Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

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Outback Concerts Presents

Jim Gaffigan

Friday · August 14 · 8 p.m.
Tickets on Sale Friday, March 6 at 10 a.m.

Lawn Tickets/$39.75

Reserved Seats/$59.75

Reserved Table Seats/$59.75

Tickets can be purchased at Booth Amphitheatre (Monday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m.) or through etix.com. By phone call (800) 514-3849

Etix hours: Monday-Friday/ 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. EST

Saturday/10 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST & Sunday/noon – 8 p.m. EST

 

For complete concert information go to www.boothamphitheatre.com or call (919) 462-2025.

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In addition to EasternCarolinaStyle.com, Michael Smith is also a regular contributing writer for the Fayetteville, NC weekly newspaper, Up and Coming Weekly.

This week’s edition of Up and Coming Weekly features an article about Ron White’s upcoming show at the Crown Theatre on January 9th.

Click the link below to read more
(You will be routed to UpandComingWeekly.com)

Michael Smith at Up and Coming Weekly

 

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In addition to EasternCarolinaStyle.com, Michael Smith is also a regular contributing writer for the Fayetteville, NC weekly newspaper, Up and Coming Weekly.

This week’s edition of Up and Coming Weekly features an article about the upcoming performance of The Blue Man Group at the Crown Theatre on November 6th.

Click the link below to read more
(You will be routed to UpandComingWeekly.com)

Michael Smith at Up and Coming Weekly

 

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On Wednesday April 17, 2014, the weather in North Carolina was as inconsistent as ever. Just two days prior, daily highs were in the 80s and all was beautiful. On Wednesday, the highs were in the 50s, and the lows dipped to around freezing; unpleasant to say the least. As odd as it was, the weather was appropriate for the show that was about to start. Just as out of place as a Mid-April freeze in the south, Pro Wrestling Icon “The Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley was about to take the stage at Goodnight’s Comedy Club.

Before the Goodnight’s Comedy Club opened for the night, people from all around the area began to congregate outside the club awaiting their chance to get in to the show. The line to the front door that formed stretched down the block and around the corner of the building. Goodnight’s has had some truly amazing talents take the stage in its history; lines down the block are somewhat of a regular occurrence for the club.

Even if the line itself was not really remarkable; the group of adults that made up the line was very noteworthy. There were a couple of hundred people standing outside in the cool 50 degree air waiting patiently, but only about 10 of them were women. This particular line was not normal for Goodnight’s, as it was overwhelmingly biased to one sex. Upon closer inspection, not only was the line made up of mostly men, the men who were there did not appear to be entirely “normal”.

There were two gentlemen with championship belts draped over their shoulders; I know who the WWE Heavyweight and Intercontinental champions are and neither of them were those two guys. Also a bit odd, a good number were carrying books into the show. Were they expecting the show to be THAT bad? Perhaps the oddest item that was in-hand by a member of the line was a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli. I guess he must have missed dinner before he had to come to the show. There were even two guys that entered with the crowd that looked strangely familiar, but out of place as well.

At around 7:15pm, the doors opened and the crowd quickly filled the venue. They each took their places in the showroom and anxiously waited for the show to start; title belts, books and the can of ravioli in hand. The host for the night took the stage to get the crowd ‘warmed up’ for the headliner. He told a few stories and made a few funny jokes, but overall he wasn’t needed. This crowd was ready for the main course, appetizers were not required.

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Before the host left the stage he had the responsibility of introducing the headliner for the night. Again, he was not needed. As he began to speak, the sound system began to play a familiar track, a car wreck sound followed by a distinctive guitar riff that seemed to immediately excite the crowd. Before the host could even finish his intro, the crowd had relieved him of those duties; they loudly chanted, “Foley, Foley, Foley”.

Mick Foley made his way through the crowd on his way to the stage similar to the way he used to make his way to the ring during his Hall of Fame career in professional wrestling. However, these days he moves more slowly, he has a very noticeable limp and slouch to his shoulders; the years of brutal bumps and travel have taken a tremendous toll on him. His hair was long and jet black, maybe to cover his missing right ear. He had a thick full beard instead of the scruff that fans were accustomed to. He wore a black pair of Tom’s shoes, black sweatpants, a Cactus Jack t-shirt, and an unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt that featured little pictures of snowmen. The crowd was in awe of this oddly unkempt looking man; “The Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley.

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Once Foley took the stage and grabbed the microphone the crowd immediately quieted down, they were apparently waiting for something specific. He started by giving the audience a couple of ground rules and set some expectations of what was to come. He instructed the crowd to keep a count of the number of times he dropped the ‘F-Bomb’; it was only supposed to happen once. He let everyone know that afterwards he would take questions from the crowd, pledging to answer as many as he could. He did make one unique request of the audience; he asked that no one ask him, “Did it hurt?”

Mick got rolling with his stories at about 8:00pm, the audience hanging on everything he said. He told stories of his time with WWE, ECW, and other organizations. The Undertaker, Brian Pillman, The Steiner Brothers, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett and others notables all were part of his stories. As he relayed the anecdotes of the people from his past, he did it in a way that was funny, but he didn’t take shots at anyone or “settle any scores” on stage. Except maybe for Buff Bagwell; he was the center of one story that may or may not have actually occurred.

One wrestler from his past that Foley seemed to take great pleasure in using as the butt of his jokes was Al Snow. Mick asked the crowd, “What was the main difference between the 100 Year War and Al Snow?” When the crowd was unable to respond, he filled in the blank, “Eventually the 100 Year War was over.”

Jokes like that one gave the crowd a good laugh at All Snow’s expense, but it also allowed Mick the chance to teach the audience members about wrestling, its terminology, and ways of the business. He explained that “over” referred to a wrestler being accepted and popular with the fans. He did things like that to make sure that his show was enjoyable to the wrestling fan and non-wrestling fans well.

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As Foley spoke it was hard to miss the lack of polish or refinement in what he wanted to say. When telling the story of the origins of his “Bang, Bang” catchphrase he failed to really set up the story and appeared to forget the title of a song that played a role in the story. He looked out into the crowd with a befuddled look and said, “You know my career better than I do, help me out!” He was either really lost, or using his “ring psychology” to make sure the audience was fully engaged. Either way, it worked. The crowd didn’t let him down and his stories never really “hiccupped.” In any other setting that type of performance would be fatal for a talent; for Foley, it seemed almost on purpose.

Mick’s shows are not routines; they are actually the exact opposite. The shows are often “one-off” or otherwise customized to the city or area where the show takes place. Mick said, “Whenever I go to a place that has a rich history in pro wrestling, like Raleigh, I tell stories about my times there.” That type of show does not lend itself to being one that can be rehearsed for any real length of time. The spontaneous nature to the flow of stories he told contributed to the unpolished feel, but ended up being very endearing.

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Specific to Raleigh and North Carolina, he told stories about the first place he did his famous diving elbow off of the apron. He shared North Carolina’s role in him no longer having front teeth. Perhaps the funniest story with local flavor was his “Cookie Story.” It involved him and Diamond Dallas Page along with plastic wrap and cookies at a NC hotel that was to remain nameless.

Not all of his show had local ties; it also covered many topics from many eras and places. The crowd learned how he lost an ear in a match in Germany and how the ear ended up in a French referee’s hands. He told the full story of his famous Hell in a Cell match and how he and The Undertaker grew from it. He enlightened the audience as to the legitimacy of the craft that he worked so hard at. He asked, “How many sporting events continue on when one of the participants is totally unconscious?”

After about an hour of continuous storytelling and crowd interaction, the audience had heard tales of Foley’s career that they may not have heard before. For the stories that he told that they did know, he was able to add a new layer of humor and perspective. But, It was time for the “go home” story to complete the evening. At this point, the “F-Bomb” counter was still very much stuck on zero and one particular trademark shtick had yet to make an appearance.

Not one to send a crowd home unhappy, Foley set up his final story of the night by inserting his famous “cheap pop,” it got an immediate thunderous applause by the crowd. He then told a hilarious story involving a beat up yellow Walkman, Tori Amos and Kane. By the end of the story the “F-Bomb” counter read “1” and the crowd was well fed.

After the final story, Mick sat on a stool and readied himself for the Question and Answer portion of the night. He began by inviting a special guest to come up onstage to join him during the segment. Former WCW and WWE Cruiserweight and WWE Tag Team Champion, Shane “The Hurricane” Helms came up onstage to a loud applause from the crowd. The Hurricane immediately cut off Mick before he could get started with the audience questions. He informed Mick that there was someone else in the audience that needed to join them onstage; he called up former WWE Tag Champ Matt Hardy to another very loud round of applause.

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Once the three men were onstage the audience spent the next hour peppering them with questions about their time on the road, their most embarrassing moments, and their funniest stories in general. Mick often would defer to Hardy and Helms to answer questions asked of him to get their perspective before giving his own.

A pleasant, but not surprising, part of the Q&A was the stage command that Hurricane Helms demonstrated. Mick was the star of the show on this particular night, but Hurricane Helms showed that he could probably do a show of his own given the chance. His timing with Foley, Hardy, and the audience was perfect and his delivery of anecdotes was great.

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After the Q&A was over Matt Hardy and Hurricane Helms said their goodbyes to the fans and Mick and went on their way to call it a night. Mick did the opposite of “call it a night”; he went outside to the front of the club where his merchandise table was set up. It was set up to sell pictures and Cactus Jack t-shirts to anyone that wanted.

Mick sat down at the table in near freezing temperatures, visibly in pain, until just before midnight. Remember that 8:00pm start time? Mick proceeded to meet, and take a picture with, EVERY SINGLE FAN that came up to him. He didn’t just sell stuff, sign stuff, pose for pic and then move the fans along assembly line style either. He took the time to chat with everyone and generally carried himself like a person that truly appreciated the fans that were there to see him.

Not to be ignored in all of this is the physical toll on Foley’s body that the night seemed to take. Foley’s wrestling career is known for the large amount of physical punishment he took “fake wrestling”. At the end of his career his body had taken hundreds, if not thousands, of full contact bumps on concrete floors. That and other things that a normal human is not supposed to do helped him to earn the moniker “Hardcore Legend” in 100% legitimate fashion.

During the show, the years of abuse were evident as Mick would have to alternate between walking the stage and sitting on a stool. It was very apparent that he was feeling a good bit of physical discomfort just standing onstage holding the microphone. None of that pain or discomfort seemed to deter him from doing all that he could to give the fans in attendance a good show.

Standing outside in the cold, after every other fan had gone home, Mick was left with his assistant to break down the merchandise table. Despite being “on” for over 4 hours, wincing with every movement he attempted, he stopped, put away the pain, smiled and posed for one last picture with me.

Mick gave me and everyone else in attendance an amazing and truly unique experience and perspective on one of our idols, we should remember this night fondly for years to come. His performance is one that is a labor of true love and 100% “for the fans”.

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MAS – With your show Legit coming back for a second season, how has your life changed? I’m sure you are quite a bit busier, but in general what is going on in Jim Jefferies’ life right now?

JJ – It’s the same as when the first seasoned launched. This time, more people know about the show and it has a bit of a fan base. The first season, people were trying to figure out what the show is and now we are trying to live up to the first season. I think this new season is substantially better than season one.

Other than that, doing all the press and stuff, I enjoy that. I’m doing Kimmell soon and hopefully I can do all the other ones. I enjoy that aspect, getting on the couch and talking with people.

MAS – With the show moving from FX to the new network FXX, are you expecting any type of impact from that?

JJ – There will be a small drop-off in the ratings because FXX is available in less homes, it is just simple math. The thing about FXX is, it’s a start-up network. It’s good to be on the ground floor and to be a flagship show of the network. I get to be the face of the station, if you will. It’s us, The League, and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and they also just bought The Simpsons for that channel. They are also working on 4-5 new shows. I think this time next year this station will be said in the same breath as FX. It will be its own identity, obviously, with more comedy on it than FX.

MAS – That’s one of the things I am enjoying about seeing the show on FX, or in the FX family. In watching the show, I tried to think of where else you would fit. There aren’t a lot of networks that would give you the freedom that you have now.

JJ – I don’t know if we have gone too far to ever be syndicated or to be put on TBS or anything like that. It’s probably, in a business point of view, a bad idea to do that. There is something about making a show that is genuinely unique. I don’t think anyone has seen anything on TV similar to it. People can argue, that Louie is a comic playing himself or Seinfeld is a comic playing himself. But the storylines that we are doing, I don’t think you are seeing anything like it. Especially considering one of our main characters has muscular dystrophy in a comedy.

MAS – Are you still shooting now, or are you all completely done?

JJ – No we finished shooting in December. There are only three of us that write the show. I try to write all the storylines and the other guys direct while I act in them. We don’t have several different directors so we can edit while we are making them, we have to edit after. We have to finish up with enough time to get the first episode out. So we finished filming a couple of months ago.

MAS – You mentioned having a character such as the one DJ Qualls plays. What kind of feedback did you receive after, or during, season one with his depiction of an individual with a physical limitation?

JJ – Everything we have received has been very positive after it aired. Before it aired, we were getting a lot of mail that said we were being insensitive and they hadn’t even seen it yet. I think that they thought that since it was a comedy that we were going to be doing disabled gags the whole time. I mean we did do a couple of them, but the point of the whole show is that his character is treated the same as everyone else’s character. We worked very hard at that. Obviously his character has limitations when you are writing for him, but we involve him in every scene. When you get the other disabled actors on… I know from just working with them, they enjoy working on my show more than do working on a Hallmark movie where they may be a depressed, sad kid at school. Or they may be in a PSA after it. Once you see the show, you don’t feel sorry for anybody on it. I don’t think there is any hate or malice in it.

MAS – With the premise of the show being you playing a comedian, you pull things from your day-to-day life. With the upcoming season, are we looking at more of the same or are you going in some different directions with the characters?

JJ – Each episode is more serialized in this season compared to the first one. Season one was more vaguely serialized, not saying you can’t watch individual episodes out of season two and still get enough out of it to enjoy it. My character has a full arc, Steve has a full arc where he goes into alcoholism… I think we learned a lot from writing the first season which was largely based on my stand-up.

The entire first season was written before we cast anybody. So we didn’t know what the actors were going to be good or bad at. We didn’t know we’d get DJ Qualls or John Ratzenberger. So now, we start writing it based around the strength of the actor and where they are going to be able to take the character. Where you never thought the character could go before.

In season one Steve Nugent was so one-dimensional, then Dan Bakkedahl came along. He is such a good “improver.” I realized that he made such a good drunk that this year I made him an alcoholic.

MAS – The tour you are on now is obviously new material. Is it something that you are using towards a new comedy special or are you just focused on Legit?

JJ – Some bits and pieces I did on the last tour, but for the most part it is all new material. There is nothing that you have ever see me do on one of my specials. If you only have ever watched me on TV, you have never seen any of these jokes.

I will be recording a new special in Boston in couple months. It will probably be 6 months later when we release it. I am fine with the network who will release it, I can’t say who it is yet. I could do that special tomorrow. I am ready to retire some of this material and start fresh again.

There will be a lot of stuff that I will be doing in the show at the theatre that won’t make it into the special or even the next special after that one. I try to keep an hour ahead of myself.

MAS – As far as the future, most talents tend to pick one or the other; stand-up tours or TV. Are you the type that is going to try and do both or do you see a time when show like the one in Durham will be less frequent?

JJ – I think I will always be a little better at stand-up comedy than I will be at acting. Maybe I will get good at acting or something. I always feel like that when I am acting that I am having an affair from comedy. Comedy is my wife and acting is this mistress that I see occasionally. Comedy is my main gig and I think it always will be.

MAS – I recently spoke with Gary Owen from Think Like a Man and Ride Along and he said he has to keep doing stand-up to stay sharp because acting makes him soft. Is that true for you too?

JJ – Once I finish a TV show it takes me another month to get back into the swing of things. I have to push myself and go out every night until I get good at it. I am back in the swing at the moment, everything is good. When I get to Durham it will be great.

MAS – If you could get anything across to the folks attending the show coming up, what would it be?

JJ – In my mind I would say something like, “There is no God” or something else like that. I just don’t give a shit anymore.

The main thing I want to get across is that I want them to have a good time. I’m not going to try and change anyone’s opinion. I’m going to give my opinions and you can do with them what you want. If you don’t agree, keep yours and just wait for the next joke.

 

Todd-Glass

Bio courtesy Comedy Central

Solidly ensconced in the 30-40 demographic, comedian Todd Glass may now be considered ineligible to be labeled a wunderkind — but he certainly was one, having launched his career in comedy at age 16. Since that precocious start, the Philadelphia native has developed into a polished performer with a bent for inventive material that often mocks the conventions of standup.

Todd’s comedy is often satirical, sometimes irreverent but always funny. His television appearances are many, including performances on “The Sarah Silverman Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Conan O?Brien,” “Showbiz Show with David Spade,” “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” and “Politically Incorrect.” With his unique delivery and divergent style of witticisms, Todd quickly becomes a host and viewer favorite.

This weekend Goodnight’s Comedy Club in Raleigh will play host to the nationally regarded funnyman, Todd Glass. You have seen him on all of the late night talk shows and on the occasional episode of Tosh.0. Todd will perform 5 shows starting Thursday and wrapping up Saturday night.

MAS – I recently took the opportunity to go on to Netflix and watch your comedy special. I was really impressed; I really like your comedic style. I have seen you on Tosh.0 and other stuff like that, but that is a little different. Where does your style come from, how did you develop that?

Todd Glass – I guess for everybody it is a little different. For me, I guess, the more you do comedy hopefully you start talking about things that mean something to you. It doesn’t have to be social or political, although it could be. It could be, also, anything that means something to you. It’s just something personal. Maybe that is the best way to put, something personal.  Personal has a wide array… it’s wide as to what personal means.

I always use the example of, because it helped me when I was starting comedy, Steve Martin. He talked about something personal, even though it was silliness. It was something that was personal to him, this very unique silliness. It wasn’t a formulaic generic silliness that he tapped into, it was something personal. I think that is where it comes from, hopefully.

MAS – You mentioned Steve Martin, what other comedians have you looked to for guidance, who has molded you?

Todd Glass – Indirectly, probably a lot of comedians. Mostly, the things is, comedians that I always say, make me want to punch somebody that is sitting next to me or punch a wall because you are laughing so hard. They are the ones I tend to… Over the years, whether it’s comedians in my generation… Legends, like Rodney or Don Rickles guys in sort of my camp whether it is Brian Regan… I’m a big Eddie Pepitone fan. I tend to watch guys that make me want to punch somebody because I am laughing so hard. Those are that guys that probably make you.

MAS – From your style of comedy, and from the material you used in your special, you are not afraid to tackle some of the more politically incorrect issues all for a little social commentary, if not satire. I have seen you do it in a way that isn’t necessarily family friendly, but also not your typical R Rated comedy. You seem to have found success in your shows with tackling these issues while keeping your show as clean as it is.

Todd Glass – I don’t give people anybody credit for being clean; I give people credit for being funny. So, it is probably just naturally what I talk about, but I never want to make it sound like, “That’s the best way to do it.” Obviously, it’s hard to be fucking hilarious whether it’s clean or what we perceive to be blue. We see a lot of comedians that use language, not at its best. But I’ve seen guys with not one curse in their act that use suck and blow and others. There are tools, there are clean tricks too; they are both offensive to me. I really don’t ever give anybody credit…

I give people credit for just finding a way to be unique and funny. If you give people extra credit, if you go, “and plus your clean and that’s the hardest.” No it’s not. You are sort of saying, “Richard Pryor and George Carlin are funny alright, but you gotta admit they took the easier path”; of course not!  It is sort of just who I am.

MAS – Let me put my question into better context. I have done several interviews with various comedians. I have interviewed comedians that actually bill themselves as family friendly comedy. I have also interviewed comedians that are the polar opposite to that. Both styles can lead one to being a very successful comedian. I am in no position to say who has it easier and who has it harder but, those two styles are so dramatically different you have to appreciate a comic that has chosen to do things that way. Why did they choose to do things that way?

Todd Glass – If they are a good comedian, they didn’t choose it. Maybe, it is just who they are. It’s like people that don’t do comedy, they might not choose to be who they are, but it is part of who they are. So I think it is just representing what makes them laugh, if you are doing it right. I think whenever you decide to please an audience, and give them what they want; it is probably a sure sign if you are not really enjoying yourself onstage.

It’s like if you were doing artwork and you were painting and I ask, “What do you do?”  You answer, “Well, I try to figure out what people like, and then I paint it.” Well, is that fun?

MAS – I am hearing that you like to do what pleases you and if somebody else finds it funny, great.

Todd Glass – I do want to make a living doing this, but I think the ultimate goal is go onstage each night and express what is in your heart and what you feel and at the same time you find an audience that appreciates it.

The Todd Glass Show – Podcast
Follow on Twitter @ToddGlass
Facebook Todd Glass Show

UCB

When: March 21, 2014
Where: The Carolina Theatre, Durham
Tickets: Here

The TourCo cast is hand-picked from the best improv comedians in New York City and Los Angeles – these performers are the next wave of comedy superstars from the theatre that has been home to some of the biggest stars in comedy today. From Saturday Night Live to Happy Endings to The Office to Parks and Recreation our guys and gals are all over the place. Not to mention the writing rooms and offices of the Colbert Report, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, MAD TV. And even on the big screen, UCB alums have stared in the best, freshest irreverent comedies in the past decade, including Bridesmaids, Mean Girls, The Hangover and countless others. This show has never been seen before, it will never be seen again and will never be forgotten.