Room, Pete Holmes’ Batman tells Superman he’s f-cking boring, Sarah Silverman lets us see her unaired NBC pilot, and Austin comedian Ryan Cownie unleashes Cownie, a fictionalized look at the comic’s life featuring Kerri Lendo and Benjamin Johnson.

In advance of the premiere of The Pete Holmes Show, Moontower alum Pete Holmes shows us what a meeting between Batman and Superman would really look like.  The Pete Holmes Show premieres Monday, Oct. 28 at Midnight/11 Central on TBS. Batman vs. Superman was co-produced by College Humor.

Sarah Silverman tweeted out a link to her “failed NBC sit-dram” Susan 313 earlier this week. This is the only episode of the series to be produced and features Tig Notaro, Harris Wittels, June Diane Raphael, and guest star Jeff Goldblum as Silverman’s ex.

Cownie is a funny and dry mockumentary about Ryan Cownie that co-stars Kerri Lendo as Rachel Styles and Benjamin Johnson as his manager. See what happens when Ryan walks away from a headlining gig at the nation’s biggest comedy festival to attend a gig in San Antonio. The short was written and directed by Cownie and Dustin Svehlak with additional writing by Johnson.

Chris Cubas Advances in Comedy Central Contest

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Moontower favorite and hometown hero Chris Cubas just advanced in Comedy Central’s Up Next contest. As a result, Cubas is one of eight finalists who will perform at the “Comics to Watch” show at the 2013 New York Comedy Festival. Cubas posted that he and fellow Texan Tone Bell advanced at the regional semifinals in Ft. Lauderdale.

CubasTweet
The contest began with preliminary rounds at 26 participating clubs around the country with over 200 stand up-comedians vying for the title. According to Comedy Central, “highlights from the finals will be posted on cc.com, and based on online voting a ‘Comics to Watch: Fan’s Pick’ will be awarded $2500, a Comedy Central Records digital release, an appearance on a future Comedy Central series, and more.” Go Cubas! ChrisCubas

A Guide to Comedy at the Austin Film Fest

AFFcomedy

Will Ferrell! Elaine May! Will Forte! Many of the biggest names in comedy are coming to Austin over the next few days for the 2013 Austin Film Festival! I’ve put together a guide to all things comedy at AFF so grab a pen and make a schedule because there is a lot going on. Without further ado, here’s what’s funny at AFF!

PANEL HIGHLIGHTS

THURSDAY (10/24) – Creativity, Comedy, and Yadda Yadda Yadda…, a look at two influential Seinfeld episodes;  A Conversation with Elaine May, one half of Nichols and May and the mind behind such films as THE HEARTBREAK KID, TOOTSIE, HEAVEN CAN WAIT, and the deeply underrated ISHTAR; The Nerdist Writers Panel, a live podcast taping with the Thrilling Adventure Hour’s Ben Blacker; and A Conversation with Jim Taylor, screenwriter of ELECTION, ABOUT SCHMIDT, SIDEWAYS, CITIZEN RUTH, and more.

FRIDAY (10/25) – Deconstructing DR. STRANGELOVE, a panel examining the pitch-black Kubrick comedy; The Kings of Sit-Comedy, an examination of the sitcom with Lee Aronsohn (co-creator of Two and a Half Men), Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond), and Peter Mehlman (writer/co-executive producer of Seinfeld); Deconstructing TOOTSIE, a breakdown of the seminal 80s comedy.

SATURDAY (10/26) – Contemporary Comedy, a look at the modern comedy with John Hamburg (MEET THE PARENTS, ZOOLANDER, I LOVE YOU, MAN) and Steve Faber (WEDDING CRASHERS, WE’RE THE MILLERS).

SUNDAY (10/27) – Vince Gilligan Presents: A Special Staged Script Reading of 2 FACE, I have no idea if this script is a comedy or not but WILL FERRELL WILL BE THERE SO WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

NOTE: Panels and script readings require an Austin Film Festival badge. The festival has a breakdown of their badge system and online purchasing here.

AFF Retrospectives

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS 

THURSDAY (10/24) – Jim Taylor Presents: Citizen Ruth, a look at the classic politically-charged film from one of the screenwriters; Coffee, Kill Boss, a dark comedy based on an AFF Comedy Semifinalist script; and The Little Tin Man, about a struggling dwarf actor who auditions for Martin Scorsese’s proposed remake of The Wizard of Oz.

FRIDAY (10/25) – Elaine May Presents: A New Leaf, comedy legend Elaine May presents her classic comedy; Norman Steinberg Presents: Blazing Saddles, writer Norman Steinberg will be on hand to give insight into the madcap world of this politically incorrect masterpiece;  Nebraska, Will Forte stars in the latest from the mind of Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways, The Descendants). Forte will Q&A following the screening.

SATURDAY (10/26) – G.B.F., Darren Stein (Jawbreaker) is back with this send-up of high school clique culture.

SUNDAY (10/27) – Shane Black Presents: My Man Godfrey, Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) hosts a screening of the classic screwball comedy; That Burning Feeling, a man revisits a black book’s worth of bitter ex-lovers in this comedy about gonorrhea (gon-com?).

MONDAY (10/28) – Inside Llewyn Davis, highly anticipated, acclaimed comedy-drama from The Coen Bros; Mop King, a quirky comedy about a live-at-home failing free-lance maid.

TUESDAY (10/29) – Last I Heard, bittersweet comedy about an ailing Mafia Capo played by Paul Sorvino (in attendance); Crackheads, a priest, a psychologist, an actor and a used car salesman get involved with methamphetamines.

WEDNESDAY (10/30) –  The Golden Scallop, a mockumentary about three fried-fish restaurants and the ultimate short order cooking contest.

THURSDAY (10/31) – All Cheerleaders Die, horror/comedy about a rebellious outsider who joins the cheerleading squad.

NOTE: Screenings require a badge, film pass, or an individual ticket. Tickets go on sale 15-20 minutes before screenings, space permitting.  Film passes and badges may be purchased here

AFFposters

Austin Film Fest Preview

Margaret Cho’s mother eats at Mother’s during Mother Tour

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Margaret Cho went to Mother’s Cafe with her mother earlier today and posted this pic. Cho is in town for her Mother Tour and will perform at the Paramount Theatre tomorrow evening. (Tickets)

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Margaret Cho

Sandra Bernhard saw Ms. Cho’s tweet and invited her to come by HER show tonight at Zach Scott. (Tickets)

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Details to follow as they become available.

Showtimes – Farewell Jackie Flowers

Showtimes

Showtimes will highlight select comedy shows coming to the Austin area. These showtimes are for the week of 10/22-10/28. 

 

TUESDAY

First things first, if you’ve never seen Jake Flores, you have exactly one more chance to see him headline before he moves away. Flores leads the lineup at tonight’s PUNCH! showcase which also features Derek Phelps, Amber Preston, and more. Jake is one of the funniest people I know and a true original. Tickets to PUNCH! are on sale now. Get them while you can.

Speaking of originals, Sandra Bernhard is at ZACH Theater tonight. The KING OF COMEDY star’s act is full of free-form riffing, campy but soulful singing, and original set pieces.

Also tonight, UK comic Dylan Moran will be at the Stateside at the Paramount. The star of cult TV comedy “Black Books” and SHAUN OF THE DEAD is known for his deadpan wit is emerging as one of the biggest names in British comedy.

 

WEDNESDAY

Margaret Cho is at the Paramount Theatre with her brand new show Mother which has been described as “a complicated and completely original take on sex, queer politics, drugs, guns, identity and madness.”

Also on Wednesday, Twitter phenom @DadBoner will be at the North Door with Matt Braunger. The evening will feature standup and readings from Power Moves: Livin’ The American Dream, USA Style penned by @DadBoner twitter creator Mike Burns.

 

SATURDAY

And last but not least, former Funniest Person in Austin winner and all around goofball Eric Krug will be at  The Velveeta Room Saturday night. He’s bringing along another FPIA winer, Brian Gutmann, as well as some special guests. Krug and Gutmann have entertained audiences at comedy fests around the country and both appeared on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham. (More info).