The Best Christmas Specials You’ve Never Seen

Screening Room ChristmasHo ho ho! I’ve been combing the internet looking for what I consider to be the best overlooked Christmas specials of the past 30 years. While I couldn’t find absolutely everything, I was very happy with what I turned up. This assembly of programs deconstruct the traditional holiday special in hilarious and inventive ways. Collectively they are hosted by a Late Night icon, an insult comic dog, a Kid in the Hall, two lunatics, a drunk, and Pee-Wee Herman! Here now, are some of my favorite, oft-forgotten Christmas specials. Happy Holidays!

 

Christmas with the Lettermans • Late Night with David Letterman
A one-hour send-up of countless corny Christmas specials featuring Letterman’s pretend family and memorable numbers like “Smells Like Christmas Time”.

 

The Triumph Family Christmas Special • Late Night with Conan O’Brien
The insult comic dog hosted a mini special on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1998 where we meet his uncooperative son and his poodle mistress. Featuring an appearance from Triumph’s College All-American Football Team

 

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special • Pee-Wee’s Playhouse
This 1988 special features appearances from Little Richard, Magic Johnson, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, Charo, k.d. lang, and Dinah Shore. Pee-Wee pokes gentle fun at the holiday special while maintaining a genuine sweetness.

 

Dave Foley’s The True Meaning of Christmas Specials • CBC Television Special
Considered by many to be the holy grail of Christmas specials as it was once very difficult to find. This 2002 CBC special is hosted by Kids in The Hall and NewRadio’s Dave Foley and features a long list of celebrity guests including Dick Dale, Joe Flaherty, Tom Green, Mike Myers, Andy Richter, Jason Priestly, and Dave Thomas.

 

Kenny vs. Spenny’s Christmas Special
This freewheeling Christmas special was also the series finale for the popular Canadian show. For the uninitiated, two friends named Kenny and Spenny dedicate each episode of their quasi reality show to a series of competitions. The loser typically performs some act of humiliation of the loser’s choosing. In this episode, Kenny and Spenny compete to see who can create the best Christmas themed variety show.

Drunk History Christmas • Drunk History
In this special edition of Derek Waters’ Drunk History, Allan McLeod drinks a bottle of whiskey and recites a famous Christmas poem. Jim Carrey, Ryan Gosling, and Eva Mendes perform the reenactment.

Top 10 Nick Kroll Characters of All Time

Nick Kroll

Is there anyone working today who is better at doing characters than Nick Kroll? Key and Peele, Paul F. Tompkins, and Andy Daly certainly give him a run for his money, but no one has captured the public imagination in the way that Kick Kroll has through his work on Comedy Bang Bang, Funny or Die, and the wildly popular Kroll Show. Nick performs at the Paramount Theatre tonight at 7pm and at least a handful of 2 for 1 balcony tickets are still available. Grab your tickets and check out my completely biased ranking of the top 10 Nick Kroll characters of all time!

 

10. C-Czar

9. Chance the Slam Poet

8. Dr. Armond

7. Liz from PubLIZity


6. Aspen Bruckenheimer

5. Spotted Ox Hostel Guy

4. Fabrice Fabrice

3. Gil Faizon

2. Bobby Bottleservice

1. El Chupacabra

 

Nick Kroll performs at the Paramount Theatre tonight at 7pm.  2 for 1 balcony tickets are on sale now. (Discount automatically taken at checkout when purchasing 2 tickets). Tickets.

Whitney Cummings: Backstage at the Paramount

Whitney Cummings

Welcome to the first in a series of exclusive backstage interviews with performers at select Moontower Comedy special events! We’re kicking off this series with a bang: the inimitable Whitney Cummings joined us in the bowels of the Paramount Theatre to talk about her misadventures in Austin, her career as a professional roaster, and her early days as a Punk’d performer. Take a look!

Moontower Special

Screening Room: Special Take-a-break-from-your-family-and-go-in-the-other-room-and-watch-videos Edition

Screening Room ThanksgivingIt’s that time of year again! The Thanksgiving time! Where you get to be with your whole weird family! Or someone else’s weird family! Or you hang out with your weird friends and everyone brings some weird dish and it’s like a weird potluck! Any way you slice it, it will definitely be exhausting! So why not take a break and go into the other room and watch some hilarious Thanksgiving videos on your computer? Tell everyone you have to write a work email or something. They’ll think you’re important. Anyway, here are a couple of new gems from Funny or Die and some old favorites. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Thanksgivukkah – Nick Kroll

It’s Thanksgiving Time – Saturday Night Live

 

Thanksgiving 1621 – Stella

 

Thanksgiving Breakdown – Kids in the Hall

 

The Thanksgiving Channel – Missi Pyle and David Neher

Whitney is Cummings to the Paramount on Saturday Night

Whitney Cummings

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Whitney Cummings was discovered by Ashton Kutcher. She soon found herself on Punk’d hoodwinking stars like Julia Stiles, Adam Brody, Vivica Fox, and The Rock. A few years, celebrity roasts, and television shows later, she’s become a bit of a household name herself, and with good reason – she’s incredibly funny.

This Saturday night at the Paramount Theatre, the creator and star of the NBC sitcom Whitney will bring her celebrated wit to Austin for one evening only. If you don’t know her work, I’ve attached a clip of her comedy below as well as a hilarious NSFW snippet from the David Hasselhoff roast on Comedy Central. Tickets 

Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company Brings All Stars of Improv to Austin

UCB

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been dragged to a bad improv show at some point in your life. When it’s not working, improv can be self-indulgent, nonsensical, and, worst of all, boring. One bad show can make you want to give up on improv all together. Don’t.

Instead, check out the Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s Touring Company at the Stateside at the Paramount this week. The company is made up of the very best and brightest stars of the prestigious Upright Citizens Brigade theaters in LA and New York. These guys have been in the trenches and have risen in the ranks at their respective theaters. The company promises six wholly original and completely different shows!

The UCB was founded by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh and has nurtured performers like Ed Helms, Jack McBrayer, Ellie Kemper and more. Come and meet the comedy stars of tomorrow and watch a new generation of improvisors at the top of their game.

The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Touring Company will be at the Stateside at the Paramount Theatre Wednesday November 20th – Saturday November 23rd. Shows are at 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and at 7pm and 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday. Click here for tickets and more information.

Screening Room – Last Call for Conan!

20 Years of ConanToday is your LAST CHANCE to check out highlights from 20 Years of Conan! Look back at some of the show’s best guests, characters, comedy sketches, and more! Take a look at all of the clips here and check out my top three:

 

3. Clive Clemmons Inappropriate Response Channel

2. Andy’s Little Sister

1. Triumph Torments Nerds In Line For “Star Wars: Episode I”

The Daily Show and Friends Take Over the Paramount Friday

Daily Show

Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal, “Resident Expert” John Hodgman, and former showrunner, executive producer, and writer Rory Albanese descend upon the Paramount Theatre in Austin tomorrow night for an evening of standup, video clips, audience participation, and a look behind-the-scenes at one of the greatest television shows of the past decade! There are still a few seats left for this one night only event that promises to entertain.

I was lucky enough to catch Mr. Madrigal when the Funny or Die Oddball tour came through town this summer and he was one of the show’s highlights. Hodgman likewise stole the show with his set at an intimate SXSW show a couple years ago. Putting these two together with departing showrunner Rory Albanese is inspired. This will be a great show.

 

Daily Show and Friends: An Evening of Standup
Friday, November 8th
Doors @ 7:00pm | Show @ 8:00pm
The Paramount Theatre

Purchase Tickets Online
Or call (512) 474-1221 to purchase tickets by phone

‘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.

ChrisCubas

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!

UPNEXT-CC-FINALS-4x3-Screen-R7b

Everything Funny at Fun Fun Fun

ffflogo

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