• Marc Maron’s ‘river of rage’ flows freely at Just For Laughs

    MONTREAL – “Yes, there are problems.” The cold opening to Marc Maron’s intimate Place des Arts show drew huge laughs. The line was unexpected, yet not – after all, Maron traffics in problems, to heartwarming and introspective effect. And indeed, we really couldn’t conceive of a more appropriate sendoff to our week in Just For Laughs-land than an evening spent in the company of Maron and his character-defining problems. Spending

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    Kathleen Madigan, Judy Gold prove a perfect double bill at Just For Laughs

    MONTREAL – With the venerable Judy Gold acting as opener, Kathleen Madigan’s headlining show could really have been a double bill for outstanding, fiery comics in peak form. As arbiters of bitingly hilarious, personalized comedy, the two women have been flexing powerful comic muscles for decades now, and it’s refreshing to see that neither has lost steam as the years have gone on. Taking the stage first for an unarguably

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    Lewis Black veers off track to great effect at Just For Laughs (Review)

    MONTREAL – Lewis Black has never been one to shy away from a good vein-pulsing, temple-throbbing holler fest, and that’s exactly the type of forthright rage that keeps fans coming back for another dose of anger, one sold-out show after another. Which is why it was so surprising – and perhaps curiously refreshing – to see Black in a more somber state at Just For Laughs this year. This is

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    NBC’s ‘Last Comic Standing’ off to great start, first semi-finalists announced

    With judges Russell Peters, Roseanne and Keenen Ivory Wayans and host JB Smoove, Last Comic Standing made its triumphant return last night to NBC. And this time, with the guidance of executive producer Wanda Sykes, Last Comic Standing is being done right. In year’s past NBC went to great lengths in order to perpetuate the idea that all of the comedians participating were “up and coming,” whether they were in

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    HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver delivers Daily Show vibe but with f-bombs (Review)

    UPDATE: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver may have opened to mixed reviews, but people were certainly willing to give the former Daily Show correspondent a chance! The premiere of the British comedian’s new show opened with a strong 1.1 million viewers Sunday night at 11pm EST, rising to 1.4 million viewers after a second play. Oliver’s HBO debut followed a new episode of Veep which attracted 922,000 viewers, meaning

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    Dennis Miller praises Texas governor Rick Perry, gets some laughs at Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

    AUSTIN – As day two of the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival arrived on April 24, I crossed the threshold of the Paramount Theatre, wondering how exactly a comedian like Dennis Miller would be received by an Austin audience. Well known for his outspoken conservatism and completely esoteric punch lines, Miller could easily have stepped out in front of a theater full of dyed-in-the-wool liberals, hostile to any cracks about

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    Ben Roy’s ‘No Enlightenment in Sobriety’ is motivational misery, salve for misanthropic minds (Review)

    If you follow modern stand-up comedy even casually, youʼre probably aware that booze and drugs arenʼt celebrated today like they once were. Humor superstars like Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron and Russell Brand have all become disciples of sobriety, bemoaning their dark years wasted as cross-eyed drunks. And it would be easy to dismiss Denver comic Ben Roy as just another addition to the Live, From The Wagon! comedy generation, if

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    ‘Impractical Jokers’ comedy crew The Tenderloins kill at Gilda’s LaughFest

    GRAND RAPIDS — Things you don’t see in a church: an extreme close-up photograph of someone’s left testicle projected onto a giant screen, a video of a man eating dog shit and 1,500 people watching with rapt attention to both. That is, unless it’s day nine of Gilda’s LaughFest and the church in question is the Fountain Street Church, one of the most liberal churches in the country and as

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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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    Chris Tucker talks tax problems, Michael Jackson and more at Gilda’s LaughFest

    GRAND RAPIDS — Ever since news broke in 2009 that he owed the government a few million in back taxes, comedian Chris Tucker unfortunately became a constant presence on TMZ instead of on the big screen or on stand-up stages. In 2007 he starred in the third and what would become the last Rush Hour film as Detective James Carver, alongside Jackie Chan. At the time, he was the highest paid

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    Kevin Bozeman gives Gilda’s LaughFest an education in comedy

    GRAND RAPIDS — If you haven’t heard of Kevin Bozeman yet, you will. The 14-year comedy vet is close to releasing his third album and was a huge highlight of this year’s Gilda’s LaughFest. One of the many events throughout these 10 days of comedy festivities was an intimate Q&A with Bozeman on Thursday at the Grand Rapids Public Library, wherein the Chicago-based comic revealed the behind-the-scenes aspects of working

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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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    Jackie Kashian: This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux (Review)

    Jackie Kashian opens her new hour-long stand-up special, This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux, with the promise to kill. And by now, it’s safe to say that any Harry Potter-heads among our readership have probably perked up instantly at the mention of the H-word. Wands at the ready, friends – this lady means business. Much like the Dark Lord before her, Kashian has encased a bit of her soul into

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    Keith and the Girl release The Ultimate Podcasting Guide (Review)

    Podcasts are the blogs of 2014. Everyone and their mother’s hairdresser seem to have one and advertisers are scrambling to get their products a personalized plug by both big name stars and up-and-coming shows. The only thing that seems to stop most people from starting their own podcast is the question, “How?” Well there’s a new e-book out by veteran podcasters Keith Malley and Chemda (just “Chemda,” don’t question it)

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    Comedian Brent Weinbach proves the most iron of all Iron Comics at SF Sketchfest

    SAN FRANCISCO – In the end, the audience at Cobb’s Comedy Club gleefully selected the understated, absurdist humor of Brent Weinbach as the winner of Iron Comic last night. So, what does that mean, exactly? Well, for one, it means Weinbach has skills well beyond slinging well-written and thoroughly worked-through jokes. It might also mean comedy goers in San Francisco enjoy a little nuance in their laughs. If you’re unfamiliar

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