Contributor Jenifer Bloodsworth spoke to Brent Weinbach about his upcoming album ‘Mostly Live’ available September 4th on ASPECIALTHING RECORDS. Click on the audio link below for more:
You’ve heard of the King of Queens, and Steve Hofstetter might just be the King of Long Island City. His Laughing Devil Comedy Club has made a tremendous mark in the Hunter Point section of LIC since it opened in January, and he’s just getting started.
YS: Tell us about the comedy scene at Hunter’s Point.
SH: Well the Laughing Devil is doing really well. We’ve always been kind of a showcase club where we’ve got 6 to 8 acts a night all doing short sets, and we’re starting to move towards a hybrid of showcase and headliner shows. We’re having big acts come in and do a full hour. Adam Ferrara did it to promote the season premiere of Top Gear, and it went really really well, so we’ve booked a few more. We’ve got Gary Gulman from Last Comic Standing coming in. We’ve got Mitch Fatel from the Tonight Show coming in. Ted Alexandro, whose got two Comedy Central specials, he’s coming and doing one. We’re going to keep adding these to the schedule, and it’s a way for New Yorkers to see really big comics do a full set in New York, which is pretty rare. The only clubs that do that are Gotham and Caroline’s.
YS: How does it feel on a personal level to see your dream realized?
SH: It feels great to see a vision and the realization of a dream, however there’s still far to go before the dream is fully realized. Things are getting better every day, but we won’t be comfortable until I don’t have to think about it. We’re doing very very well for only being open 8 months, but there’s still more to come.
Seinfeld stopped by the Creek, which is kind of awesome. Louis CK has been by both places. I think it’s really showing that Long Island City is not a suburb of the comedy scene anymore. It’s gone from 0 to 60 pretty quickly. The most amazing thing is that between The Devil, the Breadbox Development Stage and The Creek, we’ve got 3 comedy venues within 3 blocks of each other, and the only other place in New York that has that is Bleecker St.
YS: What was the driving force for the Development Stage?
SH: It was a combination of both need and opportunity. We just don’t have enough room for open mics. We would love to do more, but we don’t have room. Not just the open mics, but the experimental stuff: sketch and improv and things like that. We had been talking about how we’d love to expand more to that and then we produced a couple of shows at the Breadbox for the Laughing Devil Festival and those went so well that the BreadBox came to us and said ‘what else can we do?’ and from that the stage was born.
YS: So it’s an atmosphere of successful comedy clubs in one area.
SH: It is, but there’s more than that, because some of the bars are sort of doing one off shows as well. LIC Bar does a weekly comedy trivia night. I’ve seen pop up shows advertised at Cranky’s, there’s the Secret Theatre which is improv, occasionally the Chocolate Factory will do something comedy related. It really is amazing how much comedy there is in the neighborhood.
YS: Has the Laughing Devil been the starting point for a changing of the tides in NY comedy scene?
SH: I’d like to think we’re at least the catalyst for it. While I’d be hesitant to take credit for the whole thing, I think the arrival of a full time club kind of signifies the greater picture and yeah, 2 of the 3 main stages are ours, so obviously we have something to do with it. It’s a culmination of a lot of things, and are we responsible for it? I dunno, but I hope so. I think that with the hundreds of customers we have every week, we’ve certainly brought comedy to a new audience here. A lot of people will say to us, ‘Hey this is the first time I’ve ever been to a comedy club,’ and a lot of the comedians that we work with have never been to LIC before, so that definitely helps. The frequent comment from them is either about how easy it is to get to or how surprisingly nice it is. We’ve had a number of shows where comedians have shown up an hour before their set because they thought it would take forever to get here.
With so much of the population of New York in the outer boroughs now, it was a matter of time before the entertainment went that way too. It’s nice that Brooklyn no longer has a monopoly on cool.
Please check out http://www.laughingdevil.com for show times and headliners
It’s safe to say that Jimmy Kimmel rivals only the US Women’s Olympic Gymnastic’s team in how busy he is this year. Among other things, Kimmel will be celebrating his 10th year as host of Jimmy Kimmel Live in January, as well as being named host of the primetime Emmy’s next month. Most importantly, his show is taking over the coveted 11:35pm timeslot, which historically has been reserved for heavyweights such as Jay Leno and David Letterman.
Kimmel was in town to do preparation for taping his show in Brooklyn this Fall, and was nice enough to stop by the 92Y for a sit down with NY Times TV critic Bill Carter. Kimmel, who came out in a suit and tie, is remarkably more svelte than in previous public engagements. His first topic was, of course, his Emmy hosting duties and his appearance at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. Both opportunities are great and also a lot of work. This was a theme of Kimmel’s discussion, that hosting a talk show requires you to be a real work horse, it’s not something you can show up to 3 hours before airtime and then be prepared. He also mentioned how taping his show later in the evening gives his material a more topical feel – which happens to be true.
For those of you who may not remember, Jimmy Kimmel Live burst onto the late night scene right after the Super Bowl in 2003, and was taped live with a new weekly celebrity co-host each week. This formula didn’t last long, but Kimmel had enough staying power that the show came back revamped with a new set, and has maintained its place in late night for the past decade. Kimmel remarked on how his obsession with David Letterman led to his work in radio, which then led to more radio, and then more radio, and then a hosting gig with Ben Stein on Comedy Central. As Kimmel explained, he never had an interest in doing stand-up comedy, he didn’t like the vibe in comedy clubs, and hearing that Letterman got his start in radio, decided that was the path to follow. Fortunately for Kimmel, he made the right decision: he and Conan O’Brien are the only modern talk show hosts not to start their careers in stand-up comedy.
His path to success is a great example of being lucky and putting in the hard work. Most comics would kill for their own talk show, so to think that the guy who shunned comedy clubs in favor radio and wound up with one – well, that’s how the industry works.
One of Kimmel’s more endearing qualities is that he’s not trying to outdue himself or please anyone, and he’s just sticking to what he thinks is funny. Kimmel has always been known as sort of a prankster, especially when it comes to phone calls – so it was no surprise that when an audience member asked him if his Aunt Chippy was ‘really like that’ he readily prank called her for everyone to enjoy. There’s something about pissing off that brash aunt we all have in a public setting that serves as endless hours of comedy.
The last topic of the evening was Jay Leno, and what Kimmel did to counteract Jay during his usurping of Conan two years ago. He put on a wig and a prosthetic chin and spent a week impersonating Leno, only to appear on his 10 at 10 segment and do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axwO6BkCtIo. It was honest, and a fairly accurate depiction of both his, Dave’s, and Conan’s dislike of Jay Leno. As Kimmel put it, ‘Jay is not a popular figure in the world of comedy.’
Look for Jimmy Kimmel Live airing at 11:35pm on ABC, starting in January.
The following is provided by MarcRyan.com Productions
HOLLYWOOD – Veering from the usual Hollywood path of broken dreams, one comedian is
taking back creative control from television networks and putting the power in the hands of
Marc Ryan, founder/CEO of Marc Ryan Productions is enlisting the power of Kickstarter to raise
$185,000 to film a full-length season of the viral sensation: web series, “i know my rights!”
The series follows Steve Jessup, a working class good ol’ boy lovingly dubbed “The DUI Lawn
Mower Guy,” and his run-ins with the law and vices as he scoots around town on his lawnmower.
Millions around the world have seen Steve’s character online, and though major networks
have expressed interest in developing a series around Steve, Marc Ryan Productions feels it is
important to develop the series in house to properly serve Steve’s character and fans.
The success of the “i know my rights” series is now in the hands of Steve’s adoring fans and
Kickstarter supporters. If you’re a comedy lover, Marc Ryan Productions asks that you visit
Steve’s Kickstarter page and give what you can. Investors may receive a variety of incentives,
ranging from DVDs of the finished series to walk-on roles during the series’ filming!
Only with the help of the fans can “I Know My Rights” move forward with production. Kickstarter
is an “all or nothing” platform. That means that if the $185,000 goal is not met, “I Know My
Rights” doesn’t get any funding.
Steve’s antics, captured by Marc Ryan Productions, have acquired more than 30 million
combined YouTube views and a highly engaged fan base. Marc Ryan Productions has been
involved in the success of the “Drinking Made Easy” tour and the currently aired Outdoor
Channel show, “Mud Slingers.” Steve’s YouTube videos have already received national
attention. Steve has been featured on “MTV Live”, MSNBC “Caught on Camera”, FOX News
“The O’Reilly Factor”, CNN “Showbiz Tonight”, “Maury Povich”, “Speeders” and more.
For more information check head to www.iknowmyrights.com
There is no greater joy in my life than to be running late to a comedy show, only to walk into the venue as the lights dim and the show is underway. This happened Tuesday night, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang! tour made a stop at the Highline Ballroom in the Meatpacking District on Tuesday night, with venerable comic actors Kurt Braunholer, Scott Aukerman, Tim Heidecker, Bobby Moynihan, and James Adomian taking the stage.
The show opened with Kurt Braunohler. I personally know Kurt as Kristen Schaal’s sidekick in the endurance comedy sketch ‘Kristen Schaal is horse,’ and had not yet seen him live onstage. Braunohler brings his comedic nerdiness to the stage and is a good fit for Aukerman’s less nerdy and more audience based humor. Braunohler hosts ‘Bunk’ also on IFC – which appears to be slowly stealing the title of ‘comedy channel’ from Comedy Central.
Braunohler made way for Scott Aukerman, who selected a rather heavyset gentleman from the first row to join him in an audition to be the venue’s Fire Captain. This process involved many tasks, including role playing, make-up wearing, and undressing. There is no greater sight in the world of physical comedy than a fat guy taking off his shirt while playing a cow on all fours in front of 500 people.
Next up was the delightful and bumbling comedy of Tim Heidecker. Tim is one half of the comedy duo Tim and Eric, and his uncomfortable character is reminiscent of Mr Bean combined with any other comedian on stage for the first time. Heidecker doesn’t have to say all that much for it to be funny. His humor is dry, his persona is confused, and he takes great pleasure on knocking over the mic stand into the audience at every chance he gets.
The show closed out with a round table (sans table) podcast featuring Auckerman, Bobby Moynihan as Forvil (Feivel from An American Tale), James Adomian as Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, and Kurt Braunohler. The personal highlight for this writer was seeing someone do a spot on impression of Jesse Ventura. I’d rather listen to Adomian’s Jesse Ventura than Ventura himself.
The season finale of Comedy Bang! Bang! is this Friday at 10pm on IFC. Check your local listings or head to www.comedybangbang.com
David Foster is a stand-up comic who was born in Manhattan and raised in Rockland County. He has been performing for 11 years. He has a cerebral yet relatable style, choosing to cover such topics as: modern medicine, the relativity of intelligence and kindness as they pertain to anxiety, and challenging atheism. He is very expressive with his voice and his mannerisms on stage. YuletideSnapper.com caught up with David Foster to discuss his career in comedy.
YS: Who are some of your favorite comics?
DF: On “Tier One” it’s a tie between Richard Pryor and Louie C.K. For “Tier Two”, I like Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chappelle, and David Cross. I’d put Bill Cosby on “Tier 1 ½”.
YS: What’s your favorite thing and what’s your least favorite thing about doing Comedy?
DF: My favorite thing is the experience of trying a new bit that I take pride in and it kills. When that happens, I feel as though multiple positive things have taken place: I’ve evolved as an artist and I’ve been heard and understood. My least favorite thing is bombing with material that you know is good on a show that carries importance [e.g. auditioning for a club or agent]. Also, I do get frustrated by the lack of structure in the business.
What is your writing process like?
DF: I write sporadically: Sometimes on the subway en route to shows I look at my notebook and revise material. For tough topics, I have to sit down at a computer and really work it out in front of me. Though I don’t always write everything down word-for-word. I outline what I’m going to say in bullet points.
Do you have a favorite club to perform in?
DF: The Eastville Comedy Club. I get booked by the weekend (Thurs.-Sun.). And probably partially because of the location there’s a very diverse, intelligent crowd. They pay attention and are usually receptive to thinking, so you can really change minds there. The set up of a room is important, and the set up of Eastville is near perfect. Also, the quality of the comics is high.
You can see David Foster at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club on 8/9 – 8/10, Comix at Foxwoods 8/23-8/25, and at Eastville Comedy Club 8/30-9/1. You can also check out his blog, davidfostercomedyblog.com and other performance dates on his site, DavidFostercomedy.com.