Dave Attell on 25 Years of Comedy Central Specials

dave attell comedy central-thumb-296x222-369914Tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of Comedy Central, formed April 1, 1991 via the merger of HBO’s The Comedy Channel and Viacom’s competing Ha! Along with breakout series including The Daily Show, South Park, Chappelle’s Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele and Broad City, Comedy Central has ensured stand-up specials remain at the programming forefront. Former Insomniac host Dave Attell, whose Comedy Central Presents, album Skanks for the Memories and hour Road Work special are among the network’s 25-year highlights, explains why specials are so important for both developing and longtime comics.

Up until that point it was really just doing a TV spot on a late-night talk show, Letterman or Leno. Comedy Central Presents was another thing. That was the first long-form, 23-ish minute option. It was definitely a cooler vibe in terms of pressure. There weren’t the same standards as the networks.

Then they started giving out the hour specials. Up until that point, HBO was what everyone was pulling for, and really no one else was in the business of the hour special. So that was cool, because a lot of us don’t rate an HBO special. That’s a very select group of specials. Continue reading

Nick Mullen Has a TV credit

NickNick Mullen has made a name for himself on the internet with his dark, uncompromising sense of humor. Whether writing infuriating op-eds as Nicole Mullen, a dim-witted, outspoken mom, pranking businesses as Clarence Elmore on his Help Me, I’m Old podcast, or petitioning fans to Free Steven Avery (and make me the official Addidas spokesperson), he’s made a career out of pushing boundaries. I caught up with Nick in advance of his Moontower appearance to discuss living in NYC, the challenges of being a full-time comic, and why he’s one of four people David Cross follows on Twitter.

How’s New York?

It’s all right, I guess. Fuckin’ pizza pie.

Are you performing a lot?

Yeah, I am. Thought it’s harder to get up here. People think you get up all the time in New York and it’s true for like 35 people doing comedy.

Who do you see out there?

I see Kurt Metzger pretty often. Me and Kurt are pretty cool. We’re both working on a show. But yeah, I don’t really hang with anybody. Dan Soder. And then a couple of guys from D.C. I’m friends with. I see Jake [Flores] around.

And are you doing standup full time?

I’m doing standup and pursuing writing stuff. The business changes. You can’t really have a career as just a comedian unless you’re a headliner and there’s no path towards me headlining right now. I don’t have any fucking credits. Although Fox News has been putting me on Red Eye with Tom Shillue as a panel guest. They have guests on and give them topics to riff on. Yeah, it’s pretty loose, man. It’s pretty fun. It’s a TV credit. It’s something you can put on a poster for fuckin’ one nighters. Continue reading

Moontower Class of 2016: Jesse Joyce

Jesse_Joyce_800-320x320-1455229229Jesse Joyce frequently toured with the late Greg Giraldo, who brought Joyce aboard the Comedy Central Roast franchise as an annual writer. Now also a @midnight staffer, the Tonight Show vet and Last Comic Standing semifinalist performs multiple nights across the 2016 Moontower Comedy Festival.

I’ve done ten Comedy Central Roasts, TBS, a couple on ESPN, a few Friars Club ones now. Flavor Flav was my first one.

It’s not like it pays my mortgage or anything, but it’s a fun thing to do.

I tweet out the unused jokes every year afterwards, and HuffPo and a couple others always pick it up as “Hey, here are some jokes Jesse wrote that didn’t get in!”

And a lot of them are reusable. You write a good Artie Lange joke and it doesn’t get used, you just keep it in the folder of, like, “Fat Drug Addicts.” And there will always be another one that the joke will kind of work for. Continue reading

Moontower Class of 2016: Annie Lederman

C9B7E7FF-9606-5D3E-9CD2C39B698CA4FFA castmember of MTV’s hit Girl Code, dryly disarming Annie Lederman has appeared on Chelsea Lately, @midnight and even voiced hippie radio producer Cheryl in Grand Theft Auto V. Though she’s toured with Moontower vets Marc Maron and Jim Norton, next month marks her inaugural trip to Austin.

Girl Code I auditioned for the first season. The audition was weird. When you do talking-head shows, they’ll ask you a question like, “What was your first period like?” Then you have to go, “My first period was like a crimson-wave tsunami!” or whatever. Then they animate blood pouring out of a shark’s mouth or something. I didn’t know that, so I was just “Oh, I dunno. It was a rough time for me.”

I bombed it and didn’t get it, and just thought, “Oh well. Who cares?” Then it blew up and I was like “[Gloomily] I didn’t get Girl Code,” all jealous and miserable. Then in season three, they just gave it to me. Continue reading

Moontower Class of 2016: Ahmed Bharoocha

258sAhmed Bharoocha punctuates striking social commentary with bursts of high-energy theatrics. The L.A.-based comic and actor is also a member of sketch group Dead Kevin, whose weekly web shorts have been featured on Funny or Die. A veteran of Conan, Comedy Central stand-up showcase Adam Devine’s House Party and Just for Laughs Montreal, he performs multiple nights across the 2016 Moontower Comedy Festival.

Me and my sketch group Dead Kevin just handed in our last draft to Comedy Central for a pilot we’re working on with them. We’re just waiting to hear if we have the go-ahead to shoot the pilot.

I also just shot the first season of an Adult Swim show called Dream Corp in December. It’s half animation and is about a scientist who does dream therapy. I play a nurse in the lab that gives drugs to people, and I’m also addicted to all the drugs, so I’m a crazy, out-of–it nurse. That won’t be done until probably June, because the animation takes a long time. Continue reading

Tomorrow on Netflix: Jimmy Carr’s Funny Business

slider jimmy carr8 Out of 10 Cats? The Big Fat Quiz of the Year? What about the Comedy Central game show Distraction?

Nothing? Time to brush up on modern U.K. comedy, particularly with the Netflix stand-up debut of Jimmy Carr.

The Irish Tonight Show and Late Night vet’s Funny Business marks the streaming network’s first original special from a British comic. Rather than releasing his traditional annual holiday DVD of new material, tomorrow Carr unveils his latest crop of biting one-liners veiled in wide-eyed misdirection, filmed in November at London’s Hammersmith Apollo Theatre. Continue reading

Lewis Black: Shouting and Streaming

lewis-blackLast July Lewis Black live-streamed a de facto hour “special” from Napa, California. The Rant Is Due featured comedian pal Kathleen Madigan fielding topics from both the live audience and online; the Grammy-winning monologist and Daily Show regular then offered his opinions off-the-cuff and at high volume. Pleased with the immediacy and accessibility, today Black continues making interactive digital content available for members of his fan club, colorfully dubbed “F.U.C.K.U.” (Frustrated Union of Cynical Kindreds Universal).

 

“What I do is stream out a live Q&A after every performance. We’ve done a hundred and five of them. It’s increased in audience share, but what I like is it goes around the world so you get, like, five people in Kenya watching, twenty-two people in Scotland. Continue reading

Colin Quinn on His Digital Series Cop Show

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Currently in the second season of his digital series Cop Show — a mockumentary glimpse behind traditional police melodramas featuring the likes of Chris Rock, Steve Buscemi and Amy Schumer — former Saturday Night Live anchor and Tough Crowd host Colin Quinn weighs the pros and cons of the medium and his bosses as Lexus.

 

How did Cop Show come to arrive at L/Studio?

We brought it around. Everyone else passed. So we thought the best thing to do would be to take the one person that made an offer. Continue reading

Tweets of the Week from the Moontower Class of 2016

With Moontower just a few weeks away, we thought we’d take a moment to look at some of the best tweets from comedians (and one Ghostbuster) appearing at the festival next month. The full schedule is up as of this week with a complete list of performers, shows, podcasts, and special events. Check out all of the action on our completely redesigned website. Badge up today! And now, without any further ado, here are your tweets of the week! Continue reading

Jonathan Katz #TBTs to Moontower 2015’s Dr. Katz Live

@JulieSeabaugh on Twitter

katzJonathan Katz celebrated the twentieth anniversary of his animated Comedy Central series nearly a year ago at Moontower 2015. Patients including Dana Gould and Dom Irrera took to leather armchairs atop the Stateside Theatre stage, delving into their emotional shortcomings and, in the case of Irrera, begging to spoon with the nonplussed therapist. Here Katz shares his memories of the show.

 

“The reason I decided to do it is because I just love performing.

“Doing a short stand-up set and then moving over to the Dr. Katz set was such a breakthrough. The first time we did Dr. Katz Live was in San Francisco, and [co-creator and Squigglevision implementer] Tom Snyder was playing the piano and portraying my therapist. It was just so hard to keep the show moving, the pacing of it. Continue reading