Mitch Hedberg – NEW ALBUM! September 9, 2008 – Do You Believe In Gosh?

UPDATE: My first impressions of the album here.

Earlier: I’m gonna take a break from my idiotic posts to make anyone aware that the late comedian Mitch Hedberg has a new comedy album coming out on September 9, 2008. I just discovered this and so I thought I’d share.

I’m a fan – and I don’t say that often of anything.

UPDATE: I put a few thoughts down about the new album, which I’m listening tonight.

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June 18th show, etc

June 18, 2008 – I’m opening a show at Player’s Restaurant – 8 pm in Atascadero, CA. Tickets will sell out so if anybody happens to read this and wants to attend, swing by the restaurant and buy tickets ($10 apiece).

I’ll do about 15 minutes. I did fifteen minutes the other day and with success! All but one new joke worked, and even the one that didn’t, crowd didn’t mind. Crowd size was about 100-120 – I’m not sure, but it was a good crowd and they laughed all the way through (as they should, of course).

and now for something completely different (and better): a clip of Richard Pryor (warning: language – of course) – this is Pryor talking about him and the mafia in OH.

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Denis Leary & Bill Hicks – Siamese Comedians!

I ran across this controversy last year – someone posted audio/video of comedians Bill Hicks and Denis Leary, pointing out that many of Leary’s jokes resemble Hicks’ routine. Hicks is more the ‘comedian’s comedian’ – meaning ‘dead’ or ‘unknown’. Hicks is unfortunately dead of cancer, and was just starting to get major recognition.  Denis Leary hit the big time in the early/mid-90s with his “No Cure for Cancer” concert (and book!).  The video below is one example of several videos posted on Youtube.  Admittedly, I was a big fan of Leary’s when I first heard his album, but then his routine got old to me. I don’t know enough about Hicks – not sure if he’s as great as everyone claims, but from what I’ve seen, he’s definitely ahead of and maybe more authentic than the ‘sorta angry/annoyed’ comics like Lewis Black, David Cross, etc. If you do comedy about general topics (airplane food, corporations, politicians, smoking), you will run into other comedians cover the same subject matter. How they cover it, how they present it, what examples they use, determies if it’s stealing.  One way to avoid this? Write more personal jokes. Duh.

Crackle.com and first contest winner

This is a few months old news, but a local Central California resident, Lizette Mizelle, won Crackle.com’s first contest back in August. I think there are too many comedy websites with contests, but if you are gonna win one, it doesn’t hurt to win at this site, which is owned by Sony Entertainment Pictures (and, of course, don’t forget to watch your favorite stand-up comedian on your new Sony Bravia…things are funnier in HD).

Links:    crackle.com    and crackle.com/contest   (click on Hall of Fame, then scroll down to see Lizette’s set)

Steve Martin – Born Standing Up

Steve Martin

Steve Martin has a new, excellent, 207 page book out in stores this month, titled Born Standing Up. Anybody interested in stand-up comedy should read Martin’s story. He recalls his early jobs as a teenager and young man, and later as a hugely popular comedian touring the country in 1970s, playing venues filled with thousands of people. The banjo, the arrow-through-the-head gag, the white suit – he describes the evolution of this act, from the beginnings as a kid with a talent for magic tricks and goofiness, to a young, educated man twisting general perceptions of stand-up comedy with his absurd actions, oddball humor and hard work.

He mentions very little of his movie career, except when related to some of his material in his stand-up act, so we are spared of stories about life on the set of Cheaper By The Dozen. Instead, he gives us a focused account of one of the hottest comedy acts of the 20th century – his own.

Most comedians can and do package their jokes into book form and slap a $20 price on it and watch it climb the bestseller lists. Those are sorta funny, I’m-on-an-airplane reads. But, only a few jokers actually take the time to asses their stand-up act, themselves and stand-up comedy. I think this is only because a few have the stand-up comedy career worth studying, like Steve Martin.

Here’s Martin performing his Fun Balloon Animals piece:

Dennis Wolfberg – an absolute original comic.

Here’s a clip of another favorite – Dennis Wolfberg, who passed away in 1994. Before I ever dreamed of doing stand-up comedy, this guy was in the back of my mind as one of THE ones to emulate – in terms of writing jokes that are personal, clean, and hilarious. Mr. Wolfberg also gained cult status on the show “Quantum Leap” playing the character Gooshie, as well as performing at Comic Relief. This clip features a hilarious bit about his teaching experience with imbeciles, morons, and idiots!