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The Whipmaster


Is there anything better than The Whipmaster?

Yes. There is "Tales of Fraud and Malfeasance in Railroad Hiring Practices," but there's no video of that on the internet, so we'll settle for The Whipmaster.

SF Sketchfest is looking for entries...


SF Sketchfest is the best comedy festival in the country, bar none. Every year I'm amazed at the lineup they put together. They book huge names and they book the absolute best no-names around, they get people to come to everyone's shows, they treat performers well, it's a delight. Unreserved recommendation.

They've just opened up performer applications for the 2010 festival on their website. If you're in a comedy group or know someone who is, you should apply.

Armando Iannucci, director of "In the Loop" Interview: The Sound of Young America

Armando Iannuci (L) with James Gandolfini and Mimi Kennedy of "In the Loop"
Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci is one of the UK's most prominent comedy writers, producers and performers, having helped create shows like The Day Today and I'm Alan Partridge among many others. His new film, which he both wrote and directed, is In the Loop. It follows a group of mid-level government policy personnel and their PR flacks as they steer the US and UK towards a war very much like the war in Iraq. The film opens in staged release in the US on July 24th.

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 67: The Pigeon Problem


Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe propose a solution to the pigeon problem.

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Dick Gregory on Starz Tonight


If you don't know about Dick Gregory, you don't know your standup history. Gregory was essentially the man who integrated standup comedy. He was eclipsed in the mid-to-late 60s by the personal comedy of Cosby and Pryor, but in the early 60s, he was the only black standup comic doing political and racial humor for mixed audiences. In 1964, he wrote his autobiography (it was a bestseller), and it was called "Nigger." In 1964? That's guts. My mom used to have a copy of his very funny book "From the Back of the Bus" around the house, and I read it two or three times as a kid. Like Gregory himself, it was hilarious.

Gregory's career path, in some ways, mirrored that of Mort Sahl, another cultural commentator whose career peaked in the early 60s. As the civil rights movement became the black power movement, Gregory got more and more serious, and he lost much of his audience and became primarily an activist, rather than an activist comic.

I saw Gregory speak when I was in high school, and I was struck by two things. The first was that he was kind of nutty. His conspiracy theories were the conspiracy theories to top all conspiracy theories. Now, my dad helped found a super lefty organization in the 60s, and had his phones tapped and was on watch lists and all that stuff, so I can see where that comes from. COINTELPRO is no joke. But Gregory was talking about the CIA dissapearing 1000 people during the Rodney King riots and stuff. Stuff that, frankly, I'd put in the "wingnut" category.

The other thing that struck me, though, was that he was hilarious. You go to see a 65-year-old man give a lecture at a state college and you don't necessarily expect it to be funny. Even a former comedian, at 65, is usually pretty corny. Especially if what they're into now is juice fasts. But Gregory was quick-witted and genuinely hilarious.

He doesn't do standup much, but he's on this black comedy anthology series on Starz tonight, so we'll see what it's like.

Also, he was featured in this episode of Wonder Showzen, so that's pretty awesome.

Andrew WK: Real American Hero, Part Twelve Bajillion


Via Andrew's twitter feed. Which will make you feel extremely PARTY READY.

Marc Maron Interview: The Sound of Young America

Marc Maron

Marc Maron is a veteran standup comic whose new CD is entitled Final Engagement. He hosts the Air America web show Break Room Live.

The future of comedy is Raaaaaaaandy!


Laugh your dicks off, people. Laugh your dicks off.

Thu Tran of IFC's Food Party: The Text Of Young America


Thu Tran is the creator and host of IFC’s Food Party". It’s hard to know what to say about the show other than it’s the most fun you’ll have watching ten minutes of TV. In a behind the scenes clip a crew member sums it up this way, “Food Party is like if you got hit on the back of the head with a sock full of truffles and you woke up and somebody spits glitter all over you”. Sounds great, right? The sets are made from cardboard and are built entirely by hand. It takes creativity to a new level. Aside from a cooking show, Tran has a B.F.A. in glass from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Chris Bowman: I love this show! But tell me, how does a B.F.A. in glass lead to cooking with Perv Corn, Monsieur Baguette and the devil etc.?

Thu Tran: (Laughs) It’s very interesting how that came about. I went to school for glass partially because the glass major at the school I went to had the least amount of requirements. I was really only required to take two glass blowing classes per week. With the other three days I took lots of video classes, sculpture classes, drawing classes and all that stuff. I liked glass because it was pretty much like cooking. The deal breaker for me was one day I saw a boy cooking a pizza in one of the glory holes. He was heating it up, and I thought, “Oh, I’m going to study this! This will be cool!”

CB: I’ve read that you are known for your eclectic taste in food. I’m assuming the buffalo wing wedding cake falls into that category. What recipes have you been working on lately?

Click on "Read More" for more from Thu Tran

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