I'm mid-interview with Sam Brown and Zach Cregger from the sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U'Know, searching for the words that might explain what makes them hilarious, as if they needed one more testimonial. They don't, of course — their IFC show and millions of YouTube video fans are proof that something they're doing is working. But what is it, exactly, that runs through all of their sketches?
For one, they know when to not say "When." They'll often take ideas and extend them and milk them until no surplus jokes remain, and then they'll milk it a bit more.
A good way to tell if Norm MacDonald is killing a standup set is to just watch how much he’s giggling to himself. For whatever reason, when the cameras aren’t rolling, the comic icon lets his guard down and drops the trademark deadpan just a bit, but only when he knows he’s really hit on some new bizarre thought — the kind of thought that only he and his cultish, devoted following could find laughable.
Killing My Lobster straps on rocket boots to stamp their crustacean brand of funny on the final frontier. These intrepid comedic souls brave worm holes and time portals to defeat wizards, Italians, and other impingers on space justice, with phasers that may or may not be made of cardboard.
It’s been a surreal two weeks for Amy Schumer, the cunning girl-next-door comic who will, for the foreseeable future, be known as the standup who told Steve-O she would have preferred he die, rather than fellow Jackass star Ryan Dunn, at the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. Her infamous joke has caught the attention of both angry Jackass fans and also the national media, and now the 30-year-old New Yorker is riding the crest of a wave of notoriety. It’s a double-edged sword, of course: she’s now selling out shows, but she also reported to be on the receiving end of death threats from the unamused.
SF's own sketch comedy group Killing My Lobster debuted a new video a few days ago asking the same question we've asked ourselves for ages: "Doesn't anyone in this city work?" Whenever we're stuck in the office on a gorgeous day, our phones blow up with texts from friends drinking beer at Dolores Park. At least now we know we're not alone.
Take note, people of unbridled ambition. This is the new career path to fame:
1) Make a series of web videos DIY-style.
2) Make them irresistibly funny.*
3) Post them on YouTube with little regard for future employment.
4) Wait a year or two.
5) Watch them inexplicably go viral.
Ever since the Purple Onion tried to re-establish itself as a comedy destination some seven years ago, weekly series have come and gone, and the place has mostly been a spot for fledgling local comics to find stage time. A good thing, to be sure.
The historic laugh lounge's latest stab at renaissance is its new weekly Comedy & Cocktails series, a free show featuring a long list of comics of varying experience levels. We'll assume that means short sets for all involved, save the headliner. Like speed dating, but with comedians.
If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Jay Pharoah sure loves to kiss some arse. Thursday night at Cobb’s Comedy Club, the SNL prodigy spent the first 40 minutes of his set mimicking the patriarchs of hip-hop and Hollywood, as if he were rehearsing for a hosting gig at the BET Awards. The kid is clearly skilled, if a tad one-dimensional.
The 23-year-old Virginia native tills the same comedic soil as MadTV’s Aries Spears, who brought a very similar routine to Cobb’s earlier this year. Both are virtuoso impersonators, holding up mirrors to high-profile rappers and other idiosyncratic personalities of urban culture.
For over a decade now — yes, time flies even for insomniacs — Adult Swim has been a green-light-happy home to “alternative comedy,” whatever that means (our guess: the jokes involve long hair and abstract guitar play). The cult followings of shows such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021 and The Venture Bros. have paved a road for countless successful and not-so-successful live action and animated sitcoms to follow.
What happens when you barricade ten comedians in a room for fifty hours? You get twisted minds fueled by caffeinated hysteria writing jokes that may or may not mimic the sleep-deprived love child of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.
Killing My Lobster usually spends a good ten weeks on a show. So a mere fifty hours is laughable - at least, so they hope. Writers, actors, filmmakers, and musicians all contribute their own brand of funny for a new type of sketch variety show. Contributors include KML veterans like local playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and special guests like KFOG's Peter Finch, the Tequila Whisperer, and vaudevillian indie folk band, The Bengsons.