Ding Dong Meow Show @ UCB

Ding Dong Meow Show

Review by Erika Delfini

Ding Dong Meow:
written and performed by Andrea Rosen
featuring the voice of John Gemberling
directed by John Flynn

To begin, let us pray, so says Andrea Rosen upon the opening of Ding Dong Meow. A love letter to cats, all the cats she has loved over the years, (in honorable mention: Sugar lump, Abbey Normal, Pirate, Chiquita Banana, Lester, Castle Rock, Tiko Oscar Boulevard), except that this is not really a show about any of the aforementioned cats. It barely even considers cats as Andrea and God make an honest attempt to entertain large groups of people, in which case:

Ding = true story, Dong = true story with character, meow = re-telling of annoying consumer letters, cookie = free cookie:

Because there are certain moments in life when you realize that you are nothing: more specifically you have nothing to really give, or so you think because your experiences in this life have been less than stellar and/or extraordinary therefore the rate at which you learn from your mistakes as opposed to not learning anything at all is pretty much non-existent. But then there is Andrea Rosen and her candid approach at reliving (maybe) more-so stellar life experiences than you will ever have (but that might be a good thing) and more importantly spreading these “life lessons” to the good people everywhere – people like you, people like me, people who own cats.

What could have possibly happened in a play about Rosa Parks as interpreted by Andrea Rosen when she was a child, playing Rosa Parks?

What are your watermelon moments? Are they significant to the shaping of the person you want to be? Have become? The person you can’t get away from?

And do you remember that scene in Dirty Dancing?

What happens when healthy adults venture off to places like Friendly’s? And what happens the morning after when everything about that trip to Friendly’s goes horribly wrong? and with regards to your significant other… ?

What’s up with the “Garys” of the world?

Is San Francisco really the same as Brooklyn? Can it be? Do we really want it to be?

…. Female related issues?

These questions, some answers, reiterations of consumer letters written by Andrea Rosen personally, certain tributes to certain people Andrea doesn’t know but feels for, can all be witnessed in one evening, at one event, in 30-40 minutes. This and much much more because there are also the moments in life when all you have are emotional break-downs. These are the moments of sheer horror, terrible embarrassment, or just the times that remind us of what it means to be human again, and consequently, how to make amends as a result. If any of the above comments do not pertain to you then maybe you should come to this show and see what’s like to live or try living, as yourself, under no influence. If this does pertain to you then come celebrate, with Andrea, and maybe her cats. (and also maybe God…)

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Elaine May @ 92Y

Courtesy: 92Y

By Terri Element

I’m standing on a long and winding line at 92nd Street Y when a woman walking by asks the guy in front of me what everyone is on line for. “To see ‘Ishtar’”, he replies. The woman bursts into giggles and says, “that sounds like a joke”. “It does, doesn’t it?”, I think. I couldn’t believe that not only was I about to watch “Ishtar”, I was waiting to watch “Ishtar”. However, all of us on line knew that at the end of the sandy, brutal road, was the opportunity to see the great Elaine May (who makes very rare public appearances), interviewed in person. The fact that we were willing to overlook that she wrote and directed this movie and even stomach it to see her, is a testament to her talent and appeal.

Courtesy: Sony Pictures

Elaine May is an underrated comic, writer, and director. She is probably best known for being part of the comedy duo of Nichols and May, who primarily performed during the 50s. Mike Nichols and Elaine May had a great rapport, despite (or maybe especially because of) not being married to one another. They were great writers, and didn’t have to try hard to be great writers, which was unusual especially for comics of that time. They infused Jewish humor and sensibility into their act a lot. The “Mother and Son” skit, for example, is one of their most famous sketches. The first line, “Hello, Arthur, this is your mother…” says it all. May’s subtle nasalized voice communicates disapproval and a crafty manipulation of guilt of her adult son in a mere nine syllables. It sends shivers up the spines of Jews and pseudo-Jews like myself everywhere, while keeping us laughing at the same time. Part of what made their act interesting was that even though there were quite a few stereotypes (particularly Jewish ones) in their act, their sketches still felt smart, accurate, and somehow subtle, in their humor.

May is also known for directing a few different films, including the first version of the “Heartbreak Kid” and the aforementioned “Ishtar”. In case you don’t already know, “Ishtar”, which came out in 1987, is the story of two schmucky singer-songwriters (played by Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty) who dream of making it big in New York City. They are unable to get any work in New York, let alone the U.S. So they opt for work in Ishtar, Morocco. They somehow unwittingly get caught up in a dangerous political situation that they are unaware of. I myself am still as confused as the two characters are about the situation they get into and how they get into it. All I know is that it involves the CIA and a blind camel, so you know that hilarity ensues.
Make no mistake; “Ishtar” is incredibly painful to watch for much of the film. But there are certainly some great aspects of it. Hoffman and Beatty give great performances. There are also quite a few really funny moments in it that are not given its credit. And the songs in the movie are ridiculous and charming, particularly the main one entitled, “Telling the Truth”. May likened the characters’ endearing innocence and naïveté to the contestants on “American Idol”. Like the contestants, Hoffman and Beatty’s characters believe that they have talent, when everyone else sees that they clearly don’t.

May spoke about not having been offered a film since “Ishtar” that she likes enough to direct. I couldn’t help but wonder how no other movie comes close to the quality of a film which most of us would be less interested in seeing than being on hold with Time Warner Cable. It depresses me to think that Elaine May jumped the shark with “Ishtar”. I don’t really know nor understand why she hasn’t continued to receive the notoriety that she deserves or make the quality of work that many believe she is capable of making. Perhaps May likes being in the spotlight in very small, controlled doses. She didn’t reveal much about herself when being interviewed, and was monosyllabic when answering many of the interview questions. If this is true, then it puzzles me that she chose a career in show business to begin with. Judging by the interview that she just gave, I guess we’ll never know.

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Nuddha the Buddha?

The sole purpose of a good comedian is to either entertain the audience or make an audience feel bad about their life choices. When you do both, you’re really succeeded. The sole purpose of the new Buddha App is to help connect people in social settings and provide a sober introduction. Case in point:

Drunk guy at the bar: ‘I’m so sorry I spilled my Natty Light on you, I see you’re wearing a Creed t-shirt?’

Woman: ‘That’s okay, one of my private fantasies is to have Natty Light spilled on me by a legal aid typist, so one out of two ain’t bad. And yes, Creed is my favorite band.

Drunk guy: ‘Well, that’s unfortunate, but you’re cute, so let’s start talking and then hook up later.’

Woman: ‘It’s a deal.’

With the Buddha App, you don’t have to be drinking Natty Light or talk about Creed to get the hook up.

For more information on the Buddha App:

Buddha App

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Not Quite The End Of The World As They Knew It

End of Days
Not Quite The End of Days

By Adam Ullian

This past Saturday, world renowned deep-voiced religious leader Harold Camping proclaimed the end of the world was upon on. What this means, according to Mr. Camping, is that all of the good Christians would be brought up to heaven in order to be judged, while everyone else goes to hell. By everyone, he means the Jews – not definitely, but you know, more than likely. This event is called the Rapture, aka, End of Days, aka an arbitrary day religious leaders pick to get some publicity.

So Mr. Camping, who runs Family Radio, and is currently raking it in, proclaimed this day a few months ago, and then proceeded to pay millions of dollars in advertising and gas money to smother the United States with his message. While there was no proof that he was right or wrong, there was proof that there are a lot of idiots out there. Take retired MTA worker Robert Fitzpatrick, he of the sign-holding, Rapture-believing Fitzpatrick clan. He spent approximately $140,000 of his own money to help Mr. Camping promote the Rapture, and guess what, it didn’t quite happen. Mr. Fitzpatrick was caught standing in Times Square, looking up at the sky at approximately 6pm, waiting to be sucked up to Heaven. It didn’t happen, he couldn’t believe it, at which point he had no choice but to return to his normal life as a hapless moron who is waiting for the world to end. The scariest part is that he was employed by the MTA. If you had told me he had earned his living masturbating in the passageway to the Shuttle to Times Square, I would have been fine with him waiting for the Rapture. In fact, I would have encouraged it. But no, he once worked for the MTA, that bastion of incompetence and tardiness. Maybe the lesson is that if you work for the, you’re more than likely to hope the end is near.

Sadly, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the New York Times tracked down a family of 5 who had stopped supporting their college-bound children because there would be no point if the world ended. The Haddad clan, not to be confused with the Ha-Are-You-Fucking-Kidding-Me? clan, of Maryland, drove to New York to take in the Rapture events. So sure that the world was going to end, Haddad The Mother even told her daughter that she wasn’t getting into heaven. She still loved her, just not enough to help her get by God at the Pearl Gates. Talk about having a rough life, first your parents won’t help you get into college, then they decide they won’t help you get into heaven.

And it doesn’t end there. Shortly after Mr. Camping was proven wrong and had to go into hiding because he ‘felt bad’ about his prediction (isn’t that what criminals do when they’re about to get caught?), he announced that he was off by a few months. The last time he did this, in 1994, he also announced…that he was off by a few months. So there’s this 89-year old who keeps bilking millions of people into supporting his Rapture predictions, and then when he’s wrong he takes his suitcase full of cash to the nearby Holiday Inn, strips down, and then rolls around in it. I mean, I’m not saying that’s what he did, but if I were him, that’s totally what I would do.

See you in October, and remember to Repent!

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Elephant in the Room

YuletideSnapper recently caught up with Elephant’s Larry’s Stefan Lawrence to discuss the group’s upcoming show at The PIT, Friday May 20th and Saturday 21st @ 7pm.

How did y’all meet?

We all met as members of the Cornell University Skits-O-Phrenics,
Cornell’s Only All-Skit Comedy Troupe. Yes, we called them skits back
then. Now we perform sketches, and sketches only.

Why ‘Elephant Larry’?

Elephant Larry comes from Phantlar, our original name. Phantlar
appeared mysteriously on a giant list Chris wrote with name after
name, but he didn’t remember writing it, nor what it meant. So
naturally, we gravitated toward that. However, none of our family or
friends could remember or pronounce it, so we hid it inside Elephant

There are many sketch comedy groups in the East Village (and greater New York), what makes you guys stand out?

We’re just the best. Isn’t that enough? Okay, fine. Uh, we’re five
white guys doing sketch comedy. No? How ’bout our affinity for
mid-90’s cultural references?

Does is help or hurt that you are an all-male ensemble?

Only helps. This way, we’re not tempted to sleep with each other
and RUIN EVERYTHING. Also it lets us make all the dick jokes we want.
And pretend that we have a no-girls-allowed clubhouse. On the other
hand, it makes for sketches where we wear awful girl costumes, but
that’s more of a disadvantage for the audience. Kids in the Hall we
are not when it comes to girl mimicry. Luckily, this new show has us
playing very few girls.

Who is the most annoying member of the group? aka the ‘Who would you vote off the Island first’ question.

Chris Principe is the most annoying. He’s got this air of cool
competence that’s infuriating and when you call him on it, he tickles
you and you’re so delighted you can’t be mad at him. Annoying.

What can we look forward to seeing at your upcoming PIT show this weekend?
The new show is all-new Elephant Larry’s Treehouse sketches, a
format where we play ourselves goofing around and having a good time.
Oh and we’re all idiots who are barely friends but live in the same
house together.

Who would you cast to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and Half Men?

Ooh, maybe Chris Principe could replace Charlie Sheen! Two birds, one stone.

Comedy Sketch Group 'Elephant Larry'

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YuletideSnapper.com recently sat down with Jacki Schklar, the founder of FunnyNotSlutty.com, a comedy website for women.

YS:How did Funny not Slutty start and do you accept Funny and Slutty individuals?
Jacki: We’re starting to catch up, but in 2008 when I started Funnynotslutty.com it looked like over 90% of user generated comedy content was produced by men. And mostly young men. Who like beer and boobs and..more beer and boobs. I had to cull through a lot of content to find something for a woman over 25 years old, like me. Also as a producer I knew what it felt like to work on something female centric and not have a fitting destination available online to publish it. So I built a place.
Oh, and you would not believe how slutty we actually are…

YS:You are based in Atlanta. How is the comedy scene there, compared to places like Boston, New York, and LA? 
Jacki: I’m not in any scene unless you call sitting at a computer with a 3-legged Jack Russell terrier lying on your foot, eating chocolate chip cookies and Cheetos a “scene”. I’m mildly reclusive and if I do get out in public I’m the last one you want to party with. I don’t use any drugs, I’m a light drinker and all I talk about is projects. My projects, your projects, his projects, her projects. I do feel ready for a move. So my dog Sophie and I might be sitting from a computer eating Cheetos from Seattle or NY who knows where in a year.
I have, however, noticed trends in the nature of comedy from those locations. Please forgive the gross generalization but Boston seems more Alt than much of the country, LA comedy often has a “shtick” or “joke telling” feel and NY is home of the dry and sardonic. Atlanta is pretty diverse with a sometimes Southern kick to it.

YS: Do you feel that the internet has been oversaturated with unfunny people and someone has to clean that up?
Jacki: I think of the concept of “funny” differently from most people. Not as a description, but as a personal belief. As individualized as you might think of how people feel about religion. When I hear people say “I know funny when I see it” I run, don’t walk, away from dealing with them.

YS: Could you discuss the challenge of starting a website with a specific audience and base?
Jacki: My background is in journalism, video and interactive and I’m currently working on social media and marketing projects for clients. So interactive production and community building is what I live and breathe. It takes a mix of tech knowledge, skills in communication and psychology. And getting your head out of your ass helps.

YS: There has always been a sense that comedy is a ‘boys club’ and that women have a difficult time getting noticed. Is that still accurate?
Jacki: There are now opportunities for women to thrive in comedy. Many men in the business are from a generation more focused on equality. If a booker knows you have a strong base of followers and can get butts in seats, he is likely to let you perform whatever your race, religion or sex might be. And technology allows anyone to get “out there” on the internet and build a fan base.
At this time in history I think women are why women are not more prominent in comedy. Realistically, being a comic means performing to a room full of drunks after a 17 hour drive and stay in a $69 hotel room that was graciously booked for you by your meth addict show producer/promoter, with complimentary “house” chicken fingers in your stomach and the disregard of your peers…Not because they feel superior to women, but because they are prone to having trouble connecting, hence, they were drawn to comedy in the first place. I don’t know about you, but there was no brownie badge in my troop to prepare me for that. Most women simply don’t relish in such enchantment as the life of a comic. There is more of a glass ceiling in studio produced film, but I think it’s our job to find creative ways around that. This means creating female characters different from the norm and interesting female-centric story lines. The last time I checked, women can type. And since we’re on the subject of what women can do, we can buy tickets, too. I have spoken with a comedy promoter who pointed out to me that women buy half the tickets sold at comedy shows, and they predominantly buy tickets to see male performers.
This week I received yet another email from a young woman researching women in comedy, telling me about the infamous Christopher Hitchens article, and asking what I was going to do about it. I told her not to fixate on what one guy said. Fixate on how you are going to build an audience for your comedy. Besides, I believe Hitchens that smart, attractive straight women are not funny to him. His mother undoubtedly laughed and pointed at his tiny little penis throughout his childhood. So who can blame him?

Funny not Slutty
Funny not Slutty
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Feeling The Flow of Mick DiFlo

By Terri Element

Mick DiFlo: The Best Comedian You’ve Never Heard Of

“Hi, this is Mick. I’m not here right now, and everyone else is dead. You can leave a message at the beep, but maybe you weren’t listening”.

Mick DiFlo has a very compelling and somewhat rocky past. Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, he has been a boxer, a drug counselor, and a drug addict. “I went through a drug phase when I was a kid… for about 20 years. Even as a kid in school my attitude was, I’m going to college some day and I’m going to do well on this test …but first I’m going to smoke this angel dust…”.
DiFlo sought an outlet for his humor, in addition to wanting something to aid in his recovery from drugs. DiFlo first began taking acting classes and performing humorous roles in plays before writing and performing with the sketch comedy group “Hazmat” (short for Hazardous Materials). DiFlo never thought he could do stand-up comedy. However, one night when Hazmat was scheduled to perform at Stand-Up New York on the Upper East Side, the rest of his sketch group was running late to the show. At the last minute, DiFlo was persuaded to perform solo. Since that night, DiFlo has been doing stand-up comedy for almost seven years, which is shortly before he moved to his East Village home.
DiFlo has a dry, dark sense of humor. His material is sometimes shocking and offensive. “My wife thinks it’s never appropriate during sexual role play to incorporate a special needs character…Put on the fucking helmet”. Diflo’s life experience comes through in his act. His brand of humor comes from a genuine place, and unlike many other comics, is not done for attention or for mere shock value.
Furthermore, there’s something so familiar about his demeanor that makes him seem like a friend or a relative, which makes him able to get away with humor that many other comedians cannot. While his material is biting, he remains soft-spoken in his delivery. He expresses his point of view, but is unobtrusive in doing so. He puts the audience at ease with his relaxed delivery, and his consistently solid material and performance. He is a prolific and talented writer, stopping often during my interview with him to write down his ideas for new material.
Another part of what makes DiFlo charming and a strong stand-up comedian is his self-deprecating quality. “I went to my high school reunion. A group of us were standing around. A guy walks in that I used to hang around and joke around with. I say to him, “So, I see that you’ve gone totally bald, you loser”. And he goes, “Well, most of that’s from the chemo”. I was like, “Jesus Christ, these cancer people think it’s all about them, don’t they?”. Then it’s like, ‘Oh, I know what’s important in life now, blah, blah, blah…’. All of a sudden, my upcoming gig at the Chucklehut doesn’t mean shit”.
Mick DiFlo performs at various locations around the city. For more information about where you can see him perform, you can go to his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/mickd243.

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