Before we discuss the Mountain Goats’ performance last night at the Fillmore, please accept this prerequisite information: It’s been documented that many of the great canonical authors of American literature had a particularly strong love-hate relationship with the areas that shaped who they became. Mark Twain, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck — all of them were distinctly of a place, and a conflicted passion for their homeland informed their best works. Ask any English lit major; they probably BS’ed their way through a class on said argument.
San Francisco’s always been a fertile breeding ground for comedians, but the current crop of laugh-makers is especially prolific. Catch them now before they head off to the major leagues.
Few SNL veterans have had to deal with the pigeonholing and character-branding Jim Breuer has had to eschew for the last decade. To most, he’s either the perma-bed-headed stoner from Half Baked or the bizarrely polymorphic Goat Boy from SNL, or both. Each was an iconic character, and at least partly responsible for the cult following the comic has enjoyed over the years. But those creations were also from a lifetime ago. “I’m a different person now,” Breuer said in a recent interview.
So how does one shake a reputation of such scale? Simple: old-school metal rock. Of the arena-filling, lazer-lit, "You Shook Me All Night Long" variety. I’m serious.
There is hope. Yes, even for you, the sad, sappy, bespectacled, somewhat chubby, nasaly, prog-emo rocking diarist. There is a better you. There may even be a Hollywood debutante in your future.
Case in point: Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, who walked onto the Fillmore stage last night unrecognizable to fans of grayer heads. Please excuse those of us late to the party, but someone’s whipped this former king of the indie universe into shape (*cough* Zooey *cough* Deschanel *cough*). Dude’s been cut trim, Lasik-upped and stylized for the middling tastebud. Oh, and he wears accessories now.
WARNING: If you consider yourself a person sensitive to the vulgarities of excess, or balk at the thought of paying $15 for a beer, or cringe at the idea of paying a $50 cover for a daytime activity, or never considered going to Mexico for Spring Break, or find silicon one of modern man's greatest weaknesses, or prefer to keep your DJs and your pooltime separate, or don't trust lazy rivers so close to seas of strip clubs, or consider yourself above celebrity-gawking, or find neck tattoos and Affliction apparel to be a clear sign of society's regression, the Vegas pool scene may not be for you.
One of the great things about comedy is that there’s no one single conventional path to making a career of it. Advanced degrees, internships, corporate ladders, apprenticeships, none of them are prerequisites for getting up on a stage and trying to make people laugh. If only Johnny Tremain had known...
Loni Love’s journey to Hollywood — Hollyweird, she calls it — certainly has its own distinct trajectory. Before she realized her career in comedy, Love lived the unparallel life of an electrical engineer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in the subject, and worked for eight years at Xerox. Funny how things turn out. Very funny.
There came a point in Arj Barker’s early Friday night set at Cobb’s when the San Anselmo native seemed as if he were overcome by the gravity of the moment, this being the latest homecoming for the local-funnyman-gone-global. No, he’s not about to get all sentimental on us, is he?
“You guys are like family to me Cobb’s,” he said stoically and honestly. “Rude, abusive, alcoholic…We see each other once a year and it’s super (f-in’) awkward.”
It’s no secret Asian-Americans are terribly underrepresented in Hollywood and other segments of the entertainment biz, but trailblazing comedian/actor Bobby Lee believes the industry is slowly warming up to the idea of the Asian-American comedic hero. The current posterboy, Ken Jeung, has won over mainstream America with breakout performances in the Hangover films. But long before Jeung started pulling in endorsement deals and nabbing awards, Lee was sending up every Asian archetype and celebrity in public view on MadTV, spending eight years crafting his lovable characters with a keen sense of slapstick.
You know that 30-something friend of yours who doesn’t have kids but already seems to have assumed the persona of a fun dad? That’s Pete Holmes, and that’s how he proudly describes himself these days. Indeed, on first glance, everything about him screams “average white guy” and “non-threatening,” but he’s got a subtle edge, which has helped him earn an increasingly wide pale of work. His growing résumé includes writing credits on NBC’s (recently canceled) Outsourced and Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, stage time on Jimmy Fallon and Conan, a half-hour Comedy Central special, a gig as cartoonist for The New Yorker and the voice of the ubiquitous e*trade baby. He’ll be at Punchline tonight, and he recently took a moment to answer a few questions about his career-in-motion.
Last night’s Sleigh Bells/Neon Indian show at the Independent was one of those nights we’ll recall 20 years from now when we’re explaining to our robot doctor why we’ve gone partially deaf:
“Why didn’t you wear ear plugs?” the doctor will ask, unfamiliar with human masochism.
“Well. It was f-ing’ Sleigh Bells doc. They’re gloriously loud, and we didn’t want to miss a decibel,” we’ll say sans regret, adding “that’s kind of the point with some bands. Now fix me.”
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