Tom Segura’s ‘Completely Normal’ starts off appropriately low-key, because Segura doesn't have a huge physical presence. There’s very little physical movement in Segura’s act, he’s never very grand or animated. When Seinfeld interviewed Kevin Hart in Comedians in Cars, he said that stand-up comedy should be a reduced essence. This is why guys like Segura are extremely important. Simplicity is key to what makes stand up such an unyielding force in an absurdly sensational, unnecessarily flashy culture. Segura’s act represents exactly that: a performance stripped down to the craft of stand up and nothing more.
The existence of Todd Barry's comedy is a big "fuck you" to a lot of people's "comedy rules". Pseudo comedy intellectuals have lots of rules: Racial humor is hack. Stand up has to be personal. Stand up has to be loud.
It's all bullshit. Stand up has to be funny. End of story.
For the next 12 days we'll be posting reviews for 12 comedy specials that you should watch. They're not in any particular order, they're just good specials from good comics from 2014. Some specials that aired this year aren't on this list. That's because either I didn't like them (I don't believe in negative reviews) or I haven't seen them yet. Here's the list:
Today, (actual) news broke that a certain type of naturally occurring "Magic Mushrooms" were found in Queen Elizabeth's garden (Google it). So far, Palace officials denied that anyone was purposefully growing the mushrooms, and that no one ingested them.
HOWEVER, in a Wisekraken EXCLUSIVE, we obtained audio from Queen Elizabeth's quarters the night before the news broke. We have transcribed that tape for you:
It wasn't really an attack, but Jon Stewart more than implied that Obama's appearance on The Colbert Report was "not a coincidence..." The implication is that the administration knew Obama wouldn't be doing any "fun" interviews for a looong time. Watch the whole video to see Jon Stewart take apart the recent CIA torture reports.
Craig Ferguson does not like "Hollywood" culture. He hates insincerity, "fakeness". Yet, Craig Ferguson interviews Hollywood movie stars for a living. It sounds contradictory, but Craig has a very simple solution to this: Remove all the Hollywood glamour from his talk show. Controlled chaos is the backbone of the show. Ferguson has cited Pee-Wee's Playhouse as inspiration for his show. To be fake, you must have a plan. You have to know what is coming in order to pretend you don't know what's coming. So create a show where nobody - not even the host - knows what's coming next, and you remove all Hollywood fakeness.
With only 7 episodes of The Colbert Report left, Stephen Colbert has been pulling all kinds of rabbits out of his hat. Guest stars, cameos, references to old episodes... This week he's shooting all his shows in Washington D.C. and his first guest was Barack Obama. Yeah, that Obama. Barack even took over the show to do "The Word". I don't...I...I don't even know, man. From a sarcastic sideline reporter, to getting the POTUS to do bits from your show. Congrats and fare thee well Stephen Colbert.
Sorry for getting so defensive in the title, the internet is a vicious place. Anyway, let me start by laying down some ground rules. For the purpose of this list "underrated" is a comedian whose abilities don't match how well known they are, AND who don't get talked about by other comedians that often. For example: Doug Stanhope is incredible and does not have mainstream success. However, every comic loves Doug Stanhope. He gets mad love from the comedy world, so he's out. Also, I'm not including the young comics. Yes, technically, those guys are underrated because nobody knows about them, but that means that technically, George Carlin was underrated at some point. This list is for people who have been around long enough to earn respect, but still don't really get talked about. (Also note the lack of numbers, this is in no particular order) With that in mind, here we go:
There's a trend that's beginning to occur in the stand up world, and I only noticed it a couple of months ago. Comedians aren't tolerating shitty comedy (or just regular shittiness in general), and they're making sure everyone knows it.
I first realized it when I listened to Mark Normand on Pete Holmes' podcast a couple months ago. Pete Holmes brought up Denis Leary, and Mark Normand very casually said "How about that guy huh? He sure made a little out of nothing." They then started talking about Leary stealing jokes from Bill Hicks and Louis C.K. and Normand said "I just don't think he's that talented." He wasn't angry, he wasn't attacking him, it was simply Normand being open and giving his honest opinion. It was a breath of fresh air, but...