Sean Donnelly

Sean Donnelly
by Will Garre

New York City comedian Sean Donnelly seems invincible on stage, but I discovered recently that, surprisingly, he is mortal like the rest of us. When I spotted him at the bar, I immediately noticed his left arm was wrapped in bandages. It turns out he had sustained an injury to his left hand when his bull dog, Rickles, was involved in a dog park skirmish. Donnelly broke his finger when it got caught in a leash during peacekeeping efforts.

Luckily, he could still bend his elbow, and, while drinking a medicinal beer, Donnelly shared a little about his background. He is originally from Stewart Manor, Long Island. While growing up, he always enjoyed making his family laugh. Donnelly realized he might have a special gift for comedy when he was a freshman in college, and he was involved with the Youth Adult Participation Project, or Y.A.P.P. Though he really has no idea what Y.A.P.P. did, or why he was a part of it, he remembers one Y.A.P.P event very clearly: “[There were] about 30 people there…[it was] an exercise where we were trying to help people with their problems, and this one girl talked about about how she had this big test coming up, and so the moderator said, ‘What can we tell her to help her with this big test?’ and I said, ‘The answers.’” The room erupted with laughter, and Donnelly became aware of his potential.

Donnelly’s first experience with stand-up was in 2004 at a Mexican restaurant on 5th Avenue and 32nd Street. It was an open mic, and he did reasonably well. By 2006, he was performing regularly throughout the city and seriously pursuing comedy. Today, he is a staple of the NYC comedy scene. Not only does he have strong material, but his likeable, genuine stage persona makes him an excellent host, and hosting is not easy to do. He is very natural on stage, and comfortable interacting with the audience. When asked about the secrets to crowd work, Donnelly explained that “sometimes crowds just want you to talk about them,” and stressed the importance of “say[ing] what’s on everybody’s mind.”

Despite the fact that hosting is one of the toughest comedic disciplines, it rarely gets the respect that it deserves. One night, after hosting a show at The Creek and the Cave, Donnelly was approached by an admiring audience member who exclaimed, “Hey man! Do you ever actually do comedy, or do you just DJ in between sets?”

Donnelly lists his influences as Bill Murray, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Abbott and Costello, and George Carlin. As a kid, he enjoyed listening to 1960’s Carlin, and he developed an appreciation for Carlin’s classic character, “Al Sleet, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman.”

Donnelly co-produces Comedy Show at Alligator Lounge, a weekly stand-up show in Williamsburg, alongside fellow comedians Robert Dean, Steve O’Brien, and Kevin McCaffrey. The show is free, and attendees get a complimentary pizza with every beer. Not too shabby, especially considering the amazing comedic performances on display. If you don’t catch Donnelly at this show, you can also see him on a huge Bushmill’s advertisement in Israel. Donnelly, among other NYC comics, was selected for a Bushmill’s ad campaign photo shoot, but he didn’t think the images would be used. After some time, one of his friends noticed an enormous Bushmill’s billboard in Israel and said to himself, “That looks like Sean Donnelly’s hat.” He then realized that it was, indeed, Donnelly’s hat. Not only that, it was Donnelly’s visage, in all its bearded glory.

Some Sean Donnelly Trivia Questions:

Yuletide Snapper: What was your best moment in comedy?

Sean Donnelly: Following Louis C.K. at Stand-up New York, or that time when Jim Gaffigan complimented my joke.

YS: What is your favorite food?

SD: Fried chicken.

YS: You don’t get heartburn? Fried chicken gives me heartburn.

SD: It gives me heartburn, too, but I just push through it.

YS: What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

SD: Blockbuster Video. It was horrifying.

YS: What’s your favorite movie?

SD: Raging Bull.

YS: Name three things that make you happy.

SD: 1. my wife 2. my dog 3. comedy

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Donnelly recently auditioned at The Creek and the Cave for Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival. To keep abreast of the results and get updates and information on his performances, see his website, www.seandonnellycomedy.com, or follow him on Twitter: @seanytime. His weekly show, Comedy Show at Alligator Lounge, is every Tuesday, 9:00 PM, at Alligator Lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Jeff Dye, star of MTV’s ‘Money From Strangers’

YS.com recently caught up with comedian Jeff Dye, host of MTV’s new hidden-camera show ‘Money From Strangers.’ This show takes off where previous MTV hits ‘Buzzkill’ and ‘Jackass’ left off – using people to cause a public ruckus, all while dishing out prize money for each successful prank.

YS: How did this show come about?

JD: The Twisted and hilarious mind of Rob Anderson. When I got wind of this show I knew it was a perfect match for me because my favorite type of humor is messing with people but I’m to smiley and laugh to much to pull a prank as effective as “Borat” or “Jackass” , so this way I can just tell them the prank and laugh and giggle all I want.

YS: Are there people who give up halfway during the stunt? are there people who try and take over the stunt without your direction?

JD: We have a lot of people give up because they can’t work up the nerve to do the pranks we want. We also get a lot of people who laugh and that is also grounds for elimination. The game is designed to be all or nothing. So the pranks get more extreme and you can’t just decide “okay I’ve made enough money now I’ll just quit”. This way they will do the most extreme pranks to try and walk away with 1000$ instead of zero.

YS: Has there been a time when you thought’ Oh, geez – now we’ve gone too far.’

JD: NEVER! I’m safe in that van and I LOVE pushing the limits. It’s all in good fun and I think as long as we’re having fun and people love watching its never too far. Also I’m a comedian, so if you think it’s too far change the channel.

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The Rebirth of GLOC

YuletideSnapper.com caught up with TheGLOC.net founder Glennis McCarthy to discuss the creation of GLOC and how she is prepping for its relaunch next month.

Q&A

GLOC was founded in 2010 and then had it’s official launch in January of last year. You are now prepping for a relaunch. Tell us about what led to the original idea of GLOC and what your relaunch signifies?

The original idea for GLOC was inspired by a few things: First and foremost I was planning a wedding so I thought what better time to start a huge, life-changing project?! It really was the best time. And by best I mean worst possible. That’s what we call “Standing in your own way.” But I did it and I’m glad I did. Really, and I hate to say this because it sort of goes against what I’m working toward–ladies unconditionally supporting ladies–but the idea originated from an overheard conversation from a group of women dogging on another female comedian outside of their circle. It felt awful to hear and stuck with me for a few days. My husband, Matt McCarthy is really into wrestling so there was this off-handed comment about GLOW, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and it just struck me like a golden mallet: Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy. Boom.

The relaunch signifies a new logo, re-designed website and most importantly, a chance to throw a party. Truly I had to take some time to decide if this was something I wanted to pour my heart into and once I decided to move forward, my mind went crazy with ideas. I read a book called “Tribes” by Seth Godin about leading a movement and realized I needed a more focused mission and voice. I then set out to in search of inspirational figures. My first stop was, obviously, RuPaul; have you seen how I dress? After seeing a documentary on Gloria Steinem and the doc Paris is Burning, I had a more focused vision. So now I can gather a community of smart and hilarious women under the umbrella of GLOC to try and make some permanent change. Women are powerful; funny women are game-changers.

What’s been the overall reaction to GLOC as a female-driven comedy space?

The reaction is overwhelmingly positive. Women reach out all the time to say they love what I’m doing and to get involved. I could not do this with out each and every one of them climbing on board. Sure, there are those that don’t quite get what I’m trying to do or why there’s a need for it, but they’ll come around.

The best part about GLOC is the live events. Parties, mixers, shows, open mics. I’m trying to encourage more women to come out and see what happens when we focus on creating an environment of support. As my dear friend Luci, one of the smartest women I know, reminded me the other night, because early woman stayed home while the man hunted they created the community to keep from going insane. This is our community, let’s use it to our benefit.

There are other female-based comedy sites such as FunnyNotSlutty and Comediva. How is GLOC.net different and how do you feel about the competition.

I don’t look at them as competition at all. We need more sites out there with female-driven content! I wish there were 40 more websites you’d listen in your question. Those sites are incredible and so needed. Go on girls.

I think GLOC is different just in the simple fact that I have a different voice and different comedic sensibilities. I think, ultimately, we’re all trying to do the same thing.

Has it been helpful for women to have their own space to show off their humor? Does it change the comedy game at all? (as opposed to competing against 10 guys in a comedy competition or being the ‘funny female;

I hope it encourages more women to try stand-up. I love sketch, characters, improv and musical comedy, but I think getting up on stage and speaking your mind as yourself is really important. It’s also one of the most difficult things to do. Hell, I’m still trying to figure it out. But I keep noticing this strange occurrence at shows where I’ll speak with a woman before her set and get this general sense of badassery, and then her persona on stage is completely different and seems to come from out of left field. It’s not always a bad thing of course, but when it is it makes me kind of crazy. I would hope that we can all continue to be hilarious without painting ourselves as these drug-addled, sexually insecure bags of crazy. I mean, unless that’s who you really are in which case, work it out lady. We’re here for you. I don’t know, maybe we’re afraid of being too powerful so we dilute our voices? Maybe we’re catering to the head honchos in charge? Or maybe we need therapy (I’m a big proponent of therapy) but I hope it stops. I also hope I don’t offend anyone with that last paragraph. Tell me if I get preachy.

What are your hopes for GLOC in the coming year?

I hope GLOC becomes a resource center and community-builder for women in comedy across the US and eventually across the globe. The new site will have a strong networking feature where women can create profiles, post in message boards, create groups for their shows and more to facilitate this happening.

I hope to continue to produce shows and mixers involving more and more women. I try to get as many women involved with our live shows as possible. And I know it sounds cheesy, but if GLOC can get just one gal to get on stage and tell one joke that rings true to who she is then it’s all been worth it.

www.TheGLOC.net

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Hit So Hard

Hit So Hard is an in depth documentary on the rise, fall, and recovery of former Hole drummer Patty Schemel. A personal disclaimer: I was never a huge grunge fan. I was a teenager when Nirvana got big and then saw the subsequent popularity of bands like Hole, Luscious Jackson, and whatever else Lollapalooza had to offer. I remember where I was when Kurt Cobain shot himself, and I also remember enjoying the first album from that band his crazy wife was the lead singer of. This film focuses on that, but moreso on the life and struggles of their drummer, and paints a pretty enduring picture of a woman who had to go through an awful lot of shit to get where she is today.

The film is a collection of interviews and archived footage of Schemel, her brother, her bandmates, her mother, Courtney Love, and some home movies of Kurt and Francis Bean. It gives a playful look at a man and artist, revered by many as an artistic genius, at home with his daughter. He doesn’t look like the anguished and tormented soul that haunted his music and led to death. It also gives an endearing look at deceased Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, and the struggle with drugs that enveloped both the band and the grunge music scene at that time.

The story around Patty Schemel paints the picture of a strong woman who is always facing the doubters, of herself as a gay woman and a drummer in a male-dominated genre. It juxtaposes the pain of constant doubt with self-medication of rampant drugs and alcohol. It is very fortunate that she is around to tell her story, but thankfully she is.

For someone who vaguely knew of Patty Schemel, this film is a challenging but rewarding look into her life, who she was, her successes and demise, and then rebirth. It uncovers who she is now, and how her passion for music has kept her above water all this time.

For more info check out www.pattydoc.com

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Hilarious Comedians to Follow On Twitter

From the good folks at www.InternetService.com we bring you a handy list of the most entertaining people on Twitter. If you need a break from your busy day and want to relax, check out this list of people who have the Twitterverse buzzing. If that doesn’t work, you can always look at porn:

(http://www.internetservice.net/2012/10-hilarious-comedians-to-follow-on-twitter/)

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