• Chris Elliott talks David Letterman, The Rewrite, Schitt’s Creek (Laughspin Interview)

    Chris Elliott has had a long, storied career in film and television playing oddballs, jerks, and weirdos. There’s Chris Peterson, the 30-year-old paperboy in the cult favorite television series Get A Life. Larry, the awkward and aloof cameraman in Groundhog Day. There’s Woogie, the creepy and increasingly disgusting suitor in There’s Something About Mary. There’s Nathaniel Mayweather, the emotionally stunted seaman in Cabin Boy. And there’s Chris Monsanto, the eccentric U.S.

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    Thomas Middleditch, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani make Fun Fun Fun Fest (even more) weird

    AUSTIN — On the final day of Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s Silicon Valley) performed a spontaneous impression of a Revolution-era judge shouting the name “John Quincy Adams!” He paused. He laughed. And he asked himself, “What the hell am I doing?” That moment on Sunday represented a crystallization of Sunday’s comedic performances: weird, unexpected, spontaneous. The afternoon featured a collective of three performers from Silicon Valley,

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    W. Kamau Bell, Jello Biafra inject thought into Fun Fun Fun Fest, Fred Armisen brings Ian Rubbish

    AUSTIN — If Friday’s comedians at Fun Fun Fun Fest contended with the low lows of celebrity and popular culture, Saturday’s theme might as well have been “Damn the man, save the Empire.” Politics, politics, and more politics. W. Kamau Bell’s set, for example, offered an appealing blend of his personal experiences and political critique that had the audience at once laughing and thinking carefully about how race works in

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    John Waters inspires at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Neil Hamburger, Rachel Bloom fit right in

    AUSTIN — Once upon a time, before Formula One racing came to roost, before South by Southwest lay at the feet of Microsoft and Doritos, before everyone and their mother moved to the city to catch a whisper of hipness before it vanished into commodity, Austin quietly celebrated the spirit of the weird. Although the city’s eccentric soul is maturing into a more measured—dare I say mainstream?—metropolis, we’re lucky to

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    Theo Von talks ‘Deal With It’ on TBS, selling guinea pigs, finding a wife (Laughspin Interview)

    Theo Von is the human embodiment of a small town success story. Born Theodor Capitani Vonkurnatowski in Convington, Louisiana (about 45 minutes north of New Orleans), the 34-year-old comedian began slinging jokes at a local coffee shop in 2003, driving 40 minutes just to perform seven minutes worth of material. “It was just a bunch of young guys trying to tell jokes, Von tells Laughspin. “I was all fired up.”

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    Jason Bateman’s ‘Bad Words’ is a cringeworthy delight (Review)

    Jason Bateman, of his directorial debut, Bad Words, offers this gentle caveat: “This movie isn’t for everyone.” Screened recently at Austin’s South by Southwest festival to a packed auditorium, the film does resist easy consumption. The story centers on a cynical 40-something protagonist named Guy Trilby (played by Bateman) hell bent on ascending in the ranks of a spelling bee meant for children. Thanks to a loophole, naturally, he finds

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    South By Southwest comedy, days 5 and 6: Chris Gethard gets naked, Superego gets weird (Photos)

    AUSTIN – The city of Austin is well known for its quirky eccentricity, as reflected in its mostly official motto, “Keep Austin Weird.” And South by Southwest has a tendency to exacerbate said weirdness, particularly where the comedy scene is concerned. Today, I have two examples for you. Example the first: audience members on Wednesday were treated to (quite literally— that’s a pun, it’ll be funny in a moment, I

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    South By Southwest comedy, day 4: Sinbad kills it, Jim Breuer gets real and more

    AUSTIN – To borrow the words of the great philosopher Ice Cube, today was a good day. The story kicks off on Tuesday with some serendipitous moments only possible at an event like SXSW, where the city of Austin’s innate quirkiness morphs into something produced and promoted with a glossier sheen. I wandered over to a small lot south of the Convention Center’s chaos in search of food (an enormous

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    South By Southwest comedy, day 3: Todd Barry, Iliza Shlesinger, Pete Holmes

    AUSTIN – Day 3 of South by Southwest was tightly packed with more comedy delights. Like a really, really thick sausage that kind of sprays hot juice on you when you bite into it because the casing is so strained and taut from the vast amounts of meat inside. (Side note: I haven’t had lunch yet. Too obvious?) Anyway. My Monday kicked off with a special preview screening of Billy

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    South By Southwest Comedy, day 2: Comedy Bang Bang, Fred Armisen, Sasheer Zamata

    AUSTIN – Okay, forewarning: there was too much legit Sunday night to be able to comprehensively share all of the laughs with you, dear readers, but I will do my damnedest to offer the highlights. Checked out three shows, all in a row, and lived to tell the tale. Mostly. Sunday kicked off with two back-to-back live tapings of Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang podcast, now obviously also a series

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    SXSW Comedy, day 1: Seth Meyers reveals news on Stefon, Matt Besser leads Improv 4 Humans

    AUSTIN – South by Southwest 2014 kicked off to… rain. And cold. Apparently the polar vortex gods do not discriminate between the great white north and the usually milder environs of Texas, to the chagrin of every SX patron trying to escape winter on March 8. One of those northern escapees was Seth Meyers, who briefly left New York to participate in a panel about his new show, Late Night

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    Some thoughts on the first two episodes of ‘Girls’ before they air Jan. 12 (Possible spoilers)

    Last night, Austinites braved relatively cold temperatures (perhaps not -15 degrees, like our fair friends to the north experienced, but it was cold to us) for a sneak preview of one of the more polarizing television comedies to emerge in the past few years: Girls. Hosted by the ATX Television Festival and HBO, the satellite premiere here in town featured a live stream of the red carpet premiere in New

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    SF Sketchfest announces stellar lineup, Key and Peele, Amy Schumer, Tenacious D, more!

    Like many folks, I have mixed feelings about comedy festivals. On the one hand, maintaining the requisite energy to plow through days of programming and events is a tall order. On the other hand, so much awesome business happens that it’s usually worth the sleepless nights and inevitable exhaustion on the tail end. SF Sketchfest announced their 13th annual comedy festival line-up this week, running Jan. 23 through Feb. 9

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    Doug Benson inks deal with Alamo Drafthouse for movie interruption fun

    The Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain, once an institution exclusive to Austin, Texas, has spread its tendrils of movie-dom across the nation. For the uninitiated, the Drafthouse combines three elements into a holy triumvirate of a film-going experience: good flicks, a full waiter and meal service (read: booze brought to the table), and a nearly fascist commitment to eradicating talking and texting among audience members (maybe you remember this Patton Oswalt

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    A super fun, super chill Laughspin interview with Patton Oswalt

    Okay guys. This conversation with Patton Oswalt needs a little context. I had just seen Oswalt deliver a hilarious and incredibly well-received set in a sweaty, packed comedy tent at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. And, like any chaotic festival, music from a nearby stage was continuously bleeding in. That meant that the sounds of Johnny Marr (of The Smiths) and Kurt Vile punctuated each comedian’s set. No complaints from

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