Archive for November, 2013

Eastern Carolina Style Interviews: Jeff Dunham

Posted: November 27, 2013 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Comedy, Interview, Stand-Up
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“The Most Popular Comedian in the United States”
– Time Magazine

On December 4th, 2013 Fayetteville, NC with host Jeff Dunham and his cast of characters at the Crown Center for a night of comedy you will not soon forget.


Bubba J
Achmed the Dead Terrorist

And maybe even a surprise or two…

In anticipation of the upcoming show Eastern Carolina Style caught up with Jeff Dunham to talk about what is to come.

MAS – Since 2006 we have not had to wait more than a year or so to get a new special or show to satisfy our need for your style of comedy. That being said, Minding the Monsters has been out for a little while now. What do you have in store for us in the near future?

Jeff Dunham – You’re right, we try to come up with something new every year or two. We hope to have a new surprise for the fans sometime next year, but we’ll have to wait and see.

MAS– Describe for me your approach to designing a new character, from the appearance to the personality.

Jeff Dunham – Every character I’ve had in my act, none of them have a similar creation story.

I actually thought up Peanut and designed him in my head. I described him to a woman that was making soft puppets and she drew up some sketches. The character came to be just because he popped into my head.

Walter on the other hand, I figured he would be a good three minutes of the show. I created him thinking that nobody would enjoy a grumpy old character like that. Little did I know, he is an “every man”, everybody has that guy in him. Either they’re married to him or he’s their father, but people for some reason love him.

Jose the Jalapeno, that’s the weirdest story. When I was in college I was doing a radio campaign on the radio station and I was doing all the voices of this pizza. Every ingredient on the pizza spoke. And one of them was Jose Jalapeno. He ended up having all the funny lines. So I thought about making a dummy in the act. So I thought why not a Jalapeno on a stick.

The genesis of Achmed began a year after Sept. 11th, sad and scary things were going on in our country and I thought if I can make fun of those guys, there’s something people can laugh at in our country. And then the big surprise was that I had no idea it would go worldwide.

I could go on and on, redneck Bubba J, Peanut’s Little Jeff, and Achmed’s estranged son Achmed Jr., each have their own story and add their unique element of fun to the show.

MAS– When you come to Fayetteville in December, what can we expect to see? We will be bringing a mixed bag of new material and old favorites.

Jeff Dunham – We have a bunch of new material the fans can look forward to. What I love about my show is that you can pretty much leave your brain at the door. It’s not brainless comedy, but at the same time, I’m not trying to make you think real hard. It’s just come in, have a great time and escape your problems for a while.

MAS– Thanks for taking the time to do this today. I think I can safely speak for everyone in saying we can’t wait for the show and to see what you have in store for us.


Coming Soon: Movies In Theatres This Week

Posted: November 25, 2013 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Movies, Trailers
Tags: , , ,




Black Nativity


Recently I had the privilege to talk with one of the hottest comedians going today. Ron White sat down with me to talk about his DPAC show, his history, cigars, drinks and his other business ventures.

MAS: Today we have one of the funniest comedians, one of the most successful comedians, we have going. We have Ron White! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, how are you doing?

Ron White: I feel like 100 Pesos

MAS: That’s not too well

Ron White: That’s 9 dollars

MAS: Well hopefully we can get you feeling better in time for the show.

I do want to start by thanking you.  A lot of fans don’t realize it, but you are a veteran. Isn’t that correct?

Ron White: That is correct

MAS: I do want to start by thanking you for your service. I know it is a day late, but I still wanted to give you credit for the good work that you have done for us. I also want to say thanks to you for all the work you have done for our servicemen since you have entered your new world of comedy and showmanship. I appreciate your work there.

Ron White: That’s my debt

MAS: A good part of our audience is in Fort Bragg so you will be reaching them quite well

Ron White: I’ve been there before and done a show there before. Hey Guys, How are ya?

MAS: That being said, I understand that your “Tater Salad” nickname has a military tie-in. How does that actually work?

Ron White: The first person to call me Tater Salad was a guy Ross Hoskins when we were on the USS Conserver in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. We were having a family day on the ship and having a picnic on the front of the ship. I liked our cook, he was a horrible cook but he made good potato salad. It was just like my mother’s, it was mustard base. It was the only thing I liked, they boiled steaks. It was just horrible food. This guy (Hoskins) was down there and they were eating all the potato salad because everything else sucked. So I called down to him to come up here and relieve me, I was the navigator, before they ate all that tater salad. And from then on he started calling me Tater Salad.

MAS: Another trademark of yours is your scotch and cigars. Now I know in your last DVD you said you don’t get paid to say the name so I’m not going to ask you who that is. Can you tell me how your taste has actually changed in scotch and cigars as you started off as the barely making ends meet comedian to the overwhelming success you are now? Are you brand-loyal, or have you changed?

Ron White: Early on they tasted like cigarettes, because that’s what they were. From the very beginning I started with a beer and a cigarette because I couldn’t figure out what to do with my hands. So usually I have a beer and cigarette and that’s what I was doing with my hands because that looked natural and felt good. It was a great reason not to be talking, a great pause. The same reason George Gobel and George Burns and all the big Georges all smoked back in the day.  Then I quit smoking cigarettes and with the $70 a month I am saving not smoking cigarettes I’m smoking $700 worth of cigars. I don’t even know what I am going to do with the money, I haven’t decided. It’s piling up somewhere, it’s gotta be. Now I smoke really good cigars, I don’t smoke Cuban cigars. I would never do anything as Un-American as smoke a decent cigar.

MAS: I can really feel your pain there. I heard somewhere that you guys were taking on maybe possibly making your own cigars. Is that true?

Ron White: It’s a possibility, I did have a deal for a little while a cigar company that never really materialized that much, except that I ended up with 100 boxes of my own cigars with my signature on them. Which is great, they are wonderful cigars but they never really fulfilled out so now I’m out of it. I can sign up with somebody else or go pick a blend or whatever. I probably will, there is no sense in not doing it.

MAS: As soon as you do, let us all know because that is something I would love to try. I am a little bit of a cigar person myself.

Ron White: What I really enjoy, of the cigars available in America, are Padrons and I love Davidoffs. There are a million really good cigars, you gotta really float around cigars. It’s not like being locked into a brand of cigarettes; at least to me it’s not.

MAS: Do you have a scotch that you recommend?

Ron White: Yeah, I drink Black Grouse which is not that easy to find and it’s not expensive. I just started drinking it when I was in Scotland; it’s what they drink. Famous Grouse is the biggest scotch in “Scotchland.” So this is a new blend for them, not new, but within just a few years. I represent that in America, so now I do talk about scotch.

That was all done out friendship. We met them when I was over at the Open Championship, when Watson almost won; my son and I were on the 18th green. So we met and toured a Famous Grouse facility. They also own Macallum, Highland Park and several other big scotches owned by a charity, so if you drink it you feel like you are doing your part. So that’s how it started, we have a great relationship.

In the end, it’s at a great price point. I got tired of taking $90 pisses to tell you the truth.

MAS: I can tell you that it is something that I have yet to experience and I hope I never do to be honest with you.

Ron White: Yeah, you feel silly if you don’t come from money. I guess if you come from money you are used to it. I was literally pissing away money.

MAS: Everybody thinks about you as being the ultra-successful, super famous guy that came along with the Blue Collar tour. I know you were doing comedy for well over 20 years before that ever happened. Tell me about some of your memories or some of your good stories from before the Blue Collar days.

Ron White: The first time I ever went on stage I met Jeff Foxworthy that night, he was the headliner in the club that night. He had come out to open mic night; it was literally my day ever doing stand-up. He comes up to me after my set and he goes, “man you are funny, but you need to put the punch line at the end of the joke.” I was like oh ok, he says” look, I’ll show you how to do it.” That’s how generous this guy is. He just literally sat a brand new comedian, green as he could be, sits him down and shows him. He teaches me something about structure writing and how to reform those sentences. He re-did all four my jokes, yeah I only had four. He reworded them to where the next week, I screwed them up and they went horrible. The week after that I got it right and went great. It was Jeff’s goal for a lot of years to make me a famous comedian and he truly sucks at it because it took for forever.

MAS: You’ve had a great level of success, you’ve done sold out shows, several Comedy Central Specials, you’ve got a best-selling book, you’ve even got a record label. Is there something that you haven’t done that you want to do?

Ron White: Well, my favorite thing that I am doing now, other than promote my wife any way I can. My wife is Margo Rey, a fantastic singer songwriter. She has a holiday song that just started playing again, it got up to number 4 last year, that she wrote called This Holiday Night. She passed every pop star on the planet except for Michael Buble who had the top 3. She had the only original song in the top 50, everything else was just a cover of whatever. Sirius just picked up her version of Silent Night, which is really jazzy and fun.

So that’s the funnest thing, we release these records through the record company. We chart them all because she’s so good and we know how to do it. I have got a partner who owned record companies, he used to run Virgin. So it’s a fun thing to do, to release one and watch and see what happens and bask in her success.

Her writing partner part of the time is John Oates and they wrote a hit two years ago, and then she had a big hit this year with the cover of Tempted, the Squeeze song. It was a top 20 Billboard hit right there with Organica Records. That’s not that easy to do, but if you have a voice like it hers, it makes it a lot easier.

MAS: How is that dynamic working between you and her? Before, in your previous lives, you were the famous one, you had all that attention. Now, your wife can rival you in some ways. How does that dynamic work?

Ron White: It works great; nobody is cheering for her harder than I am.  I want her to have all the recognition that she deserves, and she’s getting it. It’s fun to watch, so there’s no competition at all. In fact, I told her the other day “I can’t wait until your career really takes off and you really start making a lot of money.” She says, “Why, do you wanna quit?” I said, “I just wanna quit trying.” So yeah, that’s fun.

Her brother and I own a tequila company called Number Juan. It’s just the best tequila in the world; we’re having a ball with it because we are winning gold medals with it. We won the Santa Barbara Tequila Harvest. We had been in the states for 35 days, we didn’t even know how to enter the contest. Kinda last minute got it in and we win the gold medal for our Extra Anejo. We just celebrated like crazy because that is what we had been working on. Then we go down to the Mexican Spirits Competition in San Diego which is huge. We win the gold for our Extra Anejo, our Repesado wins silver, our Silver wins silver and we win Best-In-Show for packaging for our bottle and box and all that stuff. So we don’t even know what to think about it. Now we knew it was the best tequila we had ever tasted. We knew it would do well, but there is a lot of good stuff out there too. There was like 175 different tequilas at that Mexican Spirits Competition.

MAS: Congratulations there, you have taught me something new

Ron White:  Yeah it’s something that’s really fun to do. It’s a family business. Alex worked his ass off for it, Alex Reymundo is her brother. He’s a great comedian who’s been partner and brother-in-law, he’s a special fella.

MAS: You are going to be at the Durham Performing Arts Center on the 22nd of November doing two shows, 7:00 and 9:30. Can we expect anything a little out of the ordinary from you? What have you got planned for us?

Ron White: I don’t have a plan yet, what day is it today? I don’t even plan things until later, so no I got no plans. So I’m going come in there and kick you in teeth. I’m really looking forward to it. You guys support me so unbelievably well. I’m looking forward to it, it’ll be a blast. I’m coming after ya!

MAS: Ron, thanks again for taking time speak with me today, I do greatly appreciate it.

Ron White: I appreciate your time too my friend. Thanks again to all the fans for supporting me like you do, and have for years. It’s always a great stop. Put on your drinking shoes!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Delivery Man

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Best Man Holiday


Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

Durham, NC

March 10, 2014

Critics and peers agree: Brian Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality, Brian fills theaters nationwide with fervent fans that span generations.

With his first appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in 1995, Brian solidified his place on the show, and in 2012 he made his 25th appearance, the most of any comedian on the CBS show. Brian has starred in two hour-long Comedy Central specials and released three DVDs and two CDs. His non-stop theater tour has visited more than 80 cities each year since 2005, and in August Brian sold out the legendary 8600-seat Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver. It is the quality of his material, relatable to a wide audience and revered by his peers, which continues to grow Brian’s fan base.



Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

Durham, NC

April 6, 2014

“The American Led Zeppelin,” Get The Led Out will present a two hour set at DPAC on April 6 that spans the mythic career of the legendary British supergroup. It’s been their mission to bring the studio recordings of “the mighty Zep” to life on the concert stage. This is not an impersonator act but rather a group of musicians who were fans first, striving to do justice to one of the greatest bands in rock history!

For those that did not get to see Led Zeppelin live, Get the Led Out is the closest thing you will ever get. The six-piece band consists of Paul Sinclair on vocals, Paul Hammond and Jimmy Marchiano on guitars, Billy Childs on bass, Adam Ferraioli on drums, and Andrew Lipke on keyboards and guitars


Moody Blues 

Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

Durham, NC

March 18, 2014

After two previous soldout concerts at DPAC, The Moody Blues return for one night only March 18 as part of their Timeless Flight-The Voyage Continues Tour.

The band just recently celebrated the 45th Anniversary of their monumental 1967 album, “Days of Future Passed,” which features “Nights in White Satin,” one of the first four minute songs played on the radio, becoming one of the biggest selling singles in history, and hitting #1 three separate times on Billboard.

Since they first hit the rock scene The Moody Blues have continued to produce music that bridges the gap between rock, classical and pop-rock genres without ever wavering in their integrity and commitment.  Featuring the altruistic inflections of guitarist/vocalist Justin Hayward, bassist/vocalist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge, The Moody Blues’ sound has held its ground with exquisite harmonies over and over again, in a genre of music that is ever-changing.



On October 20, 1977 one of the greatest bands in the history of our country came to abrupt end. That was the day the plane that was chartered to transport Lynyrd Skynyrd to Louisiana crashed in Mississippi killing founder Ronnie Van Zant and band members Steve and Cassie Gaines.

Fast-forward to 1987, original band-members Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Artimus Pyle and Leon Wilkeson brought in Ed King and Ronnie’s little brother Johnny and decided that Lynyrd Skynyrd should make a return. What was originally supposed to be a short-term tribute to the original line-up has turned into almost 30 years of sold out shows and southern rock greatness.

On Thursday night the current incarnation of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band made a stop at the Durham Performing Arts center for a night of classic southern rock.

Lead Singer: Johnny Van Zant
Guitar: Gary Rossington
Guitar: Rickey Medlocke
Guitar: Mark Matejka
Bass Guitar: Johnny Colt
Piano: Peter Keys
Drums: Michael Cartellone

The show opened with a 30 second intro cartoon from the Adult Swim show Squidbillies that really made me a bit curious as to what was coming. Following the short, the band took the stage to a roar from the crowd and started their set with “That Smell.” For the nest 90 minutes we were taken on a trip through the greatest hits of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The set included:

“Call Me the Breeze”
“Comin Home”
“Down South Jukin’”
“Gimme Back my Bullets”
“Gimme Three Steps”
“I Know a Little”
“I Ain’t the One”
“Saturday Night Special”
“Tuesday’s Gone”
“What’s Your Name”
“You Got That Right”

About halfway through the show Johnny stopped the show to speak to the crowd. He spoke poignantly and sincerely about the men and women serving in the armed forces. He offered them thanks and dedicated their next song, “Simple Man”, to all of them. This seemed to really resonate with this crowd as there was excellent crowd participation in the sing-along portions of the song.

One the two high-points of the show should come as no surprise, it was the second to last song of the night. Everyone in the building joined the band in an over-the-top performance of “Sweet Home Alabama.” From the way the crowd was “in it” you would have thought DPAC was in Birmingham and not Durham.

The night ended with a performance of “Free Bird” that really exceeded my expectations. The song itself doesn’t really lend itself to be a “close-out the night” type of song. Hearing it live and seeing the performance on stage seemed to amplify the magnitude of the song 4-5 times over making it fit perfectly. I was completely sucked in as they broke the song down into each of its instrumental parts; piano, guitar and bass guitar. As each musician played his part, an image of the original band-member playing the same part from 1977 was shown on the big screen as a wonderful tribute.  The song was given the respect and energy it deserved as it took well over 15-20 minutes for the complete performance all while keeping the crowd completely hooked throughout.

As the band exited the stage, the crowd gave them the ovation and cheers you would expect for a performance as impressive as the one that was delivered. For anyone who thinks that Lynyrd Skynyrd died in 1977, you are very wrong.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is alive and well!

Coming Soon: Movies In Theatres This Week

Posted: November 4, 2013 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Movies, Trailers
Tags: ,

Thor: The Dark World

About Time