• Tenacious D opens SF Sketchfest with stories, laughs and rock

    SAN FRANCISCO — As the 13th edition of SF Sketchfest is upon us, I’m reminded the mark of a truly great comedy festival is not simply amassing as many high-profile and up-and-coming comics as possible and throwing them up onstage throughout a city. It’s about offering the comedy fans something they couldn’t get otherwise. To that end, fest organizers this year are offering a ton of tributes, salutes and anniversary

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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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    Anchorman 2 offers big laughs, honors the original well (Review)

    Everyone let out a deep breath: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay didn’t screw up a good thing. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues holds its own as a sequel to the 2004 original. The Judd Apatow-produced comedy takes the Channel 4 news team out of San Diego (or “Sahn Dee-ahgo”) and places them in New York City on a brand new network with a new line-up of characters. The result is

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    Paul Varghese: Paul & Oates (Review)

    Right from the opening seconds of his most recent stand-up album, Paul & Oates, Paul Varghese gives his audience members and listeners a choice. Do we all want to keep listening to him, or should we just close out our tabs right now and quickly call it a night? To determine the outcome, Varghese dispenses three test jokes in rapid succession. The first? “My friend is a Jehovah’s Witness, and

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    Todd Glass: Todd Glass Talks About Stuff (Review)

    I’m always pleased when a comedy album somehow manages to give me tools that allow me to reimagine the world in a fun new way. That sounds like a tall order, natch, but here’s an example: Pete Holmes’s latest album, Nice Try, The Devil, offers an absolutely killer line to use at a party when there’s a lull in the conversation. Give it a listen. Life-changing. I’d put moments of

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    Christopher Titus: Voice in My Head (Review)

    As part of the opening bit in Christopher Titus’ latest album, Voice in My Head (Comedy Central), he explains the difference between a “fail” and an “epic fail”: “A ‘fail’ is when your car runs out of gas,” he says. “An ‘epic fail’ is when your car explodes, because you used an old sock for a gas cap.” Failures of the epic variety just so happen to be Titus’ specialty.

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    Dave Foley’s new album ‘Relatively Well’ is an engaging mix of bitter and funny (Review)

    Sometimes, when I’m out sharing a drink with friends, we’ll ill-advisedly dip into conversations about controversial topics: politics, religion, whether or not Arrested Development should be a feature-length film or whether it should ride off into the sunset at the pinnacle of its reign on Netflix. Fortunately, fists rarely fly, even as we rib each other for being so obviously wrong.But there’s always the danger that the debate will pivot

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    Colin Quinn: ‘Unconstitutional’ in Toronto at JFL 42 (Review)

    TORONTO – Just For Laugh’s JFL 42, a 10-Day comedy festival in Toronto featuring 42 different acts, kicked off this week– and I made the trek through the rain from Kitchener this weekend for my first night of coverage. Colin Quinn performed Unconstitutional, his one-man show on the American Constitution, at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. And if anyone had doubts Quinn could make American history funny and entertaining to a

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    Dave Chappelle, Conchords lead a diverse group at Oddball Comedy Festival (Review)

    AUSTIN — If there’s one thing I learned at Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Oddity Festival yesterday evening, it’s that Austin, Texas is a really, really hot place to kick off a national tour if said tour is hosted outdoors in August. If there are two things I learned, it’s that Dave Chappelle is back. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Fourteen thousand people braved the heat and the

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    Jen Kirkman keeps it loose at Just For Laughs (Review)

    MONTREAL — Dressed head-to-toe in sleek black, Jen Kirkman performed the conclusion of what would be our Just For Laughs coverage, and yes, I did allow myself to be dazzled. Part one-woman show, part straight up stand-up (in Kirkman’s own estimation), her adorably neurotic, conversational style was in full effect, and the intimacy of the venue fit the performer like a velvet glove. As part of the spunky alternative Off

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    Tig Notaro embraces the little moments during her solo show at Just For Laughs (Review)

    MONTREAL — Tig Notaro is a comedic force, and has been for years. But it wasn’t until her recent brush with aggressive breast cancer (for which she underwent a double mastectomy), and the masterful, deeply personal stand-up work which resulted, that Notaro really became acknowledged by the on-the-beaten-path folks. Accompanied by a stellar opening act, Montreal-ian Deanne Smith (who says of so-called feminazi-ism: “what, are we all going to be

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    Bo Burnham delivers a full-bodied show at Just For Laughs (Review)

    MONTREAL – Bo Burnham seems to carry on in the grand tradition of great vaudevillian performers from days of yore: he’s a multi-talented, multi-faceted, true performer, who appears utterly committed to delivering a full-bodied show rather than a mere act. And that was full on display at his solo show at Just For Laughs on Friday night. Every move the young performer makes is simple, yet complex – there isn’t

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    Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood at Just For Laughs (Review)

    MONTREAL – While the art of improv can be a polarizing comedy sub-genre for comedians and comedy fans alike, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone hating on those who are part of the Whose Line is it Anyway? family. Specifically, master improvisers Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood have always been dependably capable at spinning almost any thought, concept or motion into pure comedic gold – turning the barest of joke

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    Eddie Izzard leads stellar multi-national comedy crew at Just For Laughs gala

    MONTREAL — If the Just For Laughs comedy festival is an international hub for the transcendent language of laughter, then Eddie Izzard could well be its regional traffic director, pointing French and English and Malaysian and Moroccan comedians and comedy fans toward a place of universal hilarity. As this year’s host to the festival’s staple United Nations of Comedy Gala, the redoubtable legend of scintillating stand-up (and eye makeup) ushered

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    Ian Karmel, Chris Distefano, Mark Normand stand out during New Faces at Just For Laughs (Review)

    MONTREAL – By the conclusion of Wednesday’s first Just For Laughs New Faces showcase, festival goers were, with good reason, practically drowning in a sea of untapped comedic talent. But drowning in a good way, like if you were to dive into a swimming pool full of Spaghetti-Os. With the affable Neal Brennan resuming hosting duties for round two, things kicked off with an insider anecdote about Barack and Michelle

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