Thursday, May 16, 2013

Quiet Desperation Viewing Party Tonight

There was plenty of drama surrounding the April 22 lockdown in Watertown and the search for the Boston Marathon bombers. The latest episode of Quiet Desperation is a slice of life in Allston on that day, with all the corresponding weirdness and pathos and She-Ra references.

Quiet Desperation celebrates the release of the "Lockdown" episode tonight at the Blanc Gallery in Cambridge with a viewing party. Now in season four, the local series has survived a host of changes in the cast and crew, and ventured on after its run on MyTV ended. The party is free, and they'll be showing episodes from the current season. Quiet D creator and star Rob Potylo will perform a few songs, as will Al Pol and Alec Houtson. Check in with the event page on Facebook

Here's a look at the new episode: 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ian Harvie Superhero New England Premiere Tonight

Ian Harvie's autobiographical film Ian Harvie Superhero makes its New England debut tonight at the Brattle Theatre as part of the Boston LGBT Film Festival 2013. The film follows Harvie's story as a female-to-masculine (he explicitly prefers that to "male") transgendered comedian. On his Web site, he says "gender" is a fluid term, and explains his relation to it. "I was born female; there is no question that I understand this," he writes. "I keep my 'F' for Female on my drivers license and birth certificate because for me, that is a biological fact. I believe that ‘female’ is a biological sex and legal term; while my gender is something else entirely, that is something I get to create myself and modify as I see fit."  

Harvie, a Portland, Maine native who was a regular on the Boston scene before moving to LA, will be on hand for the screening. It will be the first time he sees it on the big screen, and I spoke with him via Facebook to ask if he were nervous or excited. "Hell yeah, I'm nervous!" he writes. "What if they don't laugh? It's like shitting your pants before a live show! Except worse because its a forever archived record of your work. At least with a live show you can try to deny if something didn't go well. No record of the event."

Ian Harvie Superhero. Tonight, 10 p.m. Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge. 617-876-6837  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All Girl Revue Needs Your Kickstarter Help to Get to the Women In Comedy Festival

Next week, the All Girl Revue will return to the Women In Comedy Festival. Hopefully. The improv group, which includes improv heavyweights Jane Morris and Edie McClurg, made its Festival debut two years ago, and are on the schedule this year. But they need a little help. Recently, posted a story about the All Girl Revue's Kickstarter campaign to raise money for travel expenses for the six-person group to come to Boston and also head out to the Chicago Improv Festival. I got in touch with Morris to talk about the logistic difficulties involved with bringing a group across the country to a festival, and their last trip here.  

How big of a challenge is it to travel with a group like All Girl Revue?

It's a huge challenge to travel. There are six of us. Six airfares, six places to stay, six schedules of six working actresses. Two are moms with young children still at home. The actual travel, though, is so much fun. These are funny people who very much enjoy each others company. If we're together, we're laughing. And eating. And probably drinking.

How are things different from when you performed here two years ago?

Two years ago, it was Ruth Rudnick's idea to come. This year, Ruth can't make it and neither can Edie McClurg. Since we were there last, Dee Ryan moved to Chicago and Maureen Kelly filled her shoes in our monthly Revue. Maureen won't be making the trip either, but we have an exciting guest joining us - Jill Talley. We all go way back with Jill, a stellar improviser and the sweetest person to hang around with. You may remember Jill from Mr. Show. Dee is joining us in Boston for the Festival, so we're very much looking forward to hanging out with her and having her on stage with us again.

Would you tour more often if you had the means?

If we had the means, we would do a world tour! And we would franchise the show. Since Dee moved to Chicago, we're looking into opening a Chicago branch. Our whole show here in LA also involves solo performers and music.

What was your impression of the WICF last time you were here?

We had a wonderful time the last time we were here. I taught a great, fun class. I'm teaching a solo performance class this time around, I'm also doing my solo show! We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other performers. We're looking forward to our upcoming romp.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Maz Jobrani Gets Ready for Stockholm at the Wilbur

Maz Jobrani plays the Wilbur Saturday
There are a handful of cities where most comedy specials are taped, the big two being New York and Los Angeles. Maz Jobrani will be tuning up Saturday at the Wilbur for taping his next special next week in... Stockholm.

"I was looking for a place that was different, but also had great audiences," says Jobrani by e-mail. "I've played Stockholm twice and loved it. They're great comedy fans. We've got an Elizabethan theater called Sodra Teatern that's one of the oldest theaters in Sweden so hopefully it'll turn out nicely. Also gives it the international vibe."

Jobrani has tapped local comic Mehran once again to open the show. "He's kind of my go to guy in Boston," he says. "I love his energy and the fact that he pushes the envelope. I also have Ian Edwards coming from LA. Should be a great night."

Also expect to see more of Jobrani's self-produced Web series, My Two Worlds, on his site soon. He filmed a short that serves as the series pilot last year, and has more in the works. "I'm putting more episodes together so I can shoot them all at once," he says. "Seems to be the model these days - self produce and do it as cheap as possible. I've got three episodes written, and will write a total of six then get to shooting."

Here's the pilot episode:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ahmed Ahmed Headlines Sunday at BU

Ahmed Ahmed of the Axis of Evil Tour is coming to Boston University's Metcalf Hall on Sunday, with Azhar Usman and BU's own Ari Stern. The show is sponsored by the BU Egyptian Club, but it's open to the public, and according to the Facebook events page, proceeds will be donated to Egypt Cancer Network to support the construction of the extension to Children's Cancer Hospital-Egypt, the world's largest pediatric cancer hospital.

Ahmed, who was born in Egypt, directed a documentary in 2010 called Just Like Us: A Celebration of Culture and Comedy, which is currently available on demand on some cable packages. Among other themes, it explores the idea of stand-up comedy in the Middle East. Stand-up is a young artform, even in America. The modern conception of it as one person with a microphone talking about their own point of view really started to emerge in the 1950s. It's fascinating to me to think of how strange the idea might be in other parts of the world. Watch the trailer for Just Like US below.  

Ahmed will also kick off his new podcast, The Ahmed Ahmed Show, on March 14, releasing a new one each Wednesday at noon PST.

For those who can't wait to see him, I am told Ahmed will be making an appearance at a Boston-area club on Saturday. Don't want to undercut BU's show, so I won't reveal which one.

Ahmed Ahmed with Azhar Usman and Ari Stern. March 4, 7PM. Metcalf Hall at George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave, Boston. Tickets: $10. Facebook Events Page.   

Just Like Us - Official Trailer from Cross Cultural Entertainment on Vimeo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Andy Kindler at The Boston Comedy Festival Tonight and Tomorrow

Andy Kindler plays the Boston Comedy Festival
I first saw Andy Kindler live almost a decade ago at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, where he gives his annual State of the Industry Address. In a week’s worth of shows featuring the biggest names in comedy, it was Kindler’s Address that no one wanted to miss, that everyone told me was a must-see. It didn’t disappoint. Kindler was and is brutal. He excoriated comedians, actors, television shows in front of an audience that most probably contained a fair amount of the people he was targeting.

I didn’t escape the week without comment, either. I made the mistake of sitting up front with my arms folded at on of Kindler’s alternative comedy showcases. I was trying to keep my elbows to myself, but it looked like I was sitting their stiff and judging. And so it became a standoff, because once someone makes fun of your posture, you can’t change it, or they win. It should be noted, though, I was laughing.

When I spoke to Kindler the next year at Just For Laughs, he didn’t really remember the incident, but he laughed at my retelling. I told him that I hoped he’d find a venue to play in Boston one of these days. I would loved to have told people about him when I had my weekly column at the Globe. Alas, he is finally here, and that column is gone. But I do have this blog, and I would encourage anyone who enjoys the sarcastic arts to head out to the Charles Playhouse Lounge tonight or the Davis Square Theatre tomorrow to see Kindler finally headline in Boston, as part of the Boston Comedy Festival. And sit with your arms to the side.

For those of you who recognize Kindler from Last Comic Standing or Everybody Loves Raymond but haven’t seen his standup, here’s a clip of him on Letterman from earlier this year. His part starts at about 2:05.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Comedy Is King Tonight at Club Oberon

Lamont Price hosts Comedy Is King   

Lamont Price uses the word "emerging" to describe the group of comics he's hosting tonight at Club Oberon as part of his Comedy Is King showcase. It's worth noting that Price, Tony Moschetto, and Dan Crohn are well-known to avid Boston comedy fans. They are currently staples of the scene. But that doesn't mean all of you reading this know them, or could rattle off your favorite of their jokes. But more of you might be soon.

"The term 'emerging' is basically a good way to let the audience know that the comedians they are seeing are at the forefront of breaking huge and this is a great chance to see them now before they get expensive," says Price. "I mean, Tony Moschetto, Dan Crohn and Mikey Walz on one show? Wont be $15 in a few years!" 

Walz is the other comic on the line-up, and he'll be making his East Coast debut. Price speaks highly of him. "He's a hilarious comedian in a very competitive San Francisco comedy scene and he has Boston roots, so this figured to be a no brainer," he says. "Also, we want this to be a show comedians from all country want to perform at."

There are plans for more editions of Comedy Is King. Price says there will be another one in January, and the hope is to do it every month. "You figure it makes for a great show when you have hilarious comedians that all get along," he says. "I want a carefree environment."